Welcome to Expound, our verse by verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregation.
Deuteronomy chapter six and chapter seven is in front of us tonight. So, let's turn in our bibles to that. We're going to pray, and let's just ask the Lord's hand.
Father, you know what we need. And as I say that I realize that we don't know what we need always. Your word says we don't know what to pray for as we ought, but your spirit that searches the minds and the hearts, that intercedes for us in a way that we can't even talk to you about because we're just ignorant so many times of what really is going on in the supernatural realm, in our own hearts, the place you're desiring to bring us to.
So, Father, I pray that as faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word, that your word would instruct us, inspire us, challenge us, transform us. We believe these to be the very words of you, of our God himself. Spoken in a different generation, a different time, but, Father, your word nonetheless. And there are principles that over-arch and overshadow even times and cultures.
I pray that you will grow us up in the faith as we look at these couple of chapters in Jesus' name. Amen.
I'm guessing, I'm betting, that the name Frederick Rueckheim is unfamiliar to every one of you. Would that be correct? Does anybody here recognize the name Frederick Rueckheim. I would doubt it.
You don't know him. You don't know his name. It's unfamiliar to you, but you are familiar with his product. It's closely associated with the sport of baseball. And as I sing the song you'll pick it up. I won't sing it. I'll just say the words. "Take me out to the ball game. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks." Frederick Rueckheim was the inventor of Cracker Jacks. And do you recall what's on the front of Cracker Jacks?
A little sailor boy, right? Holding Cracker Jacks and the dog is in front of him.
Next time you look at that I want you to remember this. That little boy on the front has a very interesting story in the life of Frederick Rueckheim. The sailor boy was modeled after his nephew, Robert Rueckheim. His brother's son who died at around eight or nine years of age. He loved wearing sailor suits. And so, as a reminder, for a remembrance for the owner, for the uncle himself, he always wanted to remember his nephew, who love the worst sailor outfits, so he drew his nephew holding a box of Cracker Jacks with is puppy dog on the front of the motif of Cracker Jacks. It was a reminder. A remembrance.
In the book of Deuteronomy the Lord tells his people to set up reminders. Not so they will remember God. No idols were to be cast or made. But there would be certain displays that they would have on their persons and in their homes to remember God's law. God's rule over them. God's guidance of them. So that when they look at that object, or when they perform a certain ceremony it would call to their remembrance. Ah, that's what the Lord did. Or that's what the Lord wants, or that's what the Lord said.
And so, Moses, 120 years old, gives his last, long set of speeches during about a three week period east of the Jordan River to a brand new generation. As I've told you almost every week we've been in Deuteronomy, to set that as a background. He's giving the last words of God, through him, to a group of people who, when they left Egypt, were just babies. Or at Cades-Barnea, at least, the entrance to the promised land, they were just babies. They don't remember the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. They were too young.
But all of their parents have died in the wilderness. Their bones are bleaching out there in the desert somewhere because of their disobedience. But this new generation now needs to hear the law again. And so it is a deuteronomy. A deuteros, which means two or second. Neonom, which means law. It is the second law. The second giving of the law. It is not a repetition, but rather a recapitulation, a recap, of the law for this new generation less they forget. God wants them to remember.
And, I believe, it's important-- and you'll see it here embedded in the text. Every generation needs to hear the story. And they need to hear it and see it from the first generation.
Kids are always curious about mom and dad, and they're real history, their background. So, what was it like for you in high school? Did you ever experiment morally or with drugs in college? And they want to know the story. And I love telling the story. Not of the bad stuff, but I love to tell the story of how God got a hold of my life. How I thought religiously. How I was experimental morally et cetera, but then how the Lord convinced me of his truth and turned around my life. That's a testimony. You have one. And it is unique to you. And you need to pass it on to the next generation.
And I love seeing the next generation rise up. It is to me the joy of my heart. I remember when I was that generation, and I had a pastor who let kids like me come to his church and get involved. And he encouraged us to get into ministry, and it was always a "go for it" attitude. The Calvary tradition was always a youth movement, and Jesus and his disciples were essentially a youth movement.
So, what really turns me on is seeing the next generation like Ryan, our worship leader, who grew up in the church. Or Matt Pirollo who grew up in the church. And there are several others. Or Nate who had to grow up in my home and the church. I mean literally we grew up in the church. But I love seeing the next generation become the leaders and to see that baton being passed, and they become emboldened in their faith with the vision from the Lord. But all of us need reminders.
We've had an exodus, but we need a Deuteronomy. We've been delivered from bondage, but we need to be recapped, reminded of what God has done.
That's why Peter-- you remember even Peter in the New Testament said, for this reason, brethren, I will not be negligent to always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are established in the present truth. He said, I think it's right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by reminding you.
So, even if you come here and you go, oh, Deuteronomy. Man, I know that like the back of my hand. Well, great. Be reminded of some of these great in salient truths, even though you do.
Now, verse one.
"Now, this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments, which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you. That you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess. That you may fear of the Lord."
That's a theme in scripture. That's an important theme. Fear of the Lord. Something I believe is lost in great sections of the Church today, is a healthy fear of the Lord. Proverb says, the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. What does that mean? The fear of the Lord? Is it like you're afraid of God? You wake up in the morning trembling because God is near.
The best way to look at it, I believe, is this. The fear the Lord is a reverential awe. A reverential awe that comes from a loving submission to a loving God. I have a reverential awe of God. I have a fear of displeasing the one who redeemed me, and is doing and has done great things. It is the basis. It is the foundation. It is the beginning of wisdom.
"That you may fear of the Lord, your God. To keep all his statutes."
Not statues. Please know there's a T in their. Keep all his statutes. Those are commandments.
"And His commandments, which I command you. You, and your son, and your grandson all the days of your life that your days may be prolonged. Therefore, hear, O, Israel and be careful to observe it. That it may be well with you that you may multiply greatly as the Lord, God of your fathers, has promised you, a land flowing with milk and honey. Hear, O, Israel the Lord, our God the Lord, is one."
The idea of a land flowing with milk and honey. We've heard that before. It's a term that comes to us from the Book of Exodus. What does it mean, land flowing with milk and honey? If you go to Israel and you look around, you might ask that question. So where's the milk and honey? And what does it mean to be flowing with milk and honey?
It is believed that milk speaks of the satisfaction that comes from the production of livestock that would be prevalent in the land because of the abundance of grasses, especially in the northern part, for them to feed on. That it will be great because of the water supplies that come from the rain of Heaven and the Jordan River. That it will sustain their flocks. It will overflow with milk.
Now the honey. If you're thinking of bees' honey that is not what is meant by biblical honey. Did you know that the honey spoken about is the nectar of fruits? In particular, date honey. The nectar of the date. And if you, again, go to Israel you will see that kind of honey. A very sweet date nectar that is the honey in the land of Israel.
So, it's a land flowing with that. Milk and honey.
"Hear, O, Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."
Now, this is one of the most famous passages in all of the Bible and it is to the Jew, perhaps, the pinnacle of all passages. The Great Schema it's called. The Schema. Because the Hebrew is--
Excuse me, I got it backwards. But Hebrew's written backwards so it's easy to do. Hear, O, Israel. Something that every Jew who is a practicing, orthodox religious Jew. Every Jew says every day in every place in the world. That's how prominent it is. And it is among the first words spoken by Jewish children. Hear, O, Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is one. It's their great confession of faith.
What does it mean? And why is it stated? Well, we've already, in the last few chapters, seen that God was warning his people against polytheism of the Canaanite cultures around him. They believed in many gods, and he says, don't you believe in many gods. And don't you have images like they have. There is only one god and he cannot be represented by a single image. So, in contradistinction to the polytheism of the cultures around you, your Lord, the Lord, the only God is one.
OK. Having said that, you'll notice how the word Lord is spelled in your Bible. All capitals. Am I right? Now, do you remember the explanation I gave you a couple of weeks whenever you see all capitals? That is the in-affable name of God. In-affable, meaning unpronounceable. We don't know how to say that word. It's been lost in antiquity because the Jews refused to say that word. It is the consonants, the tetragramaton the four letters, the sacred word, perhaps pronounced Yahweh or Yahveh. Or Jehovah, traditionally it's called. But it would be Y, H, W, H.
That's why you'll hear me say Yahweh. That's the name. We don't exactly know how it's pronounced. So, originally it would be worded in Hebrew.
They changed it to Adonai to give respect to God. Not because they want to change the scripture, but Adonai is their idea of Lord without saying his formal name, Yahweh. They believe that his name is too sacred to pronounce. So they take that pronunciation out even though it's spelled that way in the Hebrew. Yahweh. They will say the word Adonai. That's why the Schema, if you're Jewish you know, it is--
Now the word Eloheinu, Elohim. Elohim. I mentioned that word. Is an interesting word by itself. And here, this is all background to a grand point I want to make. Because they're saying the Lord is one. They believe in God being one. The word Elohim is a plural word. Some of you know that. It's plural in Hebrew for God. So in Hebrew the singular word for God is El. The plural word is Elah, and the compound, plural word, more than two, is Elohim. It's the masculine plural.
Are you following me? I don't want to get buried in this. Elohim, masculine compound plural.
And that's important because when we go through genesis and Elohim is mentioned there, literally gods, but it's not many gods because God's saying the Lord is one, right? Here's the word echad, one. And if you ever learn Hebrew, that's the first of the 10 numbers.
Et cetera. All the way up to 10. Echad, one. But the word echad doesn't mean singularity. It means unity. And sometimes unity in plurality. OK?
Genesis 2:24. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Echad. So it's unity out of plurality. When you're saying, here's a husband and wife. They're coming together as one flesh. We don't mean they're literally going to morph into one single humanoid. Right? Although, I have noticed some couples as they get older, tend to resemble themselves in an odd kind of a way. Another subject.
But the idea is that there is a unity out of that plurality. Echad. One flesh. Israel is called one nation. Many people, but one solid nation. Echad.
So, this is important. Why is it important? Because here's the great confession of the Jewish faith. The Lord our God the Lord is one. And they have trouble with you because you say you believe in the Trinity. We as believers in Jesus Christ believe there's one god, but here we are saying there's father, son, and Holy Spirit. And people will come along, even some non-Christian cults today, as well as people who have a Jewish persuasion in the past, will say, well, you believe in many gods. You believe in a Trinity. Or a tri-unity is a better term, I would prefer instead of Trinity. A triune god.
And they'll say, that word has never found in the Bible. And, of course, they're right. Trinity is never found in the Bible, but so what? Just because the word, the expression, isn't found in the Bible, the teaching certainly is found in the Bible. I mean the word second coming isn't found in the Bible, but the teaching that Jesus will come again is found in the Bible. And the word Trinity came along around 200AD with Tertulli. And he was the first guy that mentioned the Latin word, trinetoss because it conveniently summed up the core belief system of the New Testament Christian. That that Christian, that person, that believer, is a trinitarian. Believes in one god manifest in three distinct persons. In one god had father, son, and Holy Spirit.
And there are hints of that. All the way back in Genesis, not only is there Elohim, the Hebrew, but God said-- listen to what God said. "Let us make man in our image. So in the image of God made he, singular, man." That would be confusing. You would get an F in your English class if you try to write that way. Because you just substituted plural and singular. Interchanged them in the same couple of sentences.
Then there's Isaiah, chapter six. That beautiful passage, where Isaiah the profit said, "in the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple." You remember that beautiful text of scripture?
And he said, "above it stood Seraphim each having six wings. With two he covered his face. With two we covered his feet. With two he flew. And one cried out to the other, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts. The whole Earth is filled with his glory." And then Isaiah said, "and the posts of the doors shook because of the voice of one who cried out. And the whole house was filled with smoke. Then I said, woe is me. I am undone. I'm a man of unclean lips. I dwell in the midst of a generation or people of unclean lips. From my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then I heard another voice. The voice of the Lord," he said. "Saying whom shall I send and who will go for us?"
Again you have the interchangeability of the singular and the plural. Who will I send, who will go for us? Then you have the Lord Jesus Christ giving the baptismal formula. "When you go into all the world and preach the gospel, you will baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
And there are many such verses like that throughout the scripture so, though, the word Trinity isn't found, the doctrine, the teaching of the triune nature of God certainly is. So much so that by the writings of Paul the Apostle it became a formula in the church. Because of Jesus giving the direction of how to baptize, it became a formula. It became a benediction.
So, at the end of Corinthians. Second Corinthians, chapter 13. I'll read it to you. "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be complete or become complete. Be of good comfort. Be of one mind. Live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen."
So, we have several verses of scripture that hint at, and then several that point to, and others that elucidate further the meaning of the triune God. And we have done in depth studies on that. I just want to, kind of, bring all those full circle to this one verse. Hear, O Israel. The Lord, the only God, the only true God is one. The great schema. The great confession of faith. And verse 5. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart." Stop right there for a moment.
How can you command somebody to love you? Walk up to somebody tomorrow and say, you shall love me. That's a command. You know what? It is possible to do that, by the way. In our culture it doesn't make any sense. That's why you laughed at a moment ago. But it really is true. You can love someone as a command. You see, it all depends on how you define the word love. If you see it is a noun it makes no sense. If you see it as a verb it makes perfect sense.
If you see it as a noun, well, we fell in love, but then we fell out of love. And I don't feel love toward that person. Now you're seeing it is a noun. Something that you are subjectively feeling or not. But it is possible to act it out. To love as a verb. To be obedient and say, whether I feel like it or not, I am deciding to show love to you. It is a verb. And it can be a command that I will obey.
And here's the interesting thing. When you see it as a verb and you act it out as a verb it becomes, in your experience, a noun. When you decide I'm going to show love even though I feel like it or not, eventually you'll feel like it. You will be showing love and you will see how the other person response, and you'll start to feel that way. So, your choice is the engine. Your feeling is the caboose. In our culture it's all about the caboose, baby.
Whether you feel it or not. I'm not feeling it, man. Big deal. So what? I don't feel like I love her anymore. So what? Love her. That's how a couple can stand at an altar and promise to love each other for an entire lifetime. Because they're seeing it as a verb. And it can never become just a noun.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength." Now, am I right? Do you always feel, feel, feel when you wake up every day like, I love the Lord? Some of you do. That's great. Most of us, we ebb and we flow. We're up and we're down. We're hot and we're cold. And so he gives the command. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, your strength. By the way, Jesus quoted this, did he not, as being the greatest commandment. They said, what's the greatest commandment? He quoted this, but then he quickly tagged on Leviticus 19, remember? He said, and the second command is like it, and it's also great. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
So, the command to love God, the command to love your neighbor, whether you feel like it or not, it's the command of God to show that.
And these words, verse six. "Which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk about them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." So, it's the next generation. Teach them to your kids. And earlier I said your kids and your grandkids. I love, I love praying with my grandchildren.
I love when a meal is presented and they just, kind of, automatically go, time to pray. Now, they've been taught that at home by their parents. But I love their prayers. And sometimes they'll go, oh, no no wait a minute. I'll pray. And they go, no, I'm going to pray. Almost like, grandpa, you're prayer isn't good enough. Let me handle this for you. But it's their own expression. And I said to my grandson the other day, Seth, what are you going to be when you grow up? And he immediately said, a "pastu." Translation, pastor. But I just love the little heart for the Lord.
And meal times are a great teaching opportunity to discuss over a meal. To discuss. Put the phone down. Put the screen away at the meal time. Discuss, talk over what God is doing, has done. Ask them questions. Come up with some really great questions to make them think about spiritual things. You can use it as an opportunity. "You shall teach. You shall talk. When you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, when you rise up.
Socrates used to ask the men of Athens. Actually, say to them. He said, it's such a wonder. He said to the men of that city, it's such a wonder that you can spend so much of your time and labor in training up your horses, and so little effort in training up your children. Who will one day rule the city.
Now, you know what the Proverbs say. Proverbs 22. "Train up a child in the way that he should go." And we've told you before the word, hanoch, train up, means to stimulate their taste buds. Literally. It comes from the idea of putting honey, date honey, on the lips of a baby to stimulate the sucking reflex. To give them an appetite to feed. So, the idea is by your words and by your behavior stimulate your children toward spiritual things, toward godly things.
And then verse 8. Here's some of the reminders. "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand." Now get the wording here. 'Bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your-- do you know what a frontlet is? It's an adornment in front of something. So if you walk up to a car and there's a hood with an emblem on it, that's the frontlet. That's the embellishment on the front of something. So that's what a frontlet is. So you bind them on your hand, you put them on the frontlets of your eyes.
Because of this verse and others like, it I'll tell you which verses in a minute. The Jews take this very literally. And they actually have little boxes called phylacteries. Little boxes that they wear on their head. The Jewish men have this little box on their head. So if you ever go to Israel and you see a dude walking with a box, and you go, whoa, I just saw a dude with a box on his head. You'll understand what that is about.
They take this literally. They put the word of God, there are scriptures that are placed in that little leather box, and there's a little, it looks like a W on the front. Which is the Hebrew letter Shin, for schema Israel. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God. The Lord is one. So you'll see a box with that little shin on it or looks like a W. That's a phylactery. Inside the box are three portions of scripture. Exodus chapter 13, verses one through 15 or 16. Deuteronomy chapter four, verses 4 through 9. And Deuteronomy chapter 11, versus 13 through 21.
Those three scriptures are put in there because the commandment, put them on your head, put them on your wrist, are in those passages of scripture. So they'll take, for times of prayer, and they'll put the little box on their left wrist. They'll bind the leather thongs up, and I'll have it on their heads. And all you'll see them at the Western Wall praying together with the scripture on their head.
The phylactery. The box. The scriptures. In the New Testament, Jesus makes reference to the phylacteries. Do you remember the passage? It's when he says, whoa, to you, scribes and Pharisees. You hypocrites. Matthew 23. Here's what he says. "You make broad your phylacteries and you enlarge the borders of your garments." In other words, it appears that in the New Testament times some of the real pious dudes thought, not only do I have a box, I'm going to make my box just a little bigger than that guy's box. I'll broaden, make bigger, enlarge my phylactery. So, pretty soon you've got a big UPS box, kind of, hanging off your head. I don't know if they were that bad, but they kind of made them more noticeable. And they made the fringes of their garments, which was typical for a Jewish male, a little bit bigger and more noticeable.
Show offs. You're being spiritual show offs. You make broad your phylacteries and you enlarge the borders of a garments. That's what he is referring to.
This command in scripture to bear it between your eyes. OK. You go, why would they put it on their eyes? Here's why. God wants them to have the law of God before them as a reminder. It is my law, my word, my commandments that guide and direct your life. You follow them. You are literally following them. When you walk your eyes are on them. Very important principle. What are you looking at? What are your eyes fixed upon? During the day, in the evening, at night when you go home. When you watch something on television. What are you focused on? What kind of input is going into your head? The word, the scripture, his law, his truth? Because whatever it is begins to shape your world view. God says, I want your view shaped by my word. Have it before you. And it's on your hand. Whatever you do is dictated by the word of God.
Beautiful, beautiful. Acted out. Lived about description of following the word of God, obeying the word of God. Looking at it. Reading it. Contemplating it. Beautiful, beautiful thing.
Then verse 9. He takes it further. More reminders. Sort of like Cracker Jacks. Verse 9. "You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gate." OK. See the word, door posts. Now here's another Hebrew word. Some of you will have heard it before. Many of you will not. Mezuzot is the word door post. Mezuzot.
If you've ever gone to a Jewish home or a synagogue you will notice on the right hand of the door post a little box, usually in a cylinder shape, They call it a mezuzah. Plural, Mezuzot. That little cylinder also has scriptures in it. And you'll see in orthodox Jew walk up to the door, kiss it like that, walk in because, again, it's the same symbolism. I'm reminded of that which governs me, the word of God. It's before my eyes. It's on the Mezuzot, the door post of the house. And not only the front door. And if you go to Jerusalem you'll see them everywhere. Every hotel room has them. Every room of the house in many Jewish homes have them. So every entrance, it's a reminder. The word of God. The word of God. The scriptures. God's law is before me.
So, it shall be. Versed 10. You see, I always say we aim high because already we're halfway in our time and I'm here, but I think these are worthwhile explanations otherwise it wouldn't bring up.
"So it shall be. When the Lord your God brings you into the land, which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities, which you did not build. Houses full of good things, which you did not fill up. Hewn out wells, which you did not dig. Vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant." Because the Canaanites did.
"When you have eaten and are full, then beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage. You shall fear of the Lord your God and serve Him. And you will take oaths in his name. You shall not go up after other gods. Gods of the peoples who are all around you for the Lord your God is a jealous god." We've already covered that in previous studies in Deuteronomy.
"Less the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the Earth."
It is because of this text. It's because of these verses that oftentimes if you go eat in a Jewish home after the meal you'll have a prayer. After the meal you'll have a prayer. Why? Because it says, when you have eaten and you are full. So, you don't want to forget-- you don't want to eat then forget about God. Or pray and then eat, and forget about God. The idea is now we thank God after we have eaten. We don't want to forget that this came from his bounty, from his hand. So, we pause at the end and we give thanks once again to God.
Again that's just a beautiful, beautiful gesture. Try it sometime. Mix it up a little bit. Instead of
That same old stuff we always say, just come up with something fresh and new. In fact, try it at the end of your meal. You've eaten your full, God, that was an awesome meal. I especially liked the potatoes or whatever it is you want to share. But notice, notice. Then beware. See that's a warning word. Beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
I know this refers to Israel, and it should because they forgot the Lord, but then I wonder also about our own nation. Though, we're certainly not a theocratic kingdom like Israel, I do see some parallels. And here's the parallel. This nation was built upon the premise that there would be a freedom worship God without the constraints of the law, the king. And this nation acknowledged God. Read some of the presidents' speeches over the years. I mean the older presidents. The early presidents of the United States. And listen or read their words of how often they talk about the biblical text, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and God Almighty being sovereign. Just read their language. These are their public addresses as well as prayers.
God was acknowledged in public life in this nation. Now, we're at a place where God is systematically being ruled out of national life. And we're following an interesting, I believe, in some cases parallel to ancient Israel. We went from prosperity, we're full. We've got it all, wealthy nation. From prosperity, it led us to pride. And that happened eventually to the nation of Israel. So from prosperity to pride. From pride, that led them to passivity. They just became very passive about the things of God. Just whatever. It's not that important. You now. And then the practice of idolatry. So, there are some parallels.
I'm not trying to say, we are like the new Israel and God is going to build up America, and this is God's nation. Some take it to that extreme. I do not. But there are parallels.
Verse 16. "You shall not tempt the Lord your God as you tempted him in Massah." Remember Massah? Not Maasai. We're not in Africa now. These are not Maasai warriors. Massah. You remember when the children of Israel complained that there was no water, and they said where's God? Has God forsaken us? And God said to Moses go up to Mount Horeb, and hit the rock, and water will flow through. He called that name Massah, which means testing or tempting. So, don't tempt the Lord like your fathers did.
"Previous generation at that place, Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God. His testimonies, his statutes, which he commanded you."
Now, now, God says don't do that. Don't forget God. Don't push God out of national life. Don't become so full that you forget. Don't graduate from prosperity to pride too passivity. And here is the remedy of how to stop if you are finding yourself doing that. First of all diligence. Diligence. Be focused. Be focused. One thing David said, one thing I have desired of the Lord that will I seek after. That's diligence. That's focus.
Jesus said to Martha who was busy after Mary was sitting at his feet, one thing you lack, and Mary has chosen the better part. She's seeking. So diligence is the first remedy.
"You will diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God. His testimonies. His statues, which he has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the site of the Lord that it may be well with you that you may go and possess the good land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to cast out all the nations from before you as the Lord had spoken."
Diligence is the first. Obedience is the second. Be focused. Be diligent. But now be obedient. Do what he said. Remember what he said. Review what he said. Do what he said. And then here's the third remembrance.
"When your son asks you in time to come saying, what is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you? Then you shall say to your son." Here's the answer. Just look at the answer and make your own, was the idea. "You shall say to him, we were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt." We were in bondage. "The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand." Deliverance. "And the Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes great and severe against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. Then he brought us out from there." This is one of my favorite verses, by the way, in this entire book. It's this one. "He brought us out from there that he might bring us in to give us the land, which he swore to our fathers.
Why did God bring this out? To bring us in.
You see the Lord didn't just bring you out of the world because he wants to take the fun out of your life. He just wants to bring you out of all that bad stuff. Now you can't do any fun stuff because he took you out of all that stuff. He just brought you out. No, he brought you out to bring you in. There's a better land going on. There's a better place. There's a better experience. So, remember he always brings you out that he might bring you in. Keep going. Keep walking. Don't stop. "He brought you out that he might bring you in to the land, which you swore to our fathers."
I listen to some people talk. Yeah, man. I remember the days when we used to do that. And do that. We had so much fun. Really? Selective memory disorder, eh? Remember all those great parties you went to. Have you forgotten the night you woke up in your own vomit? Remember that night? Fun party. Wasn't that awesome? Remember how lonely you felt after that break up? Oh, yeah, yeah. You forgot about all that. You just start remembering all that stuff that the enemy keeps bringing up to you. God brought you out. Yeah. I'm glad he did because he brought me into something a whole lot better.
Great verse. That'll preach.
"And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear of the Lord our God. For our good always--"
Notice, our good. God has your good in mind. God has your highest in mind. What's all these thou shalt nots? What's that all about? God is trying to protect you. If you see a sign that says do not enter. I hate those kind of signs, man. They're trying to keep me out from seeing something cool. Do not touch. There's another one of those signs all negative. They don't want me to touch and have a little fun. OK. Go touch it. Oh, 40,000 volts of electricity. No wonder. It's a safety sign. It's a warning sign. It's not trying to take the fun out of your life. It's trying to let you maintain your life. So that you can live long.
"And the Lord commanded us to observe all the statutes. For our good always that he might preserve us alive as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us. If we're careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God as he has commanded us." OK. So, get the big picture of the chapter. Hear and do. Those are the two big words. Hear, O Israel. And Moses will say hear this, listen to that. Hear, hear, hear. Do, obey, observe. Hearing and doing are always, always together. In fact, you should know this, when the Bible uses the word listen or hear there is an implied meaning that doesn't pick up in English translations a whole lot. The idea in Hebrew of the word listen or hear is listening in order that I might do.
Young Samuel, when the Lord called him. Samuel, Samuel. He finally said, speak Lord, your servant hearth. I am listening with the view to put into practice what you've said. To do what you've said. That's the idea. So, there's always a relationship between the ear and the heart. The ear is the mechanism, the vehicle by which your mind, that's the biblical heart, is informed. You hear something. Faith comes by hearing. So there's always a relationship between the ear and the heart. The mind where you process truth. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
So, how shall I say this? Church is one of the most dangerous places you could ever visit. Because you are exposed to the biblical truth and if you hear without the view to do-- if you're hearing passively not actively a callous forms in your heart. You become good eventually. You become good sadly to say at just listening and letting it just sort of wash away. And forgetting what you've just read or saw, having it penetrate.
You see there's a difference between receiving and responding. Hearing and doing. They should always be one reflexive action. That's why I say church can be a dangerous place. You know some people go to church like they watch television. You may watch a television show. I won't ask you which shows you watch, but you watch those television shows passively. You see things on television you would never do. You would never do that. That murder scene. That word that person just said that you've allowed in your home. You would never say that. You'd never do that. You're just being entertained by it. That's how a lot of people come to church. I never actually put this into practice. It's just entertaining. It tickles the ears. It doesn't effect the life.
Hear and do. Receive and respond. That sums up the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy. OK. Enough conviction. Let's go to chapter 7 verse 1.
"When the Lord your God brings you into the land--" remember he said, I brought you out that I might bring you in? And it says when that happens, and it's just about to happen. They're at the Jordan River. What's on the other side of the Jordan River? Promised land. Israel's right there. They can see it. They can see Jericho on the horizon. They can see the mountains of Jerusalem up to their left. I can see it in my mind's eye. The mountains of Samaria to the distance on the right. They can see it all. They're about to cross over. So, when the Lord, not if, but when. It's going to happen. You're going to get there.
"When the Lord your God brings you into the land, which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites, the Gergishites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Parissites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites." I'm sure even they had a few termites in their, but these are the seven nations of that area. "Seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.
Now we have what some consider a problem text. I see no problem, but some consider it a problem text. There's the God of the Old Testament. Bringing judgment and killing the whole population. Hey, listen. Let me just give you a footnote. I won't chase it down right now, but hold that thought. If you think this is just the God of the Old Testament, go home and read the Book of Revelation and see what's going to come down in the future. This pales in comparison to that. So it's not like he was just doing that in the Old Testament. He will do that again to a greater capacity in the world, in this, the New Testament era.
Having said that, here's the problem. God says you're going to destroy these people. That's a command. What? Wait a minute. Didn't we just read the Ten Commandments? And didn't this sixth commandment say, thou shalt not kill? So, I ask you, did God give a commandment which he is not willing to keep? Is he telling his people, you break my sixth commandment? Is he telling him that? No, he's not. He's not contradicting himself at all. He's complementing what he said. For the Hebrew word, you shall not kill, ratsach, means to intentionally murder for personal reasons. I have a personal agenda. I will personally take wrath out on you. The word here, destroy, literally means to devote or devote to destruction. It's an entirely different word. And the rabbis in their comments call this judicially motivated or righteously motivated judicial action.
Remember Genesis Chapter 9? Whoever sheds man's blood by man his blood shall be shed. And so he enacted in Genesis the rule of capital offenses. Capital punishment for capital offenses that is outlined in the Torah. So God can say you shall not murder, but society or societies, and in this case Israel, is to take and exterminate this land of Canaan. God saw it as righteously administered judicial action or punishment.
You say, why would he do that? Those poor Canaanites. Back in Genesis chapter 15-- we only have time to get through this and then we'll be closing in just a few minutes, but I'm going to show you why.
In Genesis 15 this is what the Lord said. He's telling Abraham this now. Verse 15, Genesis 15.
"Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace and you shall be buried at a good old age, but in the fourth generation they shall return. They shall return here." To this land. The land of Canaan, where he was. "For--" now, watch this phrase. "For the inequity of the Amorites is not yet full or complete."
That's an interesting phrase. You're going to come back here because the iniquity of these people, the Amorites hasn't reached its full measure yet. That's the idea. The idea in this text is that sin accumulates to a level where God's wrath must eclipses his mercy. You say, well, when is that point? Well let me give you a time frame here. When God said this it would be 400 years. They had already occupied the land. The Amorites had occupied the land already for 400 years. Now God is saying when you arrive back here you're going to take over this land because the inequity of the Amorites hasn't reached the level to where my wrath will eclipse my mercy. I'm going to judge these people, but I'm going to wait another, get this, 400 years. 430 year. So 830 years God waited for these people to get a clue, to hear the testimony of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, et cetera. To no avail. To no avail. No one turned except one, and I'll bring that up in a moment. One person.
So, God was patient letting wrath rise, letting their sins rise and rise until finally God said it. And God can say this, by the way, he's God. He can say, I've had enough.
You say, wait a minute. Didn't God say I'm slow to anger. I think 830 years is pretty slow. If you get punched for 830 years and you wait 830 years to punch back, that's good. That's slow to anger. And did not he say in Genesis 6, "my spirit will not always strive with man," before he flooded the Earth with judgment? So, he's patient. He is slow to anger. But he well enact judgment. And he knows that level. And that level was 830 years. 400 years they had already occupied it. 430 more years, approximately, the Canaanites, the Amorites lived there.
You say, well, how bad could the Amorites be? Really bad. The archaeological records we have, our records, the archaeological proof of child sacrifices. Killing children to their gods. Some of the reports I read, V D, venereal disease was so rampant among the Amorites, Canaanite civilizations that it would have posed a physical threat to the children of Israel. Some of their horrendous practices, unspeakable. They were a moral cancer that needed to be exterminated.
That doesn't mean that that continues. This was a theocratic kingdom. That is God was raising up Israel as a theocratic kingdom in the old covenant. Those covenant days are over. But at that time this was, according to the rabbis, righteously administered judicial action or punishment.
Joshua failed to do this. They entered the land, but they did not wipe the inhabitants clean, and eventually idols were set up by those Canaanites left overs. The children of Israel were wooed by them. Right? And they fell. They fell into judgment because of it.
Now I mentioned that there was one of them who was saved. Her name was Rahab. Rahab, the harlot of Jericho. The one who said, when the two spies came in, we have heard of the great things your God has done, but none of them turned. None of them, but she did. She believed. And she is recorded in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 as a hero, a heroine of faith.
So, we're out of time and we'll continue next time. I told you we set our sights high ready to do two chapters. Now we're closing, but I remember the days, and I'll just close with this. Because I'm 60 now I can say, I remember the days. I remember the days when I was going to my church in California and my pastor, Chuck, on Sunday nights would go through the Bible. And his Bible studies were about an hour and 30 minutes long. Just the Bible study itself. So, you know, I remember he would sing for 30 minutes then it was a two hour service. So, we're getting off easy. An hour of teaching.
Thank you, Father, for your word. Thank you for the commandments, for the statutes, but what lies behind them. The great principle of a God who loves, and who loves his people. And who wants the best for them. And knows what is the best for them far beyond their own human reasoning. And so we are to hear that we might do. We are to receive that we might respond. We are to remember and recap our past so that we have reassurance for the future.
Lord, I pray for those in this congregation, at this setting, at this table for this meal, who have come and are struggling with sons or daughters that they have passed on faith and have passed on truth to and they've seen no results perhaps. Lord, I pray that you give them hope. That the story isn't over. The book isn't written. A day could be coming, and we pray that it would, would you awaken that generation, those youngsters with their own faith and tell their own story to the next generation.
Thank you, Lord, that your work is ever alive in our world in our generation. We look to you with gladness and with Thanksgiving in Jesus' name. Amen.
If you've missed any of our Expound studies all of our services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.