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 congregational.
Well, there are three activities that we are involved in tonight, basically three activities. First is singing. We have expressed anthems of praise and worship to our Lord. And there are more to be sung because of the night that we share. So singing is first. And then number two is hearing. We are expressing to God that we love Him enough to not just say things, sing things, tell him things. You've got to hear me out here God, but we love Him enough to listen to what He has to say. That's love.
When you think that what the other person says, in whatever manner they choose to say it, is important enough for you to listen to, so part of our worship is listening to the Word of God as it is read and taught and we apply it to our hearts. So singing and then hearing and then the third activity is doing. In a little bit we will be taking, we will be drinking an element and eating another element that speaks of His sacrifice for us on the cross. Now because it is the night to share the Lord's supper, to take communion together, there are so many texts of scripture that one could use. John 3:16 would be a classic. Isaiah 53 would be another go-to section.
And so if you're new, or if you're visiting, you might wonder why in the world is he going to read out of Deuteronomy Chapter 28, which has 68 verses in it for communion. What on earth does that have to do with this? Well, I'm glad you asked. Charles Spurgeon used to say that you could preach Christ from anywhere in the Bible, that you could begin with a verse and show how the verse makes a beeline to the cross of Christ, that there is some idea, some reference, some point at which it anticipates the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior on the cross.
Speaking of Spurgeon, he said something really interesting. He said, I don't believe that any man can preach the gospel unless that man also preaches the law. The law, said Spurgeon, is the needle, and no man can thread, listen to what he said, the silken thread of the gospel, through any man's heart unless he first sends the needle in first. So it's the needle that pricks. It's the needle that sticks. And then we send the thread of the gospel through that heart.
So until a person recognizes that he or she is a sinner, and the law does that, that person will never see their need for a Savior. Unless a person knows he or she is a sinner, they are not looking for the sin offering. Jesus said, blessed are the poor in spirit. Theirs is the Kingdom of God. You need to know at some point how poverty-stricken you are before you'll ever need the riches of His grace in your life. It's like going to a doctor. Typically you don't go to a doctor just to have coffee, to bring a little food and say, Doc, I just want to spend my money and just talk to you for an hour, see how things are, just hang out with you.
You go to a doctor usually for diagnostic observation or recommendation or help if you have some kind of an ailment. Jesus said, those that are a whole don't-- [AUDIO OUT] --a Chinese guy. Tell me how, that in Chinese, the symbol or the word, which is also a symbol, the word for righteousness is so fitting. He said in Chinese, the word righteousness is comprised of two symbols put into one. Now some of you know that in Mandarin, it's largely pictographs, pictures that have been drawn from antiquity that are put into a modern-- an alphabet.
And so he said, the word righteousness comes from two words that have been put together. The first is a symbol of me, of a man, of a person. And that's the first picture, and interestingly, it's the picture of a man holding a weapon, a sword, going to war, fighting. And it's a reminder, he said, in Chinese, of the imperfection and the fallleness of mankind, because we are apt in every generation to war against one another. That's the first part of the picture, but then the second part of the picture is a lamb placed above me, above the man, the warring man with the sword.
So a lamb is over me. Those two symbols are the word in Chinese for righteousness. Isn't that interesting? That is man at his best. Man at his best is a man that has a lamb over him. You might say, and I love that symbol, I loved that when I heard that. You might say that God looks at you through rose-colored glasses. The rose color, of course, is the crimson blood of His son. That's how he looks at you. That's how he regards you as that sacrifice that He has made.
The question is, is the lamb over you? That is righteousness. If you are over the lamb, that's your self-righteousness. Deuteronomy, as we have talked about before, is a series of sermons preached by a very old man, Moses, 120 years old on the plains of Moab, before he kicks the bucket and before the children of Israel cross over into the new land. There are three sections of Deuteronomy I have pointed out so far. Chapters one, two, and three is the first section. It's a review of the past. This is what God has done in the past. And He reviews it in those three chapters.
The second section of Deuteronomy are regulations for the present. This is what you are now to be doing. So this is what God has done. This is what you are to be doing. And the third section is readiness for the future. This is what you and God will do, and it really depends on what you do with what God has done, which will determine what God will do with you and for you in the future.
So this all the law, right? The law. Now the laws intended to bring conviction. For the law, said John, came by Moses but-- but finish the verse, John, chapter one, the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. So it's great really on communion to compare the two. This is what God has done. This is what you are to do. And this is what you and God will do in the future. That's how Deuteronomy is laid out.
Now you can see that Deuteronomy 28 has lots of verses, 68 verses, so a lot of tonight is self-explanatory. It is self-evident. So we're going to read large sections, and I just think there's value in reading together a text of scripture. We'll make some comments as we go, but now it shall come to pass, verse one, if, and I just want you to know, I could preach an entire sermon on that single word, if. I might call it the smallest word with the biggest consequences.
It is a conditional word, because this is a conditional covenant. If you do this, then I will do that. But if you don't do this, then I won't do that, but I will do such and such. So it's conditional, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all of His commandments, which I command you today, that the Lord, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth, and all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you.
I love how that is written . Can you imagine, you're walking down the street, you might even be running down the street, but you count-- if you obey God, you can't outrun God's blessings. David said surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. I just love the concept, the idea, of God's blessing chasing you down, overtaking you, jumping on you, wrestling you to the ground. You're going to be blessed. You can't escape it. They'll overtake you, because you obeyed the voice of the Lord your God.
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. If you go downtown, you'll find a blessing. If you go out of town, you'll find a blessing. Now this section, you will notice, is a list of the blessings and the cursings. Blessings if you obey, curses if you disobey, or you might say the blessings or the blastings. It's your choice. Do you want to be blessed or do you want to be blasted? God can give you either. He's good at both. He's very good at both.
The tribulation period in the Book of Revelation is about the blastings of God, the ultimate blast of God and judgment upon the Earth. What is interesting is in Deuteronomy 28, the section where the curses, the blastings are given are four times longer than the list of blessings He gives. Why is that? well, we could speculate, but I think it's as simple as God knows us. He knows the future. He knows what will become of the children of Israel. He knows they will disobey. He knows the trouble they're going to get into, and so he warns them in detail. This is really an element of prophecy.
We've talked about prophecy before. You know, think of it this way, prophecy is just history written in advance. It's history written by God before it happens. That's all prophecy is. He knows what's going to happen to the children of Israel, and so He announces it in detail. He anticipates the captivity of Babylon as you will see. Blessed, verse four, be the fruit of your body, the produce of the ground, the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle, the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your needing bowl.
Your recipes will be blessed. The casseroles will be blessed. The bakery will be blessed. Blessed shall you be when you come in. Blessed show you be when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your store houses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land, which the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to himself just as He has sworn to you, if, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways.
Then all peoples of the Earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord. And they shall be afraid of you. Verse 10 indicates that God's intention for the nation of Israel was that they become a worldwide witness of God's grace, God's grace on display, as a pageant of His goodness and grace to the world. That was his original ideal. And the Lord, verse 11, will grant you plenty of goods in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, in the produce your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your father's to give you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure the heavens to give you rain to your land in its seasons and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend too many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail. You shall be above only and not beneath, if you heat the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.
So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day to the right, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. Notice the next word. It's not a good word when you talk about all the goodness and all the blessings chasing you down, running after you, blessed, blessed, blessed, woo hoo. But look at the next word, but. Uh oh. Now there's a change. Now there's a turn.
Now we have a negative little conjunction, but. Now we're turning a corner here, and it's a negative corner. But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes, which I command you today that all these cursors will come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city and cursed shall you be in the country. Doesn't matter if you live out of town or your downtown. You'll be cursed.
Cursed shall be your basket and your needing bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle, the offspring of your flocks. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will send on you the cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do until you are destroyed and until you parish quickly. Because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken me.
Now you need to understand this language. It is mentioned a few times in this chapter. Again, if you notice in verse 20, it says until you are destroyed and until you parish. Destroyed is the Hebrew word shamad. Parish is the Hebrew word avad. It does not mean annihilation. It does not mean that God will permanently wipe you out. It means that you will be temporarily misplaced from the land. Remember last week, we spoke about the covenant called the Palestinian covenant, the land covenant.
And we said this covenant is an unconditional covenant given do Abraham, Genesis 15. It's not conditioned at all upon the people. However, this covenant, the covenant of Moses called the Mosaic covenant is a conditional covenant. If, if, if. It's all conditions. So you need to put them both together and understand that the land allotment was unconditional, but the land arrangement was conditional. You enjoying the land, you staying in the land is conditioned on your obedience. If you disobey Me, bad stuff is going to happen to you.
You'll be cursed, cursed, cursed, and you will be kicked out of the land, but God anticipates a repentance when they will return back to the land He promised them at some point. So the allotment is one thing, that's permanent. That's unconditional. It's going to happen, whatever you do or not do. But the arrangement is conditional, so obey so that you can enjoy and stay in the land and not have to be kicked out of it.
So when God says destroy here, He is not talking about annihilation, he is talking about evacuation, or eviction. I'll evict you from the land, but he anticipates their return. Verse 21, the Lord will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land, which you are going to possess. The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever with a sword, with scorching, with mildew. And they shall pursue you until you parish.
And your heavens, which are over your head, shall be bronze. And the Earth, which is under you, shall be iron. The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust. From the heavens, it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. Now that reminds us of what happened in the United States, not too far from here, in fact, it even affected this state in the 30s and 40s, that great dust bowl era when 150,000 square miles of the United States, the Great Plains, were affected. And sometimes dust storms rose so high, one dust form on record rose 10,000 feet in the air and just covered that part and this part of the country with just dust, no rain, dried out, no yield in the crops.
The Lord, verse 25, will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be troublesome to all the kingdoms of the Earth. I find that wording very interesting. Because my reading of history is that the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks for the most part, the Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes, the Romans all found most of the people in the world easy to manage, except for one group of people, the Jewish people.
They found them so resistant to assimilating into the other cultures and maintaining a strong semblance of Judaism, because now that they were in captivity, they suddenly wanted to turn back to the Lord and serve the Lord to get out of what got them into that situation. And they were a trouble all of the history books tell us. Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the Earth. And no one shall frighten them away. The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, with the itch. Yuck. From which you cannot be healed.
In Egypt, because of the Nile River and because of the way agriculture was conducted in Egypt, there was the mixing of the animal population with the human population. There was not the hygienic division of animals and their waste from human water sources. And a number of diseases in Egypt, like around the world today in many of these places, was rampant. Not only that, but malaria was rampant because of the annual flooding, over flooding of the Nile, into the delta region, and mosquitoes were prevalent, and they carried malaria.
The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness. I bet most of you don't have any of these verses underlined. I'm sure they're not your life verses. I'm sure you don't derive lots of comfort from them. The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. It would be weird if that was your life verse. And you shall grope at noon day as a blind man gropes in the darkness. You shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you. You Shall betroth, or be engaged to a wife, but another man shall lie with her.
You shall build a house, but you will not dwell in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not gather it's grapes. Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it. Your donkey shall be violently taken away before you. Imagine kidnapping a donkey, donkey napping, in the middle of the day, and shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies. And you shall have no one to rescue them.
Your sons and your daughters shall be given to other people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long. And there will be no strength in your hand. A nation whom you have not known shall eat of the fruit of the land and the produce of your labor, and you shall only be oppressed and crushed continually. So you will be driven mad because of the sight, which your eyes see.
Perhaps, some of you know the history. What is prophecy here became ans is now history of the Jewish nation. How the last real King of Judah, by the name of Zedekiah, when the Babylonians came in against Jerusalem. In Second Kings, chapter 25, Zedekiah ran away from the Babylonians thinking he could escape. He made it all the way to Jericho before they caught him. And when they caught him, they brought him to Riblah. And there before the King of Babylon, they took Zedekiah the King, and they killed Zedekiah's sons in front of his eyes, then they blinded King Zedekiah, put them in bronze fetters and took him away to Babylon.
Why? So that the last sight he would see on this Earth would be the sight of his own children dying at the hands of the enemy he tried to flee from. How brutal, how brutal, not beautiful, how brutiful. Did I just say brutiful? I did, didn't I? And that's like recorded now and is podcast. America the Brutiful. OK, now my mind's going a million directions, I got to wheel it back. Zzrvit. OK. So Zedekiah had that as his final sighting.
In a few weeks, some of you will be traveling with me to the land of Israel. And one of the days we'll go down to the Dead Sea. We hope it'll be in the 80s. It was there in the 80s today by the Dead Sea. And we'll go to a place called Masada where Herod the Great built one of his winter fortresses. You don't make that your summer fortress. It's the Phoenix. It's the Palm Springs of Israel. So you do you go there in the winter.
And on top on Mesada where Herod had his palaces, after the temple fell in 70 AD, about 1,960 Sicari, Jewish zealots, fled to the top of Mesada. And for three years, they staved off an attack of the Romans against them. It was amazing. But the Romans built siege works, and after three years of being encamped there, the Romans were determined to let Mesada fall as well. The night before, the people who lived in Mesada, those 960 Jewish zealots, the Sicari, when they knew that the next day Mesada would fall, the head of that group, Eliazar Ben Ya'ir, decided that the most noble thing they could do is to commit mass suicide.
Because he knew that the Romans had a reputation for taking them over, raping their wives, making slaves out of their children, and killing them in a brutal kind of a fashion. So he got them together, and he gave a speech. And he said, spare yourselves from having to watch your women ravished and your children taken away, killed, or become slaves. Let's do the Romans, who have fought so hard for three years, the injustice of not letting them take us alive.
In fact, he said let's burn everything on top of Mesada, so they have nothing to loot and they have no lives to enslave or kill. We'll be dead when they get up here. It will all be for nothing. He said the only thing, let's keep the food stores full and not burn them. Because we want them to know that we didn't do this because we were starving to death. We had plenty of food. We did this because we didn't want to capitulate to them.
So the plan was, they drew lots, and 10 men who got the lots would kill everyone else on Mesada, men, women, and children. And of those 10 survivors, they would cast lots again and one man whose lot it fell on would kill the nine others and then take his own life. According to history, only five survived, I think, one woman and three and four children or two women and three children. But just a few survived to actually recount the story.
But all of this hinted at, predicted, here in Deuteronomy. You will be driven mad because of the sight, which your eyes see. The Lord will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils, which cannot be healed. And from the sole of your foot to the top of your head, the Lord will bring you and the King whom you set over you. You see, the Lord knows, doesn't He what's coming down the pike. He knows, even though this is Deuteronomy,
He already knows First Samuel, chapter eight, hadn't been written yet, hadn't occurred yet. But He knows the people are going to say, we want a King like everybody else, like all the nations around us. We want a King. We don't want to just trust in the Lord and have a priestly system. We want a government, a human government. The Lord will bring you and the King whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your father's have known. And there you shall serve other gods wood and stone. You shall become an astonishment, a proverb, a byword among all nations where the Lord will drive you. And you shall carry much seed out to the field but gather in little for the locusts shall consume it.
You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you will neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes for the worms shall eat them. You shall have all of trees throughout all of your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil for your olives shall drop off. You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours. Notice this, for they shall go into captivity. Now this is all predictive. The Lord is predicting what will happen.
Locusts shall consume all your trees, the produce of your land, the alien, not Roswell aliens, foreigners, the alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head. You shall be the tail. Moreover, all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you. See it's the same wording.
Blessings will pursue you. Blessings will overtake you, or blastings will pursue you and blastings will overtake you. You can have one or the other. You and have the Psalm 23 experience. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, or you can have quite another experience. Surely grief and misery will follow me all the days of my life until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, your God, to keep His commandments and His statues, which He commanded you.
And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder on your descendants forever, because you did not serve the Lord, your God, with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of everything. What a statement. You can either serve the Lord with gladness or serve your enemy with sadness. I set before you this day, life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose life, but if you don't, this will happen to you. If you do choose life, the blessings will happen to you.
From time to time, and I'm not dogmatic or definitive on this wholeheartedly, but I do see-- I do see parallels between ancient Israel and modern America. I do see certain parallel courses. The English author, G. K. Chesterton once wrote a little paper about what's so great about America, and he said, America is the only nation in the world that is founded upon a creed called the Declaration of Independence. And he was referring to that second paragraph, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal. They were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This is a great nation. It's a great nation because God blessed it. And those who landed here from the old world and came to settle and colonize America did so with a burning love of God in their hearts. But now history has been rewritten by the politicians who are telling you, we're great because of our free enterprise system. That's baloney. We're great because we believed in a great God and we wanted the freedom from the King of England to worship God without the state sticking its nose in our business. That's why.
You know, nations don't fall when they're in the period of their sacrifice and suffering. They fall when they're at that peak of prosperity, and they forget God and they walk away from God and they rewrite their history. And they grow lazy and ungodly, because you did not serve the Lord, your God, with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of everything, therefore, you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness in need of everything. You will put on a yoke of iron or He will put on a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.
The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar. Now look at the description here in verse 49. From the end of the Earth as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. Some of you, I hope, are remembering in your minds the vision of Daniel in chapter seven. He had a night vision similar to the dream Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had, Daniel the prophet had a night vision where he saw the succession of kingdoms that would overtake the world.
And he saw, first of all, a beast-like lion that had the wings of an eagle, which was symbolic of the Babylonian Empire on the Ishtar gate, which is in the museum at Berlin, there is a replica of it in Babylon, Iraq. That's the one I have seen in Babylon. You can see the winged lion, and on the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, the winged lion, which was the representation of the Babylonian Empire. But not only that, but years would pass after Babylon, after the Medo-Persian Empire, after the Greek Empire, after the split of the Greek Empire, and this Seleucid Dynasty and the Ptolemaic Dynasty, eventually there would come another oppressor against the Jews called the Romans.
The great iron fist of Rome. And the symbol of Rome was the symbol of an eagle. And I just have to believe that an educated Israeli, when the shields of Titus surrounded Jerusalem in 70 AD and they saw the broach of the walls of Jerusalem and the symbol of the eagle coming over their walls that they thought back to this verse. Swift as an eagle. Here it is. The eagles are coming. The eagle has landed in our city, our oppressors, a nation of fierce countenance.
Verse 51, and they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land until you are destroyed. And they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks until they have destroyed you. They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls in which you trust-- huh Again, with every turn of the phrase, you're trusting in your gate. You're trusting in your walls.
Do you remember Psalm 127? Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord watches the city, those who watch, those who guard it do so in vain. They trusted in the walls that they built and the gates that they fortified. In verse 52, until your high and fortified walls in which you trust come down throughout all your land, and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land, which the Lord, your God, has given you. And you will eat the fruit of your own body.
Now before I get into that, this is precisely what would happen. Why are there four times as many curses as the blessings? Because God knew what they would do. And so He gives it to them in the detail as such. So Israel sinned. Judas sinned. Eventually 722 BC rolls around, the great Assyrian Empire sweeps down and starts taking area by area by area, the entire northern 10 tribes of Israel are taken captive. They're about ready to take Jerusalem. They come that far south to take all of the land, including Judea, away.
But King Hezekiah tells the prophet Isaiah that he repents before the Lord. He tears his robe. He weeps. He begs and asks God for mercy, and Isaiah said, today's your day, King. God heard your prayer, and the Assyrians will be driven away. And they did. They were driven away back to their land. So God spared them, but then they kept forsaking the Lord. They kept sinning against the Lord. So several years went by, and this time in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar fought a very decisive battle against Egypt, the superpower, the big dog, the world empire at the time. Egypt ruled the world.
But in 605 BC at the Battle of Carchmish, a very historic battle if you know your history, between the Euphrates River and the Orontes River, Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians, decimated the Army of Egypt. And now the whole world was easy pickins. So 605 BC, 597 BC, and then 586 BC, three successive sieges over several years were fought against Jerusalem. In the first siege, 605 BC, people were taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. One very important one that we know of, Daniel, a 15-year-old boy abducted from his home, probably wondering why would God allow bad things to happen to good kids like me.
But God took him to Babylon and placed him in a very important and influential position to get His word to the kings of Babylon. And finally in 586 BC, the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, burned with fire. In fact, you, that got to Israel, we will be able to point out the very marks left by the fire in 586 BC still visible today on some of the stones they have just uncovered. It happened as God had said. It happened. Verse 53, it gets really bad.
You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters, whom the Lord, your God, has given you. In the siege and desperate straits in which your enemies shall distress you, the sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
The tender and the delicate woman among you, who would not even venture to set the soul of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to her husband of her bosom and to her son and to her daughter her placenta, which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears. For she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
Self-explanatory. Cannibalism. You say, oh, no matter how bad it would ever get, no one would do this. Well, you don't know your history if you think that. There are several occasions of that, even in modern history. But the Bible shows us on two occasions, once when Syria came against Israel in the north and once when the Babylonians came against Judea, Jerusalem, in the south. Let me just read it to you briefly, and we'll move on.
I know you're thinking, this really isn't meditative for communion scale. Don't worry, we'll get there. It says, then the King of Israel was passing by on the wall. The Syrians were besieging them. And so the King of Israel was passing by on the wall, and a woman cried out to the King saying, help my lord, oh King. And he said, if the Lord doesn't help you, where can I find help for you, from the threshing floor or from the wine press. In other words, I got nothing.
And the King said to her, what is troubling you? And she answered, this woman said to me, give me your son that we may eat him today, and we will leave my son tomorrow. So we boiled my son, and we ate him. And I said to her on the next day, give me your son that we may eat him, but she has hidden her son. Now what happened when the King heard the words of the woman that he tore his clothes as he passed on the wall, the people looked and there underneath he had sack cloth on his body.
The other happened, and it's recorded by Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations as Jerusalem is being besieged by the Babylonians. Lamentations, this is chapter two. He says see, oh Lord, and consider to whom have you done this. Should the women eat their offspring, the children that they have cuddled. Should the priest and profit be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord? Young and old lie on the ground in the streets. My virgins and my young men have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of Your anger, you have slaughtered them and not pitied.
A couple chapters later, this is Lamentations chapter four. He says, those who are slain by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger, for they pine away stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. The hands of the compassionate women. Remember what he said, the delicate women who don't even wear, they not even go barefoot. The hands of the compassionate woman have cooked their own children. They became food for them in the destruction of the daughter of my people. The Lord has fulfilled His fury. He has poured out His fierce anger. He kindled the fire in Zion, and it has devoured its very foundations.
So it did happen even as the Lord said It would happen. Back to Deuteronomy 28, verse 58. Let's finish this out. If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law, which are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name the Lord, your God, then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues, great and prolonged plagues, and serious and prolonged sickness. Moreover, He will bring back on you all the distress of Egypt, which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.
Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of the law will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed. You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of Heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord, your God. Verse 63, and it shall be just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do good and multiply you so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and bring you to nothing. And you shall be plucked from off the land, which you go to possess.
Wait a minute. Is this the same God that I know from my Bible reading in the New Testament? How could it say that God would delight over you to destroy you? Well, in some places in the country, land is more valuable than the house that sits on that land. So somebody will often guy that piece of property, they they'll bring the wrecking ball. And they'll rip that house, destroy it, crush it, and while it's happening, the owner looks at it with great delight. He smiles. He's delighting over the wrecking ball ruining the very house he has purchased. And why would he be so excited? Because he knows what he's going to put in its place. He knows what he's going to rebuild on that spot of land.
I went back to look at my old house in Huntington Beach, and it wasn't there. It was a little piece of property with a little house, but now on that little piece of property are two homes. I look and I thought, how did they fit to homes on a postage stamp size lot. I mean, between one house and the next house, I think you could reach your arm out and hand coffee through the window of the next home. it's-- I don't know how they zoned it. But I have to tell you, when my house was being ripped down, I'm sure the owner thought, awesome, that eyesore is gone. In its place, I'll put something more profitable, more beautiful.
So the children of Israel, in captivity, would become thus. God would delight to do that, to bring them back, because in that repentance would be beautiful. The ashes would become beautiful. And the Lord will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other. There you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your father's have known, wood and stone. And among those nations, you shall find no rest nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place. But there the Lord will give you a trembling heart and failing eyes and anguish of soul.
You're life shall hang in doubt before you. You shall fear day and night and have no assurance of life. In the morning, you shall say, oh that it were evening. And at evening, you shall say, oh, that it were morning, because of the fear which terrifies your heart and because of the site which you were eyes see. And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships. By the way of which I said to you, you shall never see it again. And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves. But no one will buy you.
If you forget your redemption, and if you forsake your liberation, then the result will be oppression. That is what I see as the great principle here for the children of Israel then under the law. Here's my way, says God, it's a way of blessing. The blessings will chase you down, jump on top of you, and I'll stuff a blessing down your throat whether you like it or not. You'll just be blessed in everything you do. But you run the other way, you run away from me and my principles, calamity is going to chase you down whether you like it or not.
So, let's say you walk up to a tall building, and there you are on the 20th floor of this tall building, and you say, I don't care about the law. I'm not under the law. The laws of the land or the laws of nature. I've heard there's a law called gravity. But I don't want to live under the-- I want my liberation. I want my freedom. Be careful, because if you exercise your freedom with that kind of thinking, you'll end up as a big splat on the sidewalk. Cursing will overtake you, not blessing.
So the way of blessing, God says here is the way of blessing. Be blesses, have life. Don't be cursed, but if you do that, there will be consequences. It's a small word with big consequences. If. If. If. So let's prepare our hearts for this. Are you looking at the world the way God looks at you? God looks at you through rose colored glasses, blood stained glasses. Are you viewing your life, and the world around you, through that sacrifice? Is the lamb above the man or the woman? That's righteousness. Or is the man or the woman above the lamb? That's self-righteousness. That's not wisdom. That's foolishness.
As we take these elements, for you to even take the bread and the wine is a statement. You're saying, I believe Jesus Christ to be over me. He paid for me. He bought me with His blood on the cross. As it says in Revelation, you have redeemed us to our God by Your blood out of every tribe, tongue, nation, people. If you believe that to be true of you that He has purchased you, bought you with His blood, looks at you through rose-colored glasses, the lamb is over the man, over the woman, then you take these elements.
If you are still in charge. I am large, and I'm in charge, and I don't care about laws. I don't care about God. I want to do my own thing. I want liberty. Not only are you foolish, but there will be grave consequences for your future. Be blessed and this is the fount of blessing, the cross of Christ. Let's bow our heads, bow our hearts. Father, we are about to take these elements, which speak of Your grace, and yet we have read the law, no better place really to be reminded that the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Lord, for us to take these elements is a statement of our faith. It's a statement that says, I'm part of this. I'm part of these brothers and sisters. The lamb is above me, and I am found in Him in His blood has covered my iniquity. That's righteousness. I've received it. I walk in it. But Father, I'm asking you right now for those who are in this auditorium, they're here for the service. They did not expect to hear what we just read, maybe they didn't even anticipate communion, but they're here. And up to this point, their life has been lived with the man or the woman on top. On top of everything, making all the choices, calling all the shots, and because of that, there's an emptiness.
There is a lot of work but little to show. No satisfaction. The sin remains. The blood must be applied to cleanse and to redeem. And so Father, I pray for anyone who might be gathered in this room before we even take the elements that needs to get right with You to come to You in a relationship for the first time in a personal manner or to come back to the Lord, because he or she is walked away straight from You.
Our heads are bowed. Our eyes are closed, mind will be open. If that describes you and right now you're willing to turn your life, for the first time or back again, to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and under His control, I want you to raise your hand up in the air. Raise it up just for a moment. Raise it high. Keep it up there so I can acknowledge. God bless you to my left, you on my far left, in the back, Lord bless you, and you, right in the middle toward the back, right there on my right, and on my right again. Anyone else. God bless you, Ma'am, and you Sir, and you in the very back. God Bless you guys, and in the balcony.
Right where you are seated, right where you are seated, if you raise your hand right now, let's do this deal. Let's seal this deal. Give your heart to Christ. Say this to Him right where you are. Say Lord, I know I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I place my faith in Jesus. I trust in Jesus. I believe Jesus died on a cross for my sins and that He rose from the grave and He's alive right now.
I turn from those sins. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. Help me to follow Him as my Lord in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
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