28 Moses

28.5 Moses 28, Day 5

It’s All About God

Why are there so many verses in the bible about the heart?  I think one reason is because God wants our heart.  Not the pumping muscle, but our spirit, our being, our soul.  God does not want mere intellectual acquiescence, He wants a spiritual relationship.  We are souls with a body, not a body with a soul.  God has kept things hidden so that it requires faith, it requires trust, it requires heart.

God can relate to the broken-hearted.  In Jeremiah 31:32 He refers back to these people of Israel that He is addressing in Deuteronomy and says, “They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife.

God is love.  God loves us, because He is love.  He wants our heart because He wants what is best for us.  God is God, real, true, the rock, faithful, present, personal, love.

And, that is the point of the entire study we have done this year.  We can think about Moses.  We can think about the promised land.  We can feel bad for Moses as he nears death without being allowed to enter the promised land.  We can see that as harsh and severe.

But, Moses didn’t do that in these chapters.  Instead, Moses spoke about God.  Everything we have studied in these books of the bible, and frankly everything in the bible, is about God.  That is the point.  It’s not about Moses.  It’s not about Egypt or the wilderness or the promised land.  Its not about you or me.  It is about God.  He is that big that it being all about Him is right and true and accurate.

And, yet, He loves us and allows us to enter a relationship while we are still completely sinful and broken and with the knowledge that we will fail and cheat and dishonor Him.  We will break His heart and He will mend ours.  He will dwell among us and take us as His children and give us peace.  And He Will Be Our God.

When Jesus comforted His apostles in the upper room before His crucifixion He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

But we live in times where all too often Jesus, instead of being the center of the church, is being pushed outside of the church.  Sadly, from scripture, that picture of the heart, too, is foretold.  Revelation 3:20 paints a haunting image.  In a rebuke of the church it notes “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”.  Instead of being inside, at the center, Jesus is outside knocking for anyone to hear His voice and open the door.  And, yet, even then – He knocks!

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
take heart, seek with heart, love with heart, serve with heart, words in heart, listen with heart, circumcised hearts.  God is Love.  He wants not mental or physical acquiescence but a full relationship.

b.
Obedience always follows.  Faith grows, service grows, strength grows, love grows, blessings grow.  Testing and challenges still happen.  Difficult times can come, but God’s strength is great.

11.
The Word of God (Jesus) is the gateway to salvation.  The Holy Spirit then comes to fill the believer and bring us closer to holiness.

12.
a.
It was time to turn the page to new leadership.  Moses had brought them to the Promised Land.  He was honored best at this moment

b.
It’s not about Moses – it is all about God.

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28 Moses

28.4 Moses 28, Day 4

Hi Fidelity

As Moses closes out the message from God to the Israelites before they enter the promised land, in these last chapters of Deuteronomy, everything centers around God’s renewed covenant with them.  “You will be my people and I will be your God.”  It is a bonded relationship, a commitment, a promise, a covenant.

But God is not blind to the future practices of his partner in this relationship.  He knows, even as He makes the vow, that His people will cheat on Him.  They will lie, they will turn to other gods, they will make sacrifices to those other gods and they will abandon the Lord.  He knows all of this and still chooses them and still promises to stay true to the relationship.

Think about that.  Would you enter into a covenant relationship with a spouse or business partner that you knew would do these things to you?  That is how great God’s love is!

And, he warns them that this fall will not come in the hard times.  They won’t turn to other gods or sin when they are conquering the land, when God is in front of them fighting the battles, or when they face death, difficulty, hunger or other challenges.  They will be most tempted and yield to that temptation in the times of abundance.  When they are no longer wandering in the desert but living off the bounty of the land that God promised them and that God provided to them and that God nourished and cared for for them – then they will cheat on Him.

They will decide they know better.  God said, to clear out the native people.  He divided up the land and none of it was an inheritance to the wicked enemies who currently occupied it, but the Israelites felt they knew better.  They had plenty, plus they could be in charge of making treaties and inter-marrying.  It’s not like they needed to rely on God, things were going well.

When we face challenges in life, we turn back to God.  When terrorist attacks occur, the churches fill up.  But when things go well, when God provides, we turn away from Him.

However, God is faithful.  His faith is not in us – that would be foolish.  His faith is in Himself and the nature and character of who He is and the relationship He has committed to with His people.  His end of that relationship is unwavering.  It may take us reaching the point where we must rely on Him because we have nothing else, but even then, especially then, God is faithful.  We cannot earn that faithfulness.  We do not deserve that faithfulness.

I found it interesting that one of the words that is a synonym to faithfulness is fidelity. Infidelity in a relationship is to cheat on the relationship.  Someone who is called an infidel is literally to call them “without faith.”  But, most interesting to me was that high fidelity is an audio term used to describe something that is a very close copy of the original.  It was used with improved recording techniques and the move to digital mastering.  But God is not a copy of the original – God is the original.  Simply stated you cannot reach a higher level of fidelity than the Creator, the true Master.

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
When things would go well, they would become self reliant and abandon God and reject Him, They would worship foreign gods, sacrifice to them , desert God.  I have become lax in my obedience and time with God when things go well.  I take Him for granted and fail to praise Him and honor Him, relying on myself.  I explore other things, rather than staying true.

b.
Idolotry.  They failed to be obedient and remove the people and gods of the nations they were to defeat.
They lacked sense and discernment

c.
There is a “their” and an “our”.  1. Moses is part of the our and he is Hebrew.  2. God has promised that the Israelites will be My people and I will be your God, so the “their” must be someone else.  All others that tempt Israel are enemies to her.

9.
When it best demonstrates His glory.  When their strength and rebellion is exhausted.

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28 Moses

28.2 Moses 28, Day 2

The Next Generation

Moses’ time on this earth was drawing to a close.  An entire generation of Israelites had been set free from slavery, and had perished in the desert.  And, now, was the time for the next generation.

As I work with kids, in BSF and Sunday School, as well as my own children and their friends, groups, clubs and teams, I spend a lot of each week with “the next generation”.  I see that for each generation God has a special message and He raises up leaders to deliver that message and help lead His people.

For the generation of Moses one of the clear messages was “let my people go.”  It was a generation learning how to be free and how to make their own choices of moving forward in obedience to God or moving backward into a slavery mindset.  For the next generation, Joshua’s generation, one of the clear messages will be “be strong and courageous.”

Each generation has a message, each generation has godly leaders.  I think this pattern has continued to this day, whether looking at the message of reformation in Luther, Calvin and Wesley or the message of evangelism and personal relationship of Billy Graham and David Jeremiah.  The message and direction and leadership are new and specific to that generation.

Yet, God and His underlying message never change.  He is the Rock.  His power is absolute and His love is amazing.  Every message for every generation, while new and unique, is consistent and true to His nature and His word.

I don’t know what the message for the next generation is, but I see a stirring in young believers to really know and live in His word.  I see a move away from watered down, feel good interpretations of the bible and a move to self accountability to read and know what the bible actually says.  I see a generation that is not intimidated by the Word and willing to make a commitment to God.  I also see a generation under attack with distractions and double-talk and sin wrapped up in the cloak of “normal” with extreme pressure to be tolerant of wickedness.  But this too is a sign of encouragement, because Satan seldom goes on the offensive when the momentum of a generation is a slide in his direction.

I hope and pray that is the message, and, if I’m right, I pray to stay young because I want to be a part of that!

 

My Answers

3.
a.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never l

b.
Because it was for Joshua to serve as the leader over.  It was for Joshua and his generation.

c.
Isaiah 41:10, Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed – by God’s strength and not by mine, upheld by His righteousness. Rom 8:11 the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you

4.
a.
Moses wrote down the law, gave it to priests and all elders, every 7 years gather and read the law, listen and learn

b.
It was not a surprise, God knew it would happen .  It does not mean God didn’t know and it explains the hardship to come.  God was not defeated by sin, He was and would be so great in His love that He would allow His people the freedom to sin against Him.

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27 Moses

27.5 Moses 27, Day 5

Personal Choice / Personal Accountability

One of our questions today regarded the choices we have made and what words we could use to tell others about choice.  As I thought about this I was confronted by the denial of accountability I see in those around me such as neighbors, people I work with and others that I know.  Everything seems to be someone else’s fault.  There is always someone else to blame: politicians, educators, big business, religion, even God.

There is anger, fear and resentment, but mostly it comes from a spirit filled with discontent.  As Deut 28:65 says, “an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”

We like to hide behind the “no one is perfect” line as justification for a life of rebellion.  But in Deut 30:11 God says through Moses, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.”  He goes on to say it isn’t hidden in heaven or some foreign land. “No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

We are given freedom of choice, obedience or disobedience.  We choose the path.  But the path we choose has consequences.  A journey of disobedience brings hardship and curses.  These are not threats, they are reality of what an eternal life on the path that veers away from God looks like.  A journey of obedience brings blessings.  That does not mean there will not be trials and hardships, in fact, God promises His people there will be those things.  The difference is that, while neither path is without difficulty, the path of righteousness is one traveled along side God who promises to lift us up and carry us along when things get too tough.

Think about this in the “then and there” of it being delivered by Moses to the Israelites.  God has committed to take them as His and given Himself to be theirs.  He has formed an everlasting relationship with them.  But, even as He recommits to that relationship, He knows they will cheat on Him.  He knows they will disobey and worship other gods.  He knows they will commit atrocious and deplorable acts meant to cause Him pain.  He knows they will become so distant and callous to the gift that He is giving them, a gift of peace in the promised land, that they will completely lose this book of the bible and it will remain lost in a pile of debris in the back of the temple for years until it is uncovered during a remodeling project.  And, yet, not only does He commit to the relationship with them but He promises that after they do these hurtful things, He will still take them back and even cut those things out of their heart as if they never had occurred.

The choice, the path that leads to life and prosperity or the path that leads to death and destruction, was theirs as it yours and mine.  But make no mistake, we choose our own path and live with the consequences of that choice.

If you are on the wrong path, if you are traveling alone or living a relationship with God that treats Him as a spare wheel to be pulled out in times of trouble instead of a steering wheel to keep you out of trouble, you are not stuck.  God always provides and on-ramp to bring you back onto the road of salvation.  He is one prayer away from sending in the rescue crew of Son and Spirit to save you from the mess you have made.

I choose to make my own choice.  I choose obedience to God.  I choose life.  What do you choose?

My Answers

10.
a.
return to the Lord and obey Him with all your heart and soul

b.
circumcise their hearts

c.
While God wants and expects me to be obedient, He will forgive my disobedience, even to the extent of “cutting it out of my heart” so that it is no more and welcome me back and reconfirm His relationship with me

11.
a.
life and prosperity, death and destruction

b.
I choose life.  I choose a sacred relationship with God to belong to Him and to put all my trust in Him

12.
Because He loved them.  Because He knew the sin they would commit and, in love, wanted to warn them to change their ways.
The law was a guardian to protect the people (protective custody) as those belonging to God until the day that Christ came and paid the ransom for their souls

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27 Moses

27.4 Moses 27, Day 4

A Holy Covenant Relationship

All of our study this week in Deuteronomy, starting in Deuteronomy 26:17 and continuing through Deuteronomy 29, reminds me of a wedding ceremony.  You can hear it in the language of the scriptures:

17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God.

10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

I believe this analogy is fitting.  God wants an intimate relationship with you and with me.  He actually wants a vow larger than a wedding vow.  A wedding vow lasts for a lifetime.  God’s desired relationship lasts for eternity.  God’s commitment in His covenant is you will be His and He will be yours.

As we grow in our relationship with God we see and understand more of Him.  More time in the Word also builds a closer relationship with God and opens our eyes to His nature and attributes.  As God reveals Himself to us, that revelation is something that can never be taken away.  God wants to continue to reveal the secret things, the things we cannot understand without first understanding who God is.  Each of those “things revealed” is a gift, an everlasting gift.  Our mind may not be able to fully understand all of who God is, but that doesn’t mean it is something that is held as a secret from us, it is just something we cannot yet understand.  If someone were to ask me a question about Quantum Physics, I wouldn’t know enough to begin the conversation.  Yet, someone who has spent their life in study of it may grow in their appreciation of how much there is yet that we don’t know or understand.  God is bigger and deeper than quantum physics, yet, like an amazingly patient teacher, each day He is willing to teach us more about Himself.

 

My Answers:

7.
13. confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you

8.
Idolatry

9.
a.
God’s judgments and His paths

b.
The law, the covenants, God’s love and mercy

c.
God’s warnings to His people out of His love for them.  God’s patience.  God’s willingness to listen to prayer, that God is approachable.  The correct posture for obedience: up/worship, around/love, down/fear of God.

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27 Moses

27.3 Moses 27, Day 3

I do it myself

When our kids were younger we would often here them say, “I do it myself”.  They didn’t want help.  They didn’t want direction.  They wanted to exercise their independence.

God doesn’t restrain or restrict our independence.  He made us and He made that as part of our nature.  He wants us to make choices.  But, like a loving parent, He wants us to make the right choices.

God lines up the events of our life.  Some to encourage us, some to challenge us and make us stronger.  This is in the same way that a parent or teacher or coach would line up controlled events for us to practice and learn and grow.  God is in control.

And, He wants to bless us along the path of life.  He wants us to be blessed.  He wants us to be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  Blessed when we come in and blessed when we go out.  Blessed in our work and in our leisure.  Blessed in our families and against our enemies.

I think of it like a special protective coating that God has for us every single day, like sunscreen or the de-icing solution on airplanes.  God wants to wash a blessing over us every single day that permeates our physical self, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

But how often do we side step the blessing or shove it out of our way like a child wanting to “do it myself”?  How often do we reject not only the blessing but reject God pushing him to be behind us instead of the one who goes before us?  How can you stop right now (seriously, right now) and ask God to pour His blessing over you to change the rest of the way you live out this day?

 

My Answers:

5.
To be blessed, to be blessed when you come in and go out, to enjoy God’s provision of food/shelter/defeat of enemies, To be established as His holy people, to walk in obedience to Him, abundant prosperity, opening the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty

6.
a.
32.  Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.

b.
They disobeyed by not driving out the enemy in the promised land, disobedience led to famine during the time of Elisha, and ate their own children

c.
To have increased obedience.  To enter obedience joyfully.

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