Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Deuteronomy 1-26 - The Life of Moses

(My BSF notes)
Last week God had Moses take a 2nd census.  He prepared Moses for his death and chose Joshua to take Moses’ place.  God prepared Israel to enter the Promise Land, divided up the land, and told them what He expected of them.

The book of Deuteronomy is the last of the 5 books written by Moses and is sometimes referred to as the “Law”.  Deuteronomy means “second law”, which really means “a copy of the law”.  It contains messages from God to Moses to Israel during the last 1 ½ month of Moses’ life.  The Israelites had been wandering in the desert and now they are ready to go into the Promise Land.  They needed a review of what God had done for them and a reminder of His laws and regulations.  Most of these Deuteronomy chapters are repetition from previous books.  Most of the people who heard the law the first time had passed away and now there was a new generation who needed to hear God’s truths.

How have you forgotten God’s truths?
Do you always obey His laws?

Deuteronomy 1-4 – Moses’ First Address

Israel was camped in the desert East of Jordan in Moab territory.  Moses spoke to them about their history and wanted them to remember:
About themselves – Their numbers had increased and now they were as many as the stars. They had rebelled against the Lord and grumbled about their circumstances.  They had sinned against the Lord.  They did not trust God.  They wouldn’t listen and rebelled against Him.
About himself – He had needed help with the people’s problems and had to appoint judges over them.  Moses would not enter the Promise Land because the Lord was angry with him.  God did show grace to Moses by letting him see it from the mountain top.  Moses commissioned Joshua to take his place as leader.
About God – God increased their numbers as promised.  He delivered them from Egyptian slavery.  He had blessed them and been with them for 40 years.  He carried them as a father carries his son.  He went ahead of them in a cloud by day and fire by night.  He helped Israel conquer their enemies.  He would give the land to their descendants as promised.  He blessed them and watched over them.

God had a plan for them and God has a plan for each of us.  He wants you to have all He plans for you.  Just like Israel He wants you to go and start receiving all the things He has for you.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”Jer. 29:11.  

He was not surprised that Israel could not live up to His standards of righteousness.  He is not surprised that we cannot either, but He makes us righteous through the work of Jesus.  The work of being righteous has been done for us.

God wanted them to follow His decrees and laws and not to add or subtract anything to what He commands.   Sometimes we think the Old Testament in not relevant today.  True there are things in the OT that don’t apply to us simply because we are not Jews.  There are however many, many things that apply and many, many lessons for us to learn.   Some people try to add to and change what the Bible says to fit their own ideas.  The Bible is God’s gift to us and is all we need.  The Bible is sufficient.  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” - 2 Tim. 3:16.   “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.”- Deut. 4:2.   “And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”Rev.22:19.

In Deut. 4:15-40 God reminds them that He is a jealous God and doesn’t want them to worship idols.  He warns them to watch themselves and be very careful so they wouldn’t become corrupt and make an idol of any kind.  They are not to bow down to the sun, moon or stars.

This is a lesson for us.  We are to be careful and not follow false teachings.  Test false prophet teaching with God’s Word.  Ask God to guide you and reveal to you any falsehoods.

God gave Israel special privileges that idols can’t give.  They have heard His voice speaking out of fire.  He tested them and did miraculous signs and wonders.  He showed them awesome deeds and did all of this before their eyes so they would know who He was – the one true living God.

How have you seen God working in your life?

What special privileges has God given you?  He has given you the most special privileges of all – the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you, Eternal life, His Word, and His grace.  He has given you hope for the future and the ability to discern between right and wrong.  I am sure you can name many more.

Deuteronomy 5 – 26:19 – Moses’ Second Address

Deut. 5 – The Ten Commandments are repeated which should remind us how important they are to Israel and the church through the centuries.  These commandments are mentioned in Psalm, Matthew, Luke, Romans, and all throughout the Bible.

Deut. 6 – One condition for true prosperity and success is to obey His commands.  We are also to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Each one is to commit himself to God with all his motives and abilities. 

God’s command of love for Him is to be taught to the children and made a common part of their lives.  They were to teach their children to obey God by impressing on the children the commandments, talk about them constantly, tie symbols on their hands and bind them on their foreheads, and write them on their door frames.

How are you teaching your children who God is and that He loves them?

Deut. 7 – Moses reminded Israel their duty to drive out and destroy the nations of Canaan, because they were wicked and idolatrous.  Israel had been set apart and was a holy nation and different from any other nation.  It was not because they were better or wiser, but because God loved them and He loves us.  He told them they would be blessed for their obedience, but judgment would be upon them if they disobeyed.

How has God blessed you because of your obedience?

Deut. 8 – Moses reminded Israel not to forget the Lord.  They should be aware of their history and that the Lord alone provided for them.  They should not let prosperity cause them to forget their God.  They must be obedient to God’s law.  They are warned that if they don’t obey, they too will perish like the other nations.

Deut. 9 – Moses warned against self-righteousness and that the success they will have in occupying the land is because God would go before them in battle.  It was not because of their merits or integrity.  They were stiff-necked people and disobeyed a lot, but He still loved them and gave them grace.

It’s the same for us.  God gives us grace.  He forgives us no matter what we’ve done or who we are.  Jesus took our place on the cross, bore our pain and suffered for the world.  He forgives us, because He loves us.  It’s nothing we have done.  If we got what we deserved, we would be the one paying the price, not Jesus. 

Do you believe and trust that Jesus is who He says He is and that He died for you? 
Will you confess your sins and put your trust in Him today, if you haven’t done so before?

Deut. 10 – The Lord requires His people to fear Him, walk in His ways, love Him, to serve Him with all your heart and soul and observe His commands and decrees.

What is God requiring of you that you that you have ignored?

Deut. 11 – Moses told them to love the Lord and keep His requirements and He will bless them.  If they observe all these commands, He will drive out all the nations before them no matter how large or strong they are.

Deut. 12 – Moses declared they are to worship only in one place, because it’s the place where the presence of God dwelled.  Israel was to destroy any of the places where false gods where worshipped.  They were to destroy them completely, break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, burn their poles, cut down the idols, and wipe out their names.

How do God’s commands about worship warn people in our church and community?

Remember when you worship it’s not about the style of music or order of your church service.  It’s not about you and making you feel good.  It’s all about Him and His truth being spoken.  He is to be our focus.

Deut. 13 – There are temptations of idolatry the Israelites were to avoid.  They should avoid false prophets, fortune tellers, corrupt towns, and family members that entice them.

We, too are to avoid such things.  Maybe it’s that witch based TV show you are watching or those evil themed video games.  Maybe it’s the Wiggy board game or that book you are reading that borders on the occult or partial truths.  Whatever it is, if it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, avoid it.

Deut. 14-19 – These chapters talk about clean and unclean foods, tithes, the cancellation of debts, freeing servants, laws for firstborn animals, and festivals.  There would be new situations that would arise in the new land and they were told to how deal with them.  There would judges, a king, priests, prophets, and a need for cities of refuge.

If they decided to elect a king, he should be one of that God’s chooses.  He is to be an Israelite.  He should be someone who doesn’t require wealth or many wives or his heart will be led astray.  He is to copy the law and read it all the days of his life, and not consider himself better than others. (Deut. 17:14-20)

When they enter the land, they are not to imitate the detestable spiritual practices of the nations.  A list of these detestable practices is listed.  They are not to sacrifice sons and daughters, practice divination or sorcery, interpret omens, witchcraft, cast spells, or be a medium or spiritist, or consult with the dead. (Deut. 18:9-13)

Which of these do you need to confess or ask God to strengthen you to give up?

God promised that after Moses was gone, He would raise up a prophet like Moses to be a mediator between them and God.  This was the prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus. (Deut. 18:14-22)

Deut.  20 – When they go to war, they are to realize that the Lord will be with them.  They are not to be afraid.  They are to destroy the nations completely or they will teach them to follow in the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods.

Deut. 21-25 – These chapters contain an assortment of miscellaneous laws. 

Deut. 26 – This chapter addresses tithes.  After they entered and took possession of the new land, they were to give God some of the first fruits from the land He had given them.  Their attitude should be an attitude of rejoicing.  “…. rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given you and our household.”Deut. 26:11.

We need to realize how God has blessed us.  Often we don’t think about our blessings until some of them are taken away.  We enjoy good health until it’s gone.  So take time and thank God for all your blessings and give your tithes and offerings to Him cheerfully.  “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7

How thankful are you for all He has given you?
What is your attitude toward giving tithes and offerings?
Are you a cheerful giver?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 
We must be obedient to God and we will be blessed.
God’s law reveals His love for His people.
Remembering God’s faithfulness trains God’s children to love and obey Him.
Gratitude, love and godly fear are the right motivations for obedience.

In what situation have you realized God’s love for you?

God promised the Israelites they would be His special people and they declared the Lord as their God.  He asked them as He asks us today, to obey His Word.  We must follow the Scriptures and do what it instructs us.  We should not forget God’s commands, but we should not be legalistic about it either.  We should love God and His commands for our own good.  We love because He first loved us.

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