Let’s turn now in our bibles to Deuteronomy, twenty nine. You don’t know how happy I am to be at chapter twenty nine. God established a covenant with the children of Israel, when He brought them out of Egypt, and brought them to mount Sinai. Mount Horeb, there in the Sinai peninsula. God gave to them a law, and He said, if they would keep the law and His statutes, and His covenants, He would be their God, they would be His people, a special people unto Him. They failed, they did not enter in to the land, they wandered for forty years in the wilderness, but now they are back again on the border, ready to enter the land. So Moses gathered them together again, in order that God might renew the covenant that He made with them.
So, in chapter twenty nine, we come to the renewal of the covenant. It must be noted that even as God was renewing the covenant, God knew of their failure to keep it. So even at this time, which should’ve been a time of tremendous spiritual excitement, and blessing. It was also a time of grief on the part of Moses, because God revealed to him, “I know their hearts, I know these people, they’re not going to walk in my ways”. So there was the predicted judgement that was going to come upon the, at the time of the announcing of the great blessings, if they would just continue in the ways of the Lord.
It is true, the prophecy of Moses came to pass. The people failed. The things that God declared would happen to them, did happen to them. They were driven from the land, they were dispersed throughout the world. So the covenant was broken.
Now in Jesus Christ, God has established a new covenant. But there’s a basic difference between the old covenant that God had with Israel, and the new covenant that God has with His church. The old covenant that was made with Israel did not stand, because it was predicated upon the faithfulness of the people, and their obedience to the law of God. So God has established a new covenant with us, through Jesus Christ. This new covenant that God has established with man, is a covenant which cannot be broken. The old covenant was broken, thus it failed. The new covenant cannot be broken, because the new covenant is not predicated upon the faithfulness of man, to do the work of God, but the new covenant is predicated upon God’s faithfulness, and the work that God has done. The new covenant is established on the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the cross, where He made an atonement for your sin. So the new covenant is established through faith, by your believing in Jesus Christ, you have become God’s special people. The new covenant cannot be broken.
So Moses is gathering them again.
These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, [So this is the second time. He did it once down in Horeb.] this is besides [or in addition to] the covenant which he had made with them in Horeb. Now Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, You have seen [And this is going to be the emphasis here, “It’s what you have seen. You have seen the power of God. It’s been manifested. You’ve seen the presence of God manifested. So, “You have seen first of all,] all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, what he did to Pharaoh, and to all of his servants, and to all of his land; The great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and the great wonders (29:1-3):
“You have seen God at work in defending you and delivering you from your enemies. You’ve seen God work.”
Yet though you have seen it the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive, [“You really don’t yet understand what God has done, or what God is doing, or what God is seeking to do.”] You really don’t have eyes to see, or ears to here, to this very day (29:4).
“So though you’ve seen it, you’ve experienced it, yet in reality, your heart doesn’t perceive, and your eyes really don’t see, and your ears really haven’t heard.” It is interesting that Jesus, over and over, as He was talking to His disciples, would stop and say, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear”. Indicating that there can be two people sitting side by side, one can hear the voice of the Spirit, and the other doesn’t. The word of God is ministering in a dynamic way to one person’s heart, and the other person says, “Boring”. It’s just not penetrating. Though you have ears, you’re not hearing. So, as Jesus addresses the church, in the book of Revelation, or the churches, at the end of each of the messages, as He addresses himself to each church, at the end of each message, He repeats, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”.
I think one of the most important things that any of us can pray is, “God give me a heart to perceive. Give me eyes that I can see, and give me ears to hear what you are saying and what you are wanting to say to me. Let me see, O God those things you want me to see. Let my heart perceive, O God your truth, and your ways”. That I might apply myself in the following after God. So here’s the tragedy.
“You’ve seen the power of God!”, Moses said, “You’ve seen Him wipe out the Egyptians, and yet unto this present day, you don’t have a heart to perceive what God is doing. You have eyes, but don’t really see, you have ears, but you haven’t really heard”. Moses said…
I have led you these forty years in the wilderness: and your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet (29:5).
Now that’s forty years of walking and the sandals haven’t worn out! “But did you notice it? Have you perceived it?” He’s calling their attention to some interesting little small details, that you know, they probably hadn’t even paid any attention. “Wow, I’ve had these sandals for forty years, still…”. They don’t make them like they used to. During this time, they did not eat bread, they ate the manna.
Nor have you drunk wine or similar drink: in order that you might know that I am the Lord your God. And when you came to this place, [That is on the eastern side of the Jordan river, the land of the Ammorites, Hittites, or the Ammorites there.] you came against Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, they came out against you to battle, and you conquered them: Took their land and you gave it as an inheritance to the tribes of Reuben, and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, [Paul the apostle, in writing his epistle to the Romans said, “It’s not those that have the law, that are justified by the law, but those who do the law”. And he pointed out a fallacy that existed in Paul’s time, among the nation of Israel, and they were bragging in the fact that, “We have the law of God! Hey man! Don’t bug me, I have the law of God!”. And Paul said, “Look, having the law is of no value, unless you’re keeping the law. You’ve got to be doing it. Just having the law doesn’t justify you. It is by the doing of the law that a man is justified”. I think that many times we, as Christians, rest in false premises. “Well, I go to church. I listen to the sermons every Sunday.” But are you doing it? “Be ye doers of the word.” And here we find that Moses is exhorting them to action. “Keep the words of the covenant. Do them,”] in order that you might prosper in all that you do (29:6-9).
So, in reality God established a covenant. A covenant that, if they would keep it, God promised to prosper them. In other words, God gave them the laws of prosperity. David affirms this in the first Psalm, when he talks about, “The man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, does he meditate day and night. The man would be like a tree that’s planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth its fruit in its season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does will prosper”. The man who gives heed, the man who keeps, the man who does, the law of God. He said…
All of you stand today before the Lord your God; your leaders, your elders, your officers, all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives also, and the stranger that is in your camp, from the fellows who cut the wood and carry the wood, to the ones that draw the water: You’re gathered together here that you might enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into his oath, which the Lord God makes with you today: [Now the purpose of this covenant is ,] That God might establish you today, as a people for himself, that he may be God to you, just as he has spoken to you, [So this is the purpose of the covenant. “That you might be God’s special people. That He might be God to you.”] just as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And I make this covenant not with you alone, But also those that are standing here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him that is not here with us today: (For you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt; and we came through the nations which you passed by; You saw their abominations, and their idols, which were among them:) The wood, and the stone, and the silver and the gold, so that there may not be among you a man, or a woman, a family, or a tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and to serve the gods of these nations; that there may not be among you a root of bitterness or wormwood; So that it may not happen that when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, even though I walk in the imaginations of my heart, as though the drunkard could be included with us sober (29:10-19):
So he said, “Now look establishing this covenant with you, you pass through this land, you saw their abominations, you saw the idols that they were worshiping, you saw their gods. Now you are not to turn after their gods. Now in the law that God gave, in the ten commandments, the first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. You’re not to make any graven image, any likeness to bow down before it. Now cursed is the man who bows down before a graven image”. So, as they’re pronouncing these curses he said, “You’re not to be standing there in your heart thinking ‘Ha ha, it won’t happen to me’, and you have this bitterness against the law of God, and somehow you think that you can be excluded. That you can violate the law and still, you know, the curses won’t come upon you”. In your heart you say, “I’ll be blessed”.
There is something about us that we sometimes feel that God has made special exclusive clauses just for us. “Yeah, that applies to everybody else, but mine is an exception. I have an exclusionary clause, and though God says that, that will happen to others, it won’t happen to me, you see. Because this case is different. God wasn’t talking about my particular case.” And we always sort of think that ours is special, and that God will make some kind of a special allowance or an indulgence for us. So, you know, “I’ll be blessed, and God won’t take the blessings away from me”. Even though God has pronounced a curse upon those that would do these things, in your heart, you’re deceiving yourself. Because, you think that, that doesn’t apply to you. It does! God’s word applies to each of us, He’s no respecter of persons, and you cannot violate the laws of God with impunity, and not be punished, not reap the consequences. “Whatever a man sows, he’s also going to reap.” That’s the law of nature, and you can’t escape it. It’s a spiritual law as well, and you can’t get around it. So, be careful that you don’t stand there blessing yourself, when the curses are pronounced upon those things that you are doing. In his heart he says, “I’ll have peace, even though I walk in the imagination of my heart”.
The Lord would not spare him, for then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the Lord would blot out his name under heaven (29:20).
The guy thinks, “I’ll get by, you know, I can walk in the imaginations of my own heart, I can do my own thing!”, but the Lord is not going to spare that man. His name will ultimately be blotted out.
And the Lord would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: So that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land would say, when they see the plagues of the land, and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it; The whole land is brimstone, and salt, and burning, it is not sown, it does not bear, there’s no grass there, it’s like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, [and the Lord] which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: And all of the nations would say, Why has the Lord done so to this land? [So, “In time to come, because of your failure, you think you can violate the law of God, and get by, but not so. God will bring judgement, and this beautiful land, this fertile land flowing with milk and honey unto which the Lord is bringing you will be turned into a barren wilderness. The land has been denuded over there. You go over to Israel today, and you’re amazed at how many rocks. The land has been denuded. The Turks, when they conquered the land, cut down every tree. So that there was tremendous land erosion. Soil erosion, and all of the soil washed off the mountain tops, and so you see the rocky mountainsides. You’re amazed that anything can grow on them. But they’ve gone in and planted millions of trees, and they are recovering the land. But before this program of reforest ration was inaugurated by the nation of Israel, the land was a barren, desolate land. They’ve done so much to reclaim that land. Today you go over there, and it’s becoming again like the garden of Eden. Again it is beautiful. But there’s still, you can go into areas of Samaria and all, where they haven’t gone in to these tremendous programs. Areas, really of the west bank. The areas that have not been under the control of Israel for a longer period of time. You’ll see how barren and desolate the land still is, in those areas. God said, “The people will see the barren land”, they say, “How in the world is this thing so barren? Why has the Lord done this to the land?] what does the heat of this great anger mean? And the men would say, Because [The answer will be, “Because”,] they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt: For they went and they served other gods, and worshiped them, gods they did not know, and that he had not given to them (29:21-26):
Gods that they didn’t know. The end…
The anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book: And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, [The word, “indignation”, is a word that is used in the old testament, over and over, for the great tribulation period. It is a word that you want to follow through in your old testament text. It’s a reference to the great tribulation.] and he cast them into another land, as it is this day. For the secret things belong to the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (29:27-29).
So God has revealed to you His law. God has revealed to you His statutes, His judgements. “They belong to you and your children forever. These are the revelation of God’s desire, and God’s purposes, and God’s will for you as a people.” Now there are things that God hasn’t revealed to us yet. They are the secret things of God.
Now, Paul the apostle, in writing in the new testament, writes often of the mystery that has been hid in times past, but is now being revealed. They are the secret things of God, that He is now revealing. He didn’t reveal them to the nation of Israel. They weren’t revealed in His covenant with those people, but now God is revealing these secret things. One of these glorious secrets of God, that He has revealed to the church is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. That power that is available for you to live this kind of a life that God has required of us. So those glorious things that God has revealed, and once they are revealed to us, they are ours. They belong to us and our children. But they are all there for the purpose of teaching us, that we are to walk in the ways of the Lord, doing the word of the law.
Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessings and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among the nations, where the Lord your God drives you (30:1),
“When you’ve been taken captive, and you’re there in a foreign land, and you begin to remember then, all of the things that God said, you’ll be reminded of the curses and the blessings that were pronounced.”
And if in that place you return to the Lord your God, and you obey his voice according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all of your heart, and with all of your soul; That the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all of the nations, where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and there he will bring you (30:2-4):
“So the day is promised, that though you have been driven out, because of your failure, that even in that place of captivity, if you call upon the Lord, if you turn to the Lord, the Lord will gather you back into the land. From all the places. Even from the farthest points of the heavens, where you’ve been driven.” In the prophesies of Jesus to the disciples, concerning His second coming, the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew, Jesus said that there’s gonna be this great tribulation, and immediately after this tribulation, they will see the sign of the Son of Man, coming with clouds in great glory. “Then shall He gather together His elect, from the four corners of the world, from the uttermost parts of the heaven.” Jesus is making a reference here, to Deuteronomy. The promise of God to gather them together again.
What we are seeing today is not the final fulfillment of God’s word. We’re beginning to see sort of a foreshadowing of what God is ultimately gonna do. But what we’re seeing today is not the real fulfillment of the word of God, in gathering together His elect, from wherever they have been driven. That hasn’t happened yet, that will not happen until Jesus returns again in His second coming, then will He gather them together from all over the world. Now unfortunately, there are those who interpret that gathering as to the church, they say that, you know, “His elect are the church, and He will gather them together from all over the world”, but that is not a correct of Jesus in that particular verse, in that Jesus was referring to this promise here in Deuteronomy. His elect in that verse, is not the church, but the nation of Israel. Further confirmation in Isaiah, chapter eleven, verse twelve.
Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you will possess it; he will prosper you, and multiply you more than your fathers. [Now that hasn’t happened yet. Israel’s in trouble, it’s in financial trouble. They’ve not yet received this time of blessing and prosperity. They have not yet turned to the Lord!] And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, so that you may live (30:5-6).
God is gonna do a work, an inward work within their heart. Paul the apostle, again in writing to the Romans, exhorts them to the circumcision. He said, “It isn’t the circumcision of the flesh that counts, it’s the circumcision of the heart”. The circumcision was a sign, God’s people, and it was the cutting off the flesh, and it’s the denying of the flesh life, really to live and walk after the Spirit, is the whole concept or idea. So, they again were counting in the rite, as many people are counting in the ritual of baptism, to save. But the ritual of baptism can’t save you. It is only a living faith in Jesus Christ that saves you. Too many people are trusting in the fact, “Well I was baptized. I’ve got a certificate. When I was three weeks old, my parents took me to church, and they sprinkled water on me, I’ve been baptized”, and you’re trusting in some piece of paper. Won’t cut it! It’s the baptism within, that God counts. Baptism is the same as circumcision in that it is speaking of the denying of the flesh life. No longer after the, the old flesh life is buried, that I might now, live after the Spirit unto God. Circumcision was the renouncing of the life of the flesh, that we might live after the Spirit, following father Abraham, the father of those that believe. Walking after the God, and the things of the Spirit. Now, you may have been submerged, you may have been immersed, and you may have been immersed three times, as some do. But immersion isn’t gonna save you. It’s the work of God’s Spirit within your heart that saves. So, baptism doesn’t save, except the true baptism, which is in the heart. Here God is speaking of, “In that day, I’ll circumcise them within their heart”. In other words, “I’ll take away from their heart, their desires and the things after the flesh, in order that they might walk in the way of the Lord. By being obedient, with all of their heart, and with all of their soul”.
Also the Lord your God will put all of these curses upon your enemies, and on those who hat you, who persecuted you. [I’d hate to be in the position of being an enemy to Israel. Hating them and persecuting them because, those people are gonna receive all the curses.] And you will again obey the voice of the Lord, and do all of his commandments which I command you today. [“In that day, when God works in your heart. Then from the heart, there will be the obedience.”] And the Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, the increase of your livestock, the produce of your land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers (30:7-9):
So this glorious time when God is gonna restore Israel, and His relationship to Israel, and He will be their God. Of course this was something that was repeated over and over again, by the prophets. In Hosea, there was that illustrated type of a message of the prophet Hosea. As he took a wife, and she bore a couple of children, but she turned away from him, became a prostitute. So that even the last child that was born, before she left, he called Lo-Ammi, “It’s not of mine, it’s not my child”, and she went out and became a prostitute. Left him, forsook him. Years later, God spoke to Hosea, and He said, “Go find your wife”, and he found her broken, destitute. God said, “Marry her again, and restore”. So Hosea remarried her, and brought her back, and she became his wife once more. Then God spoke, and He said, “So, with the nation of Israel. They’ve turned away from me. They’ve gone out, and they’ve committed fornication. They’ve prostituted themselves, they’ve served and worshiped other gods, but the day will come, when I will reach out to them, and I will bring them back, and I’ll marry them again. They’ll be my people once more”.
So, Moses is here prophesying of that day. It’s something that is woven through all of the prophecies of the old testament. Their turning away. Their rejection of God, and the ultimate rejection from God, and yet, in the latter times, God’s restoration. So as Paul said, in Romans eleven, “Blindness is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, and then all Israel shall be saved”. Because, “God will send the deliverer out of Zion, Jesus Christ, who will come again and restore the hearts of the people”. The whole thing is, the whole background, the foundation is right here. For all of those prophecies and things within the prophets.
For this commandment which I command you today, is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you will say, Who will ascend into heaven for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very close to you, it is in your mouth, and it is in your heart, that you may do it (30:11-14).
Hey! Where have you read that before? Paul the apostle, remember in the tenth chapter of Romans, picks this up. Talking now, concerning salvation, and he said, “You shouldn’t say, Who will ascend into heaven to bring it down?, or Who will go across the sea to bring it to us?, but the word of God is near to you, in fact, it is in your mouth. For if you will confess with your mouth, that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. Salvation is closer than you realize. You know God doesn’t put out a bunch of hoops, and say, “Jump through these hoops, and you’ll be saved”, or, “Go kill the dragon and go get the seven golden apples, and you’ll be saved. Kill the multi-headed dragon”, or whatever! No, salvation is very close to every one of you. It isn’t far off that you’re gonna have to make some great pilgrimage to India to find it. You don’t have to go to Mecca, it’s very near you! It’s actually as close as your mouth. All you have to do is confess with your mouth, that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and believe in your heart, God has raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved. Hey, that’s just how close you are to being saved tonight. It’s interesting that people can be close, and yet a distance away. A million miles from the gates of peace, with just one little step from God. You may be running, you may have run from God all your life! Run away from God just as fast as you could all your life, and you think, “Boy! I’ve put a lot of distance between me and God”. You’re wrong. He surrounds you. All you have to do, is turn back, and you’ll find Him standing right there. He’s close. So it’s not too difficult, it’s not too mysterious. It’s not somewhere in heaven, not somewhere across the sea, very close to you. All you have to do is, with your mouth, confess. So, God’s word, Paul says, I mean uh, Moses said to these people, “It’s very close to you”.
Now look, [he said] I have set before you today life and good, death and evil (30:15);
That’s a perennial thing. That’s always true. God is always, through the centuries, setting before men, life and good, over against death and evil. Life and good if you will follow the Lord, if you will surrender to Him. Death and evil if you continue in your own ways. That is something that is perpetual through the centuries, and it is something that is true for every individual person. This could be said to you tonight with just the equal amount of emphasis, and all, as was spoken by Moses to the people then. It’s true tonight. God is setting before you life and death, good and evil, and it’s your choice. It’s close to you, all you have to do is confess Jesus Christ, and you will have that life and that good. All you have to do is walk away, reject Him, death and evil.
In that I command you today to love the Lord your God, [So these are the things you are to do, first of all, you are to love the Lord your God. Secondly,] walk in his ways, [thirdly] keep his commandments [I’ve set before you, life. How can I have it? By loving God, walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments,] and his statutes, and his judgements, and if you do, the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you’re going in to possess. But if you turn your heart away, so that you do not hear, and you are drawn away, and you worship other gods, and serve them; I announce to you today, that you will surely perish, you will not prolong your days in the land, which you cross over to the Jordan to go in to possess. I call heaven and earth today as a witness against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (30:16-19):
Oh what an important issue! God has set before man, life and death. He is setting before you tonight life and death, and then God exhorts you, “Choose life, that it might be good for you and your descendants”. I cannot for the life of me understand why, or for what reason a person would choose death. I cannot for the life of me understand why a person would reject God’s love, and God’s invitation to life. Yet, people do. But I’ve never yet heard one give a good excuse. I’ve heard a lot of flimsy excuses, but not a good excuse. I’ve never heard one good reason. Again,
That you may love the Lord your God, and that you may obey his voice, that you may cling to him, for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them (30:20).
So, here it is. Moses is laying it out before people. Of course he’s old, he’s about ready to leave them, and so he’s laying this final charge on them. I mean he’s coming on heavy, “This is it fellows. I call heaven and earth to bear witness to the fact that I have set before you life and death, this day. Now choose life, that it might be good for you and your children.
So Moses spoke all of these words to all of Israel (31:1).
He had gathered them, and assembled them together and he spoke these words to them.
And he said to them, I am a hundred and twenty years old today; [So, his birthday.] I can no longer go out and come in: [“I’m just not able to do the priestly ministry for you any longer. My priestly ministry is over. That is, to go out and come in, as coming in to the sanctuary, and going out before the people. So the priestly ministry, I can’t do it anymore.”] also the Lord has said to me, You shall not cross over the Jordan (31:2).
He’s been forbidden to take them any further. Interesting, so interesting, when you get into biblical typology. The whole history of the nation of Israel, their deliverance out of Egypt, their coming into the promised land, is typical history of the Christian, the child of God today, coming out of the bondage of Egypt, into the glorious full life of the Spirit, that God wants each of us to enjoy. So there is that wilderness experience. Our growing experiences. The first initial relationship with God. The blessings, the power of God, the excitement of seeing God work. But ultimately God brings each of us to the Jordan river.
In biblical typology, the Jordan river is representative of death. But not physical death, but the death of the old man, the death of the old nature. Where I am reckoning now myself to be crucified with Christ. I’m laying down my ambitions and my desires, that I might obey and follow Jesus completely, that He might truly be the Lord of my life. Not living anymore after the flesh, but after the Spirit, as I now reckon my old man to be dead, and when I do that, when I come to this place in my spiritual development and growth. Reckoning the old man to be dead, and now moving on into this life and the walk in the Spirit. I’m coming out of Romans, chapter seven, and moving into Romans, chapter eight. Romans, chapter seven, where I’m crying out, “O wretched man that I am!, because I find that there’s a perversity within. Whenever I would do good, evil is present with me. So that the good that I would, I don’t do, and the evil that I would not, I find myself doing. Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death, from this bondage?”. Chapter seven, the man is moving out of that, into chapter eight. “There is therefore no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus”. Chapter eight ends with those glorious questions. “Who shall separate me from the love of God? If God’s before me, who can be against me? Who is he that condemneth, who is he that finds fault. The glorious victory, I’m persuaded that neither life, nor death, nor principalities, nor powers, or things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature is able to separate me from the love of God, in Christ Jesus.” Glorious life of victory in chapter eight.
Between chapter seven and chapter eight is the Jordan river. The death of the old man, the reckoning of the old man to be dead, crucified with Christ. That I might live no longer after the flesh, but live and walk after the Spirit, and the things of the Spirit. So, chapter eight deals with the life in the Spirit. That life that God wants you to live. That life of victory, that life of joy, that life of blessing, as you live there in the presence of God. Moses, who represented the law, could not bring them into that life of the Spirit. The law cannot bring you into this relationship with God. This glorious relationship of victory through Christ. The law can’t do that for you. Only grace can do that for you. Joshua, interestingly enough, is the name Jesus, in Greek. Joshua was able to lead them into the land. He brought them into the land of promise, even as Jesus brings us into that full land of promise, the blessings of God, the life in the Spirit. So, interesting bible typology, Moses said, “Hey, the Lord showed me that I can’t take you across this Jordan”. The law can’t bring you into that life of the Spirit.
The Lord your God himself crosses over for you; [“I can’t do it for you, but God himself is gonna go before you.”] he will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them: and Joshua, himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said (31:3).
“So the Lord your God’s gonna go before you, and Joshua will go before you. I can’t.”
And the Lord will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, when he destroyed them. And the Lord will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. So be strong and of good courage, do not fear, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you; and he will not leave you nor forsake you (31:4-6).
So, “I’m a hundred and twenty years old, I’ve taken you as far as I can. You’re gonna go on from here, but the Lord will go before you, and He will give you victory, He will destroy your enemies. Therefore, be of good courage, be strong, don’t fear, don’t be afraid of them. He won’t leave you or forsake you”.
So Moses called Joshua, and he said to them in the sight of all Israel, Now Joshua, be strong and of good courage: for you must go with this people unto the land which the Lord has sworn unto their fathers to give to them; and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, he is the one who goes before you; and he will be with you, he will not leave you, nor forsake you: so do not be afraid, and don’t be dismayed. So Moses wrote this law, and he delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time, in the year of release, at the feast of tabernacles, When all of Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which he chooses, you shall read this law before all of Israel in their hearing (31:7-11).
“So every seven years, as the people gathered, you’re to read this law again, to remind them. So in the times when they begin to lapse into apostasy, they’ll be reminded of the covenant that God had made. Read the law every seven years.”
Gather the people together, men, women, little ones, the strangers, those within your gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and carefully observe all of the words of this law: And that their children, who have not known it, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess. And then the Lord said to Moses, Behold, the days approach when you must tie: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of meeting, that I may inaugurate him. So Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of meeting (31:12-14).
So now, the mantle is to be passed. So Moses and Joshua have gathered together, the two of them, in the tabernacle, and Moses at this point, is going to pass the mantle onto Joshua, and he’s gonna take over.
Now the Lord appeared at the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud: the pillar of cloud stood above the door of the tabernacle. And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people [Oh tragic, tragic, tragic! “You’re gonna rest with your fathers”], but these people, [And here’s a prophecy now concerning the nation of Israel. Tragic prophecy.] these people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake me, and break my covenant that I have made with them (31:15-16).
God’s lament. “Moses, you’ve done all you can, but these people are gonna forsake me. They’re gonna turn after these other gods.”] And then my anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, [God said, at the time of the calamity, and Israel was about to fall, and they began to seek God and call upon Him, He said, “Hey, go call upon the gods you’ve been serving”. He’s not gonna listen anymore. Tragic, when God turns His back upon a person, upon a people. “They’ll be devoured”,] and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Have not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us (31:17)?
They’ll realize their failure, that it’s because they’ve turned from God, that all of these things are now happening.
And I will surely hide my face in that day, because of all of the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods. Now therefore write down this song for yourself, and teach it to the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
So Moses was commanded to write a psalm. “Teach it to them.” The thirty second chapter, is the psalm, we’ll study this next week. The song of Moses. It was the song that was to be taught to the children of Israel. It’s what is known as an acrostic, in that it goes through the Hebrew alphabet, the verses do. To help in memorization. This song was to be used actually, as an instrument of God, to testify against them in the day that their calamity came. They’ll still be singing this popular Israeli song, but suddenly they’ll begin to listen to the words. In the words they will discover the reason why they’re going through such turmoil, such tribulation. Because the song itself, will be a witness against them. So, God ordered Moses to write this song, teach it to them, that they’re children might learn to sing it and all, and when that day comes when they begin to experience the judgements of God, because of their folly, the song itself will teach, and bear witness against them.
When I have brought them into the land that is flowing with milk and honey; which I have swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves, grown fat; then they will turn to other gods, and serve them, and they will provoke me and break my covenant. And then it shall be when many evils and troubles shall come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in their mouths of their descendants: for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land which I swore to give them (31:20-21).
“I know what their hearts are, I know what their inclinations are.” Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day, and he taught it to the children of Israel. Fabulous song! We’ll get it next week. It’s really sort of the highlight of Moses’ writing. Now, then God addressed Himself to Joshua. Spoke to Moses, Moses said, “You’ve done all you can, and they’re gonna turn from me as soon as you’re gone, and you know, but teach them this song, and it’ll testify”.
Then he inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, Be strong and of good courage: for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I swore to them: and I will be with you. And so it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, they were finished. Then Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, put it beside the ark of the covenant, of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you. For I know your rebellion, and your stiff neck: if today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord; how much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, all of your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing, and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death, you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands (31:23-29).
That must have been tough, tough, tough! Here you’ve spent your life with these people, ministering to them. Bringing them the law of God, exhorting them to walk in the ways of the Lord, and yet now you’re ready to die, you’re gonna leave them. And you know the rebellion that’s in their heart, and you know that as soon as you die, these guys are gonna turn. How tragic!
Then Moses spoke in the hearing of the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended (31:30).
So, that’s the introduction, actually, to chapter thirty two, the song of Moses, and that’s your reading for next week. The song of Moses, in chapter thirty two, and in thirty three. And then chapter thirty four. We’ll finish the book of Deuteronomy next week, maybe we won’t but we’ll try. Chapter thirty four was no doubt written by Joshua or someone else, because it would’ve been hard for Moses to write about his death. So, it’s, it was the chapter, that was put on to the end of the Torah, by another hand, as we record the passing of this great leader of God.
We’ve spent several months with Moses now, as we’ve gone through the law, and we’ve seen the foundations established, for man’s relationship with God. With a little reluctance and sorrow, we leave Moses, and we move ahead into Joshua then, as God brings the people into the land. We begin to learn all of the spiritual allegories, and applications of the children of Israel, coming into the land, that God had promised to their fathers. As Moses said, “I call heaven and earth to bear witness, I’ve set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life that you may live, that it might be well for you and for your descendants forever.
When God has made salvation so simple, so close, so available, I pray tonight that if you’re not saved. You even in this very moment will reach out in your heart, to receive Jesus Christ, and ask Him to take over your life. Just surrender yourself now to Him. Salvation is so close, it’s as near as your mouth. Just within your mouth, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Say, “Oh Jesus, I want you to be the Lord of my life”. How easy can it be? The Lord will wash away your sins. He’ll make you a new creature. He’ll begin His work in you. He’ll give you a new heart. A heart that is after God. A heart that desires to please Him.
May the Lord bless you, and may the Lord help you, as you walk with Jesus. To experience that power of God’s Spirit within your life, that He might do for you, what you can’t do for yourself. Granting you that power, to live after the Spirit. That as you yield yourself to the power of God’s Spirit within, He might work in you to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ. That you might develop and mature spiritually, until you come into the fullness of the measure of the image of Christ. God bless you. May He work in us this week, In Jesus’ name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7061