Deuteronomy 8-9

Sunday Evening Bible Study

August 23, 1998

Introduction

The name Deuteronomy means "second law".

It is Mosesí final address to the people. It covers the last 1 Ĺ months of Mosesí life. Heís 120 years old. He can still see and hear very well.

Heís rehearsing the work of God in Israelís past history, and giving them a review of Godís law before they cross into the Promised Land.

One of the major themes weíre going to see through the book is that of Godís love for His people.

Deuteronomy 8

:2 God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments

The forty years of wandering in the wilderness became a test then to see if these people would finally get serious about God.

If you have felt like your Christian life has been lacking direction and kind of floundering, could God be asking you, "Well, when are you going to get serious about Me?"

Often we can get to thinking that some of the "little things" we hide in our heart, our "secret sins" wonít really be that big of a deal.

But God sees the secret things, and Heís REALLY serious about us being serious about them.

I have known plenty of people who are always waiting for that "big break" in life, but it never happens because they donít have their eyes in the right place.

Their eyes are always on either themselves or their circumstances. Rather than getting busy serving God, being busy with the small, little things, theyíre always waiting for the big things.

Donít be afraid of taking the humble road. Youíll find that thatís the road where God is on.

:3 that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

God allowed them to have no food so they would learn to depend upon Him. They would learn to let God feed them His manna.

Jesus took this verse one step further.

(Mat 4:1-4 KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. {3} And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. {4} But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

In a way, I could see Jesus allowing Himself to feed Himself by turning the rocks into bread. He could have even turned them into manna, and kept it all Scriptural.

But Jesus knew that this verse in Deuteronomy went a step further.

Lesson:

Hunger for the Word.

God isnít just interested in you learning to have Him meet your physical needs.

He wants you to learn to find your deepest satisfaction in His Word! Could you go a day without food, and find yourself totally satisfied with just listening to Godís Word?

Illustration

D. L. Moody tells of the following incident in his little classic of 1895, Pleasure and Profit of Bible Study.

"A man stood up in one of our meetings and said he hoped for enough out of the series of meetings I was having to last him all of his life. I told him he might as well try to eat enough breakfast at one time to last his lifetime."

-- Charles R. Swindoll, The Christian Life, (Vision House, 1994), p. 93.

:4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

Imagine that they never had to buy new clothes during the entire 40 years.

:5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

The writer of Hebrews uses this concept:

(Heb 12:7-11 KJV) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? {8} But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye s, and not sons. {9} Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? {10} For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. {11} Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

The fact that you find yourself chastened by God from time to time is only proof that He is your Father.

It is also proof that He cares enough about you to train you properly as a good father should.

If we will learn the lessons before us, we will find ourselves with peace and righteousness.

:7 For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land

Donít let the enemy tell you that God is leading you into a horrible life. Following God is an incredible, wonderful, awesome way to live!

:9 a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.

The land of Israel would be rich in minerals. It would have everything they need.

:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth

One of the greatest dangers we face in America is that of our wealth.

In a way, I think thatís why itís so hard to reach some people with the gospel, because they donít think they need God.

Lesson:

Donít forget God.

Please donít let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that youíll finally be happy if you could just get a "little more". If you were to find that "little more", you wonít find happiness. I heard someone talking the other day about a survey that had been taken among all the people who have won Lotteries. They were ALL extremely unhappy. They all said that it was the thing that ruined their life. They lost all their old friends, and all their new friends only like them because of their money.

If you have been prosperous financially, keep in mind that God allowed you to be so.

(1 Cor 4:7 KJV) For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

You donít have to be wealthy to forget:

Illustration

While I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God...." Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution. I have read hundreds of books, hundreds of personal testimonies, and contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I would repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." I myself see Christianity today as the only living spiritual force capable of undertaking the spiritual healing of Russia.

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in a 1983 address.

:20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face

Like the kingdoms of Sihon and Og, whom the Israelites have already destroyed.

Deuteronomy 9

:2 the children of the Anakims Ö the children of Anak!

These were some of the giants in the land, specifically those who had lived near the area of Hebron.

Caleb, one of the two faithful spies sent into the land, knew that God was able to deliver the giants into their hand.

He was given the city of Hebron when he was in his eighties, and he still went in and conquered the giants.

:5 Not for thy righteousness Öbut for the wickedness of these nations

Here we see it clearly. The Israelites didnít receive the Promised Land because they had "earned" it.

God was using them as a tool of judgment on these wicked Canaanite peoples.

God had promised this to Abraham:

(Gen 13:15 KJV) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

(Gen 15:13-16 KJV) And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; {14} And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. {15} And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. {16} But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

The iniquity of these people had finally reached their limit, and judgment would come through the Israelites.

:6 for thou art a stiffnecked people.

stiffnecked Ė The figure is that of a stubborn ox fuses to submit to the yoke.

Howís that for grace! God is going to give the Promised Land to these people, but theyíre a bunch of stubborn jerks!

:7 Remember, and forget not

Moses is going to help them remember just in case they did forget!

This is to help them remember that it wasnít because they were such good little boys and girls that they received the Promised Land.

Lesson:

Itís all by Grace.

For us, we have received the promise of eternal life not because we earned it, but because God was gracious enough to love us even in our rebellion.

:8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath

Horeb Ė Mount Sinai. This took place in Exodus 32 Ė the golden calf.

:12 quickly turned aside

They hadnít scarcely been out of Egypt more than a few weeks, delivered by Godís mighty hand through the plagues, the Passover, and then the Red Sea, only to turn to idolatry with the golden calf because Moses had been on the mountain for forty days.

:14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them

God was saying that He was going to destroy the Israelites, and make a new nation from Moses.

:19 But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.

We could look at this as if God was the big bully trying to kill the people and Moses is holding Him off.

But I think that what is happening is more of a molding of Moses, bringing out his heart to be a shepherd for these people, to be one who will intercede for them.

Lesson:

Praying for difficult people.

How do you pray for those youíre having troubles with?

If God were to come to you and say, "Iíll just wipe them out and let you take their place Ö", would you give in and say, "Let me help you God!"

Or would you turn and plead for them.

When you pray for them, do you pray for mercy and grace for them, or judgment and condemnation?

Illustration

Chris Carrier of Coral Gables, Florida, was abducted when he was 10 years old. His kidnapper, angry with the boy's family, burned him with cigarettes, stabbed him numerous times with an ice pick, then shot him in the head and left him to die in the Everglades. Remarkably, the boy survived, though he lost sight in one eye. No one was ever arrested.

Recently, a man confessed to the crime. Carrier, now a youth minister at Granada Presbyterian Church, went to see him.

He found David McAllister, a 77-year-old ex-convict, frail and blind, living in a North Miami Beach nursing home. Carrier began visiting often, reading to McAllister from the Bible and praying with him. His ministry opened the door for McAllister to make a profession of faith.

No arrest is forthcoming; after 22 years, the statute of limitations on the crime is long past. In Christian Reader (Jan/Feb 98), Carrier says, "While many people can't understand how I could forgive David McAllister, from my point of view I couldn't not forgive him. If I'd chosen to hate him all these years, or spent my life looking for revenge, then I wouldn't be the man I am today, the man my wife and children love, the man God has helped me to be."

-- Merv Budd, London, Ontario. Leadership, Vol. 19, no. 2.

Not forgiving others, not praying for them will only lead to destruction in our own lives.

Illustration

During World War II the U.S. submarine Tang surfaced under the cover of darkness to fire upon a large Japanese convoy off the coast of China. Since previous raids had left the American vessel with only eight torpedoes, the accuracy of every shot was absolutely essential. The first seven missiles were right on target; but when the eighth was launched, it suddenly deviated and headed right back at their own ship. The emergency alarm to submerge rang out, but it was too late. Within a matter of seconds, the U.S. sub received a direct hit and sank almost instantly.

In much the same way we can destroy ourselves by hostility toward others. The effects of holding a grudge are very serious. Modern medicine has shown that emotions like bitterness and anger can cause problems such as headaches, backaches, allergic disorders, ulcers, high blood pressure, and heart attacks, to name just a few. When we do not love our enemies but strike back at them, we are usurping Gods's prerogative to mete out justice. We read in the Bible, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord!" By seeking revenge, we really inflict great harm on ourselves.

:20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.

Remember Aaronís excuse, it was a doozy!

(Exo 32:24 KJV) And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

And even with a dumb excuse like this, Moses prayed for Aaron.

:22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.

Taberah Ė "burning"

(Num 11:1-3 KJV) And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. {2} And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched. {3} And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.

Massah Ė "strife", Exodus 17, the people were complaining about a lack of water, Moses struck the rock and God gave them water.

Kibrothhattaavah Ė "graves of greediness" Ė Numbers 11:31-35; the people are again complaining but now about a lack of meat. God gives them quail, and they rush upon the birds with greediness, eating them raw. A plague comes.

:23 Kadeshbarnea

This was the first entry gate into the Promised Land (Num.13). The twelve spies had been sent in, but when ten of them came back talking about how impossible it was to fight against the giants, the people decided they didnít want to go into the Promised Land.

:23 ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice

The grievous thing was not just that they disobeyed, but that they had already seen God do such incredible things, and STILL they wouldnít believe.

:25 Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights,

Moses is going back in his story to pick up the time of the rebellion at Horeb, when the people had worshipped the golden calf.