Deuteronomy 10-11

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 6, 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.

Weíre at a spot where Moses has been reminding the people that they havenít exactly been the most pleasant people to work with. Instead, theyíve been quite stubborn. Heís been talking about how they had rebelled against the Lord almost as soon as they were in the wilderness, when they had built the golden calf while Moses had been up on the mountain getting the Ten Commandments.

Deuteronomy 10

:1 make thee an ark of wood

An ark is simply a container, a box.

Noahís ark was a big floating box full of animals.

Mosesí ark was a wooden box, covered with gold, that could be the storage container for the two stone tablets, the covenant. Hence this was known as the "Ark of the Covenant".

:3 two tables of stone

Two stone tablets.

:5 there they be

At the time that Moses was talking to the people, the two tablets of stone were still in the Ark.

:8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.

Here is where God took one of the twelve tribes, and set them aside to be the special ones to handle the things of worship.

Actually, God made a deal with the nation. Technically, God had purchased the firstborn of all the families on the day of Passover. So God swapped His right to the firstborn with the entire tribe of Levi. They now belonged to God.

The sons of Aaron were also Levites, so the Levites were the "priestly" tribe, though not all Levites were priests.

Lesson:

Pattern for ministry.

You are called to ministry when God separates you out from the rest and says, "Youíre mine!"

You have several responsibilities in ministry:

1) Bear the ark Ė the ark contained the Ten Commandments, the Word of God. Youíve got to be the one carrying the Word if youíre serving the Lord.

2) Stand before the Lord Ė ministry is done with a sense of Godís presence. If you have no sense of Godís presence in your life, perhaps youíve run out too far ahead of the Lord.

3) Bless His name Ė ministry ought to come out of a heart of praise to God. A heart thatís right in ministry is a heart thatís in love with Jesus.

:9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance

The Levites would not have a tribal territory in the Promised Land. They would receive cities to live in, but the greatest part of their inheritance was the Lord.

:10 the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, and the LORD would not destroy thee.

We talked last time how Moses learned as a leader to pray for "difficult people".

His prayer was not, "Okay God, wipe them out!" But instead, Moses learned to pray for mercy for the people that had been so troublesome to him.

:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul

The Law wasnít intended to just be a cold bunch of rules for the people to obey.

It was always intended to be a matter of the heart. It was intended to be a matter of loving God and proving it by keeping His commandments.

:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

This isnít a literal circumcision, but a spiritual one. Circumcision represented a cutting away of the flesh, a ritual which meant that you were choosing to raise your son, or live your life, in a manner after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

We can tend to look at the Old Testament as being a life of rigid, cold obedience to Godís laws. But God always intended a warm, loving, spiritual relationship with His people.

Paul wrote,

(Rom 2:28-29 KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Paul wasnít making up some new doctrine, but simply explaining what God had already said, even in the very Law of Moses itself!

:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible,

Yahweh (the LORD) was not some local deity as the other "gods" were. He is the God of the universe.

terrible Ė this doesnít mean that God does a bad job at His "God-job".

yare' Ė to fear; to revere; to frighten; NAS Ė "awesome"

When you realize that God holds your very breath in His hand and can let you stop breathing at any moment, itís a little "terrifying". When you think even further and realize that the very atoms which make up your physical body are held together by Him, that if He wanted to, He could let go and youíd explode, itís a little fearful. When you realize that He is totally pure and holy, and we are totally unfit for His presence, yet He puts up with us anyway, even loving us, itís incredible!

:17 which regardeth not persons

God treats everyone the same. There is no partiality with Him. He doesnít look at Bill Gates and say, "Gosh, youíre the richest man in American, I better treat you right!"

:17 nor taketh reward

God doesnít take reward Ė He doesnít take a bribe.

Illustration

A guy from Tyson Foods arranges to visit the Pope. After receiving the papal blessing he whispers, "Your Eminence, do we have a deal for you. If you change The Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread....' to 'give us this day our daily chicken....' we will donate $500 million dollars to the Church". The Pope responds saying, "That is impossible. The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed". "Well," says the Tyson man, "we are prepared to donate $1billion to the Church if you change the Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread....' to 'give us this day our daily chicken...." Again the Pope replies "That is impossible. The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed". Finally, the Tyson guy says, "This is our last offer. We will donate $5 billion to the church if you change the Lord's Prayer from give us this day our daily bread....' to 'give us this day our daily chicken....'" and he leaves. Next day the Pope meets with the College of Cardinals to say that he has good news and bad news. "The good news is that the Church has come into $5 billion". "The bad news is that we are losing The Wonderbread Account".

God on the other hand can never be bribed!

:19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

God demonstrated His love for strangers by loving Israel in Egypt.

Because God loves strangers, then Israel ought to love strangers.

:22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Seventy people went down to Egypt. Two million came out.

Deuteronomy 11

:2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known

This renewing of the covenant wasnít with people unfamiliar with Godís great works.

You may say, "But didnít all the people die in the wilderness?" No, it was only fighting men from twenty years and up that died in the wilderness.

:6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram

This is from Numbers 16, Korahís rebellion. These guys werenít from the tribe of Levi, but they thought they ought to be priests anyway. God showed them a "new" thing.

:7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.

Those who would have been in the leadership positions, the "elders" would have been teens or younger. They had been there. They saw all these things happen.

:8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong

Again, Godís ways arenít for the purpose of ruining our "fun". Itís for keeping you alive. Itís for making you strong.

Illustration

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. The flashing red in his rearview mirror insisted he pull over quickly, but Jack let the car coast. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. He slumped into his seat, the collar of his trench coat covering his ears. He tapped the steering wheel, doing his best to look bored, his eyes on the mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow. Jack was tempted to leave the window shut long enough to gain the psychological edge but decided on a different tack. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform. "Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this. "Hello, Jack." No smile. "Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids." 'Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good. "I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?" "I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct." Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. "What'd you clock me at?" "Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?" "Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket. "Please, Jack, in the car." Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.

The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. "Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror, bottom teeth scratching his upper lip. When Bob vanished inside his car, jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it-a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left. Bob

Jack shifted uncomfortably in his trench coat. Then he twisted around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he, too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

:10 wateredst it with thy foot

Agriculture in Egypt was dependant upon irrigation. They had a system of canals and foot driven water wheels to keep the crops watered.

In Palestine, the land would be watered with rain.

:14 the first rain and the latter rain

Ryrie: The early (first) rain fell in autumn (Sept.-Oct.) and the late (latter) rain in the spring (Mar.-Apr.). These rains begin and end the rainy season.

:17 the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain

God has used drought as a form of judgment on a nation.

:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

Again, the Jews took this literally and made little leather boxes called "phylacteries" that contained bits of scripture in them and were (are) worn on the hand and forehead.

Jesus talked about this practice:

(Mat 23:1-12 KJV) Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, {2} Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: {3} All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. {4} For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. {5} But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, {6} And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, {7} And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. {8} But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. {9} And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. {10} Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. {11} But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. {12} And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisees were the ones who took great care about these things, but Jesus is pointing out that they had missed the point that Moses is bringing out.

Itís to be done from the heart, not as an outward display to impress people.

God isnít concerned with your ability to impress people, Heís concerned with how real you are as a follower of Jesus.

:24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

God gives a broad outline of Israelís borders.

From the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north.

From the river Euphrates to the Mediterranean.

:28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God

Even though we are no longer "under the law", this basically still holds true.

If you walk in Godís ways, you are going to find great blessings on your life.

If you choose to walk away from God, you are bringing nothing but trouble on yourself.

:29 that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

This would happen in Josh. 8:30-35, when Joshua set up an altar on mount Ebal, whitewashed the rocks, and wrote a copy of the law on it. Then half of the people stood on one mountain while the other half on the other, and they read the law to the people with the blessings and curses.