Deuteronomy 7-9

Thursday Evening Bible Study

October 7, 2010

Introduction

Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The name Deuteronomy means “second law”.

It is Moses’ final address to the people. It covers the last 1 ½ months of Moses’ life. He’s 120 years old.

He’s rehearsing the work of God in Israel’s past history, and giving them a review of God’s law before they cross into the Promised Land. 

It’s all about getting ready for the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 7

:1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you,

:1 Hittites … Girgashites … Amorites …

All but the Perizzites are descendants of Noah’s grandson Canaan. (Gen. 10)

See “Table of Nations” diagram.

:1 Perizzites[email protected]– “belonging to a village”

:2 and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.

:2 utterly destroy them

This sounds incredibly cruel, until you begin to understand who these people were. God was going to use the Israelites as a form of judgment on these people for their cruel practices.

Studies of their religion, literature, and archeological remains reveal that they were the most morally depraved culture on the earth at that time. (BKC)

:3 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.

:4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.

:5 But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.

:5 pillars – probably male fertility symbols associated with the worship of Baal.

:5 wooden images‘asherah – pornographic images of the Canaanite goddess Asherah.

Dealing with temptation

God wanted them to get rid of these things.

:6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

:6 a holy people

They are a people set apart to serve God.  Kind of like us.

Lesson

Unequally yoked

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
(2 Co 6:14–15 NKJV) —14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
A yoke was a block of wood that held two animals together so they could pull something together, like a plow. Typically a yoke contained two animals. A smart farmer would put two compatible animals under the same yoke. But if a stupid farmer put an ox on one side, and a donkey on the other, the results are simple, you’d go in circles.
To be unequally yoked with an unbeliever is to enter into some kind of binding relationship with the other person, whether in a business partnership or even in a marriage.
As a believer, you have an entire part of you, your spirit, that is completely opposite that of an unbeliever. You may have lots of other things in common, but the very foundation of your lives are completely opposite. They are under the reign of Satan, you are under the reign of God.
This is something that became a constant source of problems for the nation of Israel. Whenever they began to allow intermarriage with people other than Jews, there were problems.
The issue was not one of race, the issue was one of belief systems.

These horrible hate groups like the KKK or the Arian nations have taken principles like this and twisted them to make the issue be of “racial purity”. But the purpose in God’s mind was not about race, but about whether or not the people would continue to follow and worship the Lord.

Jehoshaphat
Jehoshaphat was a good king.

(2 Ch 17:3–6 NLT) —3 The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s early years and did not worship the images of Baal.4 He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel.5 So the Lord established Jehoshaphat’s control over the kingdom of Judah. All the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so he became very wealthy and highly esteemed.6 He was deeply committed to the ways of the Lord. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah.

A practice of kings was to take their children and give them in marriage to neighboring kings. The idea was that the neighboring king wouldn’t ever attack you because you had his daughter in your house, or vice-versa.

(2 Ch 18:1 NKJV) —1 Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance; and by marriage he allied himself with Ahab.

Ahab might have seemed okay as a father-in-law. After all, he was a Jews, and he was king of the northern kingdom of Israel. But his own household was all messed up because he himself had married the daughter of the king of Tyre, a gal named Jezebel, and had allowed Baal worship into the northern kingdom.

It didn’t seem like that bad of an idea, until Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, takes over the kingdom. The first thing that Jehoram does as king is to kill all his brothers, all who could be a threat to him as king (2Chr. 21:4). Then with his wicked bride Athaliah, he led the nation of Judah into wicked idolatry. When Jehoram died, and then his son died, Athaliah took over the nation and had all royal offspring killed so she could rule the nation by herself (2Chr. 22:10).

Unequally yoked is not a good thing.

What does this mean for me?

If you are a single person, you need to ask yourself, do you want to follow the Lord your entire life?
If so, then you are going to need to marry a Christian. Don’t get your sights on a person who is not a Christian thinking that you are going to “convert” them. It rarely works that way. Usually the non-Christian will just drag the Christian down.
If you are going to marry a Christian, you probably don’t want to find that person in a “singles bar”. On the off chance you find a Christian in a bar, is this the person you want to marry?

:7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;

:8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

:8 the LORD loves you

Lesson

God’s choice

This is a picture of grace.
He’s made us a special people.
Not because we were cool or awesome.
He loved us just because He loved us.

:9 “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

:10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.

We will see how God will “repay” with how God will use the Israelites to bring judgment on the Canaanites.

:11 Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.

:12 “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.

The Old Covenant was based on our obedience.

The New Covenant is based upon Jesus’ sacrifice and our faith.

:13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.

:14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.

:15 And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.

:15 the terrible diseases of Egypt

Moses is reminding the people of the plagues that God brought on the Egyptians as Moses was in the process of persuading Pharaoh to let his people go.

Lesson

It’s healthy to follow the Lord.

Much of the Law is simply practical. It’s healthier to follow God’s ways.
It’s interesting to note how many of the Jewish laws have ended up being quite healthy:
God had taught them to be clean, not unclean.
God had taught them to quarantine those who were diseased.
God had taught them to wash.
God had taught them not to eat fat.
God had taught them to take a day off and rest.
God had taught them not to eat yucky things like vultures or bats.

Are God’s laws all that bad? No, they’re quite healthy for you!

Illustration
Study finds churchgoers live longer

The reward of going to church might be a longer wait for heaven. Regular worshipers live 10% longer than those who never attend services, says a national study to be published next month. Life expectancy for weekly churchgoers is 82, and 83 for those who attend more than once a week. Nonchurchgoers, the survey finds, live an average of 75 years. When researchers adjusted the data for lifestyle factors such as weight and tobacco use, nonworshipers still had the highest risk of early death.

USA TODAY, April 26, 1999, 4 a.m. ET

:16 Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

:17 “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’—

:18 you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:

:19 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.

Think about the amazing things that these people have seen!

:20 Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left, who hide themselves from you, are destroyed.

:20 the hornet

Sounds like God would be sending in an advance team to strike the enemy early.

Could refer to a lot of things, the old AMC Hornet (a car), the F-18 Hornet (fighter jet), the Green Hornet (moving coming to a theater near you), but perhaps the bug variety (the Japanese hornet is quite LARGE, it’s sting can kill a person).  Some suggest the Egyptian army may have played a role with their own conquests into Canaan, softening up the locals before Israel came in.

:21 You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you.

:21 you shall not be terrified

Lesson

Fear

It’s our fears that keep us from doing some of the things that God wants us to do.
Sometimes our fears are based on the fact that we’ve forgotten just who God is.
The Israelites were told to remember what God had done for them.

God did crazy, amazing things!!

Sometimes we forget just what it’s like to have God on our side.
David remembered about God when he faced Goliath:

(1 Sa 17:45–46 NKJV) —45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

Illustration

An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious natural-history museum. “I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed. To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.” A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were exactly right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?” “Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath.’”

David “beat the odds” because he knew what God could do, and he trusted that God was with him.
There was a movie made back in 1980 about a kid who got bullied every day at school, until …
Play clip from “My Bodyguard”

We’ve got someone much bigger as our “bodyguard”.

David wrote,
(Ps 56:3 NKJV) —3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

:22 And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.

:22 little by little

For the Israelites, if the enemies were all gone at once, the wild beasts would have taken over before the Israelites moved in.

Lesson

Gradual progress

Some types of victory don’t happen all at once.
Don’t be discouraged because you might not be completely delivered yet, or because you seem to have so far to go. Be encouraged that God is taking you along, helping you to grow.
We don’t become spiritually mature overnight.  It’s a constant process.
Paul wrote,
(Php 1:6 NLT) And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

:23 But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed.

:24 And He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you will destroy their name from under heaven; no one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them.

:25 You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.

:25 covet the silver

Lesson

Watch out for the glitter

It seems that the enemy likes to use little things to catch our eye and draw our attention to the ways of the world.
We could say as the Israelites might have said, “Well, it’s not that I really like this Moloch or anything, but gosh the idol is covered with gold, and we could really use the money right now …”
Illustration
Fishing lures are designed this way, to have something that will gleam and catch the fish’s attention.  The fish gets close enough to look at what glitters, and it gets caught.
PlayBud Light Fishing” commercial
It’s all about the “lure”.  What catches your eye?  Is it trouble?

:26 Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.

Deuteronomy 8

:1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers.

:2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

:2 to humble you and test you

Lesson

Pop quiz

The forty years of wandering in the wilderness became a test then to see if these people would finally get serious about God.
Getting serious about God involves learning humility.
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” won’t really be that big of a deal.
But God sees the secret things, and He’s 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 don’t have their eyes in the right place.

Rather than getting busy serving God, even when serving means doing “small” things, they’re always waiting for the big things.

I know, because I’ve been there. When I left the Baptist church to become involved at Calvary Chapel, I expected the world to jump for me. Instead I was asked to do humiliating things like teach a Sunday School class. I knew that Children’s Ministry would lead me nowhere. But I was wrong.

Don’t be afraid of taking the humble road. You’ll find that that’s the road where God is on.

Jesus taught us a good lesson about this when He washed the disciples’ feet (John 13).  Simple serving cultivates humility.

:3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.

:3 by every word

I think that sometimes we don’t completely stop to understand what God was doing here and what He is saying.

This is another of the verses that Jesus quoted when He was being tempted by Satan.

(Mt 4:2–4 NKJV) —2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
What us preachers will do with this is to say that you need to be reading and studying your Bible.
That’s good.  I don’t disagree with that.  But pay attention to what is going on.

Lesson

Life from the Word

The Israelites were in the wilderness in Exodus 16, fresh out of Egypt and fresh out of food.  They started by complaining to Moses about the lack of food.  God responded by saying He would give them manna.
(Ex 16:4–5 NKJV) —4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”

The “test” here involved whether they would learn to only gather the manna six days a week and rest on the seventh.  God would have no manna on the seventh, but only six days a week.

The people were thinking that they needed bread to stay alive.
God was teaching them that they needed Him to stay alive.  They needed the things that proceeded from God’s mouth, like God’s command for the manna in order to stay alive.
What is it that you think you “need” in order to “live”?
The thing you think you need may be important, but what’s more vital is that we learn to come to God with our needs.  We need to learn to look to Him and what He provides as being the best for us.
Where do I find the things that proceed from God’s mouth?

The best place to start is the Bible.

It’s important to eat every day.
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.”

:4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.

God took care of the people in the wilderness.  They never had to buy new clothes.  Their feet didn’t swell despite wandering for forty years.

:5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.

:5 chastensyacar – to chasten, discipline, instruct, admonish

Lesson

Spankings prove love

The writer of Hebrews teaches on this concept (Heb. 12:7-11).
(Heb 12:6 NLT) 6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
The fact that you find yourself chastened by God from time to time is only proof that He is your Father.

Do you ever feel that it is unfair that you always get “caught” by God?  Don’t feel sad about this.  This is proof that God loves you enough to not let you get away with things that will harm you as His child.  It is proof that He cares enough about you to train you properly as a good father should.

:6 “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

:7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;

:8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey;

:9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.

:10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.

:11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today,

:12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them;

:13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;

:14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

:15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;

:16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end—

:17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’

:11 do not forget

Lesson

Remembering humility

We saw last week the danger of what happens when times get good – we forget what God has done in our lives and find ourselves walking away from God.
We need to cultivate humility – to remember what God has done for us and to stay just as “addicted” to Him in the good times as we are in the bad.
It’s the pride that comes from good times that causes us to walk away from the Lord.
Look what Paul wrote,
(Php 4:11–13 NKJV) —11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We often think of how important it is to find contentment when we don’t have all the things we want.

Paul says he’s also learned contentment when he “abounds”, when he has lots of stuff.

:18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

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

(1 Co 4:7 NKJV) —7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

We only have the things that God allows us to have.

:19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.

:20 As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 9

:1 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven,

:1 greater and mightier

Lesson

Yes, you can

Have you noticed how many times God reminds the people that the things ahead of them are bigger than they are?
The nations they are to conquer are greater than they are.  They are stronger than they are.
Does that make it impossible?  Not if God is on your side.
Jesus said,
(Jn 15:5 NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
When you are tempted to think that you can’t handle what God has placed before you, you may be right.  You can’t without God’s help.  But with God’s help, anything is possible.

:2 a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’

:2 Anakim

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.

:3 Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you.

:4 “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you.

:5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

:5 not because of your righteousness

Lesson

God is great, not me

There is a danger of falling into the trap of thinking that when God uses you, it’s because of your excellent spirituality.
Or if God doesn’t use you as much as someone else, it’s because you’re not as good as they are.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God wants us to grow spiritually and that God will honor our faithfulness in things like praying and studying His Word.
But even in these things, all that is really happening is that God is simply able to work more.
The success is always due to Him.

:5 because of the wickedness

Lesson

Judgement

This is one of the things that gets glossed over in Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.
We often think solely about them coming into the land that God had Promised to give them.
The actual timing of the event was tied to the wickedness of these seven nations that God was going to have Israel wipe out.
God spoke to Abraham about six hundred years earlier about his descendants going into slavery in Egypt and then coming back …

(Ge 15:16 NKJV) …But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

It was the iniquity of the Amorite, and the fact that God was finished with being patient with these people, that brought about the timing of the Exodus.

:6 Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.

:6 stiff-necked – The figure is that of a stubborn animal who refuses to submit to the yoke.

Lesson

God loves stiff-necked people

How’s that for grace! God is going to give the Promised Land to these people, but they’re a bunch of stubborn jerks!
And God DOES give it to them.
You may have your incredibly enormous problems, but God still cares about you and still wants to take you into the Promised Land.

:7 “Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day that you departed from the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.

:8 Also in Horeb you provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry enough with you to have destroyed you.

:9 When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.

:10 Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.

:11 And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.

:12 “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made themselves a molded image.’

:8 in Horeb – (Ex. 32)

The first time that Moses went up to Mount Sinai for forty days was to receive more details of the Law, the blueprints for building the Tabernacle, and to get a stone copy of the Ten Commandments.

Moses returned to find the people worshipping a golden calf.

When Moses returned, he found the people had been impatient with Moses being gone so long, and they had made a golden calf to worship.  Don’t forget Aaron’s account of how it happened:
(Ex 32:23–24 NKJV) —23 For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24 And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

:13 “Furthermore the LORD spoke to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed they are a stiff-necked people.

:14 Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’

:15 “So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.

:16 And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God—had made for yourselves a molded calf! You had turned aside quickly from the way which the LORD had commanded you.

:17 Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.

:18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.

Moses would spend another forty days up on Mount Sinai interceding for the people, trying to convince God not to wipe the people out.

:19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the LORD was angry with you, to destroy you. But the LORD listened to me at that time also.

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

:21 Then I took your sin, the calf which you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it and ground it very small, until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that descended from the mountain.

:22 “Also at Taberah and Massah and Kibroth Hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath.

:22 Taberah – (Num. 11)

The people were complaining.  God sent fire and some people died in the outskirts of the camp.  Taberah means “burning”.

:22 Massah – (Ex. 17)

The people were complaining about the lack of water, Moses struck the rock, water came out.  The people “tempted” the Lord.

:22 Kibroth Hattaavah – (Num. 11)

The people were craving meat, the Lord sent quail, the people got what they asked for, and many died.  “Graves of Greediness”.  Be careful what you ask for.

:23 Likewise, when the LORD sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, ‘Go up and possess the land which I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and you did not believe Him nor obey His voice.

:23 Kadesh Barnea – (Num. 13-14)

Sending the twelve spies into the land, and the report came back about the giants.  The people didn’t trust God to take them into the Promised Land.

:24 You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.

Do you see the pattern?

:25 “Thus I prostrated myself before the LORD; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the LORD had said He would destroy you.

:26 Therefore I prayed to the LORD, and said: ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

:27 Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin,

:28 lest the land from which You brought us should say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.”

:29 Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched arm.’

:26 I prayed to the LORD

Lesson

Shepherd’s heart

When people don’t do what’s right, it’s easy to get caught up in the attitude of getting mad at them or wanting to toss them to the side.
Moses prayed for his people.
I think that this is why God threatened to wipe them out.  Not because God actually intended to, but to challenge Moses and his heart, to see what Moses would do.
How are you handling those you are disappointed with?
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, though the authorities were pretty sure they knew who had done the crime.
Recently, a man confessed to the crime. Carrier 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.   McAllister died three days after accepting Christ.
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.