March 15, 2015

Deuteronomy 29-31 These are the terms of the Covenant that God commanded Moses to make with the People of Israel in the land of Moab, renewing the Covenant he made with them at Horeb.  Moses Blesses Israel on the Plains of Moab

Moses called all Israel together and said, You’ve seen with your own eyes everything that God did in Egypt to Pharaoh and his servants, and to the land itself—the massive trials to which you were eyewitnesses, the great signs and miracle-wonders. But God didn’t give you an understanding heart or perceptive eyes or attentive ears until right now, this very day.
I took you through the wilderness for forty years and through all that time the clothes on your backs didn’t wear out, the sandals on your feet didn’t wear out, and you lived well without bread and wine and beer, proving to you that I am in fact God, your God...

Diligently keep the words of this Covenant. Do what they say so that you will live well and wisely in every detail....
I’m not making this Covenant and its oath with you alone. I am making it with you who are standing here today in the Presence of God, our God, yes, but also with those who are not here today.... Don’t let down your guard lest even now, today, someone—man or woman, clan or tribe—gets sidetracked from God, our God,... 

God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It’s up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation.

Here’s what will happen. While you’re out among the nations where God has dispersed you and the blessings and curses come in just the way I have set them before you, and you and your children take them seriously and come back to God, your God, and obey him with your whole heart and soul according to everything that I command you today, God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors....

And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I’m commanding you today. God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you:... Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors....But only if you listen obediently to God, your God,... Nothing halfhearted here; you must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back...

This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain... And it’s not across the ocean...No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it!  Look at what I’ve done for you today: I’ve placed in front of you.  Life & Good Death & Evil.
And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess.

But I warn you: If you have a change of heart, refuse to listen obediently, and willfully go off to serve and worship other gods, you will most certainly die. You won’t last long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess...

Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Moses went on and addressed these words to all Israel. He said, “I’m 120 years old today. I can’t get about as I used to. And God told me, ‘You’re not going to cross this Jordan River.’...

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”... God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”...

God spoke to Moses: “You are about to die. So call Joshua. Meet me in the Tent of Meeting so that I can commission him.”... God spoke to Moses: “You’re about to die and be buried with your ancestors. You’ll no sooner be in the grave than this people will be up and whoring after the foreign gods of this country that they are entering. They will abandon me and violate my Covenant that I’ve made with them. I’ll get angry, oh so angry! I’ll walk off and leave them on their own, won’t so much as look back at them. Then many calamities and disasters will devastate them because they are defenseless. They’ll say, ‘Isn’t it because our God wasn’t here that all this evil has come upon us?’ But I’ll stay out of their lives, keep looking the other way because of all their evil: they took up with other gods!

“But for right now, copy down this song and teach the People of Israel to sing it by heart. They’ll have it then as my witness against them...Their children won’t forget this song; they’ll be singing it. Don’t think I don’t know what they are already scheming to do, and they’re not even in the land yet, this land I promised them.”  So Moses wrote down this song that very day and taught it to the People of Israel.

Then God commanded Joshua son of Nun saying, “Be strong. Take courage. You will lead the People of Israel into the land I promised to give them. And I’ll be right there with you.”...

So with everyone in Israel gathered and listening, Moses taught them the words of this song, from start to finish.

Galatians 3:28-4:31 - In Christ’s family, there can be no division into Jews and non-Jews, slave and free, male and female.  Among us you are all equal...and since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.  

Let me show you the implications of this.  As long as the heir is minor, he has no advantage over the slave.  Though legally he owns the entire inheritance, he is subject to tutors, and administrators until whatever date the father has set for emancipation.  This is the way it is with us....

You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!”  Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave but a child?

My dear friends, what I would really like you to do is try to  put yourselves in my shoes to the same extent that I, when I was with you, put myself in yours....You are well aware that the reason I ended up preaching to you was that I was physically broken and so, prevented from continuing my journey, I was forced to stop with you.  That is how I came to preach to you.  And don’t you remember that even though taking in a sick guest was most troublesome for you, you chose to treat me as well as you would have treated an angel of God--as well as you would have treated Jesus himself if he had visited you.

What happened to the satisfaction you felt at that time?  There were some of you then who, if possible, would have given your very eye to me--that is how deeply you cared!  And now have I suddenly become your enemy simply by telling you the truth?  I can’t believe it.  

Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten.  They want to shut you out of the free world  of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important.

Abraham, remember, had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman.  The son of the slave woman was born by human convenience: the son of the free woman was born by God’s promise.  This illustrates the very thing we are dealing with now.  The two births represent two ways of being in relationship with God.  One is from Mount Sinai in Arabia.  It corresponds with what is now going on in Jerusalem---a slave life, producing slaves as offspring.  This is the way of Hagar.  In contrast to that, there is an invisible Jerusalem, a free Jerusalem, and she is our mother- this is the way of Sarah...Isn’t it clear, friends, that you, like Isaac, are children of promise?  In the days of Hagar and Sarah, the child who came from faithless convenience (Ismael) harassed the child who came-empowered by the Spirit- from the faithful promise (Isaac).  Isn’t it clear that the harassment you are now experiencing from the Jerusalem heretics follows that old pattern?