Let’s turn now to Deuteronomy, twenty six, as we continue our study through the bible. And, we’re almost through with Deuteronomy, and I have to commend you, it isn’t easy, but you’ve stuck by it. Now, hey from now on, it’s, after we get out of Deuteronomy, it will really begin to pick up pace, and we get into some fascinating events in Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, and, ah I really love this historic portion, I love the law. It’s not always the easiest thing to handle, but I love it, and you’ve done very well.
Moses is making his final speeches to the congregation of Israel. He actually has four final speeches. Tonight we will be dealing with the third. Next week, we’ll begin the fourth of Moses’ final charges, final speeches to the people of Israel, prior to their going into the land. Moses is going to lay down somewhere on mount Nebo, and die. God will bury him. A new leader, Joshua will be raised up of the Lord, to bring the people into the land.
So here is Moses a hundred and twenty years old. Has led the people through the forty years of wilderness wandering. Has brought them to the border of the promised land. Is now to leave them, as God will not allow him to take them into the land, because he failed to represent God before the people, at the waters of Mirabah. So he is giving them instructions now, as when they come into the land.
And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you are possessing the land, and you are dwelling in it; That you’re to take some of the first fruit of all of the produce from the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you are to put it in a basket, and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make his name abide. And you shall go to the one who is the priest in those days, and say to him, I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to a country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us. Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand, set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. And you shall answer, and say before the Lord your God, My father [That is, Jacob] was a Syrian [Or an Armenian, actually.] he was about to perish, and he went down to Egypt, and sojourned there few in number, and there he became a nation, great, and mighty, and populous: But the Egyptians mistreated us, and afflicted us, and laid hard bondage upon us: Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice, looked upon our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with great terror, and signs and wonders: And he has brought us to this place, and given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which you, O Lord have given me. Then you shall set it before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God (26:1-10):
So the first activity when they come into the land, when they’re possessing the land, they’re dwelling there, they’re now farming the land. “You’re to bring the first produce, the first fruits of this land, you’re to put them in a basket, you’re to come to a place that the Lord will appoint, “which turned out to be Shiloh, “and to the priest that is ministering at that time, and you’re to acknowledge what God has done. Our father was a Syrian, he went down to Egypt, few in number, but there God made a great nation. The Egyptians began to afflict us, we were in bondage, heavy affliction, and the Lord delivered us out with signs and wonders. He has brought us now to this land.”
It’s an acknowledgment of what God has done, and the place of God in the nation. God is to receive the first fruits of the land. “He has fulfilled His word, He has kept His promise, we are dwelling in this land, it is a fruitful land. The ground brings forth abundantly, and now we bring the first fruits unto God.” And there they are to worship God.
So the first thing was the acknowledging of God, and the worshiping of God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon them. Surely when God works in our lives, and we see those blessings of God, the first response should be the offering unto God of ourselves. In Hebrews it said, “Therefore let us offer unto God the sacrifice of praise, even the fruit of our lips unto our Lord”. The giving thanks to God, as we acknowledge the work that God has done, and as we worship Him for the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. Verse eleven…
So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given you and your house, you, and the Levite, and the stranger who is among you. Now when you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it unto the Levite, and the stranger, and to the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled (26:11-12).
So the tithe was to go, not only to the priest, but to the poor people, the strangers, the widow, in order that they might have enough. So this worship of God is first, and then following right upon that is their service to their fellow man.
The work of God in my life must always ultimately be translated in the work of God through my life, in touching those around me. Your Christian faith, and your Christian experience, really is of no value if you just keep it all within yourself. “Oh I’m so blessed, oh I’m so blessed! Oh God is so good to me”, you know, and if it’s just all within, all subjective, then it hasn’t really accomplished the full purpose of God. God works in you first, that is necessary. But it never stops there. God always works in you to the end, that He might work through you, in touching others. So, bring the fruit, worship God, but now, minister to those who are in need around you. Take that love of God and take that blessing of God that you have received, and share it with those around you. So the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that we have received, that blesses our life. It has been given to us to share. Yes we worship and thank God for what He has done for us, but that’s not the end of it, there’s always got to be that distribution. That giving out of what God has given to us.
Then you shall say before the Lord your God, I have removed the holy tithe from my house, I’ve also given them to the Levite, to the stranger, to the fatherless, the widow, according to all your commandments which you have commanded me: And I have not transgressed your commandments, nor have I forgotten them: I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for unclean use, nor have I given any of it for the dead: [In other words, the practices and the customs of the people around them were to take food and lay it on graves, and so forth. And here would be starving people, and yet food laying on graves. “We haven’t done any of that with the food. We’ve actually given it to the poor, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow.”] So look down [verse fifteen] from your holy habitation from heaven, and bless your people Israel, and the land which you have given us, just as you swore to our fathers, a land that was flowing with milk and honey (26:13-15).
“God, we’ve kept your commandments, we’ve kept your word, we’ve done what you’ve told us to do. Now Lord, bless us, as we dwell in this land that you had described, adequately and accurately to our fathers. A land that flows with milk and honey.
This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgements: therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart, and with all your soul (26:16).
So Moses is talking to the people and telling them, “Now look, this day of blessing, this day of realization, as you’ve come into the realization of the promise of God, and the fulfillment of God’s promises within your life, then be careful that you observe these commandments with all your heart, and with all your soul.
Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in his ways, you’ve made your commitment to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his judgements, to obey his voice: Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be his special people, just as he has promised you, that you should keep all his commandments (26:16-18);
So this covenant was made with God. “You are our God, we will obey, we will follow, we will keep your statutes.” The commitment that they make, and God then commits Himself to them. “You will be my special people.” Always, it follows. We make our commitments to God, and God makes His commitment to us. As we come into the new testament, we find that God has committed Himself to us. He has committed that He would grant to us eternal life, by our believing and following Jesus Christ. God’s made His commitment to me, and God will keep His commitment to me. The important thing, is that I keep my commitment to God.
The Lord will set you high above all nations which he has made, in praise, in name, and in honour; that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as he has spoke (26:19).
“You’ll be God’s people. God will exalt you, He will set you high above the nations. They will look at you and praise you. You’ll be given honor, because you will be God’s holy people.” Moses continues this third exhortation…
Commanding the people saying, Keep all of the commandments which I command you today. And it shall be on the day when you cross over Jordan to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and white wash them with lime (27:1-2):
“So, when you come into the land, you’re to take these large stones, white wash them.”
And you shall write on them all of the words of this law, [On these stones were to be written the ten commandments, really.] when you have crossed over, then you may enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey; just as the Lord has promised to you. Therefore it shall be when you have crossed over the Jordan, that on mount Ebal, you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, and you shall white wash them with lime. And there you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones: you shall not use any iron tool on them. You shall build with whole stones the altar of the Lord your God: and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God (27:3-6):
So, “When you come into the land, take these stones, white wash them, build an altar unto the Lord, don’t, don’t carve them out. God doesn’t want any ornate carvings.” I’ve wondered sometimes what God thinks about a lot of these ornate churches, where you’re attention is drawn to all the ornate, fancy work. God said, “When you build an altar unto the Lord, don’t chip the rocks, don’t carve the rocks, just use the raw stone, without any carving on it”. These stones were to be set up on mount Ebal.
Now mount Ebal is just about on the geographic center of the nation of Israel. Just about the half way point between Dan and Beersheba. Between the Mediterranean and the Jordan. It’s in the land that is known as Samaria. Mount Ebal is above the village of Shechem, where Jesus met the woman at the well. There are two mountains there, there’s valley between them, mount Ebal and mount Gerizim. Upon mount Ebal, these white washed stones were to be placed, as an altar unto the Lord, and burnt offerings.
You remember the burnt offerings, were the offerings of consecration. Therefore at this place, they were to consecrate themselves unto God. This is the place of consecration. “You’re in the heart of the land that God has given to you! Now you are there by way of the covenant. For you have made a covenant with God to keep His commandments. To do the things that he has commanded you to do.” Therefore these white stones, that were white washed were set on the top of the mountain, the law was written upon them, and the people standing there were to make the offering of consecration. The burnt offering unto the Lord, where we consecrate ourselves to God. The nation is being consecrated to God to be a holy nation, the people of God. Very plainly, the words of the law were to be written. Then after the burnt offering though, verse seven…
You shall offer the peace offerings, [Which were the communion. They were when you sat down and ate with the Lord. Where you put a part of it on the fire, to give it to God, and then you take the rest and you sit down and you rejoice in the Lord your God, as you have fellowship and communion with God. You’ve made your commitment, and now it’s time for fellowship and communion.] There before the Lord, the law written very plainly on the stones. Then Moses and the priests and Levites spoke to all of Israel, saying, Take heed, and listen, O Israel; this day you have become the people of the Lord your God. Therefore you shall obey his voice, and observe his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today (27:7-10).
The obligation of God’s people, the responsibility of God’s people. “Today, you’ve become the people of the Lord, this is your obligation, this is your responsibility. That is to obey the voice of the Lord your God. Observe His commandments, His statutes.”
So Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, Now these are the tribes that are to stand on mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed the Jordan; the tribe of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin: And all of these shall stand on mount Ebal; the tribe of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebuulun, Dan, and Naphtali (27:11-13).
Now that is the leaders representing these tribes. Part of them were to be on mount Gerizim, the other part on mount Ebal, the congregation of Israel, down in the valley below.
And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice, and say to all the men of Israel, [From mount Ebal.] Cursed is the one who makes any carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen (27:14-15).
So here’s quite a scene, if you can get the picture. Up here on mount Ebal, the leaders from the tribe, standing as representing the tribes with the priests, the Levites. And they are to call. Now, the acoustics of that land, and I don’t know why, or what it is, but the acoustics in that land are fantastic. When you’re on the Herodian, you can hear the conversation of children a mile away, playing down in their house a mile away, you can hear the children as they’re calling to each other. Of course you can’t understand it, because it’s Arabic. From a village that is about three miles away, you can hear the sounds of the children as they’re playing, and as they’re chasing their dogs, the barking of the dogs. For three miles distance! The acoustics are tremendous! I don’t know what it is, there’s just not a lot of sound pollution over there, like there is here. But there’s something about, you know, Jesus, didn’t have a P.A. system, and yet He addressed thousands of people. But the acoustics over there are such that you can do that.
So, these Levites, up on the top of the mountain, calling down with a loud voice, “Cursed be the man who makes any carved or molded images! Craftsman who set things up, to worship it”, everybody down the hill answers, “Amen!”, and it rolls up the hillside. Sort of reminds me of when I was a kid. We used to spend our summers in Yosemite. Of course always in the evening, about nine o’clock, we’d wait, and all over Yosemite valley, in the camp grounds down below, you’d listen and you’d hear this guy up on glacier point, calling down and saying, “Are you ready Camp Currie”, you know and you can hear this guy, from clear on up on glacier point! You listen, and the ranger down in Camp Currie would say, “We are ready glacier point. Let the fire fall!”, you know and you’d see the beautiful, well, it wasn’t a waterfall, but it was a fire fall really, as they would push the big logs over the hill, that had been burning and you’d see this glorious fire fall, coming down from glacier point. But again, the idea, you could hear down in the valley. You could hear this guy up on top, and so it was, the priests were up on top. Of course Ebal isn’t nearly as high as glacier point, over the, over Yosemite valley. It’s nothing of that magnitude. Ebal’s just a little hill, as far as that goes, and same with Gerizim. They were up on the top, there on Ebal, calling down these curses. The people responding then, “Amen!”.
Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark. The response, Amen. Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road. [Now that would be a dirty trick! I’d say Amen to that one too. I mean anybody that would play a trick on a blind person, and lead him off into the tooleys or something, Amen!] Cursed is the one that perverts the justice that is due to a stranger. [God was very careful to take care of the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow. And if anybody perverts the justice, just because they are a stranger, or because they’re an orphan, or because they’re a widow. No one to defend them,] The people are to respond, Amen (27:16-19).
The next three or four curses have to do with sexual sins.
The one who lies with his father’s wife. Or the man who lies with any kind of an animal. [Bestiality. The first is incest. And again incest,] the one who lies with his sister, or the one who lies with his mother in law. And the people again are to respond, Amen. [Verse twenty four.] Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly. Amen. Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person. [So the Mafia was in operation in those days. They had their hit men. “And cursed is the one who takes money to slay an innocent person”.] And cursed is the one who does not confirm [Ah, now this is the catch all, this is the end.] Cursed is the one who doesn’t confirm all of these things. Amen (27:20-26).
In other words the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. And it’s alright. The whole thing is there. You’re not to take away, and Moses over and over again saying, “You’re not to take away from this law”. Danger, a real danger. People are prone to take away from the law, rationalize, or seek to justify themselves. Or seek to say, “Well I belong to a different era, different age.”, and so, “Cursed is the one that doesn’t confirm the whole thing.
Now, blessings. It’s interesting though that they deal a lot more with the curses, than they do the blessings. We have only fourteen verses of blessings, and we’ve just begun the curses. I guess because the people really disobeyed more than they obeyed. They didn’t obey that much and so they didn’t know that much of the blessings. But they disobeyed and did experience everything that God said they would.
It shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully, [Now notice, diligently obey, observe carefully, His commandments.] that the Lord your God will set you high above all of the nations of the earth: [Conditional, conditional to obeying the voice of the Lord, and observing, carefully, His commandments.] And all of these blessings will come upon you, and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God (28:1-2).
Now again, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The judgements of the Lord are true, and righteous all together. The commandment of the Lord is sure.” Blessed is the man, or happy is the man, or blessed, and here are the blessings that are promised to the man, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, does he meditate day and night. In other words, what the scripture is saying is that God has shown to us the way to live, the right way to live. If you will follow these rules, this is what you’ll experience. These are the blessings that you will have. These are the rules for blessing, for prosperity, for health. Violate these rules, and you’re gonna bring upon yourself, these judgements. “These are the blessings that will come upon you and overtake you.”
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. [Everywhere you go, you’ll be blessed.] Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, [That is, your children.] the produce of the ground, and the increase of your herds, [Everything you have will be blessed!] the increase of your cattle, and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. [That is you’ll have plenty of fruit, and plenty of grain.] Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out (28:3-6).
How blessed can you get?! Everywhere you turn, country, city, everything you have, blessed of the Lord.
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face: they shall come out against you one way, but they’ll flee from you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessings on you in your storehouses, and in all which you have set your hand; and he will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a holy people to himself, just as he has sworn to you, if [Conditional. If.] you keep the commandments of the Lord and walk in his ways (28:7-9).
So back to verse one. Observe carefully, obey diligently, and then he throws it in the middle. “If you keep these commandments, these are the blessings. God will bless you. God wants to bless you. God loves you! He wants to bestow His blessings upon you, but the blessings of God are conditional.” Walking in His ways.
Then all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, [your children] the increase of your livestock, the produce of your ground, the land in which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good treasure of heavens,, and give the rain to you in its’ season, he’ll bless all the work of your hand: you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head, and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath; [You will heed,] if you will heed [Again the conditions. “If you will heed”,] the judgements of God, which I command you today, and you are careful to observe them. So shall you not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (28:10-14).
“Stick straight on the course. Following God, obeying God, and God will bless you and you will be blessed of God, and you’ll be a blessed nation. You will experience all these blessings. But”, ooh, watch out! for the rest of the chapter we’re gonna find out what’s gonna happen through disobedience. What a warning! So, “Don’t turn away from any of the words, to the right or the left”.
It shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all of his commandments and his statutes which I command you today; that these are the curses that will overtake you: [This is the result of that kind of life. Shunning the voice of God, despising the law of God. “This is what’s gonna happen to you”.] Cursed shall you be in the city, cursed shall you be in the country (28:15-16).
So, just the opposite, where you were blessed in the city, blessed in the country, now you’re cursed. Really these are just going down the other list, only it’s rather than blessed, it’s cursed.
Cursed will be your basket, your kneading bowl, the fruit of your body, the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle, the offspring of your flocks. Cursed shall you be when you come in, cursed shall you be when you go out. [Heavy duty.] The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed, until you perish quickly; because of the wickedness of your doings, in which you have forsaken me, saith the Lord. The Lord will make the plague cling to you, until he has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. The Lord will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, scorching with mildew; they will pursue you until you perish. And the heavens which are above your head shall be brass, [or bronze] and the earth which is under you shall be iron (28:17-23).
There are some people who have used that concerning prayer, “the heavens above your brass”, and they say, “Oh it seems like the heavens were brass. My prayers just bounced back, they didn’t get through”. Wrong. Where does God dwell? We have in our minds, that God dwells somewhere out there beyond the furthest galaxy. But we know that, that’s a pretty long way off, and thus the acoustics would have to be fairly good for my prayers to reach Him. God dwells in the midst of His people. You don’t have to pray to the ceiling, you know God isn’t at the other side of the ceiling here. He’s dwelling in the midst of His people. When we talk to God, we should talk to God like our closest and dearest friend. Often times when I pray, I sit in a chair, and I just talk to God like He was sitting in the chair across the room from me. God dwells in the midst of His people. My prayers don’t bounce back from the ceiling because I don’t try to project them through the ceiling. God is with me. The heaven’s bronze refers to no rain, that’s what turns the earth to iron. You’ll not get any rain, and the ground will become so hard, it would be like iron. You won’t be able to get your plow into the ground. You won’t be able to turn the soil, it will be like iron, because of the lack of rain. Right in the next verse, context.
For the Lord will change the rain of your land to powder, and dust: and from the heaven it shall come down on you, until you are destroyed. The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies: you will go out against them one way, but you will flee seven ways [Instead of the other way around.] and you shall become troublesome before all the kingdoms of the earth. Your carcases shall be food for all the birds of the air, and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and the itch, from which you cannot be healed. The Lord will strike you with madness, and blindness, and confusion of heart: And you will grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways: and you shall be oppressed and plundered continually, and there will be no one to save you. You shall betroth a wife, but another man will lie with her: you will build a house, but you will not dwell in it: you will plant a vineyard, but you’ll not gather it’s grapes. Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, and you will not eat it: your donkey shall be violently taken away from before you, and shall not be restored to you: your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you’ll have no one to rescue them. Your sons and daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all day long: and there shall be no strength in your hands. A nation whom you have not known [Here Moses is actually prophesying. He’s gone from just warning them, he’s actually prophesying to them now. He’s prophesying to them of the Babylonian captivity. Just as he prophesies, so it was fulfilled. When Nebuchadnezzar came, and carried off the children to captivity into Babylon. “A nation who you have not known”,] shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor: and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually: So you will be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see. For the Lord will strike you in the knees, and in the legs, with severe boils which cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. The Lord will bring you, and the king whom you set over you, to a nation which neither you or your fathers are known; and there you will serve other gods, gods of wood and stone. And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all of the nations where the Lord will lead you (28:24-37).
An astonishment, a proverb, and a byword. God’s declaration to these people. “You have the special privileges, you can be God’s holy people. You can be blessed until you can’t contain it, or, you can turn your back on God, and this is what will transpire. Today, even to the present time, there’s great animosity in the heart of many people against a Jew. They really don’t know why, but they just hate Jews. There are people who just hate them because they are Jews.
Of course we saw the great holocaust, where Hitler set upon himself, the extermination of these people. The millions of them that were killed during that holocaust! But the hatred of the Jew isn’t over, he is still persecuted, and still you will hear people say, “Oh that dirty Jew”, it’s a byword. But this is what God said would happen. “You’ve become a byword, you’ve become almost a curse word to people.”
Now God’s people, the Christians in the church should love the Jew. I don’t think that you can be a true Christian, and be anti-Semitic. Because Jesus was a Jew after all. Paul the apostle expressed his love for them. He said, “My heart’s desire and prayer for Israel, is that they might be saved, for I testify of them. That if it were possible, I would give my own self, for their salvation. I would wish myself a curse from God, if that could bring their salvation”. Tremendous love for them! We should have a tremendous love for them and we should be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. God said He will bless those that bless them, and He will curse those that curse them.
But they brought upon themselves, by their rejection of the law of God, by their turning aside to their own ways, they’ve brought upon themselves these things that God said would happen to them. God is only, in love, warning them. This will be the inevitable consequence of your turning away, turning your back on me. This is what’s gonna happen. These are the warnings of God because God wanted them to remain obedient. God wanted to bless them! God’s desire was that they would be His people, a special nation. He made that covenant with them, but they broke the covenant with God.
Now, God desires that you be His special people. God wants to make a covenant with you, that covenant is through Jesus Christ, the new covenant. God wants to bless you as His people. But God also has made a conditional covenant with us. That condition is our believing in Jesus Christ. Literally into Jesus Christ, into that relationship with Him. Where we indeed allow Him to become the Lord and the Master of our lives. So important. The warnings of God. They’re heavy! Verse thirty eight…
You’ll carry out a lot of seed into the fields, but you’ll gather a little in; the locust will consume it. You’ll plant vineyards, and tend them, but you won’t drink of the wine, or gather the grapes; for the worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you won’t anoint yourself with olive oil; for the olives will drop off. You will beget sons and daughters but they will not be yours; for they will go into captivity. The locusts will consume all your trees, and the produce of your land. The alien that is among you and shall rise higher and higher above you; and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him: he will be the head, and you will be the tail. And moreover all of these curses shall come upon you, and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed; because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded you (28:38-45):
“Your failure has brought this upon you.” Now, this is Moses, the most revered prophet and leader of the Jewish nation. To the present day, among the Jews, the most revered person in their history is Moses. The one that God chose to lead them out of their bondage of Egypt. He is still honored and respected by these people. This is what Moses, the revered leader is saying to them. It isn’t somebody who hates them, it isn’t an outside uh Goyum that’s pronouncing all this stuff on them, it is their beloved leader, Moses himself. But it’s because he loved them that he wanted to warn them.
These curses will come upon you [verse forty six] for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants for ever. Because again you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of all the things (28:46-17).
“Here when God had blessed you so much, you had such an abundance. You would think that all of these blessings would turn their heart to God. You’d think that they would count it joy to be able to be in this relationship with God. God wants us to serve Him with joy and gladness of heart. They failed. God had blessed them. Surely I think that our nation is running in parallel lines to the nation of Israel. I believe that God’s hand was upon the birth of this nation, upon the establishment of this nation.
A very fascinating book, “The Light and the Glory”, that deals with a lot of history that you don’t get in your secular history books in school, but surely should be incorporated as a part of the history. There’s so much of our early history. You know, Russia has changed their history books. According to the Russian history books, it was a Russian that invented the cotton gin, and it was a Russian that invented the first airplane. I mean they don’t know anything about Wright brothers, and uh, you know, Stuart Mills, and these guys. They don’t know anything about them, because they’ve changed the history books. Kids don’t get the truth. Our history books have been so altered and doctored, our kids don’t know the truth.
You see, we have rewritten our history to write God out of it. The early attempts at colonization were disastrous failures. Because those first men that came over to colonize, came over motivated by greed. “Take advantage of the Indians, get rich in the new land.” And it was disastrous, and it ended in disaster, and in massacres. Those pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. They came over with the purpose of establishing a nation where they could worship God freely, without the dictates of the state. Their hearts were aflame with a love and a passion for God. They didn’t like the state telling them how they should worship God. They wanted the freedom to worship God. God blessed that colonization, and it was from that, that America grew. But these were people of prayer. These were godly people, seeking the will of God. And God blessed them, and God guided them and God helped them. They established one nation, under God. They were blessed as a nation under God.
But now, in the prosperity we think that we don’t need God, we can rewrite the text books. We can now praise the gods of free enterprise, and the gods of democracy. “It was free enterprise that made us strong economically. It was democracy that made us strong politically.” It’s a lie. You want to see free enterprise at work, go to Mexico. Every little kid is going to try to sell you Chiclets gum, or candy bars, or they’ll come up and wash your windshield while you’re parked at a light, and want money. That’s free enterprise! But it hasn’t made Mexico strong economically.
They’ve put, they’ve really, they have, you know we’ve got so much restriction on any kind of business today. The government almost puts you out of business before you can get in it. With all of the regulations right now to do anything, I mean, we are so hamstrung. We’re wanting to build up a polymer, the land that we purchased. It’ll take at least six months to go through all of the procedures of just getting the permission to build what we want to build. You can’t believe all of the reports, all of the regulations, all of the things that we’ve got to submit, to show that you know, this should be built up there. On your own property, property that you own. You know you’ve gotta go through this whole rigmarole. It’s stifling!
The interesting thing, the fellow who wrote most of the rules for the county of San Diego, after writing all of these stringent restrictions, then resigned his job as the planning director, for the county, and went into private practice. Because he can make a lot more money now, helping people get through all the red tape that he wrote! We’ve hired him. He’s gonna lead us through the red tape. Now it’s just six months of hassle, to give what they’re gonna give us anyhow, the permit to build. But you know they just put you through, make you jump through the hoops and do their dances, and the whole thing.
Once we were strong, once we were blessed, once we were prosperous. But it’s tragic that so often it’s in the time of prosperity that people get their hearts on other interests, and they turn from God. A nation usually doesn’t fall in the period of it’s struggle for birth, the time of sacrifice, but it’s usually in the time of prosperity that a nation becomes weak. A moral weakness that begins to eat away at the foundation that once held the nation up, and made that nation strong.
Israel did not fall to her enemies after her decline, but actually when in strength and in power, prosper, that they rotted from within, and it ultimately perpetrated their fall. So, “Because they did not serve the Lord with joy and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all of these things”…
Therefore you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, you’ll be hungry, and you’ll be thirsty, you’ll be naked, you’ll be needing everything: and he will put a yoke of iron upon your neck, until he has destroyed you. The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle; [Babylon] a nation whose language you will not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly, or shew favor to the young: And they shall eat the increase of your livestock, the produce of your land, until you are destroyed: they will not leave you grain, or new wine, or oil, or the increase of your cattle, or the offspring of your flocks, until they’ve destroyed you. They will besiege you at all of your gates, until your high and fortified walls in which you have trusted, come down throughout all your land: and they shall besiege you throughout all your gates throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you (28:48-52).
And he prophesies…
You shall eat the fruit of your own body, [That is, “You’ll eat your own children”, cannibalism.] the flesh of your own sons, and your own daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege, and the desperate straits, in which the enemy shall distress you: [This was actually literally fulfilled in II Kings, chapter six. You can read about the literal fulfillment of this prophecy of Moses. He goes on to amplify this, as far as the cannibalism.] The man among you, the sensitive, and very refined, will become hostile towards his own children, and his own brother, and his own wife, because of the tremendous hunger that he has. And he’ll not give the family anything to eat, he’ll take it for himself, because nothing will be left as a result of the siege, the tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set her foot upon the ground, because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will have an evil eye towards her children, and will eat of her own offspring (28:53-57).
That was fulfilled, II Kings, six.
If [verse fifty eight] you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, YAHWEH YOUR GOD or ELOHIM; Then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants, extraordinary plagues, great and prolonged plagues, serious and prolonged sicknesses. Moreover he will bring back upon you all of the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid; and they shall cling to you. And every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the Lord bring upon you, until you are destroyed. You will be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude; because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. It shall be that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do good, and to multiply you; the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy and to bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land that you will go in to possess (28:58-63).
What a prophecy of Moses to the people of God! They’re on the border of the land, they’re going in to possess, but it’s a warning, it’s an exhortation, it’s a prophecy. Because the things that he said, happened. You know, Abraham had a vision. God told him to lay out the sacrifices of these animals, and the night came on, and the birds came and tried to eat them, and he was busy beating off the birds. Then the darkness came, and with Abraham, a fear of the darkness, and Abraham had a vision of this great darkness that had engulfed him. Then he saw this flame, moving along the sacrifices, and God spoke to him. God told him that the nation was going to go through a period of darkness, great darkness, but then God was gonna work again. There would come out ultimately, again, there would be light.
The nation of Israel has gone through a long period of darkness. The time of their coming out into the light is upon us. We are seeing the rebirth of the nation. We have seen the beginning of God’s work in restoring these people. God has an unfulfilled seven year period, in which He is going to deal with them. In the bible it is the seventieth week of Daniel. It has not started yet, but God will deal with these people once more, and once more the blessings of God will come upon them, because they will turn, and they will repent. God will receive them again.
So we see history in the making. We see prophecy in the fulfillment. As we see the nation of Israel today, being prepared, for God is going to once again work among them. But oh that long dark night that they went through. Such suffering, no race of people on the earth have suffered to the degree, and the extent that these people have suffered. But God warned them. God was faithful in letting them know, the heavy hand that would be upon them. “You’ll be left few in number.”
The Lord will scatter you among the people, [verse sixty four] from one end of the earth to the other; there you will serve other gods, which you neither you nor your fathers have known, wood and stone. And among those nations you shall find no rest, there shall the sole of your foot have a resting place: but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, anguish of soul: Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life: And in the morning you will say, Oh that it were evening! and in the evening you will say, Oh that it were morning! because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see. And the Lord shall take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way which I said to you, You shall never see it again: and there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies, but there won’t even be anyone to buy you (28:64-68).
And so, the tragic consequences. The warnings if you turn from God. You see, being chosen as God’s special people, as I said this morning, has with it a awesome responsibility! “To whom much is given, much is required.” I rejoice in all that God has given to me. But you know the more God gives to me, the more I am responsible unto God. The more God requires of me actually. So, God help us. We are God’s people. We are God’s special people. Peter said, “You are His chosen generation, a royal priesthood. That you should bring forth fruit unto God”. God’s chosen you, God’s blessed you. But how important that in the time of prosperity and blessings, we don’t turn our backs upon God and begin to go our own way. How important that we continue to seek the Lord, and follow after Him, and keep Him first in our lives. That the blessings of God might continue upon us, as we walk in fellowship with Him.
Father, we thank you tonight for the fact that you have called us, and chosen us to be your disciples. That we should bring forth fruit that would remain. You’ve given us Lord, this special privilege of prayer, fellowship with you. To be called your people, to be called by your name. Lord may we be faithful to our responsibilities, to so walk before you with a complete heart and mind, towards the things of God. Worshiping you, serving you, honoring you, and loving you, that you might Lord, continue your blessings upon us, your people. And Lord, may we be to this decaying world, salt. The preserving influence. And God how we thank you for your church, and it’s preserving influence in our nation today. God help us to become even a stronger influence, that we might see our nation again, return unto God. That we might truly be one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Now, may the Lord be with you, and God help us, Hey it’s there, and it’s up to you to either obey or to ignore. There’s an old Greek proverb that says, “The dice of the gods are loaded”. That means, if you go against God, or you go against God’s word, you can’t win. There’s no way you can win! There’s disaster. So may we go forth to obey, and to keep the word of God. May we hide His word in our hearts, that we will not sin against Him. May we submit ourselves to the commandments of the Lord, walking in His ways, being led by His Spirit, seeking in all things to live a life that is pleasing, and acceptable unto Him. As we offer to Him, our sacrifices of praise, the fruit of our lips. Giving thanks unto God always, for His goodness, and His blessings to us. May your life be a light shining in darkness, that others may see, and be drawn unto our Lord, In Jesus’ name.
Deuteronomy26-28, PW Twente, date 11/30/99, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone # 310 476 4704
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7060