So we turn now in our Bibles to the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. Moses is revealing the history of the nation from it’s birth to this point. The nation is only forty years old. God has brought them out of Egypt. They are not yet into their homeland. They will soon be going in and taking the land that God has promised to them.
But as Moses is reviewing their history, in the book of Deuteronomy, he is also giving to them exhortations on how they are to continue to exist as a nation. And if they will follow certain precepts. If they will remain obedient and true unto God, then they will become a great nation on the face of the earth. But if they break their covenant with God, then surely they shall perish from the land. They will lose the benefits that God has given them. So the importance of hearing the Word of God, of following, of obeying, of observing and of doing all of the things that God said. So those are words that we are going to find repeated often, in the Book of Deuteronomy, and in chapter five, verse one…
Moses called all Israel, and said to them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the judgements which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them [hear, learn] and be careful to observe them (5:1).
Now that’s observe, in the sense of doing. We say, “Well, I observed him”, but that’s not what the meaning is here. I say, “Here is the rule, see that you observe it. That you keep it.”, and so that is the idea here with Moses. To observe, or to keep these statutes and judgements of the Lord.
For our Lord made a covenant with us in Horeb (5:2).
Horeb of course, is where God gave the covenant, the law, unto them. This law is a covenant. “I will be your God, and I will bless you, if you do these things. If you walk by these statutes. If you keep My commandments. Then I will bless you, and I will multiply you, and I will bring you into the land”. The covenant that God made. “If you do this, then I’ll do this.” The covenant that God made with Israel was predicated upon their obedience to the law, their keeping the commandments of God, their walking in His statutes.
Now, it should be observed that they did not keep the covenant. They broke the covenant. They disobeyed the law. They did not walk in His statutes. The time came when they did make graven images, and they became very common. The time came when they worshiped other Gods. Mammon, and Molech, and Baal. Because they broke the covenant, they were driven from the land. They were dispersed into all the world. The covenant made by God, to Israel, did not remain, because of man’s failure. It was a covenant that was predicated upon man’s obedience.
God has now made a New Covenant. This Covenant is through Jesus Christ. This Covenant shall stand, because it is not predicated upon your obedience, your faithfulness, your hanging on, or whatever. But the new covenant is predicated upon God, sending His Son, to die for our sins, and your believing in the work of God!
So the New Covenant that God established with us through Christ, is the covenant of faith, on our part. If we will just believe on Jesus Christ, God will cleanse us of our sins, God will make us His people. But, He will impart to us, His Spirit, which will be to us a power within, to give to us the ability to obey the commandments, to keep the statutes, and to walk in the way of the Lord. But it is now the work of God within me, by His Spirit. It is my simply believing and trusting God to do His work.
Thus the New Covenant has stood, shall stand, cannot fail, because it’s predicated upon God’s faithfulness. When Jesus took the bread and the cup, He said, when He took the cup, “This cup is a new covenant, in My blood for the remission of sins”. So God has established this new covenant through Jesus Christ, the covenant that stands today. The covenant by which we stand, as God’s children. The covenant by which we cannot fall, because it is a covenant that’s based upon the faithfulness and the work of God in our behalf. How we thank God for this New Covenant! If I had to relate to God by the old covenant, I’d be out, with the rest of them. But because of this New Covenant, I’m in! Because God is faithful. God has kept His word, and God has worked in my heart and life. God is given to me of His Spirit, and God has empowered me, and God has changed me. It is God’s work, not my work. God’s work cannot and will not fail. So, “The Lord made a covenant with us in Horeb”.
He did not make the covenant with your fathers, who are dead, he made the covenant with you. [“Those of you who are here today. All of us who are alive. The covenant is with us”.] The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire (5:3),
“There was standing there, before the mountain the fire came down on Horeb, and the voice of God came out of the fire, as they stood there.
(And I stood between you and the Lord at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord: for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up to the mountain (5:4);)
Fear gripped their hearts as they saw the fire. The cloud descending, and the fire upon the mountain. They heard the voice of God, Moses stood between them. They were afraid to come near, and so Moses declared to them the basis of the covenant. And this is the covenant that God made.
I am Yahweh, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, But showing mercy to thousands to those who love me and keep my commandments (5:6-10).
Here to me is an interesting revelation of God, to us. As He reveals Himself. “I am Jehovah, or Yahweh, your God. I am a jealous God, and I visit the iniquity of the fathers onto the children, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me”. Now, some people say, “Well God’s not fair! Why should the children suffer for the parent’s sin?”. Let us note that there is the inevitable consequence of the parent’s sin upon the children. That just oftentimes is unavoidable. What the parents do, often times, has a marked effect upon the children.
Children from divorced parents have just a certain difficulty that you cannot over come. No matter how amicable your separation. Nor how, no matter how well you get along with each other. No matter that you have determined that you’re not going to turn the children against each other, and things of this nature, children still suffer from a divorce. The sins of the parents are often visited upon the children, in that the child feels a rejection, if their dad is taken off with another woman. Try as you may to assure them that you love them, and oh they’re important to you, they don’t believe it, because your actions have spoken louder than your words. They feel rejection. They feel that you have rejected them. Many times, a child feels the rejection even greater than the parent, than the wife, or than the husband. Children are too often the ones who suffer most from the divorce. There you have the sins of the parents, visited upon the children.
Now, it doesn’t mean that if your parents were unrighteous people, that you’ve got to then, you know, face the wrath or whatever, of God, for the rest of your life, because He’s gonna visit the sins of the parents on the children to the third, fourth generation. There is a condition there. “To the third and forth generations of those that hate me.” If the child continues in the hatred of God, that was manifested in his parents, then God’s judgement continues. The parent’s sin is visited even to the third and fourth generations of those that hate me.
But, to those that love, notice, the blessings of the parents go to the thousandth generation. To those that hate, third and fourth generations sins are visited. But He shows mercy to thousands and that thousands would be thousands of generations. It’s plural. “The thousands of generations, to those that love me and keep my commandments.”
I think that one of the most blessed things, coming from a home, which both of my parents love the Lord. They were solid in their faith in Jesus Christ. God’s mercy was upon them, and visited upon their children, so that all my brothers and sister walked with the Lord, and continue to walk with the Lord. We’re all Christians. My sister’s sons, four of them, all walking with the Lord, some of them in the ministry, serving the Lord. Their children, all loving the Lord. My own family, all my children, loving the Lord. God’s mercy’s poured out upon them. Three of them involved in the ministry. My grandchildren, all of them, loving the Lord. Talking about Jesus, and the mercies, and this can go on to the thousands of generations of those who obey and keep His commandments.
Oh the blessings of God, the mercies of God continue, and they’re passed on. How important, that we, as parents, walk in obedience to the commands of the Lord. That the mercies and the blessings of God might be passed on to our children, and to their children. Of course, so often you read, under their children’s children. I’ve arrived, I qualify for that category now, my children’s children. Glory! Going on.
Observe the Sabbath day. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Remember or observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm: therefore the Lord your God command you to keep the sabbath day (5:11-15).
So these first four commandments, have to do with your relationship with God. Your relationship with God is primary. You cannot even hope to keep the next six commandments unless you keep the first four. Unless your relationship with God is right, your relationship with man cannot be right. It’s always going to be messed up! Now, we look at man with his messed up relationships with man. The problems in marriages. The problems between husband and wife. The problems between parent and child. These relationships that we have around us. These relationships so often get messed up, and we go to counsel, and try to our relationship with this person right, it’s just all topsy-turvy. But if you only work it, trying to correct your interpersonal relationships with others, without coming at the center, the heart, you’re only treating symptoms. Really at the heart of our problems is our relationship with God! Thus the laws that relate to your relationship with God are first, because that has to be corrected first.
Now, you’ll also discover that if your relationship with God is right, is correct, then the other relationships just have a way of falling into balance. They begin to work out. You can always trace your bad relationships back to your relationship with God. If your relationship with God is all that it should be, if you’re following, and obeying the commandments of the Lord, then your relationship with each other is going to be alright! You’re going to walk in love, and you correct these other relationships.
So, the first table of the law has to do with your relationship with God. There are four commandments. God first, no other gods before Him, loving Him more than anything else. Not making any graven images, to bow down and worship them. Of any kind of a, no objects of worship that you bow before. Nothing. The keeping of the name of the Lord holy, and reverent. Then remembering the sabbath day, and keeping it holy.
Now if you violated one of these first four commandments, you were considered to be ungodly. That is, you are not relating to God, as God would have you to relate to Him. You’re living an ungodly life. You violated one of the first four commandments, or all four, as the case may be.
The second six commandments have to do now with our relationship with each other. If you violated one of these six commandments, then you were called unrighteous. The difference between ungodliness and unrighteousness is, the ungodliness is the violation of the first table of the law, unrighteousness is a violation of the second table of the law. This is the right way in which God would have you to relate to each other.
This is what’s right. This is what you should do to be right with your fellow man. To break these is unrighteousness. So Paul, in Romans one said, “For the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of man, who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness”. You’re not holding it in the right way. So, the second six begins with the family.
Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you; that your days may be long, and it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you (5:16).
So the honoring of your parents. My mother taught me many Scriptures. Helped me to memorize hundreds of Scriptures when I was a little boy. The first Scripture that she taught me to memorize was, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the earth”. You know, I thought, “What a wise mother!” First Scripture I ever learned. First Scripture I ever memorized. “Honor thy father and mother. Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” It’s the first commandment that deals with relationship with fellow man. That relationship in the home. What a tremendous priority that God put on the Phileo relationships. What a tremendous importance that God put upon the honoring of the parents, by the children.
I think that it is extremely dangerous when there is an attempt often, to encourage a child to challenge the authority of his parents. This value clarification system, that has been introduced within our schools. Where you encourage a seven year old child to determine what is right. Making up his own decisions, and then putting these situations before him, that would be confusing even to an adult. Demanding that they make a decision. “Honor your father and your mother.” This is basic to human relationships.
You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You’re not to covet your neighbor’s wife, or house, or field, or animals, or servants, or anything that is your neighbor’s (5:17-21).
You’re not to covet your neighbor’s possessions. So these six constitute our relationships with each other.
These words the Lord spoke unto all of your assembly in the mountain in the midst of the fire, and the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice: [It sounded like thunder as God spoke to them. Trumpet. Tremendous trumpet blast.] and he added no more. And he wrote them on the two tables of stone, and he gave them to me. And so it was, when you heard the voice of the Lord from the midst of the darkness, (while the mountain was burning with fire,) that you came near to me, all of the leaders of your tribes, and your elders; And you said, Surely, the Lord our God has showed his glory and his greatness, and we’ve heard his voice from the midst of the fire: we’ve seen this day that God speaks with man, and still man can live. Now therefore why shall we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we will die. So who is there of all flesh, who has heard the voice of the living God and still lived? So you go near, [“We’re afraid to go, we’ll die, so you go and you listen to what God has to say.”] and then you tell us all that God says to you: and we will hear it and do it (5:22-27).
Now Moses said, “hear and do”. They are promising, “Look Moses, we’re afraid to go near that burning mountain. Who can approach God and still live? So you go and you listen to what God has to say, and then you tell us, and we will then do what God tells us to do.”
So God heard the voice of your words, when you spoke to me; and the Lord said to me, I have heard the voice of the words of the people, which have spoken to you: they are right in all that they have spoken (5:28).
In other words, Moses is to be the intermediate between God and man.
O [God says, and this is a lament of God. This to me is very pathetic, in a way. God lamenting over the people.] O that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and always keep all my commandments, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever (5:29)!
“O”, God said, “That they would keep the commandments, that it might be well with them”. In a sense, God is almost weeping here. It’s a lament. It reminds me very much of the New Testament, when Jesus was looking at Jerusalem, and He was weeping. He said, “O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and all that God has said unto thee. How often would I have gathered thee together as a hen doth gather her chicks under its wings. But you would not”. Then again, weeping over Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if you only knew the things that belong to your peace in this your day. If you only knew what you could have. If you only knew what God would do for you. But you won’t listen, you won’t obey.” The Lord is lamenting over the fact of their lost blessings, because God was wanting to bless them. “O that they had this heart forever. O that ever they would be obedient to me. O that forever they would put Me first in their lives, and keep Me first, so that I could bless them as I desire to bless them!”
God wants to bless your life, because God loves you. But it is possible for us to put ourselves outside of the place of God’s blessing, by our own activities, or actions. We can actually put our self outside of the place of blessing. Then God laments. “Oh that they had a, oh if they only would obey Me, and had a heart towards Me, that I might do for them what I’m desiring to do. That it might be well with them and their children forever. That this relation might just continue on forever, and they could be my people, my treasure, and I could bestow upon them all of my mercy, and grace, and love, which I desire to reveal.”
So God said to Moses, Go and say to them, Return to your tents. But God said to him, But as for you Moses, you stand here by me, and I will speak to you all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgements, and you shall teach them, that they may observe them [And again over, and over, and over: observe, observe, observe.] in the land in which I am giving them to possess (5:31).
So the commandments, the Ten Commandments. The statutes are the rules by which they were to approach God in worship, and the judgements are the decisions that were to be issued by the judges in the various issues that were brought before them.
Therefore you will be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you and you shall not turn aside to the right hand or the left. But you shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that you may be well, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you possess (5:32-33).
So you’re to do these things, obey these things, that you might live, that you might be healthy, and that you might prolong the days in the land. You might remain in the place of blessing that God has given to you.
Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes, and the judgements, which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them [again, observe, observe, observe] That you may fear your God, to keep [to observe, to keep] all of the statutes and his commandments which I command you, and your son, and your grandson, and all the days of your life; that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it; that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you, a land flowing with milk and honey (6:1-2).
So, here, observe, keep, do. And the whole idea is the commandments, and the statutes, and the reason, that it may be well with you. That you may be prosperous, that you may be blessed. These are the rules for prosperity, these are the rules for blessing. David, in referring to these, in Psalm one, said, “Happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in this law, he meditates day and night. For he”, who?, the man that is in the law of the Lord, delighting in it, meditating in it, “he will be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season. His leaf also will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper”.
The rules for happiness, the rules for prosperity, the rules for longevity, they’re all right here! “The man who delights and keeps the law of the Lord. Walks in it day and night.” And so God said, “That it might be well with you, that you might prolong your days, that you might enjoy, and continue to enjoy, the goodness and the blessings of God.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord or Jehovah, our Elohim, Jehovah is one, or Yahweh (6:4):
Now this is known as the Shema. It is something that every Jew repeats everyday. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God the Lord is one:” Interesting, looking at the Hebrew text itself, the Lord, our God, Elohim. The Elohim is plural in Hebrew. God singular is El, Hebrew has a dual tense, and God in the dual tense in Hebrew too, would be Ela. The Hebrew plural is Eim. Thus God plural is Elohim. Jehovah our Elohim, three in one, is one. Because the three are one, however, the real interesting part of this is that in Hebrew, you have two words for one. The one word in Hebrew is Yacheim, and Yacheim, is an absolute one. The other Hebrew word for one, is “echad”, and echad is a compound unity. So, I would say, “My wife and I are echad”. We’re a compound unity. We are one. Or my family is echad with me. My family is one with me. A compound unity. Now, in this Shema, which is really the foundation for the whole Judaistic system, and Monotheism, is, “The Lord our God, the Lord is Echad”. A compound unity. Father, Son, and Spirit, who are one. Echad, the compound unity.
Had the Lord declared, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God the Lord is Yacheim”, than any other argument for the trinity would be blown out of the water. You could never, ever, assert that God is manifested in three persons, yet one God. That concept could not be if, the Lord had said, “The Lord is Yacheim”. But in declaring, He is Echad, you have in the word itself, the compound unity. So the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God. Compound unity. Exciting to me. Because we have then the deity of Jesus Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, and the deity of the Father. The three are one. Echad, compound unity.
And you shall love the Lord our God [or your God] with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might (6:5).
Now a lawyer came to Jesus, and said, “Which is the greatest commandment?”, and Jesus quoted the Shema to him. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one God. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” That’s the greatest commandment, Jesus said. So here is the greatest commandment in all of the bible. The greatest commandment in all the bible. “You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Love God supremely! That’s the greatest commandment.
Now, as you look at the first four commandments, they are summed up in this. The commandment that, “Thou shall have no other God before me”, it’s all here in the positive. “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart”. If you love Him with all your heart, then He’s gonna be first. You’re not gonna have any other God’s before Him. “You’re not to make any graven images. You’re not to take His name in vain. You’re to remember Him, the sabbath day, keep it holy.” Remembering Him. And if you love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, then that will take care of the first four commandments.
Now, Jesus added, it’s not here in the Shema, but Jesus added, “And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. Now Jesus wasn’t saying, “So you’ve gotta to learn to love yourself so you can love your neighbor”. He was acknowledging the fact that you already love yourself. Self-esteem is not the greatest need of mankind today. Nor the lack of self-esteem is not sin, or the greatest sin in the world today. The greatest sin in the world, is the rejecting of Jesus Christ, and the greatest need is submitting to Jesus Christ.
The Lord acknowledges that we love ourselves. The bible says, “No man has yet hated himself”. You say, “Well, I hate myself! I look in the mirror, and I’m so ugly I just hate myself”. Wait a minute. A person that you hate, are you angry because they’re ugly? Or would you be happy because they’re ugly? If you really hated them, you’d say, “Man they are so ugly, I just love it!”, you know. And thus if you really hated yourself, you’d look in the mirror and say, “Ha, ha, ha, I’m so ugly! I love it, I love it, I’m so ugly, you know! Because I hate me!” No. Don’t try and give me that stuff!
If we take a quick picture of all of you, as you’re leaving the church tonight, we all file out the door, and we’ve got the video cameras out there, and we’re watching everybody pile out of the church. As we then put the big screen up, and we show the video, who will you be waiting to come on the screen? Who will you be looking for? “Quiet, shh! I’m next!” I don’t know, maybe I’m different. But when I look at a group picture, I look for me! I want to see how I look. I want to see if I closed my eyes at the flash, and if I did, then it’s a horrible picture, it’s an ugly picture. I don’t like that picture, tear it up! I look bad! And though everybody else may look great, because I look bad, it’s a horrible picture and should be destroyed. But you say, “That’s the best picture I’ve ever had of me! Ooh look at me”, “Tear it up, it’s horrible! I don’t look good”.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” You love yourself enough to see that you get three square meals a day! To see that you have opportunities for a little luxury once in a while. Love your neighbor as yourself. Are you concerned with his need, as much as you are your own need?
Now, Jesus said, “On these two (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and your neighbor as yourself), on these two, is all the law and the prophets”. I mean the whole thing is wrapped up right here. The whole law and prophets. Now, in quoting the greatest commandment, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy, chapter six, verses four and five. So the Lord declared…
All of these words, which I command you today, shall be in your heart (6:6):
Now, it’s important that they’re in your heart, because the heart is the seed of the will of man. A lot of people have these things in their minds, but it doesn’t always effect their lives, and God wants it to effect your life. Therefore, He wants it to be in your heart. Mentally, I say, “Yeah, that’s right! I wish the whole world was like that!” See, in my mind, intellectually, I assent, it is a good way to live, it would be great if everybody lived that way. But what about my heart? Am I living that way? More of just a mental assent or consent to it. More than just an ideal that I agree to. It’s got to be something in my heart that I am obeying, and observing, and following, and keeping. “They shall be in your heart”, and, first of all they’re to be in your heart, and then secondly…
You’re to teach them diligently to your children, Teach them diligently! You should be spending time with your children in training them in the ways of God and in the word of God. You, as a parent have a responsibility to your children. You should be teaching the ways of God to your children, and then,] you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up (6:7).
You should be talking about the Lord in your family. Family conversations. One wonderful thing, one of the many wonderful things about my wife is, when the kids were growing up, always had scriptures posted around the house. The word of God, posted around the house. We talked about the things of the Lord, we talked about the scriptures. We would have discussions with the children on the bible verses. When we would read the bible together, then we’d say, “Now, what does that mean to you?” or, “Explain that. How do you understand that?”, and we would have bible discussions with the children. Discussing God’s truth, and that’s what we are commanded to do. It’s to be in our heart. But it’s also to be taught to our children, and then it’s to be the center of the conversation around our houses.
Then they were to bind them as a sign on their hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes (6:8).
So the Jews today, have these little boxes that they bind on their wrists, when they come to the Wailing Wall to pray, they would go through this process of taking this leather strap and binding this little box on their wrists. In that little box, is the Shema, “Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, is one God”. They have these little boxes that they have tied with a leather strap, right here between their eyes, on their frontlets. Right there in the front, this little box, and in that box, the Shema. They are literally obeying this outward boxes on their foreheads and their arms. But, more important that it’s in my heart.
You know, I can go through the rituals, they have the Mezuzah, this little metal ornamentation that’s on the door post of their houses, and as they come into their house, the practice is to kiss your finger, and touch the Mezuzah. Inside of the Mezuzah, is the Shema, “The Lord our God is one Lord”. But again, gotta be in your heart. It’s more than just giving lip service, or more than just tacking it or tying it on your wrist, or tying it on your forehead, you’re to keep it in your heart, that you might obey it, and observe it, and do it. Then you’re to write them on your door posts, so that’s this little Mezuzah that they put on the door posts of their house. You’ll see it often on Jewish homes, or in the Jewish hotels, as you go into your room, you’ll see the little Mezuzah, tacked up on the door posts, in obedience to verse nine.
And it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you the large and the beautiful cities, which you did not build (6:10).
“Now here’s what God’s gonna give to you. He’s gonna give you large and beautiful cities that you didn’t have to build!” Pretty nice!
Houses that are full of good things, which you did not fill, hewn out wells that you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive trees, that you didn’t plant; when you have eaten and are full; Then beware lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage (6:11-12).
“Now God’s gonna give you all these things, gonna give you beautiful cities that you didn’t build. Houses full of good things, that you didn’t fill. Wells that you didn’t dig, vineyards, orchards that you didn’t plant. You’re gonna eat, and you’re gonna be full. But beware! When you are blessed that you don’t forget God. “Lest you forget”.
And you shall fear the Lord you God, and serve him, and shall take your oaths in his name (6:13).
Now Jesus said, “You really shouldn’t take oaths at all. You’ve heard that it has been said, ‘You shall swear by the Lord’, but let your yes be a yes, and your no be a no”. Now the only reason why a person has to take an oath is because he isn’t good to his word. You know, a person says, “I’ll do it!”, you say, “Well man, swear to me you’ll do it.”, “I swear on the bible!”. Jesus said, “No, you shouldn’t have to swear. You should be a man of your word, if you say yes, you should mean yes, if you say no, you should mean no”. That way you should eliminate the necessity of taking an oath. Swear not at all.
You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the people who are all around you; (For the Lord your God is a jealous God among you) [He will not allow you to put any other gods before Him, He will not allow you to worship other gods. He wants your love exclusively. There’s nothing wrong with that. You fellows that are married, you don’t want your wife falling in love with every guy that comes around. The same with you gals that are married, you don’t want your husband falling in love with every little chick that comes around. You want him to love you exclusively. If he starts showing attention to someone else, you get upset! You get quiet, you get steely eyed. Steely jawed, you don’t like it! And you shouldn’t! And he shouldn’t! And God doesn’t. God doesn’t like you just being drawn away after other gods, other ideals, other interests. He wants your heart, your whole heart. “So your God is a jealous God among you”] lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you, and destroy you from the face of the earth. You shall not tempt the Lord your God, as you tempted him in Massah (6:14-16).
Massah means temptation. That was when they came to the wilderness, and they began to accuse God of bringing them out there to kill them by thirst, and they came to Moses, and Moses went before the Lord. And the Lord said, “Go out and speak to the rock”, and he went out and he smote the rock. God gave them water, but it was called Mirabah, and Massah. Massah because they tempted God, by their complaining, Mirabah, because of the strife between the people and God. So, you’re not to tempt God as you did at Massah, by falsely accusing God. Charging God of foolish things.
But you shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, his testimonies, his statutes, which he has commanded you. And you shall do [Notice, you shall keep, diligently keep, you shall do] what is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with you, that you may go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware to your fathers, And to cast out all of the enemies, as the Lord has spoken. And in time to come, your son says, “Hey dad, what is the meaning of these testimonies, and these statutes, and these judgements, which the Lord our God has commanded you? Then you shall say to your son, Son, we were slaves of the Pharaoh in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, and Pharaoh, and all of his household, Then he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in, and to give us the land which he swore to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to observe [observe] all these statutes, and to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, [And it’s always for our good. The law was intended for our good. We need to realize that. It wasn’t intended by God to be a restricted thing, so that you’re going to be miserable. It was intended for your good, that you could have a happy life. Let me tell you, you may think that you know better than God, but you don’t. You may think that you can find happiness by violating the law of God, you can’t. You’re only mistaking, making a mistake in deceiving yourself. God intended the law for your benefit, and for your good. That is why we shouldn’t look disparagingly at the law today. We so often you know, in our Christian era say, “The law doesn’t have any relationship to me. Na, na, na, na”, you know. “I’m under grace, I’m not under the law.” Grace is never a license to violate the law. God doesn’t give you a special pass that says you can violate the law whenever you want. “Here’s your pass of grace. Go do your own thing.” Not at all. By the grace of God, He gives to us the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and to change us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are born again into a spiritual life, where God now writes His law on the fleshly tablets of my heart, whereby He gives to me the capacity and the ability to keep His law, and to keep His commandments. These are for your good, always.] That He might preserve you alive, as it is this day (6:17-24).
Now this is the answer of the dad to his boy. When the boy said, “Dad, why, you know, why do we have to keep all these testimonies and statutes? What are these? What is it all about?”. “Hey son, we were slaves. We served under the Pharaoh in Egypt. Life was tough. God brought us out and He said, ‘Hey, these are the rules. Keep them and it will be good.’ This is the way that you can be prosperous and strong.”
Then it will be righteousness to us if we are careful to observe all of these commandments before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us (6:25).
Well we only got two chapters. Well we got a long time to go. So we’ll go as we can and get there when we do. It’s great isn’t it to be free and go as far as we need to or want. We’ll just go till we quit, won’t we?
So pray for us, that God will use us, and we will be praying for you, that God will bless you, that His word and His law will be in your heart. That you might observe and keep His commandments. That it might be well with you. That you might be in that place where God can bless you and do those things He desires to do for you, because of His intense love for you. So, may it be a blessed week. I’ll see you Thursday night. May the Lord be with you and keep you in His love. In Jesus’ name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7052