Our GOD is so good!! HIS people are ONLY STEPS away from THE PROMISED LAND. The land HE promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The land HE promised to ALL their descendants. The first/OLD generation to set out of Egypt to TAKE the Promised Land were so rebellious, lacked appreciation, lacked TRUST, were full of UNBELIEF, etc., that THEIR OWN ACTIONS/CHOICES KEPT THEM OUT OF THE PROMISED LAND. OUCH!! OUCH!! And OUCH again!!!
NOW….He wants there to be NO room for misunderstandings with HIS people. WHY does HE keep saying the same things OVER and OVER again? HE is very loving and very clear in these chapters about what HE expects. DID you notice that HIS TRUE expectations for HIS people are to be BLESSED in the PROMISED LAND, to LACK FOR NOTHING, to PROSPER IN ALL THEIR AFFAIRS, to LIVE in PEACE with each other…. and OH so much more!!!
BUT…. HOW do they GET/HAVE all that GOD wants for them??? THIS is why we are reading what we are reading. So read these chapters sllllllooooooowwwwwllllllyyyyyyyy. Look for special words like: IF, THEN, SO THAT, BE CAREFUL. These chapters are so beautiful in describing God’s love for HIS people!! And in case you don’t know yet… YOU are HIS people if you have confessed with your mouth that you believe in HIM and have asked HIM in your heart. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, click on the WHAT IF tab on the top of this blog page to learn how you can too have a personal, eternal, lasting, relationship of HOPE with Jesus Christ…. today.. tomorrow.. and always.
Chapter 5 – The 10 Commandments are retold (yes, once again … but this time to the generation who is standing on the edge of TAKING the Promised Land as their own. The 10 Commandments have not changed… the people and circumstances have… but NOT GOD’s Word!! This will not be the last time we read them. Jesus came to fulfill the law… not do away with it. So, yes they are throughout the NT – phrased differently and more often dealing directly with our HEARTS.
In today’s reading Moses used the Exodus in his Sabbath laws. However, he CHANGED this so the NEW generation could better relate. In the past it was a Sabbath to remember God’s creation today we read it became a Sabbath to remember “you were once in slavery”. (Horeb is Mt. Sinai). The Sabbath today is to be a day of rest for us… to rest in HIM and to remember when we were in slavery to our sin. IN this chapter God is telling HIS people HOW to live.
If you have the opportunity, read this chapter out loud inserting your name such as “_____, will have no other gods before me.” Make it personal … that is what God is about … making it personal between you and HIM. As you read if one of the commandments JUMPS off the page INTO YOUR HEART… KNOW… THIS IS THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO YOU…. maybe something He is helping you work through. Each time I read it… He opens my eyes and my heart with what I need to be working on. (As long as we are on this side of heaven…. We will always be working on something.)
Chapter 6 verse 4-9 is often called the Shema, coming from the Hebrew word for Hear. It means Listen to Me! or Pay Attention! or Now Hear this! The Lord wants the people to know that what HE is about to say is SUPER important! Here it is for you so you may have the chance to allow it to really pierce your heart :
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Verse 5 is clearly important to Israel as well as to us today. It is repeated in the NT several times. See Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29-30; and Luke 10:27. In Chapter 6 God is telling HIS people WHAT they should do to LIVE the way HE instructed them in Chapter 5!!
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Moses encourages us several times not to forget the Lord, especially in times of good. It is so easy for us to busy ourselves when we are in times of prosperity and take our eyes off of the Lord. However, in times of trials and challenges we cling to HIM because we KNOW we cannot survive without HIM. He wants out HEART to seek HIM ALL the time. God knew this about us which is why the reminder.
Moses reminded them not to test the Lord. When Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days, satan tempted HIM but Jesus SAID to satan: ”Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test. (Mt 4:7) THIS is the VERY SCRIPTURE JESUS SPOKE to satan!!!
Chapter 7 – In chapter 7, God is telling HIS people WHAT they had to DO and WHY!! WHY does God tell HIS people that they MUST destroy their enemies TOTALLY??? HOW can a God of love and mercy who wants what is right for us SO much that HE sent Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior?? HOW can our loving God want to destroy ANY one??? Good question!! At the VERY CORE … OUR God cannot be with sin…. HE is HOLY HOLY HOLY. HIS character is PURE and LOVING and requires that HIS children follow HIM and ONLY HIM. These other people are God’s enemies. They CHOOSE to worship other gods and have no interest in a PURE and HOLY God. The CHOOSE to do their “own thing”. They CHOOSE to do it “their way.” God wants us to FOLLOW HIM. HE wants us to do things the way HE teaches us. All the other “ites” listed in verse one — BELIEVED in other gods, they worshiped them, they praised them, they lived for them, they sacrificed to them, they built altars to them, they made graven images to remember them worship them, they went to them in their times of trouble. BUT… remember during the times of the 10 plagues in Egypt when GOD showed the Egyptians their gods could not hold a candle to HIM. Their gods had not created the world, or humans, or “save” the Egyptians. I believe God was evening trying to show the Egyptians WHO is was.. and some of them CHOOSE to come with the Israelites on their journey because they SAW that our God was the ONE true God. Our God is a God of JUSTICE. HE requires ALL of us… as broken as we are… ALL of us.. believing in HIS son and HIM…living FOR HIM and HIM alone. EACH of us is ONLY one thought away from committing our worst possible sin (look at Moses when he murdered the Egyptian, look at David when he had an affair with Bathsheba and then killed her husband Uriah.) EACH one of us is ONLY a heartbeat away from missing our GREATEST gift of spending eternity with HIM. GOD loves us SO much that HE allows us to choose WHOM WE WILL SERVE. …. Think about that… ONLY a heartbeat away… from where we will spend eternity. WHEW!!! GOD tells Moses to tell HIS people to GET RID of EVERYTHING that belonged to their enemies… EVERYTHING!!!…. men …women…children…altars…graven images….melt down the gold and NOT covet the gold and silver!!! WHY??….. GOD wanted NOTHING related to sin that HIS children could begin to take as their own, be influenced by them, and then grow deeper and deeper in sin (sin=separation from God…. More sin=….further and further separation from God.) Our God is a jealous God and He wants nothing less than all of us. HE KNOWs where we are and what we are dealing with. He does not expect perfection…. But HE does desire obedience to HIS Word.
Ever wonder WHY God chose the Israelites? Why did God choose US? Why does He choose to save WHOSOEVER will confess with their mouth and BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is Lord? Look at verses 7-9:
The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath HE swore to your forefathers that HE brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; HE is the faithful God, keeping HIS covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
HE chose YOU and ME .. NOT because of anything we have done or ever could do.. HE chose YOU and ME (and WHOSOEVER will confess with their mouth and believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord) … because HE made a PROMISE. HE IS THE PROMISE KEEPER.
Scripture IS FILLED with many gods who are referred to by names. Baal is the most common. It actually means “husband” in Hebrew. That is how close the Canaanites were to their false gods!!!! They worshiped their gods in such a way that they felt married to them!!! In verse 5 Moses instructed them to cut down their Asherah poles. She was Baal’s female companion in the god world. She was a god of fertility, love and war. (King Solomon will worship her in 1 Kings BECAUSE of WHO he CHOSE to marry). God’s command to destroy EVERYTHING was designed to protect HIS people from being ruined by the idolatry and immorality of its enemies. Just as God today tells HIS people… “do not be unequally yoked.” (2 Corinthians 6:14) WE are ALL greatly influenced by the people we surround ourselves with, the TV we watch, the books we read, the places we hang out, the people we look up to, who we pray to ….which is why God tells us in John 15:7 — “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
In case you have never seen a picture of an Asherah pole….. this is a RELIC of what archaeologists found in JUDAH!!! I’ve placed one here for you to see. NOW… is it making sense WHY sex was a way these people worshiped their gods???? (Remember Phinehas in Numbers 25 when he stabbed the Israelite man who brought the Midianite woman into the camp and in front of God and everyone had sex to worship the Midianites’ god???)
Sharing HIS love,