Chapter 11— LOVE the LORD your God and OBEY HIM!! Moses KEPT repeating this. GOD wanted NO ONE to miss the point. As I read this I thought of Matthew 22:34-40 –
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
THIS is the greatest commandment!! There is a great sense of urgency in this Scripture. Moses told them to REMEMBER that their children were NOT the ones who saw all that God had done in the exodus and in the wilderness. The people Moses is speaking to are the NEW generation … if they saw everything, they were very young when they saw ALL God had done. Therefore, GOD wants to be SURE that the NEW generation’s young children grow up KNOWING ALL that God did for HIS people. Tell them when you’re eating, when you’re working, when you are walking, when you are at festivals, when you are resting…. TELL them and SHOW them about THE ONE TRUE GOD. Be SURE they NEVER forget!!
Did you notice all the contingencies…. IF you….. THEN……??? The outcome is directly proportional to their ACTIONS and CHOICES. Look at verse 26
See, I am setting before you today a BLESSING and a CURSE— the BLESSING IF you OBEY the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the CURSE IF you DISOBEY the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.
Later (in case you can’t wait) when we get to Chapters 27 and 28 Scripture will go into great detail about the curses that will result if they CHOOSE to disobey HIM as well as the blessings that will come if they CHOOSE to obey HIM.
God is VERY clear that our CHOICES have CONSEQUENCES. HE is also VERY CLEAR about HIS desire for us and what HE wants us to choose…. Look at Deuteronomy 30:19 – “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE, SO THAT you and your children may live.” But we EACH have FREEWILL. God LOVES us so much that HE ALLOWS each of us make our own CHOICES in life. WHY??? HE desires for us to WANT HIM MORE than we want ANY thing else. Today, when we CHOOSE God’s way… we receive eternal life (John 5:24 –“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”)
Chapter 12 – God tells them to BE CAREFUL to follow in the land HE PROMISED them, NOT even ASK about the gods the previous people worshiped, and they would all worship in ONE place together…. In the place God would choose.
Verse 10 states “But you will CROSS the Jordan and SETTLE in the land the LORD your God is GIVING you as an INHERITANCE, and HE will give you REST from all your enemies around you so that you will live in SAFETY”. According to the BLB the Hebrew word for INHERITANCE is “nachal” and means “to get as a possession, acquire, inherit, possess. When you are given an inheritance it is a GIFT, FREE, UNDESERVED, and EXTRA, YOU possess it, it is YOURS.
My mind went immediately to the Scriptures about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. TYPICALLY, when we INHERIT something, that means someone dies and leaves you the possessions they desire you to have. HOWEVER…. In this Scripture in Deuteronomy 12:10 AND in Luke 15:11-32 ….. NO ONE DIES. In Deuteronomy 12 – HIS people will INHERIT the Promised Land simply because God WANTS them to HAVE it… LIVE in it… ENJOY it… PROSPER in it…OBEY Him in it…WORSHIP HIM in it…SHARE their FAITH with their children for generations to come. NO ONE in this story has died to leave HIS people their INHERITANCE. In the story of the prodigal son we see that the prodigal son WANTS HIS INHERITANCE IMMEDIATELY ….. In the beginning of the story he does not seem to care that his father has to sell all he has to give him his portion of the inheritance. The prodigal son in the beginning also does not care if his father lives or dies … he just knows he wants his INHERITANCE NOW… TODAY… !! And of course with the prodigal son… when he finally “comes to himself” and realizes his sin.. his father receives him with open arms. His father is waiting and watching EACH day to see if can see his son returning. I just found it amazing that in each of these stories NO one died to pass on the INHERITANCE.
Our ultimate INHERITANCE is eternal, we are redeemed by HIM, we are restored by HIM ….. and the price for our ultimate INHERITANCE was Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3,4)
Chapter 12 continues with many warnings (aka: BE CAREFUL). God tells gives them ALL the details HE expects of them when they come to worship HIM in the Promised Land. God is VERY specific and tells them they are not to worship in a manner in a way “any way they see fit.” An example of this is God did not want HIS people to eat the blood of the animals for several reasons. First eating blood was part of the pagan practices in the land the Israelites were to possess. Second, BLOOD represented LIFE. And, third it was a symbol of the sacrifice to atone for their sins.
Chapter 13 – is a VERY strong chapter, again dealing with not only HOW they were to worship… but also to BE CAREFUL about listening to FALSE PROPHETS!!! False prophets were not “simply” dismissed… they were to be killed!! However, God also told HIS people… do not assume … “you must inquire, probe, and investigate it thoroughly.” In other words… don’t make any assumptions… don’t listen to gossip…or make hasty decisions…. KNOW before taking any action. A false prophet no matter what generation … can EVEN use Scripture to deceive us (look at how satan tried to deceive Jesus Christ when HE was in the wilderness…. Just a little twist of the Word… but Jesus had his number and never fell for the devil’s lies.) Some people speak the truth directing us toward God. Other people speak persuasively to lead us to themselves… and that is a false prophet!!! See to it that you do all that I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. Deut 12:32
The Lord gave explicit instructions on Who, What, Where, When and How HIS people were to worship HIM. He also told them (and us) Why! Just as God was very clear in the OT as to how to worship HIM and HIM alone; today the NT tells us there is ONLY ONE way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. John 14:6 states: “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”
1 John 4:1 tells us: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Revelation 22:18 says: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.”
God’s Word is the REAL deal. HIS WORD is the TRUTH. The enemy does not usually look like the enemy. Remember…. Our enemy came to KILL, STEAL, and DESTROY us (John 10:10) … BUT JESUS came that we may live the abundant life here and spend eternity with HIM when our life here is over….. read it for yourself – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Our enemy is the great deceiver and does NOT run around wearing a little red suit, with red horns, carrying a pitch fork … or any other obvious images you may have in your head about what he looks and acts like. Remember how easy it was for Eve and Adam to be deceived….. look how easy it was for David to be drawn into an affair with Bathsheba and then kill her husband… look at how wise Solomon was and how he ended up….look how easy it was for the followers of Jim Jones to “drink the kool-aide”. OT or NT….. we must all be on our guard in studying the WORD.
If I have shared this story with you before…. Please forgive me… but I believe this is such a great image of our purpose in studying the Word of God, spending time with HIM in prayer and praise and in thanksgiving, and resting in HIM to allow ourselves to LISTEN to HIM as often as we are able. Do you know how the people who are able to identify counterfeit money are trained? They are trained by being immersed in REAL money (not fake) 8-10 HOURS per day. They touch it, smell it, and look at it, (I don’t think they eat it, but they might wad it up to see how it sounds 🙂 )… 8-10 HOURS per day for MONTHS. THEN… they are released into the real world and it ONLY takes these people seconds to identify counterfeit money simply because they KNOW it does not LOOK, FEEL, or SMELL like the real thing. My Pastor Dave Bowman tells this story occasionally in his sermons to remind us that the ONLY way we will know the enemy is SIMPLY by KNOWING the TRUTH. Is that NOT an awesome reminder??
I pray each person reading this has a burning desire to know the TRUTH so well that you simply can’t let it go….. so pour yourself into the Lord’s Word as often as you can … meditate on it….share it….tell it to the young…show it by living it for your children (and I am not just talking about biological children)…LISTEN to HIS still small voice 🙂 Let HIM wrap you in HIS love and teach you in ways you never knew possible <BIG SMILE>