|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Now we come to what could be considerd as the very heart of the covenant-law for God's people. This is another passage which presents an Unchangeable principle of our unchangeable God as does I Sam. 8. I Sam. 8 tells us of the natural results of a societies rejection of God's rule over them. By God's rule, we mean His unchanging principles of life (laws) as its basic laws. Someone's morality will be enforced in a society. Someone's will will be expressed in the form of laws. Either God's will or man's. Abortion is a very good example. Man allows whatever he feels is best, abortion. God labels abortion as murder and the murderer to be put to death. Our laws will reflect the desires of either God or man.
Man can claim that passages such as I Sam. 8 have nothing to do with our period of time, but all we need to do is read the passage and look around us. It is all too clear that it is in effect today. Men can do their best to throw off God's laws (as in our day), yet, man's best efforts are not a drop in the ocean and only bring laughter from God, Ps. 2. We, as Christians, are invited to join in this laughter at foolish man's vain attempts to escape God's law of sowing and reaping.
Deut. 28 is one of the most powerful passages in Scripture. It is also one of the most resisted of all Scriptures as sinful men have tried to convince themselves that it no longer ap&SHY;plies. He has used every means he can think of to avoid this principle and has only made matters worse as the results of violating these principles come to pass. Sinful man will teach that the OT is no longer binding on the NT church. Of course, this kind of teaching results in passages such as these being fulfilled just as sure as they were for OT Israel. These principles estab&SHY;lished here will last as long as there is a Sovereign God in heaven, Mk. 13:31. Paul confirms Deut. 28 with Rom. 1 and 2, as well as many other passages.
Probably the most pointed of confirming passages would be Deut. 32:35, 36, 41. Moses could not be any clearer that God will seek vengeance against His people who ignore His law as given here by Him. Paul quotes this, not once, but twice, Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30. In doing this, Paul ap&SHY;plies the blessings and curses given by Moses to those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb the Redeemed of ALL ages.
Let us open this chapter with a quote from Keil (The Fifth Book of Moses, pg. 434-435) as he closes his comments on 27:26. "The twelfth against the man who does not set up the words of this law to do them, who does not make the laws the model and standard of his life and conduct. From this last curse, which applied to every breach of the law, it evidently follows that the different sins and transgressions already mentioned were only selected by way of example, and for the most part were such as could easily be concealed from the judicial authorities. At the same time, "The office of the law is shown in this last utterance, the summing up of all the rest, to have been preeminently to proclaim condemnation. Every conscious act of transgression subjects the sinner to the curse of God, from which none but He who has become a curse for us can possibly deliver us" (Gal. III. 10, 13. O. v. Gerlasch)." Keil goes on to point out that it would be easy to find the corresponding blessings from the general law for these curses.
1. Some would say, "Deut. 28 was written for OT Israel, therefore, it is not in effect today." Let this attitude be silenced with a question. Which nation inherits the blessings of God in Ps. 33:12 (It would be good to read all of this Psalm)? ________________________________________
a. Let us turn this around. Which nation will receive the curse
Deut. 28 has several divisions in it. We will look at the first one, vv. 1-14. --"And it shall come to pass." He says this again in v. 15, "But it shall come to pass." He starts both the bless&SHY;ing half and the curse half with "IT SHALL COME TO PASS." This could not be more definite. He wastes no words and leaves absolutely no doubt. We can find Deut. 28:1 and 15 given again by David, Ps. 37:9-11. The Son of David gave these again in Matt. 5.
2. How many blessings are promised here, 28:1-8? _____________________________________
a. How many actions have the blessings of God promised by our
Lord, Matt. 5:1-9?
3. What is the promise of v. 8A, if His people will do v. 1? ________________________________________________________________________
Probably the best illustration I have heard on this would be as in a football game. The man who has the ball can expect to be overtaken and tackled no matter how hard he runs. Now, he might make it all the way, yet, the tackler is in "hot pursuit." This is the picture here. The man who has v. 1 "in his heart" and "as his goal" has a tackler named, "The blessings of God" hot on his heels. Who put this tackler on his trail (v. 8)? This tackler cannot be out run. Ps. 33 is clear, this applies to a nation just as much as to a person.
As our Lord went up on the mountain to preach His sermon and the first word which came out was "blessed", we can be sure that this got some attention. Those who knew the law of Moses would have identified Deut. 28 immediately and listened closely. There is no way these two messages can be separated. One was given by the law giver, Moses. The other was given by the Law Maker Himself, Jehovah God, the Lord Jesus Christ. the One who had the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Him. the great I AM who took on a body of flesh and dwelt among men, Col. 1:19; 2:9; Jn. 6:41, 48, 51, etc..
Let's just compare a couple of areas in common with Moses' message here and our Lord's ser&SHY;mon. These are not necessarily in order, but they will show us the similarity.
4. What is the result if His people keep the commandments of
the Lord and walk in His way, Deut. 28:9, 10?
a. What is the result in Matt. 5:16? _________________________________________________
Notice, our Lord goes right into v. 17, pointing out that He DID NOT come to change what Moses had already given. By His Word, "Blessed," no doubt they expected Him by v. 17 to give something contrary to Moses of Deut. 28. Deut. 28 contains a very strong curse on those who refuse to hear and do, v. 15 on. Christ's hearers not yet hearing a "curse", would think He had removed this "curse". He assures them that He has not.
5. What is the promise of Deut. 28:20? ________________________________________________
a. What did our Lord promise at the close of His sermon, Matt. 7:26, 27?
6. What does Moses promise when God's people disregard God's law-word, 28:43 (and many other verses here in 28)? ___________________________________________________________________
a. What does our Lord promise will happen when His people disregard His Word and lose their savour, Matt. 5:13? ____________________________________________________________________
7. We see in 28:1, 9, 13-15 the requirements for His people are to meet His standard of holiness. What is required by our Lord in Matt. 5:48? ___________________________________________
a. What is our only responsibility, Matt. 6:33? ______________________________________
While we are this close, notice Matt. 7:15. Our Lord warns of false prophets in sheep cloth&SHY;ing. Paul expands a little more on this in II Tim. 3:1-5. These false prophets love pleasure more than they love God. (How do we show our love for Him? Jn. 14:21-24). Therefore, what do they teach? Matt. 5:18-19, they teach that passages such as Deut. 28 are not for God's people today. Why do they do this? Because they love pleasure more than they love God, and passages such as Deut. 28 condemn their pleasure (II Pet. 2:1-3).
One of the hardest to understand of our Lord's words in His sermon is probably 5:5. Yet without this word "meek" it is impossible to properly comprehend Deut. 28. Vine's (pg. 728) says of this word "--it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him." "Meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest;--" (emphasis added). Meekness means to be broken to God's harness as a horse would be broken to its master. This breaking period can indeed be rough. Note that meekness is in relationship to God. The NT also clearly presents this, I Pet. 5:5-8, etc.. Might we add, it is sure contrary to much of today's doctrine of "self--". (biblicalexaminer.org, "God's Poverty".)
Deut. 28:1-14 is based in or on this meekness. This is an attitude of submission to God and His laws without fighting against Him and doing it our way. The opposite of meekness is self-assertiveness and self-interest where men seek to please self rather than God.
Now those who contended with Christ, even though they prided themselves in their obedience, were anything but meek. Our Lord took a direct "shot" at them, Matt. 6:1-5. He exposed their heart attitude behind their obedience to the law and placed the curse of the law upon them. He reached back up into Deut. 27:15-25 and took the curse for the secret, hidden sins and placed it upon those proud of their religion. Remember our Lord's pronouncement of judgment against them? They dishonored their parents, Mark 7:1-23 (Deut. 27:16). They devoured widow's houses, Matt. 23:14 (Deut. 27:19). In fact, read Matt. 23 and compare it with Deut. 27:15- 25. It is identical. His scathing judgment of the Jewish religious leaders and their system in Matt. 23 is followed by chp. 24. This is a direct fulfillment of Deut. 27 and 28. See the margin in your Bible.
8. What is promised in Deut. 28:25, 26? ______________________________________________
a) Of 28:48 (last part)? _____________________________________________________________
b) Of 28:49-51? ______________________________________________________________________
c) Of 28:52? _________________________________________________________________________
d) Of 28:68c? _______________________________________________________________________
Matt. 24 (which follows Matt. 23) is our Lord foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem. In this destruction a nation was destroyed the nation of Israel. Rome (under the ensign of an eagle and represented by the iron legs and feet in Dan. 2:33) broke down the walls, killed millions of people and sold the survivors as slaves. The slave market was so glutted with slaves that no one would buy these Jewish captives. The tongues of the NT were a fulfillment of Deut. 28. We will see this when we get to v. 49.
All of that to say this. The outward conformity to the law of Moses (Deut. 28) did not bring the expected blessing. The inner, hidden motives and actions of Deut. 27 brought the curse. Christ set this straight in Matt. 5:1-12. Those hearing Him would not believe Him and we see the results in Deut. 28:15- 68, Matt. 24 and Josephus', "The Wars of the Jews", Book VI.
Man today will not avoid what OT Israel could not avoid. Our God has not changed, and His blessings and His curses are still determined by His people's actions according to His total law-word, Matt. 7:24-27. To ignore the proper foundation will have its results or our Lord was a false prophet as He warned of those results.
Notice Matt. 7:15. 1) Beware of false prophets. 2) They are wolves in sheep's clothing. 3) Their fruits will be evil and corrupt. 4) Verses 18-20, Their outward fruit will look perfect (or good, they will look like a sheep). Their root will be contrary to God's law-word (actually, a wolf). Therefore, no matter how much like a sheep their outward actions look, if their basic doctrine is contrary to the law-word of God they are a WOLF.