|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Moses has finished his summation of the laws which he had already given in Ex., Lev., and Num&SHY;bers. Here in Deut. he has only covered some of the basic principles as a reminder for God's people. Of course, we are only touching upon the law as we go through this.
V. 1 here of 27 seems like a broken record as he again tells them to keep the commandments. But notice who else Moses brings into this, the elders of Israel. We have already discussed where these elders came from. We can review this back in Numbers 11:10-17, 24-30. These formed the bases of their civil government and were to be Moses' aid in ruling the camp. They also were to aid in teaching the people in the law of God.
These elders are found on the Sanhedrin and were experts in the law in Christ's day, Matt. 16:21; 26:47; Lk. 7:3. It was an extremely powerful and influential office in His day, also. This of&SHY;fice was carried over into the new and true Israel of God. The Church is now the true synagogue and its people the new Israel. As the representative of the kingdom of God on earth it was now given this office of elders as well as the anointing of the Holy Ghost to fulfill the office, Num. 11:17, 25-26 with I Tim. 3:2-5; 4:14; Institutes, pgs. 740-741. Vine's says (pg. 351) "In the Chris&SHY;tian churches, those who, being raised up and qualified by the work of the Holy Spirit were ap&SHY;pointed to have the spiritual care of, and to exercise oversight over, the churches. To these the term bishop, or overseers, is applied.---" Vine's lists the OT elder (as used in Matt. 6:21; 26:41; Lk. 7:3) in the nation Israel and the NT elder in the leaders of the church under the same Greek word, PRESBUTEROS. Therefore, the leaders of the church are the heirs of this office.
Moses has the elders here with him and they join him in his exhortation.
1. What were the people to do as soon as they passed over into
a. Why do you think they were told to do this? ___________________________________
2. What was forbidden in v. 5? _______________________________________________________
a. What was the altar to be built out of, v. 6? ______________________________________
b. The reason for this requirement is found in the NT. What did this altar (as well as the sacrifice) represent, Ps. 34:20; Jn. 19:36; Heb. 10:5? ________________________________
Moses makes an emphatic point here in v. 8. He tells them again the same thing he has just told them. Moses had a "bad habit" of repeating himself. You would think the people couldn't hear him. The requirement of 1-8 was given so that the people would be reminded throughout their generations that their remaining in this land was conditional. The words of the law were clearly written for all to see.
On the Egyptian side of the river the law was written in the stone tables. On the Canaan side of the river it was to be written in soft plaster. This is interesting when tied in with II Cor. 3:3. It bears mentioning that as we "cross over the Jordan" in our Christian life into our rest (NOT HEAVEN, but Rest in our dwelling place) our heats will be as soft as soft plaster. There upon the soft heart of flesh the Holy Spirit (Finger of God, Lk. 11:20) will be able to easily write His every law-word. Our desire will be to fulfill His every desire. The closer we are in our per&SHY;sonal walk with Him the more plainly the law is written in the heart, Ezek. 11:19.
3. A note in passing. Where has been, is and always will be the dwelling place of rest for His people? Is it a physical location or what, Ps. 90:1? _________________________________
How soft is our heart? Is it soft enough that the finger of God can easily write His desires upon it, or is it as hard as the stone which Moses had to carve out? Which side of the Jordan are we on? Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest. Let us give up totally our self-effort to do it our way, heed the Holy Spirit through His Word and rest in Him, Heb., chp. 4. Do it His way and leave the results up to Him.
Following Moses' instructions on, he repeats himself again. v. 1 is repeated in v. 10. He is leading up to chp. 28. Chp. 28 is probably one of the greatest passages in Scripture, yet, one of the most fought against by God's people.
As we mentioned, today's Christians and their leaders will fight "tooth and nail" against this passage being for the Church. Why? Because they do not want to be bound by it. It will be "passed off" and dismissed as being for the OT Israel, therefore, not for the NT Israel, the Church. The redeemed Christians today do not want to be bound by the law of God. In fact, the Antinomian spirit (anti-law) is almost as bad as the world's spirit, Jer. 5:31. Many professed Christians hate God's laws as much as does the world. Ps. 2 includes ANYONE who attempts to get out from under the requirements of God's law.
Going further, Rom. 1:18 means ALL ungodliness, regardless of who it is that is ignoring God's law as established by Moses, I Jn. 3:4. Rom. 1:21 indicates that those who knew God are the ones at fault. Heb. 10:26-31 will also confirm that Salvation DOES NOT remove the principles of Deut. 27:11 through 28:68 from His people.
Ps. 89 clearly ties Deut. 27, 28 together with the Church, showing that the principles are still in effect. Let's take a look.
4. Something far too good to pass over is Ps. 89:23. Notice,
what is the promise here? Two, ac&SHY;tually.
a. How does one hate God (We covered this in lesson 7-1 and 11-1. This would cover all men, whether called by His name or not), Jn. 14:15? ________________________________________
5. To pursue this further, who is referred to in v. 27? (See
Ps. 2:7; Heb. 1:5; 5:5, etc.)
a. What was done with this First-Born, v. 27b, (Eph. 1:20-23)? _______________________
b. Therefore, when was Ps. 89:27 fulfilled and placed into
action, Ph. 2:7-9?
Spurgeon makes a very good remark worth quoting here, Treasury of David, Ps. 89:27. "Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. Jesus is no servant of princes, nor would he have his bride, the church, degrade herself by bowing before kings and eating the bread of a pensioner at their hands. He and his kingdom are higher than the kings of the earth. Let the great ones of the earth be wise and submit to him, for he is Lord, and he is the governor among the nations".
6. Who would be His seed, Ps. 89:29; Rom. 8:16-21; all of Rom.
9; Gal. 3:26, etc.?
7. Ps.89:30-32 is a powerful passage. The context clearly shows us that He is not referring to the OT Israel because it takes place AFTER v. 27. As we follow the thought on through, who is vv. 30-32 addressed to? ___________________________________________________________________
a. What is He warning them against, vv. 30-31? ____________________________________
b. What will happen if they do what He is warning them against in 30-31, v. 32 (See Heb. 12:7-11 and Prov. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15)? ____________________________________
A couple of interesting passages here would be Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15.
Again, Spurgeon's comments on Ps. 89 are too good to pass up.
"Ps. 89:28. "My mercy will I keep for him for evermore."
The kings of David's line needed mercy, and mercy prevented their
house from utterly perishing until the Son of Mary came. He needs
no mercy for himself, but he is a representative man, and the
mercy of God is required for those who are in him: for such mercy
is kept forever. "And my covenant shall stand fast with him."
With Jesus the covenant is ratified both by blood of sacrifice
and by oath of God; it cannot be canceled or altered, but is an
eternal verity, resting upon the veracity of one who cannot lie.
What exultation fills our hearts as we see that the covenant of
grace is sure to all the seed, because it stands fast with him
with whom we are indissolubly united.
29. "His seed also will I make to endure forever." David's seed lives on in the person of the Lord Jesus, and the seed of Jesus in the persons of believers. Saints are a race that neither death nor hell can kill. Rome and its priests, with their inquisition and other infernal cruelties, have laboured to exterminate the covenant seed, but "vain is their rage, their efforts vain." As long as God lives, his people must live. "And his throne as the days of heaven." Jesus reigns on, and will reign till the skies shall fall, yea, and when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, his throne shall stand. What a blessed covenant is this! Some commentators talk of conditions, but we fail to see any; the promises are as absolute as they can possibly be, and if any conditions to the conduct of the favoured in&SHY;dividuals can be conceived, they are disposed of in the succeeding verses.
30. "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments." It was possible, terribly pos&SHY;sible, that David's posterity might wander from the Lord; indeed they did so, but what then? Was the mercy of God to pass away from David's seed? --far from it. So, too, the seed of the Son of David are apt to start aside, but are they therefore cast away? Not a single word gives liberty for such an idea, but the very reverse. Expositors in their fear of Calvinistic doctrine shake off the fear of adding to the word of God, or else they would not have spent their time in talking about "the conditions" of this absolutely unconditional covenant.
31. "If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments." The dreadful "if" is suggested again, and the sad case is stated in other forms. But if it should be so, what then? Death and rejection? Ah, no; Blessed be God, No! If their sin be negative or positive, if it be forsaking or profanation; if either judgments or commandments or both be violated, yet there is not a word as to final destruction, but the very reverse. Legalism will import its ifs, but the Lord slays the ifs as fast as they rise. Eternal shalls and wills make glorious havoc among the ifs and buts.
32. "Then will I visit their transgression with the rod." Not with the sword, not with death and destruction; but still with a smarting, tingling, painful rod. Saints must smart if they sin: God will see to that. He hates sin too much not to visit it, and he loves his saints too well not to chasten them. God never plays with his rod, he lays it well home to his children, he visits them with it in their houses, bodies, and hearts, and makes them know that he is grieved with their ways. He smites home and chastens "their iniquity with stripes," which are either many or few in proportion as the heart is properly affected by them. The rod is a covenant blessing, and is meant to be used. As sin is so frequent, the rod never rests long together; in God's family the rod is not spared, or the children would be spoiled.
33. "Nevertheless." And a glorious nevertheless too! "Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him." O glorious fear-killing sentence! This crowns the covenant with exceed&SHY;ing glory. Mercy may seem to depart from the Lord's chosen, but it shall never altogether do so. Jesus still enjoys the divine favour, and we are in him, and therefore under the most trying cir&SHY;cumstances the Lord's loving kindness to each one of his chosen will endure the strain. If the covenant could be made void by our sins it would have been void long ere this; and if renewed its tenure would not be worth an hour's purchase if it had remained dependent upon us. God may leave his people, and they may thereby suffer much and fall very low, but utterly and altogether he never can remove his love from them; for that would be to cast a reflection upon his own truth, and this he will never allow, for he adds, "nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." Man fails in all points. But God in none. to be faithful is one of the eternal characteristics of God, in which he always places a great part of his glory: his truth is one of his peculiar treasures and crown jewels, and he will never endure that it should be tarnished in any degree. This passage sweetly assures us that the heirs of glory shall not be utterly cast off. Let those deny the safety of the saints who choose to do so, we have not so learned Christ. We believe in the gospel rod, but not in the penal sword for the adopted sons.
34. "My covenant will I not break." It is his own covenant. He devised it, drew up the draft of it, and voluntarily entered into it; he therefore thinks much of it. It is not a man's covenant, but the Lord claims it as his own. It is an evil thing among men for one to be a "covenant-breaker," and such an opprobrious epithet shall never be applicable to the Most High.---
36. ---"And his throne as the sun before me." In our Lord Jesus the dynasty of David remains and must reign so long as the sun continues to shine upon the earth. A seed and a throne are the two great promises of the covenant, and they are as important to us as to our Lord Jesus himself; for we are the seed who must endure forever, and we are protected and ennobled by that King whose royalties are to last forever."
In this we have an inescapable conclusion. The principles outlined by Moses in Deut. 27:11- 28:68 are as much, if not more, in effect for the NT Redeemed as they were the day Moses spoke them and the children of Israel stood upon the two mountains.
We can say "More So" because of what Paul said in Heb. 10:26-31. Moses' covenant was sealed with the blood of bulls and goats. Our covenant is sealed with the blood of Christ. When they broke the covenant, they trod under foot the blood of the bulls and goats. When His people today break the covenant, they tread under foot the blood of Christ. Paul points out that this deserves a "much sorer punishment" under Christ.
I don't like to conclude a lesson on a law note but this one leaves us with no choice. Ps. 89, verse 30-32 clearly shows us that the anti-law of God's attitude of those who profess to be His is going to be visited. I am not looking forward to this visit by the loving Father with His rod. The OT principle points to a godless foreign power gaining power and authority over His people, Isa. chp. 10, etc.. Lam. 3:1 gives us a view of the results of this rod being used on His people. As C. H. Spurgeon points out, it will be painful. Yet, we know the fruits will be good.
We see the ungodly being exalted all around us. Both within our nation and without. Those who hate God are gaining in power. But they can only gain in power because God's people forsake His law, and walk not in His statues, and keep not His judgments. He visits their (our) transgres&SHY;sions as a father would correct his son whom he loves, and that visit is in the form of god-hating people.
No doubt we are seeing just the beginning of this rod being used against His people. The righteous man sees these things approaching and makes preparation. The preparation must start on a "spiritual level", of getting right with the Father. Changing our attitude toward His law and His people. Then making physical preparation.
There is absolutely no doubt that the rod is coming. The word of God demands it. It will hurt, yet the result will be glorious, Isa. 45:8; Ezek. 34:25-31; etc..
God help us to remain faithful to the Covenant by His Grace. See lessons 7-2 and 7-3 for the Covenant. We will see more details of this covenant in Deut. 27:11- 28:68.