Working with technology all day, I often deal with things not working they way the should or finding out that I did something wrong. That usually goes into the, “Let’s not do that again!” memory file to make sure that I don’t repeat the mistake. Many times it’s trial and error. You try something and it works. Yay! You try something else and it doesn’t work. “Let’s not do that again!”
Likewise, Moses is telling this new generation of Israelites, “Don’t do like your ancestors did!” He recapped all the sins, fears, and doubts that caused the Hebrews to have to wander in the desert for 40 years. The trip from Sinai to the Promised Land should have taken 11 days! But, no. A whole generation perished in the desert in one way or another.
The Good News is that even though they didn’t deserve it, they are going to get to settle in the Promised Land full of milk and honey. Just like back then, Jesus, even though we don’t deserve it, died for us and saved us anyway. I’ll explain. Let’s dig in….
Deuteronomy 9 – Victory by God’s Grace
“Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! 2 The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ 3 But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised.
4 “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. 5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.Deuteronomy 9:1-6 NLT
If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it! That’s so true! It was why Moses recapped all the ways the Hebrews disobeyed God during their trek from Egypt to the Promised Land… I’m summarizing, but you can read it here for yourself.
- The Golden Calf – When the people got impatient, they crafted an idol to worship because Moses was taking too long to come down from Mt. Sinai. We know how much God hates idolatry! He was ready to wipe them all out and just start with Moses and his family.
- Moses fasted and prayed for God to spare them. And God, gracious that He is, spared them all in spite of their sin.
- They rebelled at Massah because there was no water or food. But God provided water from a rock and manna from heaven!
- When they reached the border of the Promised Land, God told them to go and take it over and He would guide them all the way. But, no, they wanted to send in scouts to check it out. They were afraid. They didn’t trust God.
- The scouts came back, and all but 2 said there were giants and the people were scared, so God punished them and they were prohibited from entering Canaan. They had to wander 40 years until that fearful generation died off and a new generation was able to go in to the Promised Land.
- God made a promise to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He could not go back on that covenant.
Deuteronomy 10 – A Copy of the New Covenant
- God gave Moses a new set of stones with the 10 Commandments carved on them to replace the ones that Moses threw down on the golden calf.
- Then God gave Moses instructions to build the Ark of the Covenant to house the tablets.
- Aaron, Moses’ brother, died and his son, Eleazar, took over as high priest.
A Call to Love and Obedience
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.
14 “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. 15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. 16 Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn.
17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. 18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. 19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. 22 When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky!Deuteronomy 10:12-22 NLT
God is Just and Faithful! He punishes disobedience and blesses obedience!
“You must love the Lord your God and always obey his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands. 2 Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm. 3 They didn’t see the miraculous signs and wonders he performed in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his land. 4 They didn’t see what the Lord did to the armies of Egypt and to their horses and chariots—how he drowned them in the Red Sea as they were chasing you. He destroyed them, and they have not recovered to this very day!
5 “Your children didn’t see how the Lord cared for you in the wilderness until you arrived here. 6 They didn’t see what he did to Dathan and Abiram (the sons of Eliab, a descendant of Reuben) when the earth opened its mouth in the Israelite camp and swallowed them, along with their households and tents and every living thing that belonged to them. 7 But you have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!
The Blessings of Obedience
8 “Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. 9 If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey! 10 For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain— 12 a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!
13 “If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, 14 then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. 15 He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat.
16 “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. 17 If you do, the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you.
18 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.
22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. 23 Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land. 24 Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 25 No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land.
26 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.
29 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land and helps you take possession of it, you must pronounce the blessing at Mount Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal. 30 (These two mountains are west of the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Jordan Valley, near the town of Gilgal, not far from the oaks of Moreh.) 31 For you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take that land and are living in it, 32 you must be careful to obey all the decrees and regulations I am giving you today.Deuteronomy 11 NLT
A Choice Between a Blessing and a Curse
You may be thinking, “Why would a loving God curse the people He created?” How quickly you forget! We are living the Curse of all Curses! It happened in the 3rd chapter of the Bible when Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit. ONE RULE she and Adam had to obey, but Satan’s wiles were too tempting —
- Lust of the flesh
- Lust of the eyes
- Pride of life
She bit. He bit. And we — all humankind — were doomed. Man wasn’t created to die. We were supposed to live eternally communing with God in Eden.
In spite of our sin, God sent Jesus to save us. That’s Grace! Though we don’t deserve it, Jesus suffered on the cross and died — not so we could have religion — but so we could have everlasting life with Him in the New Promised Land — Heaven!
What’s more, when we repent of our sins, and surrender our lives to Him, He softens our hearts that were previously stone-cold hard.
Keeping up appearances
However, God doesn’t want a simple, outward compliance. No, He requires full-wholehearted obedience from genuine love and worship. If you love God, then you must OBEY God!
Furthermore, when we become born-again believers, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts and we become part of the New Covenant with God. What Adam and Eve screwed up, Jesus corrected by defeating sin and death on the cross and by His resurrection.
For example, Jesus told the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector…
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 18:9-14 NLT
Religiosity may impress others — “Oh, he/she is SO devout!” Nevertheless, God wants a repentant heart. When we give Him our heart of stone, He gives us New Hearts!
How to Stay Obedient
It’s YOUR Choice!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.