We come to week 3 in our corporate pursuit of the book of Deuteronomy using the Life-study messages (please see the Introductory post, Week 1 and Week 2). This week we will continue to cover “The Rehearsal of the Law” in messages 7, 8, and 9.
As we read the book of Deuteronomy we may wonder why Moses took so much time to respeak what was already spoken prior to that time. The reason for this was that a new generation had been raised up. The first generation, those who directly experienced deliverance from Egypt through the Passover, did not enter into the good land because of their unbelief (1 Cor. 10:1-13; Heb. 3:7-19). As a result, they wandered in the wilderness for nearly four decades, during which time a new generation was raised up by God. Whereas the first generation received the law firsthand at Mount Sinai, the new generation had not. Therefore, this second generation needed this rehearsal of the law in order to be trained and perfected to enter into the good land.
From the end of Deuteronomy chapter 5 through chapter 13 this re-speaking of the law includes many words of advice and warning from Moses to this second generation. While this speaking showed Moses’ love, burden and care for the children of Israel, it was also a training to them. We will now consider several key points contained in these words of advice and warning.
In Deuteronomy 7:6 Moses says, “For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God; it is you whom Jehovah your God has chosen from among all the peoples which are upon the face of the earth to be a people for His personal treasure.” Today we too are God’s personal treasure (Titus 2:14). As such, His love and affection have been set upon us. His love brings both His discipline (Deut. 8:3; Prov. 3:12; Heb. 12:6) as well as His tender care for us in our daily living (Deut. 8:4).
Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, O Israel, what does Jehovah your God ask of you except that you fear Jehovah your God so that you would walk in all His ways and love Him and serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul”. To fear God is to hold Him in high regard and to possess a deep respect for Him. According to 10:12, such reverence toward Him becomes the initiation of a life in which we walk in His ways.
To walk in God’s ways is to walk according to what He is. Verse 17 provides an example of this kind of walk. God is One who loves the sojourners, those who have no home. God, therefore, expected His people to walk in His way by loving the sojourners among them just as He did (10:18). Today Christ is our way (John 14:6). To take Christ as our way is to live Him according to what He is. Christ is humble, and we should walk in the way of His humility. He is One who always took the cross and we too should walk in the way of the cross. This is to live Him for His expression and magnification. Such a daily walk is according to the vision of the New Jerusalem in which the river of water of life, signifying the processed Triune God as life to us, flows in the midst of the one golden street, representing the nature of God as our unique way (Rev. 22:1; for more please see Life-Study of Revelation, Chapter 63 and The Application of the Interpretation of the New Jerusalem to the Seeking Believers). Hallelujah, He is our life and our way that we would magnify Him in our living!
In Deuteronomy 11, the children of Israel were instructed to lay God’s words upon their heart and soul, to bind them to their hand and forehead, to teach them to their children by speaking His words throughout their days, and to inscribe them upon their doorposts and gates. To care for and hold to God’s word in this way is to love Him and to keep God’s words is actually to keep Christ Who is the Word of God (see Corporate Pursuit of Deuteronomy: Week 1 – Introduction, c.f. Deut. 30:11-14; Rom. 10:6-8; John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:13). The New Testament reality of laying God’s word upon our heart and of binding it to us and our possessions, is that we would be occupied with Christ all the time and in every place. May Christ occupy all aspects of our living!
While the content of Deuteronomy 11 is precious, the structure of this chapter itself is beautiful in that it reveals the tender, two-way relationship between God and His people. If we study 11:9-15 we see that God imparts many blessings to care for His chosen ones (e.g. the early and late rain, the harvest, and satisfaction). Then in 11:18-21 His people respond to His care by loving Him back through keeping His word. From this we see that His tender affection is upon us, and in turn, it causes us to respond to His affection by loving Him back. Many times, in our Christian life and church life we realize the Lord’s care has been upon us. At these junctures we cannot help but say “Lord, I love You back. I consecrate myself afresh to You.” May we be those experiencing His affections and loving Him through keeping His word.
6 thoughts on “Corporate Pursuit of Deuteronomy: Week 3 – Keeping Christ”
I enjoyed from this portion that God wants to bless us! In Deut. 11:8-25, the blessings include being strengthened to possess the land, extending our days on the land (in Christ), receiving the heavenly watering, loving the Lord, and holding fast to the Lord. If we enjoy Christ as the word that proceeds out from the mouth of God, we can enjoy all of these blessings! I also appreciated the practical application of “other gods,” which may include education, financial success, or even simply having our own preferences. May the Lord deliver us from all the broken cisterns to enjoy Him as the living spring (Jer. 2:13) with all the divine blessings flowing forth!
What happens when we keep Christ as God’s commandments and what happens when we do not?
When we keep Christ as God’s commandments
– we will be strengthened and encouraged to go on to possess Christ. Deut 11:8
– our days may be extended in Christ and with Christ. Deut 11:9-12
– we will be under the heavenly watering of the Spirit, we will not dry. Deut 11:14-15
When we do not
– We would no longer be under God’s care. His anger would burn against is, heaven would be closed to us, and there would be no rain. Deut 11:16-17
‘Moses went on to say that if the people keep the commandments, love God, walk in His ways, and hold fast to Him, “Jehovah will dispossess all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads will be yours; from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even unto the farmost sea will be your border” (vv. 23-24).’
To keep the law is to keep Christ and to love the commandments is to love Christ. When we keep Christ as the law of God’s commandments we will live long and it will go well with us, and we will be greatly increased. If we do not keep these commandments by keeping Christ we can forget God and fail in all the ways Moses lists in Deuteronomy. If we forgot our God and go after other gods and things to fill out time, we will surely perish!
In Deut. 9:7 Moses reminded the people that their history was a history of rebellion. Some among the second generation may have said that the rebellion was not their fault but the mistake of their fathers, who rebelled and died in the wilderness, and that the rebellion had nothing to do with them. To these ones Moses might have replied, “Do not say that you are different from your fathers. You are sons of rebels, and rebels can only bring forth rebels. Just as a serpent cannot bring forth a lamb, so a rebel cannot bring forth one who is obedient. You need to realize that, as sons of rebels, you also are rebels.”
May we realize who we are in the flesh, in Adam, and heed the warning from the “Moses” ministry among us so that we may be preserved to inherit and keep the land for God’s kingdom.