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A survey of Deuteronomy 11-15
A survey of Deuteronomy 11-15

3 weeks ago we began a study of the Book of Deuteronomy

-Written by Moses over the last last 30 days of his life (Deut. 1:3) just before the Israelites began their conquest of the Promised Land.
-Deuteronomy means "second law". It comprises a second giving of the law. This was necessary since the entire generation of those 20 years old plus had died over the 40 years they were in the wilderness. They had to know how to live before God in the land that He was about to give them
-Jesus often quoted from the Book of Deuteronomy-- this is a big clue that Deuteronomy is an important book for us to be familiar with
-So important is the Book of Deuteronomy that every 7 years the Book was read aloud to the gathered nation of Israel (Read Deuteronomy 31:9-13)
-So important is the Book of Deuteronomy- that whenever a new king took the throne- he was to make a handwritten and personal copy of the Book of Deuteronomy-- and he was to read from it daily (Read Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

One of the key teachings of the Book of Deuteronomy is this: BE A PERSON OF THE WORD

Read the Word. Study it. Meditate on it. Love it. Obey it. Teach it.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? ought to be a common refrain on our lips--- no matter the topic, no matter the issue

This morning I would like to take you on a brief tour of Deuteronomy 11-15

I. Our first stop will be in Deuteronomy 11. In this chapter we are introduced to what Jesus tells us is the greatest commandment in the Scriptures. (Matthew 22:37-38)

"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"


Three times in Deuteronomy 11 Moses exhorts the Israelites and us to love the LORD

v.1 "Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always."

v.13 "So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today- to the love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul- then I......"

v.22 "If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow- to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- then the LORD will....."


Some observations

1. Love for God is demonstrated in practical obedience to Him

In 1 John 5:3 we are told "This is love for God, to obey His commands"

God equates love for Him as careful obedience to Him. Words are not enough. Love is a verb that in relation to God expresses itself in doing what He says.

We need to take seriously the commands of the Bible: To forgive, to be sexually pure, to be generous, to be honest, to work hard, to honor our father and mother, to not misuse God's name, to share the message of Christ, to be baptized, to guard our tongues, to serve, to teach our children how to follow God (this is a big theme in Deuteronomy 11:18-21-- also found in Deuteronomy 6)

2. The motive to love God is this: Consider all he has done. Deuteronomy 11:1-7


1 John 3:16 which sounds similar to John 3:16 says; "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us."

In I John 4:9-11 it says; "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for d our sins. Dear friends,since God so loved us,we also ought to love one another.


3. Loving God comes with promises of blessing (rain, food, grass for the cattle, protection)

Note the wording of Deuteronomy 11:26-28a "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...."


A further thought: At times God will test our love for Him***

God never tempts us - as to sin-- but He does test us-- to see the level of our devotion and commitment to Him and His Word.

God's testings are meant to refine us. See James 1:2-4

Read Deuteronomy 13:1-3***

Note; This has a direct connection to 2 Thessalonians 2:9 which says "The coming of the
lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders" See also 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

In the last days when the anti Christ comes he will be able to perform signs and wonders. Regardless, we are to stay pure in our faith.

Key of Deuteronomy 13 is this: We are to faithful to God no matter who calls us to deviate from God's word**


II. Our second stop for today is Deuteronomy 12 and the call is this: WORSHIP GOD ALONE.

Read Deuteronomy 12:1-5 and note how this point ties in to Deuteronomy 13:1-3

Principles and lessons from this point

1. We are to Worship God alone.
(see Deuteronomy 6:13-15***). There is one true God- the LORD- the creator of the Heavens and the Earth-- the one who revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush- and who exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (See Isaiah 45, Elijah's showdown with the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 and many other texts)

2. In following God we must be sure to Renounce all other religions, ways, and philosophies.

Note how the Israelites were to destroy the worship centres and high places that were in Canaan. These angered God greatly for there parents even offered their children as sacrifice (See Deuteronomy 12:31-32). Furthermore- to leave them standing would have been to leave for them a snare and a trap.

While you and I are to be respectful to those of other faiths and beliefs- we are to give no room in our hearts and minds to their beliefs and practices.***

God is a jealous God. He will not tolerate our loyalties being divided between Him and a false god. (Exodus 34:14)

3. We are never to dabble in the religions and practices of those around us.

Too many Christians have an eclectic approach to following God--- naming Jesus as Savior, but celebrating the Witches New Year. Naming Jesus as Savior and yet dabbling in the occult or practising Yoga (Hindu form of prayer). Naming Jesus as Savior and yet checking out the daily horoscope. Naming Jesus as Savior and yet having a statute to Buddha or some other false god.

Note Deuteronomy 12:30 "be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, "how do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same."

4. We are to approach the LORD-- not in any old way but carefully and exactly like He tells us to-- for there is only one way to escape the Judgment of God and be saved

In the Old Testament God gave to the Israelites a number of very specific instructions on how he was to be approached, by whom, and where. We have spent a fair bit of time already considering the Tabernacle, the Levites, the role of the High Priest, the Festivals and sacrifices, etc

It's quite strange that many folk think they can approach God any old way they want. It's even stranger that a lot of people think their are many ways to God.

Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me." John 14:6

In Acts 4:12, Peter, preaching about Jesus, said "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to us by which we must be saved."

The Bible to tells us to "Seek the LORD while He may be found and to call on him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7

Be reconciled to God. If you want to be forgiven of your sins and acts of rebellion against God. Put your faith in Christ as SAvior and Lord- for as the Scripture says "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9


III. Our last stop for today is Deuteronomy 15. In this chapter we are reminded of our responsibility to care for the poor and to be generous. See Deuteronomy 15:1-11

In Matthew 26:11 - in response to his disciples being indignant about the woman who anointed him with a jar of perfume worth a years wages- saying that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor, Jesus says "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me"

Now note the connection between what Jesus has just said and Deuteronomy 15:11 wherein it says "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."

In the first half of Deuteronomy 15 the focus is on the poor. Moses goes so far as to say "there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only your fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today." verses 4-5

Observations of the text

1. There should have been no poor people (the land was that rich)

-note the promise conditional (if obey. If follow the Lord obediently. If everyone did their part)

2. If there was a poor person, those around him to give "generously" with an "open hand" "freely" NOT "hardheartedly" or with a "tight fist" SEE v.7

Other means of caring for the poor- from the text

a. Cancellation of debts
b. Interest free loans
c. The distribution of the tithe (READ Deuteronomy 14:28-29)

3. Giving generously to those who are poor and in need comes with a promise: God's blessing.

Deuteronomy 15:10 says "Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."

APPLICATION: We are to take care of the poor and be generous to them and those who are in need

The NT church gave generously. Acts 2:42-47 (giving to anyone as he had need)

The first Deacons - being created in Acts 6- had this job-- distributing food to the poor.

While the Government has largely taken over what the church did for centuries-- there are still many who fall through the cracks and who need our help. For instance- those on social assistance who are not in subsidized housing are in trouble. When a person loses their job to a health crisis- they are in need.


Yes we must be discerning (wise as serpents and innocent as doves) Yes we must be wise --but generosity is to mark us as the followers of Christ-- generosity with our time, in the giving of our money, and with our words-- speaking words of encouragement and life to each other.


CONCLUSION

1. We are to love God------By obeying Him
2. We are to keep our faith pure ----Don't dabble in the practices of other religions
3. We have a responsibility to take care of the poor----Be generous