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The terms of God's covenant with Israel. Deuteronomy 27-30
The terms of God's covenant with Israel
Deuteronomy 27-30

For the last month we have been marching our way through the Book of Deuteronomy

-Written by Moses over the last month of his life
-Israelites on verge of entering the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness
-Quoted about 200 times in the New Testament
-Comprises a second giving of the Law (which was to govern how the people lived before God in the Promised Land)
-The emphasis of Deuteronomy is NOT "Do this, Don't do that". The emphasis is: God has set His love upon you and done so many amazing things for you, love Him back. Love Him back by obeying His commands.
-One of the big takeaway's of the Book of Deuteronomy is this: No matter the situation we find ourselves in we need to ask this question "What does the Bible say?"

This morning I would like to present to you a brief survey of Deuteronomy 27-30.

In these chapters Moses begins to wrap up the Book of Deuteronomy by setting out the terms of God's covenant with Israel (Deuteronomy 29:1). The term 'covenant' means agreement/relationship. *** It's important to note that this agreement was not unilaterally imposed upon the Israelites but that they willingly entered into it grateful that God had chosen them to be His people.***

Dominating Deuteronomy 27-30 is a presentation of the blessings that will come to Israel if they obey God and the curses and judgments that will happen to them if they disobey.

Hence we have the language of Deuteronomy 28:1-2 which says; "If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God."

Conversely we also have Deuteronomy 28:15 which says; "However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:...."

One of the really neat features of Deuteronomy 27-30 is this: When the Israelites entered the land they were to go up on 2 mountains: Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Half the tribes were to recite the blessings that would come if they obeyed God, the other half were to recite the curses and judgment that would come upon them if they disobeyed God. What a scene to imagine! (Read Deuteronomy 27:11-14)

LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES OF DEUTERONOMY 27-30

I. OBEDIENCE TO GOD BRINGS BLESSING
Read. Deuteronomy 28:1-14

This is a timeless truth

If we set our hearts on obeying the LORD as an act of devotion, gratitude and love for Him, we will be blessed, we will gather to ourselves God's commendation "Well done, good and faithful servant"

Note: Our obedience is to come from our hearts. It is to be careful, complete, reverential, joyful, and done in a glad manner (Deuteronomy 28:47, 58). Such reminds me of the obedience of Christ to the Father: Joyful, progressive, complete, willing. We are to mirror Christ in our response.

The blessings: Material and spiritual. However, we shouldn't get stuck on the idea of just being materially blessed (for that can be a trap). The exhortation of God's Word is to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21 says; "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Do you want to be blessed? The key is heartfelt obedience to the Lord


II. DISOBEDIENCE BRINGS JUDGMENT. Read Deuteronomy 28:15ff

A read of Deuteronomy 28 is very sobering- for God is incredibly specific in what will happen to the Israelites if they persist in rebellion against Him. Further: The amount of space and detail given regarding the judgments of God, versus the amount given to the blessings that will come if they obey, is huge.

Thought on why the text is so stern: You and I are not good listeners, so we have to be told in clear, lengthy, and explicit terms the consequences of rebellion.

Further: We are not to mistake God's heart: While God is ready to judge the wicked and those who rebel against Him, He would prefer to bless. He prefers that people follow Him from their hearts. In Ezekiel 18:32 God says these most important words; "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"


Note: All the curses of Deuteronomy came to pass in the life of the Israelites. For example, note Deuteronomy 28:68 wherein it says; "The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you."
This happened in AD 70 when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans. 1.1 million Jews were killed and or starved and 97000 Jews were sent as slaves down into Egypt. There was such a glut of them that the their were not enough buyers. (Source: The wars of the Jews book V by Josephus. see footnote 9)


FURTHER: As ones committed to Christ, disobedience brings the discipline of God--

Hebrews 12:4-11 says; "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Point: We face trial, hardship, and difficulty in our lives for a variety of reasons (sinful world, sins of others, God testing us). Sometimes such owe themselves to the Lord's discipline in our lives--- I've experienced such -- usually I'm able to connect the dots and know why (but not always)

A final word of warning before moving to our next point: Read Deuteronomy 29:19

"When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way." This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry."


III. REPENTANCE BRINGS RESTORATION Deuteronomy 30:1-10

After Moses spends a considerable amount of time telling the Israelites and us the consequences of rebelling against God, Deuteronomy 30 brings some good news- Repentance brings restoration and forgiveness.


On repentance bringing restoration

When we sin we must be quick to repent. It is a foolish thing to say "I know what God says, I know how God wants me to live, but I'm going to do my own thing."

We are to regularly examine ourselves, comparing our thoughts, words, intent, and actions to the Scriptures. When there is a discrepancy, we are to ask the Lord for forgiveness. We are to repent and say sorry to God.

I John 1:9 says; "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

Acts 4:19 also says; "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord"

Some great news: If you are a follower of Christ, your salvation, your standing with God is secure-- because of Jesus and his once for all sacrifice on the cross for our sins. We are also further encouraged by the fact that God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10) and that when we do sin, Jesus speaks to the Father in our defense (1 John 2:1)

FURTHER

Note verse 4-5 "Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. he will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it"

In the 135 AD the Jews were expelled from Israel (though a few remained). In 1948 Israel regained possession of a chunk of her land, fulfilling the promise of Deuteronomy 30:4-5.

Point: God's Words always come to pass- no matter how improbable.


IV. THERE IS A CHOICE TO MAKE Deuteronomy 30:11-15, 19

God is always calling us to choose-- choose who you will serve.

The choice is simple. It's not complex. There are only 2 paths. There is the narrow way which leads to Heaven and the wide way which leads to destruction.

How interesting that that verse 15 and 19 directly lead to Matthew 7:13-14 which says; "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua (Moses successor) says to the people; "But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."


Are you a follower of Christ? Keep on choosing every day to follow Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on Him, the author and finisher of our faith

Are you exploring the Christian faith? Put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. No matter what you've done, you can be forgiven. Seek the Lord while he may be found. Flee the coming wrath and day of judgment. Turn from your sin. Confess your sins and rest in Christ.

When it comes to following God there is no "grey" area. There is one Savior and one way of salvation-- Jesus Christ.

We are not to be lukewarm in our commitment either. We need to have passion and zeal for the work and person of Christ. Holiness is our call and we must be serious about it.

Let us close this mornings service by singing "I have decided to follow Jesus"