Friday, December 6, 2013

Lesson 12 Deuteronomy 32-34

Welcome back!  Did everyone have a wonderful time of fellowship and food? During the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas we turn our hearts and minds toward family.
After spending a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day with family at my sister’s new home, I took a long week-end to visit my son Kurt in Swansboro. His step-sister Jennie was the perfect hostess going about her regular routine, while giving Kurt and me plenty of time together.
Jennie spent most of the week-end planning the placement of her Christmas tree in the front room, decorating the outside of the house and bringing decorations from their hiding places to adore the windows and walls of the entire house. When I left Jennie’s home was festive and bright.  
During my first Christmas holidays after my divorce, I was a Grinch. Tangling with the Christmas lights and tree was not a joyful time. In my later years  I have made efforts to de-stress the holiday. I leave my nativities on display all year long. My Christmon tree is small and stays decorated in a closet to be removed effortlessly and given in a place of honor.  I use bags more than wrapping paper. And my gifts are donations to worthy organizations. Christmas is a time of sharing and giving instead of a frenzy of shopping and wrapping.
My friend who works in retail told me horror stories of Black Friday. Police had to be called into several sections of the store to separate the mob angry shoppers. Greed was rampant. It was a frightening, possibly dangerous situation.
I pray this year you will spend more time in the presence of Christ than the madness of spending money. Remember the phrase from a few weeks ago. When praises go up, blessings come down. That is my Christmas wish for you this year. To bless others in spirit and love and you will be blessed.
Through the 120 years of Moses’ life God allowed the beginning of his life in the palace of the Egyptian king, observing how to govern a nation. Moses then spent the next third of his life as a shepherd, learning wilderness survival from Jethro, his father in law. Moses used what God had taught him for the last 40 years of his life leading a rebellious people through the desert.  God provided that time of education to shape Moses into a man that He could use.

Moses is a man worthy of emulating. He modeled what it means to “love God with all your heart, and soul and mind.” Though a man of greatness, he was also a man of humility. As we seek to profit from Moses’ example, it’s important to remember Moses’ greatness doesn’t stem from incredible giftedness but rather from his availability to God.
If we look back at Genesis 49, Jacob pronounces blessings on his sons before his death. Similarly in Chapter 33 Moses declares blessings on the tribes of Israel. The phrasing of the first verse leads us to believe someone other than Moses has written the final chapters.
v.1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death.

As Moses speaks to each tribe we get a picture of their past and a prediction of their

v.7 The blessing on the Royal tribe of Judah, through which the Messiah will come in the form of prayer to Jehovah. As Jacob had promised to Judah supremacy over his brethren and success in war, Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

If you were to frame a blessing for your child or your grandchildren how would you proceed? Knowing their character and personality what could you predict? Case in point, my daughter Kristen posted this of my grandson Gaven on Thanksgiving Day!
Tonight as we wrap up the last lesson in Deuteronomy, we study the Blessing and Death of Moses. Preparing to cross the Jordan River to enter the Promise Land, the children of Israel will need to remember the lessons learned in the wilderness.
Red Sea Rules by Robert Morgan was penned while was traveling on a plane from Athens to NY to rescue a loved one. While studying Exodus 14; Ten rules for handling difficult situations began to unfold. I took the liberty of formulating with some lessons learned from our study of Moses leadership.
1-Even the leader must follow the rules. Moses talked with God face-to-face and yet wasn’t allowed the privilege of entering the Promised Land.  In Deuteronomy 32:52 God speaks to Moses on the top of Mt. Nebo. “For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel." For you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people.
Do we treat God as holy during this season of giving? Is Christ the focus of our December or is it crowded with parties and secular activities? How do we honor Him in the presence of our children, our family, our friends, our neighbors? When we shop?
2-Even if you are the oldest, you can still be punished.  V.6 Reuben’s blessing was to live but not greatly multiply. Clark in his commentary states “Though his life and his blessings have been forfeited by his transgression with his father's concubine, Genesis 49:3-4 and in his rebellion with Korah, Numbers 16:1-3.” God did not let Reuben become extinct as a tribe in Israel. However no judge, prophet, or national hero arose from this tribe.
3-You are responsible for your actions. Simeon and Levi were not given an allotment because of their cruel treatment of Shechem. Their father prophesied, “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49: 7) Although not listed, some scholars believe this phrase in v.6 was attributed to Simeon “And let not his men be few.” Simeon received no territory only received cities scattered among Judah's territory. The Levites were also scattered through the territory to serve their brothers as caretakers of the Tabernacle.
The decisions we make in our lives have an effect on our future. We are responsible for our own choices, not our heritage, not the influence of our friends, not our age or the economy. We must accept the consequences of our actions.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
4-Stick with what you know. My son in law has a very limited palate. Whenever we go to a new restaurant, more often than not he will order a cheese burger. He says, “It is hard to mess up a hamburger“(short of undercooking it.)
When the tribes of Judah enter this possessed land, they must stick with WHO they know, remember God had brought them out of slavery and provided for them throughout the last 40 years. Joshua will lead them in mighty victories. As long as they are obedient, God will go ahead of them and defeat their enemies. When they try to do it in their own strength they will fail. Joshua was a mighty warrior, but after his first defeat, he too will remember the instructions to assemble the people at Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal to read the laws of the covenant.
5-Remember your roots. A group on Facebook is composed of people who were raised in CRAMERTON. We are proud of our heritage of hard working folks, friendly neighbors, and good schools.  
Asaph one of the music leaders of Israel, recalls the events from Exodus 14.
Psalm 77:19-20
Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
We can know that whatever happens in our lives God can make a way when events seem hopeless. During the parting of the Red Sea, God led his children to that exact place at that precise time for His purpose and His glory.
6-Model yourselves after your leader Moses-no matter his moments of weakness, we would do well to model our lives after Moses. Called a friend of God, he sat in the tent of meeting with the Almighty God. Moses kept giving of himself, even when those he loved failed. Moses became a man of God because he was a man “the LORD knew face to face” (34:10). He was motivated by God’s love, grace, and mercy. Despite his failures he honored God’s holiness and His justness and His jealousy. We should do no less.
Moses is worth emulating because even in the midst of failure he remained faithful. He allowed God to shape his life. May God help us to model such faithfulness in our lives.
7-God is your King 33:26-29
"There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty.
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms….
Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph!
No other nation had a God like Israel; a God that protected and provided and loved them. As Christians we know there is No God Like Jehovah.

8-Praise The Lord in Everything As Israel is entering a new land, but we as Christians also spend our days confronting the enemy. Let us remember that no matter what petty events happen to us we must praise the LORD for His providential care.
Recently amid the confusion and haste of clearing out my Dad’s estate, I inadvertently closed the car door on my book bag. Motoring through Cramerton, friends waved and yelled. Almost to Food Lion my phone rang and Jamie informed me that I was dragging my bag along the asphalt. As I pulled the car over and examined the contents of the bag, I praised the LORD for not losing my wallet and no damage to my phone. Hey! A what a great excuse to buy a new bag.
9-Give Him the Glory  Israel will make the mistake of trying to fight the enemy in their own strength. Defeat is a hard way to learn a lesson. God will share His glory with no one! Any good that happens to you, any talent you possess, any good deed you perform is through His gifting.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights….

10-Trust Him to know what He is doing. We stumble around unsure what to do, but we can know that God can be trusted to do the very best for us. He loved us enough to make a way for us to be saved; enough to send His son to pay our debt.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
D.L. Moody once said, “We may easily be too big for God to use, but never too small.” That is true. You and I may be so infatuated with our own God-given talents and abilities that we fail to become malleable in God’s hand. When we fail to become malleable in God’s hand, we fail to become useful for His purposes.

Moses shows us that the most fulfilling thing we can do is to seek God and come to know and love Him in a deeper way. Moses the ordinary man became a great man of God as he deepened his knowledge of the LORD. He served a mighty God, as do we. Moses is a man worth emulating.

Will you choose follow the example of Moses?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Lesson 11-Deut. 31-32 Transition of Leadership

Teaching by Mary Alice McDanal-Associate Teaching Director

Lesson 10- Deuteronomy 29-30 The Challenge to Commitment

During the years I have shared about Little Red and his sometimes uncooperative nature. One day he was having one of those trouble-filled days with “hem’s Nanny.” It seemed we spent the morning arguing back and forth. Finally I’d had enough.
 "Gaven go sit in the corner right now! Don’t get up until I tell you to!"
Gaven went to the corner and sat down. In a few minutes he called back, "Nanny, I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!"  Really this was a joke I adapted for the lesson.

Last week our answer to most questions was OBEDIENCE. Like Gaven we all tend to have a "standing on the inside" nature. The Jewish people call it the "yetzer ha ra," or the "evil inclination." It sometimes plays out in a resistance to authority and rules.

The Ten Commandments are the beginning of God’s covenant with Israel and contain his words of his eternal nature.
The word covenant is used seven times in chapter 29. The Hebrew word for covenant is b’rit, (ber-eet) meaning covenant, pact, or treaty. It is one of the most frequently used words in Hebrew Scriptures -appearing some 270 times. God made covenants of promise to Noah, David, the Levitical priesthood, and others. However, He only “cut the covenant” for Abraham, and later with Jesus Christ. Thus the word B’rit implies the shedding of blood in the process of ratifying an agreement.
karath berith: literally means “to cut covenant”.  karath: to cut off, sever, cut or make.  berith: covenant.
SLIDE 3 Genesis 15:9-10 When God made a covenant with Abram, He asked Abram to bring five animals, a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon." Abram brought all these before God, cut the larger animals in two and arranged the halves opposite each other and make a path between the halves of their bodies.  God was using a method of "cutting" a covenant that was well known in the ancient near east. Typically both parties would walk through the path of blood to take the covenant upon themselves. Some suggest the parties of the covenant are thereby saying in essence, "May I be torn apart like these animals if I fail to uphold my part of this covenant."
Genesis 15:12-18 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.” “17- When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18- On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram.”
In Genesis 15, God alone passes between the slaughtered animals while Abraham sleeps. It is clear that God is the one who initiates, confirms and even fulfills the covenant.  Through Christ He fulfilled both sides of the Covenant.
Genesis 17:10-11 Abraham and all male children were commanded to be circumcised as a "sign of covenant" between them and God. Pray
·        The Covenant Renewed in Moab
·        Choose Life and Blessings
Chapter 29 is about renewing the Covenant. Tonight I want to back up a bit to Exodus.
Exodus 24 when the Covenant is confirmed with Israel at Mt. Sinai, chronologically this is after the LORD told Moses the Ten Commandments we read in Ch.20 but before the ugly incident  of golden calf which caused the tablets to be broken in Exodus 32.
Exodus 24:3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
Sounds somewhat like last week’s lesson when all the people answered, “Amen.
v. 4 When Moses writes the words the LORD told him in a book. He rose up early built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel, sacrifices several oxen, and seals the covenant with blood. He throws ½ of the blood on the altar, reads the Book of the Covenant to the people, and sprinkles the rest of the blood on the people (vv. 5–8).

Hebrews 9:22 Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (of sin.)
The implication is that the people are taking an oath that if they break the covenant, their blood will be shed like the oxen's and it will be their own fault. Here God makes a solemn covenant with Israel to confirm and undergird the covenant he made with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.

Reading Moses farewell address you may be tired getting tired of the repetition. But remember this generation did not live through the miracles of Egypt. Through this entire book Moses continually makes the people aware of all God has done for them. While the priests have a copy of God's law and were free to refer to it. The common people had to depend on their memories, which I have learned lately is not very reliable.
Deuteronomy 29: The Covenant Renewed in Moab 1 These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.
Warren Weirsbe in his commentary “Be Equipped” says, Chapter 29 is a miniature of the book of Deuteronomy. Moses reviewed the past verses 1-8, called the people to obey God's law vv. 9- 15 and warned them what would happen if they disobeyed vv. 16 - 29.
These are the children of the disobedient ones who would not enter the Promised Land. 4-5 Today the Lord has “given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.” I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.
Moses is calling this generation to obey God's law. Earlier we studies the word shema (pronounced “shmah”) is often translated as “hear.” But the word shema actually has a much wider, deeper meaning than “to perceive sound.” It encompasses a whole range of behaviors that includes listening, paying attention, and responding with action to what one has heard. Not only to hear but to put into action.
18Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, 
Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch? The riper a piece of fruit is, the more ethylene it produces, eventually leading to a concentration of the gas that’s enough to affect other food in the basket. Given the right conditions and enough time, one apple can cause all the fruit around it to ripen—and eventually rot. (Fun tip: Want to quickly ripen an avocado? Stick it in a paper bag with an apple overnight.)
This is also true of people. Ever been keeping the nursery at church, and some doting parent or grandparent just has to come check on the baby between first and second Service. Tell me what you think will happen. The baby thinks “Yea it’s time to go home,” only to be left by their loving family once again. Now what do you suppose happens when one baby starts crying. Of course, all the other babies sense something is amiss and they start bawling too.
Even adult can catch an attitude. One disgruntled employee or dare I say church member starts talking in the break room or the fellowship hall, and even if you had no interest whatsoever in the conflict, others can be whipped up into a frenzy. Am I telling the truth!
In all these cases, it actually does take just one “bitter root” or “rotten apple” to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the bunch.
We try to live in such a way that no one will ever be offended or kept back from finding the Lord by the way we act…. 2 Corinthians 6:3TLB 
Memory Verse 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
“Too often God's people forget what they ought to remember and remember what they ought to forget it!”
In a Torah scroll, the first letter of the first Hebrew word, beresheet (bare-eh-SHEET, “in the beginning”), stands out in bold, inked larger and darker than the rest of the text. This is the Hebrew letter bet.  The letter bet corresponds to our letter B. It is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, just as “B” is the second letter of the English alphabet.
The rabbis asked the question, “Why do the Scriptures begin with the second letter of the alphabet rather than the first?” Their answer: “To show that the Scriptures do not answer every question and not all knowledge is accessible to man, but some is reserved for God himself.”
The last half of chapter 29. Moses predicts with startling accuracy the captivity and dispensation of Israel. He refers to God’s anger against the land “because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord.” But Deuteronomy 30 he speaks of Repentance and Forgiveness v. 3 promises He will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Please take note of these beautiful pictures from Israel 365.
In Genesis 17 God’s sign of the covenant was circumcision of all males.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. This involves cutting away everything that prevents us from making Christ first place in our lives and in our hearts.

Romans 2:29 “circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter;”

Moses affirms in Deuteronomy 30: 8-9 WHEN  you again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand,” For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you.

Choose Life and Blessings
15“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your Goda that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules,b then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

One of the first gifts God gave to man was that of free choice.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Joshua 24:15 Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

The Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, and the new covenant that Jesus sealed with his own blood are all one great covenant of grace. The first two were conditional on the obedience of the people, our covenant through Jesus was redeemed by the blood of the lamb. .

God full of mercy and love looked forward to the coming of his Son and the sacrifice that repairs all the injury done to God's honor through the disobedience of the elect.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  What was freely given under Moses was purchased by Christ.

Every forgiven sin from Adam to the end of the age was laid on the Christ, the sinless Son of God. He accepted it willingly for the glory of his Father and the purchase of our souls from hell and death. If you accept His salvation, trust him and follow him in the obedience of faith, then you are the heirs with Jesus.

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
International Day of Faith in the Holy Land, which will be held on Mount Precipice, Nazareth on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

Will you choose life and blessings?