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?

Lesson 9 Covenant Renewal Deuteronomy 27-28

My instructor in water aerobic is a beautiful Christian woman named Carmen. Monday she exclaimed, “When praises go up, blessings come down.” Later she sang in Spanish a beautiful praise song to the LORD. Truly God desires to bless His people. Even when we don’t feel the situation is in our favor, God can use it to bless us.

Kim Denton called two weeks ago to say her husband found a white notebook with my nametag on it. Immediately, I searched my CBS bag and found the white notebook that I use for lectures. But I responded, “Sure if it has my name on it, give it to my daughter Kristen.”

What a blessing to receive my notebook from two years ago when we studied Servants of God, complete with my digital recording device! The night I left it was the first visit from my new Area Director, JoAnne Raynor. I was obviously distracted. Anyway God used this circumstance to reveal things to me; besides the vanity of taping my lecture.
·        Return of the notebook brought my remembrance back to our Study of Joshua.
·        Joshua chapter 8 confirms the account on Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim.
Is God good or what!? When praises go up blessing come down!
I hope my humanness will prove to you that God can use broken pots and imperfect people. God did not leave out all the times His chosen ones failed, nor did He white out the repeated disobedience of Israel.

As Christians we must remember God’s Word if we’re to be blessed. We know what God wants from us: it is plainly written in his WORD! We must study, and learn and choose God’s best so that we may be blessed!

Covenant Renewals Lesson 9
• Listen and learn (chapter 27)
• Curse or blessing (chapter 28)
Here they are perched on the shores of the Jordan River waiting to enter the land of Milk and Honey promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God in His love for the children of Israel knew their obedience would protect them as they entered Canaan.  
Moses is giving declaration of curses and blessings.
Israel must Listen and learn
27:1 Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today.
And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, …on Mount Ebal, and you “erect large stones and coat them with plaster” ….And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.”  
This term is actually two verbs in Hebrew, "Yaw-TAB baw-AR," meaning "done well and made clear."
It is amazing to me that Moses wrote this book before he died, (except the last chapter.) Yet the events described here took place exactly as it was commanded.
To present the laws of God plainly and easy to read the stones were to be whitewashed with lime. At this time in history, Kings would write a list of their conquests on large whitewashed stones.

As your Teaching Director and your Core Leaders, we are challenged to plainly deliver the Truth of God’s Word.
Moses commanded them to build an altar on Mt. Ebal you shall build an altar to the Lord your God of uncut stones.
Why uncut stones? God did not want the stone carver to be glorified. God, at His altar, will share glory with no man - the beauty and attractiveness would be found only in the provision of God, not in any fleshly display.
Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the Lord your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”
Before conquering the land, they must listen and learn the Law. And after conquering the land, they must remember the Law.

Each of us must make choices every day, and we don’t always make the right ones. When we come to Jesus and receive His salvation as symbolized by the blood sacrifice on that altar.

Romans 10:9
" if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Every Christian must listen and learn so that we may choose His best and be blessed!

Curses or Blessing.
The whole nation could hear this reading of the Law, because the area has a natural amphitheater effect because of the contour of the hills. Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal, stood about 1,000 feet high and 500 yards apart at their base. And the limestone ridges along both slopes form perfect stations for standing or sitting. They were in the geographic center of the Promised Land, Israel had to control the middle of Canaan and the highlands to have the luxury of such an assembly at these mountains.

Finally, the mountains themselves were pictures of blessing and cursing: “On all hands it is allowed that Gerizim abounds with springs, gardens, and orchards, and that it is covered with a beautiful verdure, while Ebal is as naked and barren as a rock.” (Clarke)
Six tribes of Israel will stand in front of one mountain, six in front of the other, with the Levites in the middle.
6b And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God, and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.
The sacrifice was made Mount Ebal because a blood offering had to pay for their sins before they could be blessed. Those blessings were conditional upon obedience.

 “Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.” And all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Their pronouncement of Amen! means something. It means “so be it.” Every Amen! was a conscious agreement with the declaration of a curse for disobedience.
Regardless of whether they stood on Mt. Gerizim on the blessing side or the curse side Mt. Ebal, both groups would hear the declaration and agree by saying “Amen.” They acknowledge the benefits of following the law, as well as the consequences for disobeying them.

This reminds us that someday, a similar thing will happen:

Phil. 2:10-11 the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Regardless of which side each person chose, they will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.
The last verse of 27 covers any detail not named specifically. 26 (Y)“‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
It is not possible to keep every law. We all deserve the cursing. Romans 3:23 states “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

While Moses was pleading with God’s children to choose life, God had already prepared for the reality that they would choose death. From creation God had a plan for man, to be saved. In Jesus Christ, we have a New Covenant relationship. The curse we deserved was laid upon Him (Galatians 3:10-14). But when we are disobedient, we will reap the consequences of our actions.
 Choose God’s best so that we may be blessed!

Through the cursing God was warning the Children of Israel away from the depths of sin. By His love he was putting up Guard Rails to protect them.
Look at the carefully placed guardrails along this mountain road. Who in their right mind would complain about those “limiting, restrictive guardrails?”
Suppose you were traveling home late in the day through the mountains of North Carolina. As you navigate the winding roads, you began to feel a bit drowsy, but still you drive on. Have you ever been so sleepy you could not hold your eyes open? Before long, you are jolted fully awake when your van drifted to the opposite side of the road and ricocheted off the guardrail. Although it left an ugly mark down the side of you vehicle, the guardrail served its purpose well and kept the van from flying off the road. We can learn a powerful lesson from guardrails.

 God’s Word keeps us out of the ditch and on the road to success and protects us.
 Listen and learn, commit yourself to God’s Word.
Choose God’s best so that we may be blessed!

How many times have you said to yourself, “If I knew God’s will for my life, I would do it. I just wish he would write across the sky in letters a mile high.” The Israelites had God’s law written on a large whitewashed stone. But we have something greater still. We have Bibles, in print, on phones, on tablets. We can take our Bibles out at anytime and read God’s commands. We don’t need to go to a particular place like Mt. Ebal at a certain time and wait for a Priest to interpret the law for us. The Holy Spirit abides in us Even better we are not under the law but under GRACE. Jesus took all of our sin, every one we have committed and every one yet to be broken. We have no altars to make a sacrifice because Jesus was the final and perfect sacrifice.
As I searched for “Blessings,” I discovered a Hebrew blessing to say before reading the Torah and a blessing to read after reading the Torah. These are blessings to the LORD thanking Him for all His gifts. The book of Psalms is a good place to find blessings to the LORD. Psalm 144:15 Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Dr. O S Hawkins gives this example in his devotional. “Years ago, while in the process of memorizing James 1:17, I found myself one night in a parking lot standing under a light. When I stood directly under it, no shadow was cast. However, as I stepped away from the light, I began to see my shadow in front of me. The farther I walked, the larger the shadow, until finally I walked far enough to be in the darkness. The shadow was caused by my turning, my changing, and not by the light. Difficulties in life are never caused by God’s turning or changing. We can rest in the reality that even though we may be tempted, we have a Lord who is faithful.”
My daughter Kristen sings a song called Blessings. Here is the chorus:
“Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”
Hebrews 7:27 Our high priests who is Christ “does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”
As Christians we make choices every day, but our most important choice is who we putting our trust in?

Choose God’s best so that we may be blessed!
 If you have never made this decision, come while Susan plays softly. Jesus is the one who give us direction and purpose for our lives. If anyone wants to ask Jesus into their life, come now!