Friday, November 22, 2013

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!