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?