Day 10: God Calling Us to Holiness, Faith and Love (Numbers and Deuteronomy)
Before we move on to Numbers and Deuteronomy, let me recap some of the types and shadows we covered yesterday and tie them into our New Testament experience.
The Overall Picture of how the typology of the tabernacle and the feast fit together with the New Testament understanding of Salvation:
- The word salvation means to be made whole. And the reason we need to be made whole goes back to the fall of Adam and Eve! Since then, we all have been broken to the degree that God’s image has been marred. Jesus then came to restore us by first dying for our sins, and then filling us with the Holy Spirit so we could be healed, and God’s image could be restored.
- You can find the word salvation used in all three grammatic tenses, past, present, and future. I was saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved. Each tense refers to an aspect of our lives and the process we must go through to experience it.
- Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
- This is called Justification, and it refers to that moment we surrendered our lives to Christ and put our faith in him and what he accomplished on the cross. At that moment we received God’s forgiveness and were declared righteous.
- Justification is the action of declaring or making us righteous in the sight of God. But something more happens here as well! Because scripture describes us as being dead in our sin before we received Christ.
Eph 2:1-2 In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. In other words, our spirit was dead. But then through faith in Christ, our spirit was made alive!
- Eph 2:4-5 But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ.
This is what I believe Jesus was referring to when he was talking to Nikodemus and said: John 3:3 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless one is born again, he cannot be in God's kingdom."
But this is only the first part of salvation, for Paul talks about salvation happening in the present tense as well! 1 Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God
Phil 2:12-13 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
- What Paul is referring to here is the whole process of sanctification. Sanctification is one of those religious sounding words that people in the church use but may not understand what it means.
- In its most basic sense, to sanctify something is to set it apart for God's special use and purpose. Therefore, God's people are sometimes said to be sanctified because they are set apart for God's special purposes in the world: Lev 20:7–8 “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy; for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes, and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
- This verse also shows us how the word sanctification is closely related to holiness. To be sanctified is to become holy! This connection to holiness is also seen in how this word is used in the New Testament. In one sense, believers are already sanctified because of what Jesus has done for them.
- Hebrews 10:10 “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
- But most of the time when Christians use the word sanctification, they are referring to the progressive work of God to make a believer more like Jesus Christ. This is why the apostle Paul writes; 1 Thes 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.”
- Furthermore, He commands Christians to “present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Rom 6:19). You see, because believers have been set free from their slavery to sin, "the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life" (Rom 6:22).
- Meaning, in sanctification, both God and the Christian have specific responsibilities. Clearly, God is the one who does the work of making us more like Christ, but we to must participate in that work by continually turning away from sin and learning how to walk in the power of God’s spirit!
- Gal 5:16-17 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. THE MESSAGE:
- But our salvation does not stop here either, because there is a future component to our salvation. We see this in Paul’s letter to the Romans. First, we read; Rom 5:9-10 And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation.
- Notice how that is future tense. Later on, Paul goes on to say in; Romans 13:11"Our salvation is now nearer than when we first believed." Meaning our there is more to our salvation than just what we have experienced in the past, or what we are currently experiencing.
- Paul also uses the phrase "the hope of salvation" in his letter to the Thessalonians. A hope of salvation implies once again a future salvation. Obviously, if our salvation were altogether finished, then we would have no need any more to hold it as our hope.
- This brings us to the last aspect of our salvation. From our Roman’s five passage, we see we are free of God’s future wrath. But it’s more than that. Before I address that, let’s do a quick recap. We have seen how God has saved our spirit through justification. And he is saving our soul thorough sanctification.
- That only leaves our bodies need to be saved, which I believe is part of the last aspect of our salvation. This is something called “Glorification.” Glorification is the theological term used to describe the final removal of sin from the lives of Christians when Jesus returns, and we are given new bodies.
- 1 Cor 15:50-54 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
- For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
- 1 John 3:2-3 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
- In other words, the future aspect of our salvation refers to not only our escaping God’s wrath, but also to the transformation process we all will go through when Christ returns!
- Now going back to the types and shadows of the Old Testament. According our chart, both the three courts of the Tabernacle, as well as the three-primary feast of Israel corresponds to the three aspects of our salvation.
- According to the tabernacle, any who wanted to enter the temple had to sacrifice a lamb for their sins to be forgiven. This is the same as justification and being born again where now our spirit has been made alive! This is also seen in the feast of Passover, where a lamb was shed for them and the blood was put over their doorways, a picture of how God’s forgiveness protects us from God’s judgement.
- Next comes the inner court and the feast of Pentecost. To operate in the inner court, one needed the light provided by the oil in the seven-fold candlestick. This represents the work of the holy spirit in our lives.
- This the feast of Pentecost celebrated the giving of the law which happened 50 days after Passover. This corresponds exactly to what happened in the New Testament. Jesus was sacrificed on Passover as the lamb that was slain for all sins.
- And fifty days after Passover, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples in Acts 2, where God wrote his laws on their hearts!
- Lastly, the feast of Tabernacles celebrated the harvest, which we will see fulfilled in the great harvest of souls that come to Christ right before Jesus returns! The return of Christ is also the fulfillment of entering into the Holy of Holies, for we will see Him face to face!
- It's with this picture in mind, that motivated Paul in his pursuit of experiencing every aspect of God’s salvation in his life, that he writes to the church in Philippi: Phil 3:10-16 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
- Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
- This brings us to the next book in the Pentateuch which is also full of types and shadows.
The Book of Numbers
- The first step to understanding some of the wonderful truths this book holds for us, is to understand something of the context we were first given.
- That of course means we must go back once again to the book of Genesis where man (Adam and Eve) was created in the image of God. They had this wonderful intimate relationship with their creator in which they were given purpose and three mandates. But then soon after they encountered temptation! (Eve and the serpent) Sadly, they fell and the image of God within them was marred.
- Now in Numbers we are once again introduced to this same pattern, a new creation, a nation call Israel, whom God adopted as his firstborn son! This son will now have an opportunity to have an intimate relationship with God through the establishment of his temple and the system of sacrifices.
- Israel was also given the law at Mount Sinai for the purpose of seeing God’s image restored in his newly created son so that they could fulfill God’s original mandates!
- And like Adam and Eve, they too encounter temptation, where they were tested. This is where the 40 years of wondering in the wilderness comes in.
- Heb 3:7-10 So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert , where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.
- As you can see, the forty years in the wilderness was the time of Testing! And unfortunately, like Adam and Eve, they too failed their test, as we see spelled out in the very next verse. Heb 3:11That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"
- This then sets the scene to help us understand something of why Jesus went through what he did just prior to entering his ministry. Matt 3:16-4 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
- Luke when reporting this story said this… Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
- It’s not by chance that Israel was being tested in the wilderness for forty years, and that Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days and was tested! A comparison is being made so we can see how Jesus succeeded where everyone else had failed!
- Both Adam and Eve failed their encounter with the serpent, as did Israel in their encounters in wilderness, whereas Jesus overcame his temptations, and as a result, was released into his ministry!
- Another significant type and shadow that needs to be highlighted here, is that Eden was a picture of heaven on earth, the kingdom of God made manifest! The promise land was also meant to be a picture of God’s kingdom on the earth, a place of abundant provision, and peace and joy!
- All pointing to the time when Jesus would restore heaven on earth after his second coming as seen in the book of Revelations.
- Jesus first coming was the first step in seeing that process come to fulfillment. After successfully overcoming his temptations, he was released into ministry where He both declared that God’s kingdom had come, and then demonstrating it through his healing ministry, and delivering people from their demonic bondages!
- But the significance of this testing pattern did not stop there! As we are going to see, it applies to us as well.
- 1 Cor 10:1-5 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
- 1 Cor 10:6-11 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did — and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did — and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
- So just like in the book of Genesis, after humanity was created in his image, they were given a test. Two trees were put in the middle of the garden representing choices that they would have to make. Either they would choose God's way, or they would choose their own way.
- The book of numbers portrays to us that same test. God gave Israel his law, so once again they had a clear choice. They could either choose God’s way or their own way. The book of numbers reveals to us their choice, which was to choose their own way.
- Although, there is on big difference between these two stories. The test in Genesis, Adam and Eve were given only one chance! Where apparently in the book of Numbers, God gave Israel a second chance to past the test! And then a third chance! And on and on for forty years! Talk about a display of God’s unmerited grace!
- But according to the New Testament, they failed leaving us an example, so that we might learn from their mistakes and escape the same fate that they experienced.
- Heb 3:19 -4:2 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
- Interestingly, the Jewish people call this book the “Book of Wilderness.” A journey that should have taken them only 11 days. But because of their unbelief, they failed one test after another, and ended up wondering through the wilderness for 40 years, and then eventually dying, never making it into the promise land!
From all this, Father God gives us three main revelations that get at the heart of this book!
- Despite the faithlessness of Israel, God was faithful to them! Why? Because of his covenant to Abraham. God will always be true to his promises!
- When it comes to our personal transformation, there is something we are called to do, that God will not do for us! We must continually choose faith when it comes to following God and trusting in his ways!
- When it comes to faith, there was a big difference between Moses and the children of Israel! The writer of Psalm 103 put it this way: Ps 103:7 He (God) made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. NKJV. This theme continues throughout Scripture’s. Psalm 95: 7- 11, which is also quoted in the book of Hebrews, is also refers to Israel not knowing God’s ways.
Understanding the difference between Moses faith and the children of Israel’s faith.
- Heb 3:7-11 So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"
- The implication of this verse is that the nation of Israel failed to get through the wilderness because their lack of faith! And their lack of faith, and therefore disobedience was due to this difference between Moses and the Children of Israel! (God) made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. NKJV
- Fortunately for us, according to the writer of Hebrews; the promise of entering his rest still stands… Meaning from the New Testament perspective, all that was promised God’s people through the promised land, is still available for us!
- But just like Israel of old, the possibility of not entering and experiencing the fulfillment of God’s promises is still a possibility for us today. This is why it says in Heb 3:19-4:2 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
- Based on all this, the question we must all wrestle with then is how do we become more like Moses when it comes to faith than the children of Israel? What do these Old Testament books have to teach us concerning their differences and how we might not fall into the same trap that Israel did?
- To answer this, we must first go back to the book of Exodus, because it illustrates for us the difference between Moses faith being based on knowing God’s ways and Israel faith being based on only knowing his acts. Then the book of Numbers comes along and shows us the consequences of those differences.
- All through the book of numbers Israel is tested again and again by God, only to fail again and again.
- All because Israel didn’t understand the ways of God like Moses did. Knowing the ways of God refers to knowing God himself and understanding what it means to walk in the covenant he made with Israel through Abraham.
- Learning to walk in covenant with God has a lot to do with understanding that God wants us to trust him to meet all our needs regardless of our circumstances.
- But because Israel did not understand that, so God would lead them into one situation after another where they were desperate for help! God wanted them to learn that by trusting him and looking to him to be their savior, they would experience for themselves the positive fruits of that.
- This is remarkably similar to what the apostle Paul said to the Galatians: Gal 6:8-9 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
- Unfortunately, Israel always choose to look somewhere else for their deliverance, be it themselves or someone else. And even though every time they choose to look somewhere else for their deliverance, it always turned out bad, they never learned their lesson and ended up dying in the wilderness.
- You see, learning to walk in the Spirit or learning to depend on God in every area of our lives, is one of the most important lessons in both the Old and New Testaments, that God wants us to teach us. He never expected us to be able to accomplish his purposes through our own strength and ability!
- In the New Testament, Jesus not only confirms this idea, but demonstrated and modeled it for us! Jesus said: John 5:19-20 "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
- In other words, he was saying, this is what walking in covenant with God looks like! And Jesus said this because he expects us as believers to live our lives in the same way. That no matter what our circumstances look like, no matter how hard life gets or how much pain we are in, we need to put our faith and trust in who he is! This is the kind of faith that Moses walked in.
- In response to this, I want us to take a deeper look at the differences between Moses and Israel. Just for a few moments, let’s go back to the book of Exodus where we begin to see this pattern develop.
- Ex 14:10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"
- Imagine that! Even after watching God miraculously delivered them and annihilating the Egyptians gods through the 10 plagues, as soon as their circumstances were not favorable, their faith went out the window. And now all the whining begins! Whereas Moses on the other hand, had a completely different response!
- Ex 14:13-14 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
- Do you see the difference? What a contrast! Israel’s whining response was because their faith was based on their physical circumstances while Moses faith was based on who God is and how he works.
- We know this to be true because as soon as God comes through and the circumstances are favorable to Israel, notice how their faith soars; Ex 15:1-2 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: "I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
- But then just three days later, we find Israel grumbling again!
- Ex 15:22-24 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?"
- Once again Moses rather than grumbling or whining or complaining, simply goes to God in prayer and God once again meets their needs! But not because of the kind of faith that Israel had, but because of the kind of faith Moses had!
- Two weeks after that; Ex 16:1-3 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."
- One of the points being made here is that people without faith always sees their circumstances in the most negative way! Once again Moses seeks out God and God comes through.
- Ex 17:1-4 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?" But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" Then Moses cried out to the LORD,
- It really is no surprise that Moses grew weary of God people. No matter how many times Moses demonstrated to them that God would meet all their needs if they would simply trust him, Israel seemed unwilling to learn!
- And because of their unwillingness to learn, they never were able to experience all that God promised to them! Yes, they had a great beginning! They trusted God enough to follow Moses out of Egypt, and out of slavery. But that was it! They got stuck in the wilderness, because they were unwilling to learn how to have faith in God for everything!
- As I said earlier, the trip should only take 11 days! But unfortunately, Israel spent the next 40 years wandering around the wilderness as God was trying to teach them what it was to walk in faith! So, while Numbers is an amazing testimony to God’s unmerited grace. It is also very sad, because it is a testimony of how stubborn and rebellious, we as a people can be!
Seven different areas that God wants us to grow in:
- As you look at the above outline, you can see all the different areas of life that God tested! The same areas of life that he wants to shape and influence in us.
- God is concerned about us learning to trust Him in every situation rather than complaining, God is concerned about our struggles with lust, and our attitudes towards those in authority. God is also concerned with us growing into becoming a faithful, humble people who trust God whether they agree with their leadership or not!
- And God is particularly interested in shaping and influencing us in becoming a thankful people!
- Now with all this in view, it’s important to remember that every one of these tests could have been successfully navigated if Israel’s faith had been lie Moses faith, which was based on knowing God's ways!
- But because their faith was based only on God’s acts and not his ways, a whole generation of Israelites died in the wilderness, except for two.
- The two who did not die in the wilderness was Joshua and Caleb! Out of the whole tribe of Israel, they were the only two who learned and understood what walk in covenant with God! This resulted in them being the only ones allowed to enter the promised land!
- And we see difference of faith between these two and the rest of Israel when they were sent as spies along with ten others into the promised land to spy on the Canaanites. As everyone returned to Israel with their reports, it was only Joshua and Caleb who spoke with faith and encouraged God’s people to go in and take the land!
- Num 13:30-33 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
- In this last sentence, we learn a wonderful nugget of truth. That our lack of faith not only affects our ability to enter into all that God has for us, but it also distorts how we see ourselves. Those without faith saw themselves like grasshoppers! And because of this, their enemies saw them in the same way!
- You see, When it comes to dealing with the enemy, the enemy will see you as you see yourself. If you have no faith, you are easily overcome and not someone to worry about.
- But if you have faith and know what it is to walk in covenant with God, then the enemy will see you as something to fear.!
- This brings us to the next and last book…
The Book of Deuteronomy: Seven things everyone should know about the book of Deuteronomy
1. Outline: (Taken form Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
I. Moses' First Speech: "What God Has Done for Israel" (1:1—4:43)
Second Speech: "all What
God Expects of Israel" (4:44—26:19)
III. Moses' Third Speech: "What God Will Do for Israel"
2. These are Moses last three discourses before he dies.
- It's kind of like a last will and testament. In it you find Moses’ heart and gut feelings.
- It is commonly called the second giving of the law because now we have a whole new generation of Israelites standing on the very edge of the promised land, anticipating the fulfillment of what God had promised them through father Abraham.
- Meaning, that finally God had deemed them ready to enter the promises of God. But before they can do that, they need to understand that they are in covenant with God. So, it should surprise us that:
3. The theme or heart of the book is all about covenant!
- Howbeit, this covenant is different than the covenant God made with Abraham.
- This covenant is what we call a conditional covenant, which declares that as long as Israel is obedient to God, they will be blessed. But if they are disobedient to God, they will experience the curse.
- But as we see this principle played out through the rest of the Old Testament, we discover that the curse is always designed to restore Israel’s relationship with himself, or at the very least, get them back on track!
- And it’s with this in view that we begin to understand something of the amazing grace of God. From here on out, the rests of the story concerning Israel can be seen as a commentary on whether they obeyed or disobeyed this covenant.
- Interestingly, as time goes on and as prophets begin to appear in God's story, the prophet’s essential function was to enforce the Deuteronomy covenant. In other words, Prophets were God’s "covenant law enforcers."
4. Another unique aspect of this book is the type of relationship that is portrayed between God and his people!
- The relationship that we are meant to have with God should be seen as the same kind of relationship a father has with his son! Something personal, intimate, and special!
- It is in that context that we have a record of some of the most gracious words that God ever spoke to his people! And these gracious words highlight for us the idea that holiness is not about following a bunch of rules but is a response of love to God who loves us beyond what we can comprehend!
- So, it should not surprise us to discover that this book is quoted 80 times in the New Testament, making it one of the most quoted books in the Old Testament. Furthermore…
5. This book focuses on Israel occupying the land!
- The time has now come for them to go in and possess the promised land! Therefore, this book contains everything Israel will need to inherit the promised land successfully and completely!
- Out of all the great lessons this book offers us, there is one lesson that stands out: that it is not enough just to be in a relationship with God, he wants to bring us to in bringing about his purposes!
- You see, even though Israel had been led by the Spirit of God for the last 40 years and had been supernaturally provided for, it did not mean that they were fulfilling God's purposes or calling for their lives. As we are going to see, this was now about to change as they enter the promise land in the book of Joshua!
- But before we begin exploring that book, it’s important to make this one last observation about the book of Deuteronomy!
6. Deuteronomy is a treasure chest of theological concepts that have influenced the religious thought of the ancient Israelites, modern-day Jews, and Christians.
- Deuteronomy 6:4 became the enduring "Creed" of Israel... hear, oh Israel; the Lord is our God, the Lord alone is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Today, Orthodox Jews are encouraged to pray this twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
- From a contextual point of view, this is a great summary of everything that God had revealed up to this point! That everything God was calling Israel to participate in; his temple, the sacrifices, their priestly duty, all have to do with developing this personal intimate relationship with him!
- This is why Jesus said this in the New Testament when he was asked what the greatest commandment was:
- Matt 22:37-40 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
- In other words, all the law and the pockets can be summed up in one word: love! We are to love God, and to love people! Do this, and we can completely fulfill the essence of the law!
- Now this brings us to the very end of Deuteronomy where…
7. The great man and prophet of God Moses dies:
- Deut 34:1-8 Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo… Then the LORD said to Moses, "This is the land that I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob I would give to their descendants. I have let you see it, but I will not let you go there." So Moses, the LORD's servant, died there in the land of Moab, as the LORD had said he would. The LORD buried him in a valley in Moab, opposite the town of Bethpeor, but to this day no one knows the exact place of his burial. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; he was as strong as ever, and his eyesight was still good. The people of Israel mourned for him…
- Through out the whole Old Testament, there was never a man like Moses again. What a story, what a life he led! While he was described as the meekest man in all the earth, he was also portrayed as being one of the most determined, tenacious man who ever lived. For he never gave up on God or his calling, irregardless of how hard people were on him.
- Yet, sadly, despite all his heroic efforts, he was not able to enter into the promised land because he was disobedient to God in Numbers 20:11, where God had told him to strike the rock once to release water for Israel, but in his frustration Moses struck the rock twice.
- That was a sad day in Moses life! But interestingly, Moses finally did make it into the promised land. Over 1000 years later, he was summoned up with the prophet Elijah to meet with Jesus on the mountain of transfiguration, where he talked to Jesus about his upcoming Exodus (his death!)
- You see, Moses represented the law while Elijah represented all the prophets, who were invited to confirm and encourage Christ right just days before he was taken into custody! Thus, the influence of Moses transcended the Old Testament making him one of a kind!
- And now, finally, after so much time had passed, Moses stood in the promised that he had so long for! Oh what a joy that must've been for him as he stood there with the very person he prophesied would come, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!