DEUTERONOMY 4:1 – 6:25 and MARK 10:23–52
Moses is now about to give his final exhortations to the people. Think of the accumulated wisdom and experience that would go into such a discourse. We too need to heed these words because we are on the threshold of a mighty move of God; there are many parallels to observe. Moses speaks much about the statutes of God and His commandments. This is very similar to what you would find in Psa 119. The whole of Psa 119 is a discourse on the importance of God’s laws, statutes, commandments and His testimonies. It was written by Ezra the priest who is commonly referred to as the 2nd Moses. Ezra is writing this exhortation as Israel is coming out of their 70 year captivity in Babylon. The similarities between Moses and Ezra are striking. There are also similarities in their respective time periods as well. Israel is about to experience a fresh message of circumcision which is a picture of the New Covenant. Those who would later come out of Babylon have a new covenant reality as well.
Jer 24:7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
This was the fruit of their 70 years in Babylon; a new heart that was acquainted with God. Ezra instructed the people who came out of Babylon in the same way that Moses is instructing the people here. These are important precedents for the last day church. Where are the Moses’ and Ezra’s today who know God’s Law, teach God’s Law and do it?
Ezr 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
Moses reminded the children of Israel of when God first spoke at Mt. Sinai; they heard His voice but saw no similitude of Him (vs 12, 15). If they fail to give heed they will revert back to making graven images and be bound by corruption. Moses also reminds them that God is a jealous God and a consuming fire. This is repeated in Heb 12:29.
In verses 25-40 the Lord speaks through Moses about their future. HIs message still has relevance for this current group of people but He now speaks to the future generations. He speaks of a day when they will be scattered abroad into other nations (vs 27). He makes clear that there will come a day when Israel will corrupt themselves and be destroyed by foreign enemies. Why? It will be due to their idolatry. There will come a time when they again take the presence of the Lord for granted. God tells them that they will be forced to serve other gods (vs 28). He goes on to say that if they seek God again with their whole heart He will bring them back to their land (vs 29-31). Note the above verse from Jer 24:7. Can you see how certain scriptures and truths are now being tied together? There is a pattern here and we need to take note. The beauty of this chapter is its manifold applications. It is spoken to Israel at the time of Moses; it also speaks to the Restoration era of Ezra and Nehemiah and it speaks to the New Covenant Church of the last days. Speaking of Nehemiah it would be good to take note of the following verses:
Neh 1:7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.
Neh 1:8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
Neh 1:9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
Neh 1:10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
Where do you think Nehemiah received the revelation that helped form his intercessory prayer? He was an avid reader of Old Testament scripture. He came to know his calling and destiny by being acquainted with the history of God’s dealings. I guess we also need to ask where are the Nehemiah’s today who truly lament for the condition of the land. The Nehemiah’s who discover their sense of calling and destiny by close adherence and study of the Word of God? The Bible is a living Word whether it be Old or New Testament. Let the declaration of Moses here in chapter 4 find fertile ground in our hearts so that a similar burden will apprehend each and every one of us.
Moses continues exhorting the people on the subject of God’s Law. He makes it very personal by saying that God spoke directly to them, not their fathers (vs 3). Moses stood between God and the people, they heard His voice and they heard the spoken Laws being given to them (vs 4-5, Exo 20). In verses 6-21 Moses again reviews the 10 commandments that were given to them audibly in Exo 20 and as tables of stone in Exo 34. It is easy to always think of God’s Laws as something that is binding or legalistic and without life. It is oftentimes seen as being just Old Testament structure in light of New Testament reality. It simply bears repeating that the Law brings life and liberty (Jas 1:25, 2:12). The Law defines God and the Law is holy (Rom 7:12). The definition of the New Covenant is the Law of God written on the fleshly tables of our heart, not tables of stone. The Law of God has the ability to get to the root of where all sin originates. This is what Jesus meant when He said “But now I say unto you...” when He referenced the Law (Math 5:22). He did not come to destroy it but to fulfil it; to show how to live in New Covenant reality. The Old Testament Law that Moses is speaking to Israel has the potential to become expressed reality in our lives today.
Moses then reminds the people what was said previously when the Law was given to them by God. They said they would honor and keep the Law (vs 23-28). It is easy to commit to doing God’s will and keeping His commandments when there is great fear due to His awesome presence. Have you ever made a promise to God in the midst of great suffering or while going through a most difficult trial? It seems well intended and something that we would be able to uphold. After a time when things return to normalcy we forget and begin to revert to old ways and habits. This was the cycle seen during the period of the Judges. These chapters are absolutely amazing and prophetic. God made clear that a day was going to come when they would turn from God, be given to idols and then forced to serve them in a foreign land. He promises to restore them if they seek Him with all their heart. Concealed within these chapters is the future fulfilment of New Covenant Reality. The exhortation Moses was giving can find its realization in the last day church. It makes sense when we consider that Moses may well pick up on this theme when he returns as one of the two witnesses during the tribulation period (Mal 4:4-6, Rev 11). The pulse of Moses exhortation radiates for our day. He represents the manifestation of the True Priesthood that will soon emerge. It would be good to read these chapters (Deu 4, 5 and 6) with Psalm 119. They are very similar and they present a picture of the True priesthood (Rev 5:10).
In verse 29 the Lord (through Moses) laments that there is not such a people who would wholeheartedly keep His commandments and statutes. They said the right things but after a period of delay and no immediate pressure they would always revert back to their old ways. There would be no change just a constant cycle of serving God through convenience. Honestly, is it any different today?
Moses is again continuing to instil in the lives of the people the necessity of knowing, doing and keeping the Law and statutes of God. How does one come into that place of being able to be like a Moses and Ezra? This chapter I feel helps to give some keys.
Deu 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
The spirit of the Fear of the Lord is one of the 7 Spirit of God anointing’s as shown in Isa 11:2-3. We have noted that the 7 candlestick piece of furniture was located in the Holy Place of Moses Tabernacle. What is the Fear of the Lord? How can it be best defined? It is an awareness of His presence in every facet of our lives. It is the ability to sense and know when we grieve the Lord resulting in adjustments being made in our lives.
Here is a practical explanation from a childhood experience. I was rebellious 15 year old teenager. My relationship with my mom at that time was very strained. One evening I was out at a shopping mall and got caught stealing an item. My dad was summoned by security to come and pick me up at the store. He was obviously angry and made clear that there would be significant punishment. When I was brought home I had to face my younger siblings. Where was my mom? She was in the bedroom crying over what her eldest son had become. My dad ministered needed corporal punishment but it paled in comparison to the pain I experienced in knowing that I hurt my mom, someone who loved me so much. From that time forward my relationship with my mother changed and she has been the primary inspiration for my life.
The closer we walk with God the more we come to know His heart and His ways. It also means we come to know when he is grieved over an issue that may exist in our life. That one night back in 1973 with my mother changed forever my relationship with her. It also put into motion a change of direction in the way I was living; the fruits of which I am enjoying today. The Fear of the Lord helps to ensure that our commitment to God is not just a one-off type of relationship. This is when we feel sorry over something; commit to change to only find ourselves back doing it again when the pressure is off. The Fear of the Lord is pure and it is everlasting. May we learn to walk circumspectly on a daily basis having that awareness of His continual presence upon our lives.
Moses exhorts the people to continually rehearse to the up and coming generations how the Lord led them out of Egypt. He reinforces the importance of teaching God’s precepts to the children and to how they are to be kept as frontlets between the eyes. We know that the people of the Old Testament were not able to keep and fulfil the Law. We also know that Jesus, when He came, did not destroy the law but rather demonstrated how the law could be fulfilled. He raised and elevated its standards and yet showed how we too can become New Covenant believers. The vehicle the New Testament has in being able to fulfil the Law is grace. It serves as the bridge that can take us from where we are as sinners to the position that God has established for us. Grace is the means and enablement required to fulfil the requirements of the Law. It does not dismiss the law, excuse sin or make the law irrelevant. The exhortation of Moses in these chapters is a message that goes beyond the people of his day. It is a clear guide for us. May we be a people who choose “The Fear of the Lord”.
Mark 10 – Read day 62 commentary