These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.
2 Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— 3 the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to [a]perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day. 5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet…..9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.
10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel,11 your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water— 12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today,13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and thatHe may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today.” Deuteronomy 29:1- 14 NKJV.
The generation of Israel which was left after the forties years of ‘Wandering’ were standing on the brink of entering the ‘Promised land’.
God through Moses, reminded the people of all those mighty works that He had wrought for them in bringing them out of Egypt and carrying them thus far and again that in the face of their repeated disobedience and stubborn unbelief.
The Covenant between God and his people was renewed at this time and two ways were set before them, the way to blessing and fruitful possession of the land or upon their disobedience, the curses of an angry God and war, famine, pestilence and exile.
The people’s proneness to disobedience and faithlessness is frankly laid at the door of their guilty and inexcusable lack of understanding and perception.
Despite all that the entire people saw, heard and experienced, God’s dealing with them and the mighty power He had exercised on their behalf produced no fundamental and enduring change in their hard hearted attitudes and sinful inclinations.
The mere fact that they had been sustained and constantly fed in a ‘howling wilderness’ when in normal circumstances they should have perished with hunger and thirst meant nothing to them. Even the fact that their clothes and shoes had not worn out as they normally would have had not registered with them as anything miraculous.
It seemed that in common with most of us they had become blasé with the mighty works of God seen in panorama gloriously around them.
God reminds them of what their own eyes has seen of the rampant idolatry of the nations through which they passed and the degradation and futility that were its consequences.
The people were again warned of the consequences of dallying with the ‘left over’ relics and idols they would find in Canaan.
They may foolishly come to believe that there would be no dire consequences from ‘toying’ with the practices of the Canaanites. There would be someone who would come from their midst who would suggest a seemingly minor departure from God and His ways. Becoming bored with the worship of the Lord their God they would be tempted to dally with the flesh pleasing pleasures of idolatry.
But their God was not an empty nothing such as the gods of the nations. He was not one to be trifled with and His law broken without repercussions.
As he would bless them in everything they did and possessed if they continued in obedience so would disobedience bring upon the people a blight and curse on all they did and on all they possessed and on their health and fruitfulness.
Unfortunately some professing Christians, in this modern age have re-invented God as being somewhat different from the Old Testament reality.
The God of Modern Christianity has ‘mellowed’ somewhat with the passing ages.
Many have made him far more indulgent and less likely to condemn and punish for our grievous sinful indulgences.
We must remember that the Children of Israel were to be God’s (if I may use the expression) ‘display house’ in the world.
The ungodly were to see in Israel, God’ glory and grace and be drawn to like obedience and faith. How could this be accomplished if God’s chosen people were indulging in idolatry and behaved no differently from the Gentiles?
Surely the Christian must perform a similar role in the world today and yet how many of us live lives which are indistinguishable from our godless neighbours.
As the children of Israel were called to holiness and holy living, so is the believer.
It is our discarding of the need for Christian Sanctification and the encroachment of ‘worldliness’ and Post modern’ thinking that has weakened the Church’s witness in the world. It is our trivializing of sin and lack of desire for ‘Holiness’ that tarnishes all say and do.
The Christian through God’s grace revealed through Christ no longer seeks to be justified in God’s sight by works of Law.
Yet the believer does not escape the Divine call to obedience and holiness.
It is the through the acting of the ‘new born’ heavenly nature and sanctified desires implanted in the believer that motivate him to seek to live in ways pleasing to God and according to His Holy Word!
Rather than ‘Unhitch’ ourselves from the Old Testament we should rather remind ourselves of exactly who this ‘Holy’ and yet merciful God is ,with whom we have to do; and in obedience to His Word, walk in faith, ‘holiness and newness of life’.
That sinking Feeling!
One thought that occurs to me living as I am in a city built on Gold mining is that I can never be sure what lies under my feet.
We often find articles in our local paper about old mine shafts opening up due to heavy rain.
The strangest occurrence I remember is of a person pulling up floorboards in his house and finding a gaping void beneath them.
The phenomena of ‘sinkholes’ and the fact that our continental land masses are afloat on a sea of molten magma give us a reminder that stability and solidity are only ‘relative’ terms.
God alone offers true stability and should be the rock we trust in and obey. The Christian alone builds on a ‘Sure foundation’ which ‘wind, weather, Earthquake and Fire can never move or destroy.