The Old Covenant renewed
1: These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2: And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3: The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4: Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 5: And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6: Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. 7: And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: 8: And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh. 9: Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. 10: Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, 11: Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: 12: That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: 13: That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14: Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; 15: But with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day: 16: (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by; 17: And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:) 18: Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; 19: And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: 20: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. 21: And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: 22: So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; 23: And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: 24: Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? 25: Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 26: For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: 27: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: 28: And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. 29: The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
God’s promises remain constant
1: And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2: And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3: That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4: If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6: And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 7: And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. 8: And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. 9: And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: 10: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 11: For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12: It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13: Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14: But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
The choice of life and death
15: See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16: In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17: But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18: I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19: I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Joshua is your new leader
1: And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. 2: And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3: The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said. 4: And the LORD shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed. 5: And the LORD shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6: Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7: And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8: And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. 9: And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10: And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11: When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12: Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. 14: And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. 15: And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle. 16: And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17: Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day. Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18: And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19: Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. 20: For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. 21: And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware. 22: Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. 23: And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.
D The Last words, and death of Moses
Moses speaks to the Levites
24: And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25: That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26: Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. 27: For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? 28: Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. 29: For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. 30: And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.
Yesterdays reading was both wonderful and frightening, exciting and fearful. Every Christians needs to get a grip of the profound truth of the special covenant that God had with his ancient people Israel. However they must also understand that as christians they are in a completely new covenant. It is not based on keeping the Mosaic Law in fact they are in a covenant of grace. Those who enter it, do so, on the basis of faith in the work that Christ has completed and not circumcision. It is grace and faith and not law and obedience. And while there are blessing untold in the new covenant there are no curses. But coming back to todays Bible reading The Mosaic covenant with Israel is reiterated and it is stated that the LORD’s promises of blessing are constant for the nation that is faithful to the Lord. Then Moses presents before Israel the choice of life or death. Will they follow the LORD or will they forsake the Lord and die? Then we have the appointment of the new leader of Israel Joshua and then we have the last words of Moses to his people, the first part of that is a special message to the Levites. First the Lord reherses the whole of their history from their deliverance from Egypt right up the the present day. He reminds them that they (Moses, Joshua and Caleb) saw all the the Lord did in the wilderness and that for 40 years they ate no bread and drank any wine and that their clothes and shoes never wore out. And he reminds them of their recent victories over the kings of Bashan and Heshbon. And how the Lord gave the land to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe Manasseh. And then Moses gives them the solemn warning ‘Keep the Law’. All the children of Israel heard his words from the elders to the little children. Then Moses said you are entering into this covenant again today. He says let no man bless himself saying to his own heart that he has peace when in fact he is a drunkard. (The concept of peach – Shalom for the Israelites was simply this that between him and his God there was no specific consciousness of sin and so he enjoyed unbroken communion with his God. It became the greeting between Israelites when they met and was in fact a pray for the one they met. (May) Peace be with you. It was used by the Lord Jesus when greeting his disciples.) Here Moses says that the man who thinks that God is with him when he is not will come under the judgment of God. (Think of Samson) The curses of the Law will be laid against him and his name will be blotted out of those who are alive in the earth. It might be that one day the land will be destroyed and your children will rise up against you and strangers will see the land destroyed and wonder at the judgment of the LORD. Other nations will ask Why has the Lord destroyed this land and they will answer because they have forsaken covenant of the LORD God of their fathes who brought them out of Egypt. They went and served other gods and the anger of the LORD went out against them and threw them out of the land. Then the Lord says that after all these curses have come on you as a nation you will remember and you will return unto the LORD your God and obey his voice with one heart and soul. Then the Lord will return you to the land. He will gather you from all the nations that he has scattered you to. (This has a partial fulfilment in the return from the Babylonian captivity and possibly a fulfilment in the last century when the Jews returned from the nations to establish a homeland but it will one day have its true fulfilment in the gathering of the scattered of every tribe even the ten northern tribes. Christ said, I have other sheep which are not of this fold them also l must gather and there will be one fold and one shepherd.) Then the Lord will bring them into a new covenant, a covenant of blessing far beyond anything they have previously known. The LORD will multiply their seed and increase their wealth beyond anything known before. Then Moses presents before Israel a stark choice, he says l set before you this day life and good or death and evil. He said l command you this day to love the LORD your God and live righteously and keep his commandments so that you might live and multiply and the Lord will bless you in the land you are about to enter. BUT if you turn your minds away and will not hear and be drawn into idolatry. Then let me tell you that you will be destroyed and quickly. He said l call on heaven and earth to witness this day against you that l have give you the choice of life and death, blessing and cursing. So choose LIFE ! So that you may live, that you may love the LORD your God and obey his voice, that you will be attached to him because he is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord promised to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We do not know what the effect of this speech was but what a great speech to end a glorious life of service to his God. Then Moses spoke some more, he said, I am 120 years old today (It was his birthday!) The Lord has sid to me that you are to go over the Jordan and destroy the nations of the land like he did to nations that have opposed us already. The LORD your God will lead you and Joshua will lead you. Be strong and have good courage. Do not be afraid because the LORD your God is with you and will not fail you or forsake you. Then Moses called Joshua forward to spoke the same words of encouragement to him personally. Then Moses wrote his closing law and gave it to the Levites. And he told them at every Sabbatical year his law was to be read to all the people, men, women and children and strangers. The purpose of this is that Israel might hear, learn and fear the LORD their God and keep the Law. Then the Lord told Moses that the day is coming near for you to die. Call for Joshua and present yourself at the door of the Tabernacle so that l can give him a charge. The Lord appeared in a pillar of cloud and said Moses yu are going to sleep with your fathers but this people will rise up to idolatry and will forsake me and break the covenant with me and I will forsake them and turn away from them. They will say Our God is not among us. So write this song and teach them to sing it. This song will be a witness against them when they turn away from me. Moses wrote down the song and taught it to the children of Israel. Then he encouraged Joshua to trust in the Lord. When Moses had finished the book of the Law that he commanded the Levites to put the book of the law inside the Ark of the Covenant. It was to be a witness against Israel, because Israel is a rebellious people and they will be more so after my death, said Moses. He said call the tribes together because l know that after my death Israel will totally corrupt themselves and turn away from the Lord. Then Moses spoke the words of the Song that the LORD gave him to the people. This song is a recital of the greatness and glories of the Lord seen in his acts of blessing on the children of Israel. It speaks of creation and of the works of God in the judgment of men. The last part is linked very much with the messages to his servants in Revelation. He says…I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people. This song could easily have a place in the book of Revelation. Moses ended by saying this song will be your very life if only you will do it.