Covenant Renewals - RR187BE106
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
Let us worship God. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. For as many as are led by the spirit of God they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear but ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father. Let us pray.
Our Father, we come to Thee knowing that in Christ Jesus we have received the spirit of freedom, the spirit of power, the spirit of faith and action in Jesus Christ our Lord. We pray our Father that Thou wouldst empower us more and more that we may serve Thee with all our heart, mind and being that we might rejoice that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Give us hearing ears, obedient hands and joyful hearts in Thy service. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture is Deuteronomy 31:1-13. Our subject: Covenant Renewals. Covenant Renewals, Deuteronomy 31:1-13.
“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 Lordhath 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.”
Deuteronomy chapters thirty one through thirty three
Deuteronomy chapters thirty one through thirty three give us Moses’ last words. He knows because God tells him so that very grim apostasies will in time mark Israel’s future and that God’s judgments will be severe. Despite His intense partiality to His people Moses’ faith and hope are in God. He knows God cannot be deflected from His purpose nor can He ever fail. Moses is now a hundred and twenty years old. He says I can no more go out and come in, verse two, his statement reflects perhaps more his sense of aging more than an inability to function. It also reflects his awareness that God will take him before the nation crossed over Jordan. In Hebraic terms a hundred and twenty years meant three generations, a generation being generally reckoned as forty years. Nowadays they tend to make it twenty years because they say in about twenty years the leadership at the top shifts. Be that as it may the biblical generation was forty years. The generation that left Egypt as adults was now dead except for Moses, Joshua and Caleb. Their children were aging men and their grandchildren had reached maturity. The result of Moses’ imminent death was that a change of leadership was necessary. His successor Joshua has already been chosen by God. This transfer of authority is made easier because Israel faces battle and Joshua was a tested man. At the same time religious authority is given to the Levites and the duty of teaching and covenant duties. In verses nine through thirteen we are told that Moses had written the text of Deuteronomy. It was now delivered to the priests, the Levites and the elders of clans or tribes. [00:07:36]
Every year at the feast of tabernacles this law was
Every year at the feast of tabernacles this law was to be read in its entirety during the week of celebrations together. Now this was a legal requirement because Deuteronomy is covenant law. Covenants are treaties of law and in this case also a treaty of grace because it is between a great king, God, who in His mercy gives His law to a people. The requirement of such royal covenants or treaties was that the covenant law be read to all the people regularly. God here stipulates the seventh or sabbatical year. The law is their charter of freedom as the words of James reminds Christians in James 1:25 and 2:8. In every country of antiquity where the king gave the law he stipulated that it had to be read publicly because the law was the protection of the people. They were to know what was their basis for freedom. Now what they had we would not call freedom in Christian terms but at least it meant that they had some kind of protection. The reading of the law was thus usually a joyful reminder of their privileged status as Israel although when King Josiah ordered its reading after a long apostasy the people wept, their general disobedience for a long time meant fearfulness. To break one’s word to another man or to the state is no trifle but to break one’s word to God can be very deadly. The neglect of Deuteronomy in our time is no light matter. Every society requires law. The law determines what is good and what is evil. Law is always a religious matter and the only question is which religion does a legal system express and establish. [00:10:25]
Every country has an establishment of religion through
Every country has an establishment of religion through its laws because every system of law defines good and evil and good and evil are inescapably and always religious matters. So the reading of the law is both a civil and a religious act. It defines the moral imperative of the society. The reading is not the same as religious instruction in the law. According to J. A. Thompson writing in the ancient near East had been in common use for well over a thousand years before Moses. A little more than a century ago people were rejecting the books of Moses, Moses could not have written them, why, because there was no writing in Moses’ day, writing did not develop until centuries later. Of course before long they found abundant archeological evidence of writing in Moses day and a thousand years earlier. Did it change their minds? Did it make them ready to believe the Bible? Not in the slightest. They were not the least embarrassed by what they had previously said. Well in this ceremony Church and State, to use our modern terms, renewed their allegiance to God’s covenant. In this ritual more than a private allegiance to the covenant was affirmed. The total community, church and state alike, to use our terms, had to be under the covenant and its law. The source of Israel’s strength as of any man or nation could only be God the King. What Moses is told that God will do, God repeats later to Joshua in Joshua 1:1-9. One of the most amazing passages in all of scripture, a passage that is the commission and when our Lord gave the great commission it was a condensation of Joshua’s. Listen to what God said to Joshua, what He says to all his people: [00:13:25]
“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the
“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lordspake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Now these words are repeated again and again throughout
Now these words are repeated again and again throughout the Bible and in the New Testament. They are not only for Israel but for all the people of God. Therefore we are with those who heard Moses to recognize that the source of our strength is God the King. Verses six and eight are especially stressed and they are stressed because they are so important for all time. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not or be afraid of them for the Lord thy God, He is thee that goes with thee He will not fail thee or forsake thee. And the Lord, He it is that goes before thee, He will be with thee, He will not fail thee neither forsake thee, fear not neither be dismayed. These are verses to memorize. The reading of this book of the law was to take place in the sabbatical year, every seventh year. This was a time of rest from work and from debt. The sabbatical was a requirement of the law, it freed man from debt and oppression into godly living. For this reason the law was seen as a cause for joy and there are still echoes of this equation of the law with freedom and joy in Orthodox Jewish circles. They see the law as freedom and as joy. Now although this requirement was neglected in times of apostasy we do have a record of its observance in Joshua 8:34-35 and in Nehemiah 8. Deuteronomy is essentially established on the premise of covenantal family life, it is addressed to the families within the covenant but also to the nation and to the priests and to the Levites. Biblical religion is not simply personal as pietism is. It is personal but its concern is all inclusive, the individual, the family, the sanctuary, civil government, everything. So that it is a religion for of all of life and every area of life. [00:19:00]
It is a negation of biblical faith to limit its scope
It is a negation of biblical faith to limit its scope because God’s government is universal and so too is His law and His promises. His providence governs all. Every sphere of life, thought and government, all kinds of activities, vocations and sciences must be under His rule. To limit God is to deny Him, to limit God is to deny Him. No less than Moses we are all called by God to serve and obey Him and to be His royal servants in our place and time in history. The words of John Newton in his hymn on prayer well express what Moses tells the people when he encourages them to have faith:
“Thou art coming to a king, large petitions with thee bring, for His grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much, none can ever ask too much.”
Let us pray.
Our Father, give us a holy boldness as we come to Thee, a holy boldness as we serve Thee that in all things we may be faithful and that we may be more than overcomers in Christ our Lord. How great Thou art oh Lord, forgive us our fearfulness, our timidity and our unwillingness to serve Thee with our entire heart, mind and being. In Christ’s name, Amen. [00:21:24]
Are there any questions now about our lesson?...
Are there any questions now about our lesson?
When I was a student some of the older textbooks still spoke of the Mosaic era as being too primitive for writing, the evidence I think indicates that writing goes back to the very beginning of history. It is interesting that not too many years ago Donald J. Wiseman, a British scholar and head of the British Museum I believe for many years, put out a book on new light on ancient origins and he said that the word generations which he found in ancient tablets in ancient Babylon, the word, the very same word that appears repeatedly in Genesis and is translated of course generations really should be translated ‘these are the family records’. So that when we read these are the generations of Adam it means these are the family records, the family records of Noah and so on. So that we have from the very beginning family records that were written down.
Well if there are no questions let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee that we in Christ have a victory in time and in eternity. We have a victory that is greater than anything the world knows. Give us a holy confidence therefore knowing that Thou hast said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Therefore will not we fear what man can do unto us. Give us serenity of heart, patience and strength in thee. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.