"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Saturday, December 31, 2022

DEUTERONOMY: A REHEARSAL ON HOLINESS, A CALL TO FAITHFULNESS – Chapter 5

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez, and James Fire

DEUTERONOMY 5: “HEAR, O PEOLE OF GOD AND DO” by Albert Lopez, check out the complete teaching here!

INTRODUCTION: Sobre aviso no hay engaño. There’s no deception if you have been warned. Don’t let it go in one ear and then out the other. Key: It’s to observe; not hear and do nothing. At the end of Deuteronomy 4 in verse 39-40 The Lord is preparing his people for the 10 commandments which we read about in Exodus, and we will review once again in this chapter.

Deuteronomy 4:39-40
“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time
.

You’ve heard people say or maybe you have gone back and forth with someone saying. I’m the boss and the other person comes right back and tells you no I’m the boss. Knowing that deep down neither of you are the real boss. We might go as far as saying you’re not the boss of me! You can’t tell me what to do!

So the question then would be; who is the real boss? Who’s in charge?

Well we just read it and we will continue reading not only who the boss is but also what the boss had said and has commanded! Not only that but even what happens if we play the game where we try to tell God it’s my life, I can do whatever I want with it.

Now some of you would tell me I would never tell God that I’m the boss or that it’s my life I can do whatever I want with it! Your right you wouldn’t, I wouldn’t; with our words. What about with our actions or our lives. What does that say to the boss? To our God and Savior?

The world says YOLO (You Only Live Once and they may add live it up) however as a child of God the word tells us we are not our own and we say JOY which means; Jesus, Others and then You.

Like we talked about in chapter 4 we are the privileged and as a result of that we should be grateful and demonstrate this through obedience.

This should not be something that is burdensome although at times it may seem that way but I believe it’s because we are failing to see the goodness and faithfulness of our God! The value of God compared to mere things!
1 John 5:3
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
When Moses gave the law to the older generation at Sinai, the emphasis was on the fear of the Lord but his application of the Law to the new generation magnifies God’s Love for Israel and the importance of Israel loving the Lord. They were now to be a mature people who obeyed God from the heart. Listen the Lord is a merciful God as we read but we shouldn’t tempt Him because He is also a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:1-5
1 And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. 2 "The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 "The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive. 4 "The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. 5 "I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. He said:


Verse 1: We read these words “hear, learn, and observe”.

There are three things that Moses calls Israel to do and also calls us to do them. We need to hear but not just hear we need to take it further and listen with an intention to apply. How do you apply if you don’t know what to apply? You need to learn it as this was the second thing Moses called God’s people to do. Now once you learn it at that point you know what to apply; so that is the third thing Moses called Israel to do whatever it commanded.

So, besides these three things we can say that if we are going to get to the point of applying what God says; we need to listen attentively to understand, to heed and obey. It starts with hearing God’s voice with an intention to obey. That won’t always come easy and there may be times when you don’t listen just as we didn’t listen to our parents or our kids don’t listen to us at times. However; we strive to obey because we love because as in everything else Jesus set the example for us on what Love means to Him.

John.14:15
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.


So, love is connected to obedience.

Verse 2: [He] made a covenant with us at Horeb

Most of the people who had been at Sinai died during the wilderness wanderings, but the covenant of God stood fast.

So, to anyone who says that this is a book (Bible) that is not relevant or applicable listen to what Paul writes to the church of Corinth and to us:

1 Corinthians.10:6,11
6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.


Anyone who is a child of God is part of a better covenant as the Word says

Hebrews.8:6
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted [established] on better promises.


It’s because of Jesus that we get to be part of a covenant with God and a better covenant because Jesus is a better Moses.

Verse 4-5: The children of Israel were able to hear the voice of God from the bottom of the mountain; because it would be Moses who would be getting the 10 commandments at the top of the mountain.

Verse 5: You were afraid: Moses was the mediator between God and Israel because the people were afraid to hear the voice of God

If we are believing and obedient people, hearing God’s voice through his Word means blessing and encouragement; but if our hearts are not right with God His voice means judgment.

Deuteronomy 5:6
'I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.


God once again reminds why He can tell them what to do and how to do it and why to do it. If all God would have said was: “I am the Lord your God”; that should be enough! Instead, God reminds them where they were (Egypt) and what they were doing there (slaves) to Pharaoh and Egyptians.

You might be saying, Well I wasn’t in Egypt and certainly I was not in slavery. But let’s not forget that Egypt represents the world system and without Christ we are slaves to Sin and Self and Satan!

This great act of redemption should have been reason enough for the people to listen to God’s law and obey it, just as the redemption we have in Christ should motivate us to obey Him.

Each year at Passover, the Jews were reminded of God’s great act of salvation and each time the church celebrates the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded that Christ died for us that we might be saved from our sins and belong to Him.

Listen to this commentary:
“The Lord wants us to obey Him not as slaves cringing before a master, but as grateful children who love their Heavenly Father and appreciate all He is to us and has done for us. Obedience is connected to love and Obedience is also connected to gratefulness.”
Deuteronomy 5:7-8
7 You shall not have no other gods before me. 8 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;


Understand, this is key because it would prevent from breaking four of the holy commandments. The first four commandments had to do with Israel’s personal relationship to God.

The first commandment in verses 6-7 is expressed in the Shema which we will read about in Deuteronomy 6, and the second commandment verses 8-10 is the reasonable expression of the first.

Deuteronomy 5:9-10
9 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.


Visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the third and fourth generations

The Bible shows us that the Lord doesn’t punish the children and grandchildren because of their ancestor’s sins. In Ezekiel we read;
Ezekiel 18:4
Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.
However, God can allow the sad consequences of those sins to affect future generations, physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you think about it, children are prone to imitate their parents. Like the saying says, Monkey see and monkey do.

Not that you guys are monkeys. It’s easy to see the older members of the family have or had an opportunity to influence the younger ones; either for good or for evil. But the Lord also blesses generation to generation because they honor Him and obey Him.

That is why at the youth bible study we want to be a positive influence to the next generation for their good and for God’s glory. The men to the boys and the woman to the girls.

Deuteronomy 5:11
'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.


In the third Commandment; God’s name represents God’s character and reputation, and to honor his name means to make him look good to the people around us. Although Moses was a great leader and spiritual giant on one occasion, he misrepresented God and that cost him to enter the Promise Land.

All parents want their children to bring honor to the family name. Jesus taught the disciples to pray with these words Hallowed be thy name. and then we try to live and speak in such a way that we help to answer that prayer. On the other hand, using God’s name under oath to defend a dishonest statement or using it to curse or swear at someone these are ways of dishonoring the Lord’s name. Bearing that name and living like a Christian (Christ follower) will honor God’s good name before a watching world.

Deuteronomy 5:12-15
'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.


Canaan would be Israel’s place of rest and the weekly Sabbath would give them a sample or preview of that rest. Everyone who works and needs rest enjoys a day off or two in this world; it serves to get them ready to go back at it while we are in the world. When we gather on Sunday- The Lord’s Day we open the week with rest in Christ.

The body of believers we have our rest in Christ; He is our Sabbath. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. (Matt 12:8)

Deuteronomy 5:16
'Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.


The Fifth Commandment moves from our relationship to the Lord to living out that relationship with other people beginning in the home. This is also the commandment with a promise attached to it that you may have a full and good life. Who doesn’t want that? Then I suggest we honor our parents if we are still blessed to have them around.

Both the divine and human aspects of the Law are important and must not be separated, because we are commanded to Love the Lord and also love our neighbors.
1 John 4:20-21
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS

Jesus on one occasion answers the question what is the great commandment in the law
Matthew 22:37-40
And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Then he says this to his disciples:
John13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Deuteronomy 5:17
'You shall not murder.


People criticize the GOD of the Bible because they see how GOD orders the death of a multitude of pagan nations, and yet He tells us not to kill.
First of all, we must understand, GOD is the Maker of all life – He is the One Who grants it and has the authority to do so. He also has the authority to take life. He is the LORD.

GOD is also the Judge; since He created all things, is LORD over all things, that gives Him the authority to “make the rules” – which is the Law of GOD. When GOD tells us to not kill – literally, not to murder, that would be unlawful killings.

People go to prison all the time for murdering people who’ve done nothing to deserve it; this includes unborn human beings murdered in the womb – except these don’t go to prison for it because this brand of murder has been made “legal”.

More than this, if we even exhibit hatred (being “angry without a cause”) then we’ve committed murder in our hearts (Matt 5:21-22).

Deuteronomy 5:18
'You shall not commit adultery.


Likewise if we only lust in our hearts with unlawful sexual desire, we have committed adultery already by intent (Matt 5:27-28). Any sexual interaction outside of the sacred office of matrimony is considered a sin (Acts 15:20). It’s a sad state of affairs when even Christians need explanation as to why “shacking up” and living in sin is wrong.

Deuteronomy 5:19
You shall not steal.


Likewise if we are coveting, are we not stealing in the motivations of our hearts? The very act of stealing is no less serious a matter with GOD Who sees, records, and will judge all the deeds of man.
Truth be told, we were and are created for GOD’s own pleasure. Our lives are to be intertwined with the cords of love, in a meaningful relationship with our GOD. To live apart from GOD, to live our lives for ourselves (or even for others) is in a very real sense, theft – stealing ourselves from GOD to Whom all souls belong (Ezek 18:4)

God is concerned not only about the way we treat other people but also about the way we treat other people’s property. This includes stealing property, stealing a person’s good name (slander) even stealing people (slavery, kidnapping).

There are only three ways to get property; work for it, receive it as a gift or steal it. Of course, only the first two are acceptable to the Lord.

There are many more things we can say about 10 commandments but as we learned it comes down to Loving God and Loving People. Christian believers who depend on the indwelling Holy Spirit and live by the law of love don’t have to strive to obey these commandments, because the life of God will flow through them and enable them to fulfill the righteousness of God. Also, God’s people should be known for speaking the truth in Love.

Deuteronomy 5:20
'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


Bearing false witness – in other words, lying (even white lies, which in GOD’s sight are blacker than night!) are all sin. This is because GOD is a GOD of truth, and in He Who is Truth (John 14:6) has no lie (1 John 2:21).

Deuteronomy 5:21
'You shall not covet your neighbor's wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.'


To covet is the action of the heart in response to being discontent, dissatisfied with what the LORD has already given to us. It’s a cry from the heart saying, “GOD You’re not giving me what I need!” but in reality, you’re not getting what you want, what you lust for, what you think you need. It’s a false indictment against the LORD from the Christian child that says the Good Shepherd isn’t taking good enough care of me!

Scripture is clear on this matter: we are to be content with the things that we have (Phil 4:11; 1 Tim 6:8; Heb 13:5).

Deuteronomy 5:22-24
"These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. 23 "So it was, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders.24 "And you said: 'Surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.


The purpose of the Law of God is to reveal the God of the Law, and when you focus on Him; you find it a delight to obey his commands. The Law isn’t a burden if done by the power of the Spirit and out of a heart of love for the LORD. No Christian should have a problem with adultery any more than they do with stealing or killing.

How much more so in fulfilling the Law of Christ? Again, these verses bear repeating!
Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said to him," 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the first and great commandment. 39 "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

John 13:34
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
My prayer is that like the Psalmist we can say to the Lord:

Psalm.40:8
I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”


Just like Israel needed to remember the majesty of their God and the authority of His Word, the church needs to also remember – and remember daily about our great God! This will motivate us so we can say, we delight in Him and don’t find anything God says burdensome to do. May the Lord be our delight that motivates us to honor Him and obey Him!

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