"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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Tuesday, February 7, 2023


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

DEUTERONOMY 10: “WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF YOU?” by Sonny Islas, check out the complete teaching here!

INTRODUCTION: As we proceed in the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses will continue to remind this new generation of their parent’s past failures and God’s faithfulness. Moses’ goal is to impress upon their hearts (like a good preacher and loving leader would), the importance of knowing what God expects from them once they possess the Promised Land (in our case, once we’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit). Because, again, Israel was called (starting with Abraham and Sarah) and chosen by God to be His holy representatives – to display His light (Biblical truth) and His love (God’s merciful character) to the godless world around them: which they failed to do time and time again.

Today, this responsibility to live for God and to make Him known (through His Word and by our actions) has been given to the New Testament Church.

There are many Christians who say, what does God want from me? What does He require and expect from me? Well that’s a great question and Moses gives us the answer.

1 "At that time the LORD said to me, 'Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood. 2 'And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.' 3 "So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. 4 "And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me. 5 "Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the LORD commanded me." 6 (Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water. 8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, just as the LORD your God promised him.) 10 "As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the LORD also heard me at that time, and the LORD chose not to destroy you.


As we know, the first time that God gave Moses the 10 Commandments (engraved by the finger of God – which must have been a sight to see), Moses threw them to the ground and broke them because he was outraged at the idolatry he witnessed in God’s people Israel.

While Moses was up there on Mount Sinai (aka Horeb) happily getting these precious laws ready for God’s people, they were down there blissfully breaking commandments #1, #2 and a handful of others. While Moses was up there worshiping God, they were down there worshiping demons - in the Name of God – in the form of a golden calf (after an Egyptian god named Apis). Behind every idol there really is a demon (1 Cor. 10:20).

This points to the fact that God took Israel out of Egypt, but it would take thousands of years to take Egypt out of Israel. And this goes the same for us today. God takes the Christian out of this world (spiritually speaking), then spends the rest of the time getting this world out of the Christian (sanctification).

Moses breaking the two tablets of stone was symbolic, and it pointed to how every man, woman, boy and girl (except for the Godman Jesus) will inevitably break God’s Laws.

Romans 3:23 says,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and
James 2:10
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

But the fact that God would rewrite the decalogue points to His patience and kindness toward us. Notice, God didn’t say, ok Moses, they have broken my Laws in my presence so don’t bother with hewing out two new stones for My laws to be rewritten on. On the contrary, God basically said, ok, “let’s try this again. Only this time you won’t carry them in your arms at all times, I will carry them in my holy Ark.”

God knew that Israel (and all of humanity) would break His laws and that’s why He also had Moses make the Ark of the Covenant – the small wooden box where the two stone tablets were safely kept. The lid of the ark/small box was known as the mercy seat, where the blood of animals was placed.

God in one sense didn’t meet with His people in the Ark/box where the Law was kept but at the Mercy Seat where blood was shed for them because they break God’s laws. The Ark is an Old Testament picture of the Cross, where Jesus bore our sin (our lawbreaking ways) as the ultimate act of mercy and justice.

The ten commandments without the ark of the covenant are like justice without mercy.

The Ten Commandments are the most convicting and loving laws ever made/given, because they come from (originate with) God Himself. The first four laws point to loving God and the other six laws point to loving others. As a way of reminder, here is the short version of The Decalogue:
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not take the Name of the LORD (Yahweh) your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy (this is the only commandment that is not required for Christians to keep in the New Testament because it was just a shadow of the better rest we find in Jesus and a relational sign between Israel and Yahweh) – Col. 2:16 and Exo. 31:13.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness (lie or slander) against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet (to desire with evil intentions those things that belong to another).

The rest of Deuteronomy gives Israel the instruction on how to put the 10 Commandments to practice as a nation governed by God also known as a Theocracy. The Moral Law of God is very good and because we’re not as good as it is, we fail to keep it perfectly but thanks be to Jesus right?!

One thing we have to understand about the Moral Law is that no one (but Jesus) is justified by keeping it because no one can keep it – BUT we as Christians are sanctified – made more holy, more like JESUS when we obey the Moral Law [in the practical sense; see 1 John 3:7] – which is included in the Word of GOD:

JOHN 17:17
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth

We are made righteous [in the positional sense]– right with God, not by keeping the Moral Law, but by faith in Jesus – who kept the Moral Law perfectly in our place. 
Galatians 3:24 says,
“Therefore the law was our tutor (a teacher) to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” We are to look at the decalogue as a teacher/a means of learning and not as a savior.

What's the difference between being justified in Christ and being sanctified? Check out this brief explanation by GotQuestions: Justification vs sanctification—what are the differences?

DEUTERONOMY 10:11-22 (Subtitled: The Essence of the Law)
11 "Then the LORD said to me, 'Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.' 12 "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 "and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 "Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 "The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 "Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 "He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. 19 "Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. 21 "He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. 22 "Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.

Vs. 12 “…What does the LORD your God require of you”

“fear the LORD” For a non-believer this means to fear the consequences of rejecting God’s ways which is eternal hell. For the believer, this means to revere God, respect God, honor God, be in total awe of God. It means to fear disappointing Him and to fear His discipling hand.

Proverbs 9:10 says,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” It all starts here – with fearing God.

Proverbs 3:7 says,
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”

Vs. 12 cont’d “…walk in ALL His ways…” God’s ways are revealed in the Bible. God wants us to find out what He is like, what He hates and what He loves; what He approves of and what He disapproves of – then live according to that finding/knowledge.

Vs. 12 cont’d “…love Him…” God wants us to love Him for who He is and for what He’s done – namely in sending His Son to save our souls from eternal damnation. The best way to display our love for God is to obey His Word (John 14:15). Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” So then our affection is displayed through allegiance. His love for us and our love for Him is the driving force for joyful obedience.

Vs. 12 concluded “…to serve the LORD will all your heart and soul” God wants us to find ways to serve Him. To serve here means to labor for Him, work for Him. This can be done in so many ways. i.e. evangelism, cleaning the church, helping in ministry, praying for the unsaved, being a voice for the unborn, giving financial support to the persecuted church etc.

In 1 Corinthians 15:10b, The Apostle Paul said,
“I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Moses and Paul worked hard for God’s kingdom – in what ways are we working for God?

Vs. 13 “To keep the commandments… for your good…” Obeying God’s Word results in our good. Blessing flows from a life of obedience and surrender to what God has said/written.

Why? Because God deserves all that we are and all that we have to give. He is the God and maker of heaven and earth. He is the owner and ruler of all things. The highest Being deserves the highest honor.

And because God loves us like He loved Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and has chosen us the Church like He did Israel…

Ephesians 1:4 tells us:
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

…being holy involves what it says here in vs. 16 “Circumcise the foreskins of our hearts and be stiff-knocked no longer.”

To circumcise our hearts means to cut off all works of the flesh from our lives:

Galatians 5:19-21 says,
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

God doesn't want us as His Church and children to be giving into the same sins that keeps unbelievers out of heaven.

Vs. 18-19 God “loves the stranger…”
“Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

God wants us to love unbelievers, especially the ones that visit our churches. With the hope of winning them for God. God didn’t want Israel to treat strangers like Egypt treated them – and that was really bad.

Remember that we as Gentiles were strangers of the blessing of Israel at one point and God brought us near.

Ephesians 2:19 says,
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”

Vs. 20 “…to Him you shall hold fast” – literally cling to God. Cling to Christ. He holds on to us and we are to hold on to Him. Never let Him go. Never desert Him. Never trade Him for another. This speaks of loyalty and fidelity!

Vs. 21 “He is your praise; He is your God…” God is the good that we are. We are praiseworthy because He makes us praiseworthy – is the point. Plus we are called to praise Him. Thank Him, Exalt Him, Bless His Holy Name!

Vs. 22 – 
the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitudeGod in His goodness multiplied the descendants of Abraham just as He promised, They went from 70 people to millions while in Egypt. And millions more after that; including the spiritual children of Abraham – us Christians – innumerable throughout the centuries.

Hebrew 12:22-29
 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." 27 Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

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