"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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Wednesday, August 2, 2023


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

DEUTERONOMY 30: Choose LIFE or Choose DEATH – by Sonny Islas; check out the complete teaching here!

INTRODUCTION: At this point in the story, Israel is at the brink of entering Canaan/The Promised Land. But again, before they go in, ‘big brother’ Moses repeats some God given instructions and serious warnings. Moses told them that if they obeyed God’s Word that God would bless them, but if they disobeyed God’s Word that God would curse them – in so many different ways.
[TTUF readers: Take note that what we have here is the Mosaic Covenant, a conditional beriyth that lays responsibilities on the people of Israel as well as other responsibilities that rest upon GOD. Check out: WALKING The COVENANT WAY – a series that examines all of the covenants of the Bible.]
In DEUTERONOMY 30 God basically tells them that they will turn away from Him and go into captivity BUT if they return to Him wholeheartedly that He would restore them. This promise is a picture of God’s mercy. God in His incredible patience and love towards Israel would never fully abandon the remnant (the repentant and obedient few). For one, because Jesus the Messiah comes from this group of people and because Yahweh really loved their Forefathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

1 "Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, 2 "and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 "that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 "If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. 5 "Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

Verse 1 starts with “WHEN ALL THESE THINGS COME UPON YOU” – God in His omniscience knew that Israel would turn from Him and serve idols and that He would curse them for it and would even use their enemies (Assyria and Babylon) to conquer Northern and Southern Israel and take them captive. This shows us that God is never caught off guard and neither is He surprised by the actions of the world or the Church.

He had chosen beforehand that He would show them mercy when they come to their senses and return to Him with a broken heart.

Verse 5 says “THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL BRING YOU BACK FROM CAPTIVITY” and He did in 538 BC. God brought the Jews back from Babylon by the Persian King Cyrus the Great.

By the way the LORD showed us this same kind of mercy and compassion when we heard the Gospel message, believed it, and repented of all our sin. God rescued us from Satan’s eternal death grip.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness [we can say, from Satan’s captivity] and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
The major prophets and the minor prophets are filled with ways in which Israel abandoned God.
I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.”

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
JEREMIAH 3:6-15,22
6 The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: "Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. 7 "And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me.' But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 "Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear but went and played the harlot also. 9 "So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 "And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense," says the LORD. 11 Then the LORD said to me, "Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: 'Return, backsliding Israel,' says the LORD; 'I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,' says the LORD; 'I will not remain angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the LORD your God, And have scattered your charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,' says the LORD. 14 "Return, O backsliding children," says the LORD; "for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 "And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
22 "Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings." "Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God.

“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord [cut off all the evil, all that is flesh, worldly and sinful], and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”
The prophet Isaiah speaks words of hope and mercy:
ISAIAH 55:6-7
6 “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
The words “…while He may be found” and “…while He is near” implies that God will one day completely distance Himself from those who keep rejecting Him. One day, He will no longer be near to offer forgiveness and salvation. We see this happen at Noah’s flood, where God’s patience and call to repentance ran out.
GENESIS 6:3 spells this out
“3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years (speaking of how in just 120 years the flood water would come pouring down).”
There are some New Testament words that line up with ISAIAH 55:6-7 and GENESIS 6:3.
HEBREWS 3:7-19
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' 11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." 16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
(See PSA 95:7b-11; NUM 14:22).
6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” 7 "Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 "And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today. 9 "The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 "if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

God promised to do supernatural work in their hearts after the captivities of Assyria and Babylon. God is the only one who can do such a wondrous work in our wicked hearts to love Him back. And God did this work in the hearts of a few Jews, like Mary and Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Simeon, the 11 disciples and a few others. But God did this in a greater way after Jesus’ resurrection when the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost.

I know that God has done a work in my heart because the evil things that I used to love I now hate and the holy things that I used to hate, I now love. Only God can do that!

11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 "Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. 15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 "in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 "But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 "I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 "that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

God in His great grace has made His Word extremely accessible to us. He has made it simple to understand for the most part and we don’t have to travel to heaven to get it or travel overseas to find it, the Word of God is in our hands, in our mouths and in our hearts.

Moses is basically saying, “please don’t make any excuses on why you can’t obey God from the heart. He has provided all that you need.”

In verses 15 and 19, God set life and death before us all to choose and in verse 19, Moses says “choose life.”

It’s always been this way:
There are really only two choices.
In the Garden of Eden, there was the “tree of Life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (or you could say, the tree of death). During Old Testament Israel, they could either choose Yahweh or any other false god, thing, or way. And in the New Testament, it’s the narrow way that leads to life or the broad way that leads to death.
MATTHEW 7:13-14
13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
(JOHN 14:6).
And Jesus is ETERNAL LIFE Himself (JOHN 17:3). And to reject Him is to choose eternal death because only he IS life and gives life. Long life and holy life.

The Apostle John makes this clear:
1 JOHN 5:12
“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

The LORD Jesus says in:

JOHN 10:10
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

JOHN 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
If Moses was around today, instead of saying “choose life,” He would simply say “choose Christ [Who IS our Life!].”

What we must understand is that possibly the majority of Old Testament Israel went to hell because they chose [fill in the blank] over Yahweh.
May we never fall into that same eternal trap!
We have eternal life today because we chose Jesus – and He chose us beforehand.

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