"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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Monday, August 7, 2023


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

DEUTERONOMY 31: The CHANGING of GOD's GUARD – by James Fire; check out the complete teaching here!

INTRODUCTION: We are now in the final third of three sermons by Moses, presented to the younger generation of Israel, the children of those who were delivered from Egypt in the Exodus, that generation by faith who received the land promised to them by GOD:

The third and final sermon: DEUTERONOMY Ch. 27 to Ch. 34. (to the end of the book).
~ The charge to Israel: Ch. 31:14-21.
~ The book of the Law given: Ch’s. 22-30.
~ The Song of Moses: Ch. 32:1-47.
~ The death of Moses: Ch. 32:48 to Ch. 34:12.
Moses sang, then he died – I think this is the first time in biblical history that a “swan song” was given!

These will be Moses’ final words, and like the final words of Paul the apostle to his son in the faith Timothy before the apostle was martyred (2 TIM), these last words carry a certain weight, a particular substantiality of things most vital to the speaker and very important for the hearers. Consider the vital importance of these final words of Jesus Christ in the book of His Revelation:

16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen
1 Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2 And he said to them: "I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the LORD has said to me, 'You shall not cross over this Jordan.'

And we know why GOD didn’t allow Moses into the promised land, don’t we? Disobedience brings disallowance. When we disobey the Word of the LORD, we are disallowed of the abundance of blessing He could and would render to us.

We already have incredible blessings because Christ is in us. His Spirit indwells us: so we are blessed with adoption as sons and daughters of GOD; blessed with eternal life and citizenship in heaven. We are blessed with the Holy Word of GOD and granted understanding of the Scriptures. We are blessed with the power to follow the LORD’s commandments. We are blessed with access to the throne of GOD in prayer! All of these, because we are born again through faith in Christ, part of the salvation package. Christ abiding in us (COL 1:27).

Yet if we want to know the fullness of blessing, then along with Christ abiding in us, we need to abide in Christ (JOHN 15); if we abide in Him as He abides in us, then on top of all those other spiritual blessings, we will be even more blessed in fruitful lives: our personal lives, our family life, our work life, our ministry, our fellowship with the LORD and with others. If we don’t abide in Christ, while He abides in us and are born again, our lives have very little fruit. Our Father is glorified when we bear MUCH fruit – so abide in Christ: be diligent in the Word, in prayer, in godly fellowship, in evangelism where the Holy Spirit uses you to minister the Gospel.

Moses would have been so very, very blessed to dwell in the land, but because he disobeyed – this one time, and brought dishonor to the name of the LORD because Moses misrepresented Him (NUM 20). That cost him entrance into the promised land. He was disallowed to dwell in the domain of Canaan land.

Incidentally, the tender Father-heart of GOD decided eventually to let Moses enter the promised land – on the Mount of Transfiguration (along with Elijah) when the LORD Jesus was transformed and glorified.

Think about the church today – how many are routinely disobeying the Word of the LORD, supporting the doctrines of men (adding these false doctrines to the Word), and denying the doctrine of GOD (taking away the true doctrines from the Word)? Think about how much they are disallowed from according to their disobedience.
Their names have been removed from the book of Life (REV 22)!
JOHN 3:36
"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
And we wonder why this nation is in the shape that it’s in!
A church that’s walking in the Spirit, following the LORD, obeying His Word motivated by love and reverence – that is a salty church, a church that shines bright the Light of the LORD.

Nationally speaking, we see fewer and fewer “spiritually salty churches”, and this only results in greater and greater corruption and evil.
It’s so easy to criticize the evils of this nation, but we have to consider – if we were the church (nationally speaking) as GOD intended us to be, would there be so much to criticize? The evils of our society is a symptom of a weak and anemic church that doesn’t have enough salt and light that can restrain (but not altogether remove) these evils.

3 "The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the LORD has said. 4 "And the LORD will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them. 5 "The LORD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you. 6 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 "And the LORD, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.

Bear in mind, wherever the LORD sends you, He has gone ahead and will meet you there. You won’t find yourself alone there. GOD will “crossover before you” and has prepared the way for us, so when we meet the challenges we face, we do so with the presence of GOD Who we stand with.

The land of Canaan at that time was full of pagans that committed blasphemies and abominable sins! It was about to be invaded by GOD’s holy people, that He has called. and here in DEUTERONOMY, reminding them to live in holiness.

Slowly, gradually, but surely, the Hebrew nation, in accord to GOD’s direction spread throughout the land, pushing out pagans and their pernicious practices and replaced them as the inhabitants of the land. These were a people of GOD’s choosing that will expel the evil Canaanites and express the everlasting GOD of Glory: that was the LORD’s intent!

DEUTERONOMY 7:5-6,9-13a
5 "But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. 6 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
9 "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 "and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. 11 "Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe [to be occupied with, devoted to, to do] them. 12 "Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. 13 "And He will love you and bless you and multiply you…

It's been said before, the takeover of Canaan by the nation of Israel is a type of the born again Christian undergoing the process of sanctification.

This is a huge example of what spiritual warfare is: a contest between the Kingdom of GOD and the kingdom of Satan, not over land, strategic position, or wealth but over the souls of men!
Just as Israel came into the land, the Holy Spirit – comes into the newly created heart of a saved soul through Christ. This new heart prophesied in EZEK 36:26, talked about by the LORD Jesus in JOHN 3:3 and the apostle Peter in 1 PET 1:23, and demonstrated for the first time in JOHN 20:22 when disciples of Christ were born again of the Spirit.

Once the sinner is justified in Christ (ROM 5), this initiates the sanctification process. The sinner is set apart (sanctified) from the world and baptized into the body of Christ (ROM 6:3;1 COR 12:12-13; GAL 3:27; 6:14).

This process of sanctification continues throughout the duration of the life of a disciple, growing in Christlikeness. This process of “pushing out” pagan (read that sinful) practices and replacing them with godly saintliness by the power of the Spirit of grace – sanctified as we yield to Him, surrendering ourselves to the LORD as He surrendered Himself on the Cross on our behalf!
We heard from pastor Sonny this last Sunday of the supreme sacrifice of the Savior Who surrendered all for us.

That’s radical salvation! And any obedience on our part that looks radical to this world, is only normal – a right response, a logical, reasonable response to such radical salvation:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Check out the TTUF article, The ALTAR of the ALMIGHTY – Part ONE, & Part TWO.

Let’s continue to offer to the LORD our thankful hearts by giving our all to Him! If you haven’t surrendered all, do it, and you will experience victory in Christ as never before!

Just as the Hebrews defeated Kings Og and Sihon previously, GOD promised He would prove just as faithful to Israel once they entered into the land.
In our own lives, there are some pretty formidable giants of sin and struggle and sickness that just won’t quit. Yet just as GOD promised to Israel, He has promised to the church: “the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (HEB 13:5).

In ROMANS 5 we have a spiritual staircase that reminds us that tribulations brings about patience, and patience experience, and experience brings hope that won’t ever be disappointed. As we recall how GOD was faithful to us before, we can be assured as His children, He will abide faithfully in our days to come!

When it comes to your spiritual battles against these three enemies: sin nature, Satan, and this entire sinful world – those look like some pretty fierce odds against you – but you have in your corner, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the power of the Word, access to GOD through prayer, the saints that stand to your left and to your right – all of these to fight and win these battles, no matter how BIG a giant these enemies might be!

Even if you feel small, insignificant, and futile in your own sight, remember:
~ GOD defeated the ruling world power of Egypt with Moses’ shepherd’s staff.
~ He laid low the armies of the Philistines with what Samson used in the fight: the jawbone of a donkey.
~ The LORD brought down the mighty Philistine Champion, Goliath with one small stone, and a slingshot by a shepherd boy.
GOD is excited about using anyone who is so small in their own eyes and humble enough in order to bring victory by His Almighty hand!

Therefore, "Be strong and of good courage” in studying obeying GOD’s Word by the power of the Spirit that dwells in you, and thereby enjoy good success (JOSH 1:6-8) in sanctification and giant-slaying.

Moses was preparing to move out of the way and bring Joshua in as the leader of Israel.

There comes a time in ministry when one has done all that the LORD requires of them, and then they’ve run their course, they like apostle Paul, have finished their race, they have kept the faith (2 TIM 4:7). Timothy picked up where Paul left off – and here, we see that Joshua will pick up where Moses left off. Elisha, he picked up where Elijah left off.

Once all of the witnesses throughout the Old Testament finished their testimony of the coming Messiah, the Messiah Himself picked up where they all left off, and He will continue to the end and beyond into eternity!

Moses here is a type for the Law; Joshua, a type of the Messiah. Moses didn’t lead Israel into GOD’s promise, Joshua did. The Law can’t bring to us righteousness, the LORD Jesus does. The Law can’t fulfill GOD’s promises to us, the LORD Jesus does.
The Law can’t empower us to live holy lives, the LORD Jesus does.

In your own time, review ROMANS 4 and GALATIANS 3 that will elaborate on all this.

9 So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, saying: "At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 "when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 "Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 "and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.

All of the seven feasts of Israel were celebrated annually, but every seventh year at the Feast of Tabernacles, all debts owed were cleared (DEUT 15) and the debtor was set free.
Just as in the remembrance of the Hebrew slaves deliverance from Egypt at the Feast of Tabernacles (which reminded them of their life in the wilderness when they dwelled in tents), the seventh year brought them deliverance from their debts among their brethren Jews.

Parents: You are stewards of your children. They belong to GOD, but He has placed them in your charge. You are responsible – not the pastors, not the Sunday School teachers – you (coupled together with the Holy Spirit) are responsible to teach your “children to fear the LORD your God”.

On the day of Judgment, you will be held accountable for the kind of ministry you did in their lives. Pastors and Sunday School teachers, we come alongside you, and help, and supplement their learning. But the primary responsibility parents – is yours. NOT an easy job in today’s world, but a necessary one!

It's because we’ve become an ungodly people in this country, with absent fathers, and little if any parental care of America’s children, the sanctity of GOD’s model of the family unit is all but ruined, and so goes our nation.

If you think parenting is not a legitimate ministry, not that important; understand this: rearing up godly children as the next generation of saintly soldiers is an integral part of spiritual warfare – the famous passage of EPHESIANS 6 that addresses spiritual warfare is preceded by what? Instructions to the family: parents and children! Not a coincidence!

14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, the days approach when you must die; call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of meeting, that I may inaugurate him." So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tabernacle of meeting. 15 Now the LORD appeared at the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood above the door of the tabernacle. 16 And the LORD said to Moses: "Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17 "Then My anger shall be aroused 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, 'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?' 18 "And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods.

Think about this: Joshua is about to take over Moses’ job, and he’s hearing all of this!

19 "Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. 20 "When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. 21 "Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them."

GOD wasn’t surprised or taken off guard by Israel’s rebellion. He knew they would, anticipated it, foretold of it, and explained what would happen as a result of this rebellion.

People today deny that Israel is GOD’s chosen people because they are in rebellion. That they lost the right to be called His chosen. Many suppose that the church has replaced Israel because of their rebellion. If that’s the case, then GOD needs to replace the church with some other group of saints, because look at how much of the church is in rebellion against the Word of the LORD!

We who know and love the LORD, who love His Word, Old Testament as well as New Testament! – we understand that while GOD rejected His people (temporarily), He will draw them back to Himself, and redeem and cleanse them of all their sin and reign over Israel forever and ever:
ROMANS 11:25-27
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.

LUKE 1:31-33
31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
22 Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the children of Israel. 23 Then He inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, "Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I swore to them, and I will be with you." 24 So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: 26 "Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you; 27 "for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death? 28 "Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 "For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands." 30 Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song until they were ended:

GOD declares in EZEKIEL that He has pity for His own name’s sake, and is bound by His own promise to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant (an unconditional covenant whose only requirement is to “believe GOD”), and has nothing to do with the worthiness of Israel’s own integrity, but everything to do with the GOD of Truth and His promises:
EZEKIEL 36:17-29a
16 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity. 18 "Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. 19 "So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. 20 "When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name-when they said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.' 21 "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. 22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.

23 "And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 "I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses…

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