About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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chapter 11

Love And Obey The Lord (ch. 11:1 - 32)


In the first twelve verses of this chapter we note that Moses reminds Israel that their children were not around to see what God did to Pharaoh, to Egypt, and to Israel in the desert.  The children yet to be born will not have seen all the things God did for them.  For this reason it is necessary for Israel to continually follow the commands of God, and then teach them to their children.  If they didn't, the generations to follow would  not follow after God.


As Christian parents, it is just as necessary for us to both live and teach the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If we don't our children will not follow our Lord, just as the Israeli children wouldn't follow the God of their parents.  It is hard to pass along you trust in the Lord to the next generation.  Without living and teaching your faith, it is impossible to pass it along. 


Teaching your faith alone is not enough.  You must live it.  I've always said that there are three ways in which to teach, not just your children, but anyone.  First of all,  you can just sit down and teach, or relate the facts, much like a classroom situation.  This is the least affective way of teaching. 


The next best way of teaching is to both state the facts, but also to provide the example of the facts in your life.  In this way, those to whom you are teaching actually see an example of what you want them to learn.


The best way to teach someone is to involved those to whom you are teaching in the learning process. For example, if you want to teach your children how to forgive, you help them by stating the facts of forgiveness.  Once you do that, you help them forgive their brother or sister.  They are actually involved in what you want them to learn.  This is the best way to teach.


It is interesting for me to note, that the church's most popular way of teaching is the first and least effective way.  Teaching from the pulpit is the least effective way of teaching anyone.  What it is good at doing is making a name for the teacher.  All eyes are on the teacher, elevating him to a higher level than what is really necessary. That only leads to pride in the teacher.


I would suggest that the way Jesus discipled His followers was the best way to teach.  He sat down with them on a personal level, stated the facts of what He was teaching, but also involved them in the process of learning.  That is true discipleship.


Verse 12 is important.  Moses states that the land of Canaan, the land God was giving Israel , was important to Him.  He continues to have His eyes on that land, and I believe He still does today.  While God is interested in this land so much, I'm not one hundred percent sure, other than it was this land He gave to His people, so for that reason it would be important to Him.


Verses 13 to 15 state again that if Israel obeys God, He will bless them in the land.  Israel seldom obeyed God, and therefore seldom experienced this blessing.  That being said, at the end of this age, these things will come true because by God's sovereign choice, He will help Israel obey.  The land of Israel is beginning to be blessed right now, and has been since 1948 when Israel became a nation, but there is more blessing to come.


Moses states how Israel 's children would follow in their footsteps.  Israel was to devote themselves totally to the Word of the Lord.  They were to talk about the Word of the Lord as much as possible, write in on their door posts, and so on.  All the things mentioned here are simply examples of things that they could do to help insure that their children will be followers of the God of Israel.  I suggest the same for Christians today.  You talk about Jesus around the house, to your wife, to your husband,  to your children.  Jesus and the Word of the Lord should be front and center in the home, always visible, always in ear shot.  Then your children have a much better chance of handing their lives over to Jesus as they grow older.


Note in verses 22 to 25 that if Israel would obey God that they would take any land that they placed their feet on.  There are actually some dimensions here from the Euphrates River, right to the western sea, which would be the Mediterranean Sea. I believe this is important, because this is the boundaries of the land that God promised to Abraham.  At this point in time when Moses was speaking these words, Israel was ready to cross from the east side of the Jordan River and go to the west side and possess that land.  But here, Moses states that the land from the Jordan River and eastward, right to the Euphrates River could be there's too.  I believe eventually, at the end of this age, Israel will possess all that land, not just the land west of the Jordan River .


Note from verse 26 to the end of this chapter there are two mountains mentioned.  Israel was supposed to proclaim the blessing of God if they obeyed God from Mount Gerizim .  Then they were to go to the top of Mount Ebal to proclaim the curses from God if they disobeyed His commands.  Mount Ebal is the highest mountain in Israel, while Mount Gerizim is the second highest mountain.  In the valley between these two mountains is Shechem, the place where Abraham first entered the land of Canaan from Ur, and where Jacob and Joseph were buried.  Today, Shechem is name Nablus, a Palestinian town on the west bank.  Somehow I believe there is something significant to this, but I'm not quite sure what it is.  This I would believe is an important piece of real-estate for Israel today, and she gave it up, along with Gaza, for peace. 


Another thing to note is when Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman in John 4, she told Jesus that Samaritans worshiped in this mountain.  The mountain she was speaking of is Mount Gerizin , the mountain of blessings.   


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