About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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chapter 8

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Do Not Forget The Lord (ch. 8:1 - 20)  


Verse 1 states that Israel was to be careful and obey all the commands that God had given her so they could enter and possess the land God promised their forefathers.  Some might think that the possessing of the land depended upon obedience, as this verse states, and that is right.  That being said, there is another aspect to this.  Obedience was key to possessing the land but the words "promised on oath to your forefathers" is important.  God promised Abraham that his descendents would get the land.  He can't break that promise, and He won't.  Therefore, there will be a generation of descendents of Abraham that will obey and will possess the land.  This will happen because, as Zechariah said, God will pour out a spirit of repentance upon Israel , and they will repent.  This will happen at the end of this present age.  So, obedience is still the key, but the land will eventually be possessed by Israel .  I say all of this because some people believe that Israel will not get the land because they have not been obedient, and never will.


Verse 2 tells us the reason for Israel's exile by God in the desert for forty years.  It would be a time of testing.  You would have thought that Israel had enough testing while in Egypt, but because of their disobedience after their escape from Egypt, they needed more testing.  God's people, including Christians, should expect to be tested.  The false idea that people can come to Jesus and live happily ever after on earth is not Biblical. 


It is my thinking that as Christians in this age in which we live, we live in the "desert age".  The "land of Canaan" age comes in the next life on the new earth when Jesus rules as Lord over all things.  This age is a time of testing for us, making us ready for the Kingdom of God 's arrival on the earth.  Some people suggest that the "age of grace" that we now live in is symbolized  by the land of Canaan and Israel's crossing over the Jordan River .  I don't see it that way.  I see Israel's existence in the desert symbolizing our present age.    


In verse 3 we note that God caused Israel to hunger while in the desert.  How did he do that?  He did it by leading them into a place where there was little good.  The lack of food was a test, but God provided for them with the miracle food known as manna. 


Verse 3 states one of the verses that Jesus quoted when he was tempted by the devil in the desert.  It is a bit ironic that Jesus Himself was tested in a desert.  "Man shall not live by bread alone…"  There is more to the good health of humans than food and drink.  There is that spiritual side of man that needs to be heard and obey the Word of the Lord. Only then, can we really be a whole person.  Over the centuries, man has tried to find this, but have always looked in the wrong direction, and still do.  Spiritualism, new age, and the occult are ways in which we try to find what Jesus only can provide us.


In verse 5 Moses reminds the Jews that even though with all the walking in the desert, their shoes did not wear out.  God does provide when we obey.  The question is, "what does provide mean"?  I don't think we should think in terms of what the Prosperity Teachers suggest, and that means great prosperity of wealth and health.  This verse is speaking of God providing the basics. 


It is clear to me that in this age of grace we as Christians live in the invisible Kingdom of God .  The Kingdom of God right now on earth is an invisible spiritual kingdom, and the promises of God are mainly spiritual.  When Jesus returns, the Kingdom will be visible and material.  At that point our blessings will be material.  In the mean time we are to follow Jesus as He lived while on earth.  We are to be like Him as we live on earth.  We will rule with Him as Kings in the future.  


Verse 5 is quoted in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews.  Moses states that as a father disciplines his son, so God disciplines His children.  Thus the testing and the suffering that Israel and Christians suffer to this very day should be seen as a form of discipline.


Verse 6 says, "observe His commands, walking in His ways, revering Him".   To me, the word "walking" suggest daily living.  As we walk through our lives we should both obey God and revere Him.  Revere is another way of saying "fearing God", a term the Bible often uses.   We should not only respect God, but we should have a healthy fear of Him.  Many people don't like thinking of being afraid of God, but in one real sense of the word, if you understand who God is, you will be afraid of him, yet, as we run from Him in fear, we have no other choice than to turn back to Him, the only one who really loves us.


Verses 7 through 10 tell us why Israel was to walk in the ways of God and revere Him.  It is because Israel was entering a real good land, and God did not want them to miss out on any of the good things found in the land.  The same for Christians today.  The reason why God demands obedience is for our own good.


From verse 10 to the end of this chapter, Moses again reminds Israel to obey God, because if they don't, when they grow in numbers and get wealthy, which they will, they will forget about God.  How true.  I believe much of the western world today has done just that.  In the beginning, many people in America for example, trusted in God.  Their nation got wealthy, and now they have forgotten their God and will reap a negative reward from the Lord.


Verse 17 is real important.  Moses states that when and if Israel gets rich, and when and it they forget God, they will say that it was their power and ability that made them rich.  Moses states that it was God Himself who gave Israel the "ability to produce wealth".  How interesting.  I believe we can say the same for nations today.  It was God who gave the western nations the ability to produce wealth, but we now claim that ability came from ourselves.  God will judge us for that.


Verses 19 and 20 states that if Israel ever worshiped other gods, God would destroy them.  As you know, that came true, but because of the Abrahamic Covenant, God will make sure the last generation of Jews will return to Him, and not for Israel's sake, but for God's own sake, so He won't be seen as a promise breaker..


Note verse 20 states that God destroyed nations before this time.  It is God alone that causes nations to rise or fall.  He is in charge, and always has been, and always will be.  That's why Jesus told Pilot that he had no authority other than what God the Father allowed him to have.


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