About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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chapter 9

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ch. 9:1-6    ch. 9:7-29

Not Because of Israel's Righteousness (ch. 9:1 - 6)   


In verses 1 to 3 Moses reminds Israel that they are going to cross the Jordan River and go into a land where there are nations much larger and stronger then they are.  Anakites were literally tall people, like giants.  But God would go before Israel and demolish the inhabitants of the land.  As God does this, Israel will drive the people out of the land.  What you see here is Israel co-operating with God.  The last verse in the book of Mark says that the disciples went out and preached the word of the Lord and the Lord went with them, confirming their words with miracles.  Again, you see the idea of co-operation.  Man works with God, and God works with man.  Man does the manual labour and God provides the spiritual ability and miracles.  Each has a part to play.  This is how it worked in Old Testament times, and it works the same way today. 


Verses 4 to 6 is interesting.  Moses tells Israel that once they finally possess the land with the help of God, they are not to think God gave them the land because they were righteous, because as we know, they weren't.  God would give Israel the land because the nations who lived there were wicked. 


We often hear people wondering why God had Israel destroy so many people, and now we know the answer.  Israel destroying the nations in the land of Canaan was actually God's judgment on those nations.  The same will happen to Israel and the nations of the world at the end of this age. 


Note in verse 5 the second reason why Israel would possess the land.  It was because of the covenant God made with Himself and directed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Whatever good thing God does with Israel, it is on account of these three men and the Abrahamic Covenant.  Israel has never been righteous enough to receive God's blessings, and they aren't today.  God will bless Israel only because of the promise He made to Abraham.  Now that's commitment.  


The Godlen Calf  (ch 9:7-29)

In verses 7 through 10 Moses reminds Israel that they really don't deserve to be in the promised land.  They had been rebellious from day one, right up unto the time when Moses was speaking, and it made God very angry.  Again, we can't stress enough, that God can be angry.  That's not too religiously correct these days.


Israel 's rebellion is seen in the gold calf they made as Moses reminds them in verses 11 and 12.  While Moses was in the presence of God, Israel was worshipping other gods. 


In verse 14 we are reminded of how God felt.  He wanted to blot all these Israelis out of existence under the heavens and make Moses into a great nation.  God was not saying that He would destroy Israel once and for all, never to exist again.  He would destroy these Israelis and raise up a new crop of Jews that would serve Him.  He'd make Moses descendents the great nation.  He has done this a number of times throughout history, 70 A.D. being one such example.  God will always have a people for His own, and by that I mean Israeli people, not just Christians.


We just saw how angry God was at Israel, now in verses 15 through 18 we see how angry Moses was.  God Himself had taken two tablets of stone, and wrote on them what has been called the Ten Commandments.  Now imagine this.  The only time in history when a man has possessed some kind of material where God Himself wrote on, and now Moses destroys the tablets.  He must have been angry.  These were very precious and I'd suggest very expensive stones. If we could have them today, they would be priceless.


In verses 18 to 21 we see a practical example of a real leader of God's people.  Moses was angry with God's people.  He shared God's feelings.  That is one mark of a good leader of God's people.  He was afraid of what God would do with His rebellious people.  That's another mark of a good leader.  Then, he fasted and prayed for forty days and interceded on behalf of God's rebellious people.  Again, this is a mark of a good leader, a mark that is seldom seen today.  In my thinking, it seems that most Christian leaders today prefer the lime light of the pulpit over the times of prayer, fasting, and intercession for those they are supposed to lead.  The church suffers for that.  Also, I can't see a pastor being angry at the people God has called him to serve.  He'd certainly lose his job, and that's another problem.  Being a pastor is not a job, but a calling from the Lord.  So pastors aught to pastor as the Lord would have them pastor, and Moses was a good example at pastoring.   


Note in verse 23 and 24 that Moses compares a lack of trust in God to rebellion.  Rebellion begins when we fail to trust.  Failing to trust God is the underlying factor to all sins.  Trust is fundamental in our relationship with the Lord. 


From verse 25 to the end of this chapter we see one example of how Moses spoke with God during these times of intercession.  He actually reminded God of the promises He made to Abraham.  He told God that His credibility would be severely damages if He did not keep His promise.  Moses was special.  Probably very few men in history could pray in such a way, but he did.


As I've said before, Moses is one prime example of how pastors should live.  He had great concern for God's people, but most of all, he shared the way God feels.  This chapter shows one aspect of pastoring, and that is intercessory prayer. Something that is sadly lacking in our world of church today.     

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