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Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22


Mike—I’m going to throw something in the mix, the people who rebelled in the desert did not get in. They may have not been destroyed “immediately” when they sinned and rebelled, but they never got into the Promise Land. Those that were 20 years old and younger when they set up made it, but not their parents. All died off before, including Moses and Aaron, except Joshua and Caleb.

The grace extended to the people who made it in was the grace that the parents’ sins, which affected them—they had to wander for 40 years, did not kill them too. The grace extended was the ownership of the land that was about to be transferred to them without payment, the grace was a true reversal of fortune.

One of the things I noticed this time during the readings that after they sinned and suffered the consequences through plagues, being swallowed up in the earth, dying by snakebites before Moses made the snake to be looked upon, they admitted their sin because they were caught red-handed, however they never repented. That is the danger for me, for us, admitting we have sinned but not following through all the way. Admitting our sin because we have come face to face with the consequences and have been exposed in the media or to the community, but not really sorrowful enough to change or actions, which is really what repentance is. It is not just admitting we were/are wrong.

Sin has its own rewards and the writer of Proverbs recognized that.

His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. (Proverbs 5:22 KJVR)

Let us strive not only to recognize where we have gone wrong but to produce a change in our lifestyles to go in different directions.

A poem by Portia Nelson (in There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, 1993):
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters*

By: Portia Nelson

1. I walk, down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.


2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.


3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in; its a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.


4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


5. I walk down another street.


Nelson, Portia, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk
Beyond Words Publishing, Inc., 1993
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124


Grace and peace,
Ramona

Regarding reading through the Bible in a year we need to keep reminding ourselves that this is an excellent spiritual practice, but as I was taught reading the Bible is one method of Bible input. One can saturate him/her self with scripture memory,( Ps 119:9,11 "hiding the word in our hearts), with scripture meditation "meditating on the word day and night" (Ps 1), Bible study (acts 17:11--examining the scriptures daily and 2 Tim 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who doesn't need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth), and there is also 'hearing the word' as in Rom 10:17 "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.') I think the key to all scripture is MEDITATION on the word. Whatever format we choose to use to feed on God's Word, we must make sure we 'chew the cud' as someone once defined meditation. And therein is the challenge with OYB. There is a lot of 'cud' to chew and digest. In time each one discovers how they best connect with the Lord through the means of grace called the Word, but it does take time to get to know what really works in a particular season of one's life.

For example, in yesterday's reading I was out prayer walking and I prayed through Psalm 69. The thoughts in that chapter echoed my own heart cry. On another day, a thought from Deuteronomy consumes my reflection and praying.

Deuteronomy 9 (NKJV)
5
It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6
Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.

~~~

The Abrahamic covenant -- the covenant that God's people have with God because of Abraham's faith and obedience -- is A COVENANT OF GRACE.

Understanding blood, cut covenant is key to this point.

Genesis 15 (NKJV)
4
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.”
5
Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6
And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
7
Then He said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.”
8
And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”
9
So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10
Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.
11
And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
12
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.

13
THEN HE SAID TO ABRAM: “KNOW CERTAINLY

that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
14
And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15
Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.
16
But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

17
AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN AND IT WAS DARK, THAT BEHOLD, THERE APPEARED A SMOKING OVEN AND A BURNING TORCH THAT PASSED BETWEEN THOSE PIECES.
18
ON THE SAME DAY THE LORD MADE A COVENANT WITH ABRAM, SAYING:

“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates— 19
the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,
21
the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

~~~

From the website hebrew4christians.com, I found this very helpful information about "cut a covenant":

"The Hebrew word for covenant is b'rit, meaning a covenant, pact, or treaty. It is one of the most frequently used words in Hebrew Scriptures (appearing some 270 times) and is one of the Scripture's most important concepts."

"Ancient covenants were often made by animal sacrifice. To 'cut a covenant' demonstrated the earnestness of the parties involved in the agreement. YHVH (Yahweh) chose to cut a covenant with Abram in this manner (Genesis 15:7-11, 17-18). Thus, the word B'rit implies the shedding of blood in the process of ratifying a covenant."

Normally, both parties would cut the animals in half and both parties would walk in between. By doing this, they were in effect say, "May what happened to these animals happen to me if I do not keep this agreement."

A COVENANT IS A VERY SERIOUS AND BINDING thing.

Notice how God views covenant with His people in Jeremiah 34 (Amplified):
18
And the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not kept the terms of the covenant or solemn pledge which they had made before Me,
==> I WILL MAKE THEM [LIKE] THE [SACRIFICIAL] CALF WHICH THEY CUT IN TWO AND THEN PASSED BETWEEN ITS SEPARATED PARTS [SOLEMNIZING THEIR PLEDGE TO ME]--I WILL MAKE THOSE MEN THE CALF!

Notice in Genesis 15:17 and 18 in particular. Notice that ONLY ONE PARTY passed between the cut animals. IT WAS NOT ABRAHAM, but it was theophany of God.

According to the Miriam Webster online dictionary, a theophany is defined as: "a visible manifestation of a deity."

GOD HIMSELF WAS PASSING THROUGH THE ANIMALS CUT IN TWO. In effect, He was saying, "MAY WHAT HAPPENED TO THESE ANIMALS HAPPEN TO ME IF I DO NOT KEEP MY WORD!"

Do you get it! THIS IS GRACE, and the covenant with Abraham was ROOTED IN GRACE.

Later, the covenant in Deuteronomy was added to show the importance of obedience and the SERIOUS consequences of disobedience. (The wages of sin is death)

YET, THE COVENANT IN DEUTERONOMY is ROOTED IN, AND BASED UPON, the covenant of GRACE given to Abraham.

SINCE GOD'S WORD NEVER FAILS BECAUSE GOD ALWAYS KEEPS HIS COVENANT, we can have absolute confidence in His Word!

~~~

Now, connect this with the covenant of circumcision.
THIS, TOO, WAS A BLOOD, CUT COVENANT. They were, in effect, saying, "May the cutting in two in circumcision happen to me if I do not surrender to God's covenant and do God's will."

Add to this the cut blood covenant in the NT. JESUS HIMSELF -- GOD IN THE FLESH -- cut a blood covenant IN OUR PLACE so we would not have to die.

ALSO, He cut covenant WITH US so that our old man died with Him on the cross.

Colossians 1 (NKJV)
21
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22
in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
23
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

~~~
Colossians 2 (Amplified)
11
In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).
12
[Thus [g]you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.
13
And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

MAY WE TAKE OUR PLACE IN HIS CRUCIFIXION, AND IN THE BLOOD COVENANT that seals us in Christ.

May we take our place in THE NEW CREATION that God made us IN CHRIST when Jesus as Lord rose from the dead!

Vance

Deut 10:15-16
"Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer." NIV

Since we had verses from John the Baptist back in Luke, I wanted to mention this passage as regarding "circumcising" the heart. John preached repentance and turning back to God. Here in Deut. is the first mention of changing the heart - how? - by circumcising.

Up to now circumcision has been the act done on males eight days after their birth.

Gen 17:10-11
"This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you." NIV

The cutting away of flesh is a sign of the covenant with God for the Jewish nation.

"Circumcision of infant sons did not save them but evidenced the faith of the father and mother in the God of Abraham. As that young child grew up, his circumcision was a sign to him that he was different from other boys—he belonged to God."
http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=96

This cutting of the flesh is perhaps symbolic of removing the flesh - or things of the world - so that you are in a spiritual state (covenant) with God. Some rabbis see it that way.

If so, then circumcising the heart would be symbolic of cutting away the flesh part (of the world) of the heart and leaving the spiritual core. The part that does recognize God and would be able to worship him in truth.

This way the people will not be stubborn any longer, and go chasing after idols, women, or things of the world at the first (or perhaps fifth :) opportunity.

Also and this may be a stretch - it is not easy to turn when you are stiff-necked, but with a circumcised heart and no longer being stiff-necked - it is easier to turn back to God.

[NOTE: Last paragraph is purely conjecture on my part}

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