Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Ten Commandments - Deuteronomy 5

Deuteronomy 5 is a recollection of the giving of the Ten Commandments to the people that were brought out of slavery in Egypt. Moses emphasized in 5:3 that the covenant is a new one, not with their forefathers, but with them that were alive! It was to be their branding showing how they were different from the others. I have written a few posts related to the Ten Commandments. For a more in-depth study, see the following:
  1. The Branding of Believers - The Ten Commandments
  2. Principles & Insights from the Ten Commandments
  3. A Relook at the Ten Commandments
  4. "Honoring Your Parents" - The Bible Honors Your Cultures
The most important thing for believers is that the Ten-Commandments are not outdated but are still applicable. They are minimum standards for us to follow as testimony to others but not as the criteria for the salvation. Christ saved us that we may be empowered to live a life that supersedes the requirements of the commandments to bring glory to God, our Father.

So we can say that the Ten Commandments are the litmus test for a true believer.  The best state for a believer is that he/she is so filled with God awareness that he/she walk rightly before God. The challenging state is a believer still struggling with bad habits or addictions. The struggle is an indication of knowing and wanting to do right. He needs to be enlightened and empowered with grace and the Holy Spirit for victory. He that doesn't even bother and continue in sin may not be a true believer.

◄ 1 John 3:9 ► No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning because they have been born of God.

Lim Liat (c) 10 March 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

God and His People - Past, Present & Future

Deuteronomy 4 is a quick summary of how God deals with men with the Israelites as an example. God reached out to them and gave them the laws to help them build a nation with blessings, good relationships, happy families and long lives. God warned and predicted their disobedience and also His mercy in bringing them back again. The testimonies of the Israelites and God are good testimonies for us. We have no excuse for not knowing this loving God.
The Giving of the Laws & What to do with them
The details of the Laws are in the later chapters. They are to do the following seven things about the Laws (Deu 4:1-9):
  1. Listen and know the Laws 
  2. Do them that they may live. 
  3. Go in and Build the New Nation with the Laws as their constitutions. 
  4. Must Not add to it.
    • God's Laws are meant for life and not a burden nor a slavery. Adding to it is a typical practice of cults to enslave people. See how natural it is for a man to add extra in Gen 3:3, Eve added "must not touch it" where God only said must not eat it. 
  5. Must not take away from it.
    • It is so easy to remove any restriction in the name of freedom. The Laws, which are principles for success, have been distorted as chains to restrict your freedom. Gen 3:4 shows the devil removing the punishment death for the violation and instead added a benefit of becoming wise. It caused Eve to doubt the goodness of God.
    • Adding or removing the Laws are the means where the devil and evil people distort the Laws. The either make them too burdensome to follow or remove them to lead people into slavery by their lusts and sins. 
  6. Internalize the Laws - let them be the guards to our hearts and lights to our mind. 
  7. Pass it on to the next generations.
The Warning - Evidence Based Faith
God used the destruction of Baal worshippers as a warning to them. God did not expect the Israelites to believe in Him without evidence. It is not blind faith but strong faith based on evidence. Moses reminded them in v20-24 how God had brought them out of Egypt, take care of them in the wilderness and then the giving of the promised land where they were at the edge to go in.
See also Reflection 3 Christian Faith is Not Blind, and Evidence Based Faith - Not Blind Faith

The Benefits of the Laws
The Laws is the wisdom and their understanding. It is to ensure their well-being for all generations and to have long lives too. 

God Spoke & Wrote to Them
Verses 10 to 13 show how God spoke and wrote to them! They had no excuse that they don't know God. 

The Greatest Danger and Violation - Having Idols
God warned them again of such a danger that they had done before - a golden cow idol. Verse 16-19 show the different types of idols, either of animals or even of stars in the sky or host of heaven. Never worship any created things or beings. Idols are things, tangible like money, or intangible like reputation, that draw us away from God. They are the things that we pursue and trust other than God. We put our faith in them thinking that if we have them we shall be happy and fulfilled. But they are just lies that enslave us. Only God can truly satisfy us and gives us the freedom. It is so because we are created in the image of God and only God can we have full fellowship. Our worship of God put us in the right relationship with God that will truly satisfy our soul.

The Prediction of Future Disobedience and the Promise of Forgiveness
Verses 25 to 28 show that they will one day abandon their God and God will punish them by scattering them. But God is ever ready to receive them back whenever and wherever in v29.  God further assured them again in v31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. Deu 4:31

Evidence Based Faith Again
Verses 32 to 40 is another reminder and summary of how God had been dealing wonderfully with the Israelites.

Forgiveness in Action - The Allocation of Safe Havens
Three cities are set up for the people who accidentally killed others to run too (v41-43).

The Summary in the Base Camp
Here is the summary of what Moses did and the Israelites preparation to enter the promised land after conquering the Amorites as their base camp (44-49)

Application to Our Life Now
The story and the history of the Israelites can be seen as the dealing of God with men. It shows how God cares for His people. It shows the mercy of a forgiving God who always stretches out His hands to receive whoever, whenever and where-ever, is ready to return to Him. God had given His son Jesus Christ to open up the way for us to go back to Him. As the time is urgent, let on one miss it.

Lim Liat (c) 8 March 2017