The Rise of The “Non People”…Song of Moses pt 9

And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.( Deuteronomy 32:20-21)

The most devastating calamity to befall the Jewish people, was predicted centuries before it happened by Moses, in the song God told Moses to teach all of the children of Israel. God said that as a result of the rebellion and repeated apostasy of Israel, He would hide his face from them.

When he says “They are a very perverse generation”, David Baron points out that literally He called them, “dor Tahpukhoth “, a generation of perversities”, that is, they became so perverted, they became perversity itself.

The 21st verse reads literally

“They have moved me to jealousy with a no-god;                                                                 they have provoked me to anger with their vanities;                                                            And I will move them to Jealousy with a no-people;                                                                  I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation”.

God would deal with the ones who had insulted His Majesty, and who spurned his amazing grace, rejecting Him,  the Living God, in favor of “no gods”, dumb idols, and even worse, horrible abominations. Therefore he would give them into the hands of the heathen which they looked down upon, as darkened, unclean, uncouth, and without the knowledge of God.

Moses predicted that a “foolish nation” and a non people would become the recipients of the grace that the ‘chosen nation’ had spurned, for God would provoke Israel to jealousy.

The prophet Hosea picked up on the theme centuries later, prophetically naming the children he bore through Gomer the harlot,  according to the Word of the Lord;

So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son… And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away… Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.  Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.(Hosea 1:4-9)

The children ,“Not my people” and “No mercy” became the prophetic messages to the harlot people in fulfillment of the Song of Moses. But Israel shall be set aside only temporarily, for Hosea tells us from the start,

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.( Hosea 1:1o-11)

What would be the identity of  the foolish nation, the “non-people” whom God would provoke Israel to Jealousy through? The Apostles Peter and Paul tell us, that it is we, the (mostly) gentile church, who became recipients of grace, through the temporary casting aside of Israel.Peter reminds the church,

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.( I Peter 2:9-10)

It is we Gentiles who once were the bastard sons of the Harlot, the  “Non people”, and “No mercy”, who have been called into fellowship with the Father and His Son, and made into a new and holy nation, in order that we might “Show forth the praises ” of the God of mercy and truth, who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Paul reminds us that it was through the cross that a disenfranchised ‘non people’ “without hope and without God”, have become the people of God and  invested in all of the blessings and favors of the “commonwealth of Israel”.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Ephesians 2:11-16)

How is it that the “foolish nation” provokes Israel to Jealousy? Consider this, that every nation under heaven, through the gospel has been called to the God of Israel, through a Jewish book , of Jewish prophets, and concerning and accepting the Jewish Messiah.

All manner of  tribes and tongues from every corner of the globe, name their children Hebrew names like Joshua,Jacob,Samuel Matthew, Isaiah and John whether they be Russian, English,Nigerian, or even Eskimo. How did the ends of the earth come to worship the God of Israel? The Messiah, Jeshua has accomplished this.

 

How I pray for the provocation to jealousy, that the scriptures foretell, and for the resurrection of Israel to his priestly role again, as the people of God and the Holy Nation. Maranatha!

 

 

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Divine Rejection and Punishment…Song of Moses pt 8

And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.  … They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.  For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.  I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.  They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.  The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.(Deuteronomy 32:19-25)

We are looking at the Song of Moses, a panoramic prophecy of the future of the chosen people, from Moses’ day until the very last days. Though spoken in the past tense,”Prophetic perfect” tense, none of the specific things mentioned in the Song had yet happened to Israel. But subsequent history has verified that Israel has experienced all of this prophecy except the final resolution.

We come now to the fourth Stanza of the Song of Moses.  How will Jahweh respond to  his rebellious and backslidden people? How does He deal with the centuries of apostasy, faithless idolatry,  the murdered prophets, and ultimately to the repudiation of the Messiah himself by the high priest standing as representative of the Nation?

Moses told Israel that He Would see it…  This is important because sinful men over the centuries tell themselves that The LORD doesn’t see their abominations, especially when there is no apparent immediate punishment. But all of Israel was taught to sing this song, which assured them, that when the nation would defect, the Lord would see  indeed every downward step along the way of  their national apostasy.

History would reveal that the provocation to Divine wrath, would come only after much Holy forbearance, and long and repeated pleadings of the prophets, and after many repeated provocations in the very face of the LORD’s loving kindness. Indeed,

“The Lord is slow to anger and of great mercy…”.

But Moses taught the children of Israel to sing of the eventual abhorrence of JAHWEH  for his sons and daughters. HE would temporarily reject the ones whom He had chosen, and drawn near to Himself, in such grace and Love.

…he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters…

Didn’t the Most High have the right to expect love, loyalty, and fear from the nation whom He had drawn to himself,  loved, saved, chosen and taught, and revealed Himself to? These were His children in grace! As Isaiah would lament in the name of God;

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.(Isaiah 1:2-3)

The most devastating consequence to come upon Israel, would be the hiding of God’s face from them.

…And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith…(Deuteronomy 32:20)

The Divinely ordered High Priestly blessing that the LORD make His face to shine upon Israel, was a constant assurance of the Divine Favor of the Lord Himself upon His people. He was benevolently looking down upon them, He was concerned in all of their concerns, He could be refered to, sought, and consulted in all things.

But when the LORD hid his face, he turned away from Israel. He has (temporarily ) removed his favor, He cannot now be truly consulted by the nation, for there is no temple, or high priest, the LORD has hidden his face from them and it has been a long, painful nightmare for the nation.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.(Isaiah 59:2)

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)

The History of the Jews has born this sad prediction out, first of all in the calamity of the destruction of the temple, and the 70 years of captivity in Babylon that followed. The nightmare siege of Jerusalem was exactly as Moses had foretold, women eating their own children, people turning on each other, brass heavens, slavery and conquest by foreign powers, all because God had turned his face from them.

But that was only the warm-up for the final fulfillment of the “turning of the face of God” from Israel, when the temple was again destroyed* in 70 AD . The holy nation was either slaughtered wholesale, or glutting the world’s slave markets, and dispersed literally to the ends of the earth.

Everywhere there have been pockets of Jews. For nearly two thousand years, the nation has remained in a kind of living death, intact and yet unassimilable among the gentile nations they have tried to settle in. Jews are ever hounded and driven to and fro, they have been hated, abused, lied about  and cheated and even murdered in pograms in most of the places they have been driven to.

Yet, wherever people have blessed them, those people have been blessed, but wherever people have cursed the exiled seed of Abraham, they have been cursed.

We know from the song of Moses and other places in Holy writ, that Israel’s long night of weeping and disfavor is almost over, the nation is destined to once again have the blessing of being the people whom God’s face shines upon, in favor and love. Hasten the day Oh Lord!

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.  Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.  Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.(Psalm 80:1-7)

 

* Ironically on the very same calendar day the 9th of Av, in both 530 BC and 70  AD!

 

 

 

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A Meditation on Romans 1:16 “What God demands…God Supplies”

HAve A Happy Sunday Everyone!

I WILL SERVE No FOREIGN GODS

Holy God We Praise Thy Name

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for therein the righteousness of God is revealed…Romans 1:16

The book of Romans is unique among the epistles in that it isn’t polemic, that is it isn’t trying to refute any error. Romans is therefore a clear rendering of the Gospel of salvation . Paul calls it the “Gospel of God” , and takes us from the bankruptcy of Jew and Gentile to the glorification of man and creation, all realised by the gospel.

Paul begins with the declaration that in the Gospel, “the Righteousness of God is revealed”. In order to appreciate and grow in the gospel, a thorough grounding in the teaching of Romans is necessary, and for that to happen, the meaning and use of the term “Righteousness” has to be defined. Biblically, there are several possible definitions;

* Righteousness, dikiaosune – refers to uprightness of conduct, equity of character. It means to have all good qualities in perfection.

* Righteousness- can also mean uprightness, rectitude, conformity to God’s standards.

* Righteousness- is also a status- Right-Standing- being “in the right”,”Right with” a law , authority or person in authority.

The Beginning of the Gospel in Romans is an emphasis on the bad news first. God is a Holy God and can only accept perfect Righteousness from man. There is a saying that illustrates this and is quite profound

“The Righteousness that He (God) requires , is the Righteousness that His Righteousness requires Him to Require.”

Furthermore we are warned of the coming day of Judgment, in which the standard will be absolute Righteousness and Truth. At the great accounting God will require perfect Righteousness of each person.

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;Who will render to every man according to his deeds…(Romans 2:5-6).

This is the bad news, that we are all on our way to a Judgment of our lives by a Holy God who can accept nothing less than absolute Righteousness from those whom He made in His Image. Eternal, happy Fellowship with Him requires total Righteousness and we have none to offer Him. We have not been morally upright, we have not conformed to God’s standards, by our sins we have forfeited the right to dwell in God’s universe. What are we going to do?

God himself offers to us the answer. Romans declares that it is Jesus,

…Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

Jesus is the offering God made unto Himself. God has “set him forth” as the ‘satisfaction ‘ offering, His life offered to God for us satisfies the requirements of the Righteous nature of God, the broken law of God, the offended Holiness of God.By the resurrection God testified that He is satisfied in the offering of Jesus.

In short, here is the Gospel .A Righteous God, has made a righteous way to cleanse and renew unrighteous sinners, by exchange. In God’s plan, Jesus assumed our unrighteousness before God, and was judged with our judgment, so that we could be given as a gift ,his Righteousness the very status before God that He rightly deserves. As Paul put it,

For He hath made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.(2 Cor 5:21)

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The Dreadful Reality of Idolatry…Song of Moses pt 7

They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.  Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.  And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.(Deuteronomy 32:16-19)

Man was made to worship, we were created with a need to adore something greater than we are, to open up our souls, and to bare the inner man to someone above us, who is Holy, True and good; ie God. The highest good is the glory of God, to love and to acknowledge Him is why we are here.

We become like that which we worship. As we worshipfully acknowledge and behold Him, we are conformed to His image in the soul, we become holy, good, true, and so do our desires, thoughts,wills and emotions.

Moses predicted that Israel would turn from the Worship of the only true God, and give  themselves over to the worship of idols.

…They moved Him to jealousy with strange gods, With abominations provoked they Him to Anger…

First of all God is a jealous God, and His jealousy is Holy and good. He is Jealous of our hearts and affections, in the sense that a husband or wife would be  jealous to preserve a legitimate marriage/family.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.( Exodus 20:4-6)

Notice that the second commandment is about loving or hating God.

Man’s hearts were made exclusively to put all absolute faith, hope, Love, and adoration in the only one worthy of such absolute devotion, God himself. TO Love God is to love goodness, truth and beauty. To not love God is to hate Him. One cannot be indifferent about God.

To hate God is to hate goodness, truth, beauty and justice. One cannot hate God and love these virtues.  To turn from God is to turn also from these very virtues.

After bringing them out of bondage in Egypt, God made a covenant in the wilderness with Israel. The giving of the Law of God was a marriage, complete with a Canopy (The glory cloud), vows and promises. Israel was to love Him exclusively, there was to be no ‘Pantheon’ of ‘gods’ of which Jahweh was but the chief God.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.(Isaiah 54:5)

Thus Idolatry is disloyalty, and faithlessness, just as Adultery would be, in a marriage.

What were the nature of these “idols’ which Moses predicted Israel would giver herself over to? According to Deuteronomy 32:16, They were

*  “Strange gods” , that is foreign, with the thought of alien, without affinity and without sympathy. (To be contrasted with JAHWEH who is infinite in his compassion and tender mercies).

* “Abominations”- Because the worship of Ashteroth, Molech, and Baal among others, often involved cruel orgies, human sacrifice of the most helpless(Babies), homosexual rites, temple prostitutes and the deepest debasement of the worshippers.

Worshipping the LORD of the Bible elevates men, makes them aspire to holier, higher and nobler sentiments, we want to become more like Jesus! Men become what they worship.True worship tenderizes the hard heart, and constantly awakens holy desires and affections.

What happens to men and women who worship Moloch?

We need not look far, for in our own generation, millions in the west have done just what Moses predicted Jeshuran would do, they have forsaken the Judeo Christian concept of God, and embraced strange and abominable gods such as Moloch( Abortion), Baal and Ashteroth (pornography, Sexuality divorced from context of marriage).

Such worship has rendered millions of people as the Apostle Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 3:1-5

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.(2 Timothy 3:1-5)

But the description of idolatry given by Moses in His prediction goes beyond the fact that the idols are foreign and abominable.

* Idols are demons- (Shediim)   “They sacrificed to demons Which were no God, to gods which they knew not, to new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not..”

The real power behind the worship of other gods, is demonic. Therefore Idolatry is trafficking with the enemy of God and the enemy of humanity. False worship is spiritual intercourse with Evil itself. All false gods or anything spiritual which isn’t Biblical, is demonic. The New Testament affirms this,

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.(I Corinthians 10:20)

So also the Psalms,

And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.  Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,  And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.(Psalms 106:36-38)

This is why there can be no interfaith ecumenism, which is one of the modern forms of idolatry. How can light fellowship with darkness or Christ with Belial?

Moses predicted that the power of the idolatry which would constantly enslave Israel would be fear. When Moses said, “…gods which your fathers dreaded not…”, he used a word that is never used in connection with the “fear of the Lord”. 

The word rendered dreaded, se’arum, means to shudder , or to be horrified.

The true “Fear of the Lord” is clean, it is a filial reverence, an honoring and treating the LORD and His Word as profound or ‘heavy’, and leads to worship and adoration which is elevating.

Idols are horrifying and rule by sheer terror. Those who fear the LORD need not fear demons, nor false gods such as idols.

But those who are enslaved in a system of animism, Ancestor worship,  or Allah worship or any other form of idolatry or the occult live in constant fear, and their world is a haunted and tormented world of fear and superstition. Behind these gods are demons, and such as in the case of Islam, they demand bloody, murderous sacrifices of their worshippers.

The only way to be “free indeed”and to be allowed to be fully human, is to return in humility to worship the true God.

 

 

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Israel’s Sin…Song Of Moses pt 6

But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.  They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.  They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.  Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.(Deuteronomy 32:15-18)

We come now to the third stanza of the Song of Moses, (the first  and second being vs 1-6, Ascribe Greatness to our God and  vs 7-14, The Tender Care of God for Israel). In spite of the abundant and tender care given to the chosen nation, by God the Father, we are told by the spirit of Prophecy that Jeshuran would wax fat and kick…. .

Jeshuran is the special name given by God to His people, it means “Upright One“, and it reveals His ideal for the priestly nation. After his description of the victory which the LORD had given him, and the many delicious fruits that Israel would be able to eat as a result of God’s favor, we are warned that Jeshuran would wax fat, grow thick and become covered with fatness, like a spoiled calf which kicks at the one who fed him so well!

The blessings, security and abundance of good things would cause Israel to forget God, and to lose the fear of God, and ultimately to forsake him. This was put into the national song, which all of Israel was to learn to sing!

…thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

The Hebrew verbs are stronger than the KJV suggests; forsook could be rendered, pushing away, or abandoning in indifference, (Vayitosh). Lightly esteemed (va’nabel) contains the Hebrew root NBL which means fool. Va’nabel means to treat one as a fool.

Who did Jeshuran push away in contempt? God, lit Eloah, the God of Majesty and might! WHo was it that Israel treated contemptuously as a fool? The Rock of his salvation!

 

The song speaks of this defection in the past tense, the ‘prophetic perfect’, as if it had already happened, but it was composed at the very dawn of Israel’s long history.

They would forsake the Rock! The faithful, reliable, unmovable, unchanging One who had been their salvation. They would take Him for granted, and the good things He had given to them, would only make them fat and forgetful. Soon they would become wanton and lusty, as on a full stomach, and put themselves to the service of false gods, demons.

They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

Israel is God’s wife, there was a covenant which all of the prophets would call the wayward nation to return to, as one would counsel a straying wife ;

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:(Jeremiah 3:14)

O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.  Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.( Hosea 14:1-4)

The “strange gods” were rivals for Israel’s affections. The worship of foreign ‘deities’ which could neither save, nor even speak, was an affront, and insult to the one who had taken such tender care of them. They were utter abominations for the worship of them involved the most disgusting and degrading practices.

The jealousy of the LORD  for Israel was holy, He alone has exclusive rights to the worship and affection of the Holy people. It was He who sought them, redeemed, and wedded them to Himself under the canopy on the holy mountain. How could they bring these abominations into the marriage?

They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not…

False gods are actually demons. To traffic in any spirituality but the worship of the only true God is to consort with the enemy of all that is good and holy, for behind every false God is a Demon.   Baal, Ashteroth, Chemosh,Moloch may be the ancient names of the detestable gods of the heathen, but behind these “Nothings” is something, an evil entity, a fallen Angelic intelligence, an unholy being. To traffic with such is to defile oneself deeply. False worship is actually Satan worship and their can be no concord between Christ and Belial.

…to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not…

Notice that the emphasis is upon novelty. The people would become bored, restless and full, and would hunger for the new and unique. They would not want to remain in the everlasting Rock, their lusts would entice them to seek the exotic. Is this not the appeal in the formerly Christian West, to Zen Bhuddism, or to Islam? Has this not even led Christian congregations into mysticism such as the Toronto Blessing or Spiritualism>Moses predicted that the sin of Israel would manifest as boredom; fulness would lead to boredom and boredom to restless wantonness, and eventually into  spiritual adultery,

 

Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.   Jeshuran grew careless and overfed, sated by the good things the LORD had given him, soon would forget God, and seek after other ‘gods’ who would make no moral demands upon him, and of whose worship all of the sins of the flesh were deeply involved.

Moses’ song predicts that eventually Jeshuran, the ‘upright nation’, would kick at God himself ,(The cross of Jesus?), like an angry but well fed heifer.  Thus the sin of Israel would reach a climax and expose the nation to all of the sanctions of the covenant.

 

 

 

 

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What The LORD Did for Israel…Song of Moses pt 5

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.  As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:  So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.  He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.(Deuteronomy 32:10-14)

We are looking at the song God gave Moses to teach all of Israel, impressing upon the mind of the nation the future history of Israel, all of the way to the “Last days”.

Thus far the future of Israel will show, that God is good, faithful, generous and upright in all of His dealings with Israel. However Israel proves ungrateful, perverse in her dealings with God, even in the face of the abundant generosity of the LORD!

We shouldn’t cast any stones at the children of Israel, for in truth they are a microcosm of the human race. If Israel proved unfaithful to God, how much more the church which He so favored, and which He purchased with His own blood? Have we not also been proven to have been unfaithful, apostate, and perverse? Isn’t church history a sad retelling of the books of Judges and Kings?

What did God do for Israel, according to the Prophetic Song  ?

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

This is not merely a reference to the Exodus experience in Israel’s history, for literally he refers to “A desert land’ not “THe desert…”. The LORD is speaking metaphorically.

Israel is seen as a man stumbling lost through the wilderness that is this cursed, idolatrous world. There is nothing to eat and drink and this is also a world in which at anytime the wild, dangerous beasts can be heard ferociously howling. It is a world of death and danger.

The literal tense is present perfect;  He finds Him…He leads Him…instructs him and keeps him… .When it says He leads Him , this could also be rendered He encompasses Him, He surrounded Him as a protective wall, he made Israel exclusively His.

In the wilderness He gave instruction,  the LAW of the LORD which is perfect, elevating Israel above all other nations. The ultimate lesson in the wilderness of the Exodus was, “…. man shall not live by bread alone ,but by every Word that cometh from the mouth of God”. 

But the same word for instruction could also mean “He attentively considered Him”, or as the Revised Standard Bible renders it, “He cared for Him”. He provided everything they needed, as a father would a son, He treated them tenderly, in kindness and grace.

He guarded them as the apple of His eye...the tenderest, most sensitive and protected part of the body. The retina, surrounded by the iris, called in the Hebrew, the ishon, (Little Man), because we can see our own reflection looking into the retina of another.We take great pains to guard this most sensitive and precious of our members. So also does the LORD watch over Israel.

Is this not the story of our own life? Didn’t the LORD himself seek and choose we who have been saved? Has He not taught us also and shown us the path of Life?The 107th Psalm echoes this verse of the song of Moses,

They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.  Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.  Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.  And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!(Psalm 107:4-8)

The LORD’s training of Israel, is likened unto the education a mother Eagle gives unto her chicks, removing down from the nest, lest the chicks get too comfortable and refuse to fly. When the Eaglet does take wing, the mother is there, ever watchful, ready to fly underneath and bear up the chick on her wings, should she have any trouble taking flight! This she will do until the Eaglet is strong enough to fly on its own.

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

 

The LORD alone was sufficient for Israel, they needed no foreign gods! He, the almighty God,  bore them up on Eagle’s wings.

He made him ride on the high places of the earth,  This is a military expression, meaning, that the LORD would allow Israel to get the victory time and again. Israel would be given control of the higher ground because of the LORD’s intervention.

…that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape…

Kiel and Deleitsch in their excellent commentary make the point that the reference to honey out of a rock and oil out of flinty rocks, is a poetic way of saying that in the Promised Land, God caused abundant delicacies to come from unlikely places;

Honey out of the rock and oil out of the flint-stone, i.e., the most valuable productions out of the most unproductive places, since God so blessed the land that even the rocks and stones were productive. The figure is derived from the fact that Canaan abounds in wild bees, which make their hives in clefts of the rock, and in olive-trees which grow in a rocky soil.  http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/view.cgi?bk=de&ch=32

This is how the Most High blessed and favored, and even sated Israel. He wanted the nation to sing of it, He preserved the song to this day, Israel was to consider its message until the last days.

 

 

 

 

 

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Israel Is Central Among Nations …Song of Moses pt 4

Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee? Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.(Deuteronomy 32:6-8)

 

The last verse of the first section(vs 1-6) of the song of Moses asks an ironic question of Israel; ‘Is this how you repay the LORD ‘?  The question is asked in a spirit of stark unbelief, as if to ask, are you aware of who this is that you spurn?  He is the LORD, i.e. JAHWEH, the personal covenant name of the infinite self existent God of the universe! He went to the trouble to redeem and establish you…and you can only repay his love and care with pride, rebellion and ingratitude?

Yet the LORD does not disown them entirely, because he asks in the present tense;

Is He not thy Father who has redeemed thee?

Though the communion is temporarily broken, he still insists that He is their father. Though the national blemish testifies that they are (presently) not Sons of His, He claims them yet, in grace and mercy. The severance is not absolute, there will yet be a reunion between God the Father, and His rebellious and ungrateful children.

The next section describes Israel’s high calling and blessings, which the LORD has bestowed upon them.

We are called to think deeply the meaning of Israel’s history, Can we grasp the meaning of Israel’s miraculous birth and calling? Can we see the hand of God in the events which transpired in the days of te Patriarchs, the Exodus, conquest, apostasy and all that has followed?

*Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. 

We are told to ask our (earthly) Fathers, and to inquire of the elders, the sages and teachers of the nation.  Thus there would always thus be an accurate record. Israel was not destined to be utterly bereft of truth, God would see to it that for the honest inquirer after truth, there would be abundant witnesses, elders, prophets, teachers and scripture to inquire of.

*When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

The seeker would be able to perceive that though Israel was created by God some time after the tower of Babel incident, really it was central in the original plan of God for all of his dealings with the nations. From the beginning he had planned the priestly nation, it’s role and even its geographical position.

The nation was perfectly situated between three continents, Asia,Africa and Europe, in order to facilitate the spread of the Word of God. When Israel was faithful to God, she was inviolable although the land’s strategic value as the crossroads of world trade, no doubt tempted the many gentile superpowers which would rise up.

When Israel proved unfaithful , her position would prove to make her vulnerable, a literal doormat in the wars between powers such as Egypt,Babylon, Assyria,and Rome.The Egyptians would trample under Israel to get at the Babylonians and vice versa.

The song of Moses makes plain that in all of God’s dealings with the nations, Israel and her place are central to understanding and perceiving God’s good hand n history, and that holds to this very day.

Paul would refer to this in his sermon on Mar’s Hill in Athens,

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  …  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:( Acts 117:24-27)

God put the nations in their place and times of prominence in history, in order to maximize their opportunity to seek and find Him,(Salvation). Israel is central to this purpose in God’s economy.

Israel, are the miracle people , chosen by the Most High as the priests to the world, the mediators of the Divine self revelation, the custodians of scripture. Thus their central geographical location, and their turbulent history must be seen through this consideration. God had promised Abraham from the beginning, that “…in thee shall all of the families of the earth be blessed…”.

God would have (and did) use Israel as a light shining on a dark world, a city shining on a hill! The law was to pour forth from Zion, and people from the ends of the earth would flow into Jerusalem to meet God!

This was the ideal, but the Song of Moses predicts otherwise, except for a few years of exception. Ezekiel echoes the sad reality that would come, in fulfilment of Moses’ song;

Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.(Ezekiel 5:5-6)

Who can sin as thoroughly as a backslider?

However at times, Israel did indeed shine as a light in a dark world, even though the apostasy that this song has predicted did considerably dim her light. Consider that even in spite of apostasy, there has always been a faithful remnant, useful to God, and thus beneficial to the whole world. Where would we be without the contributions of Israel?

Where would we be without the Pentateuch? The Prophets and Psalms? The Wisdom literature of the Bible which Israel faithfully preserved at great cost to herself? Would there be anything resembling Western Civilization without the Jews?

The church also is the fruit of a faithful remnant of Jews. This is Israel’s contribution, in a fallen state! What will the world be like when she is restored, born again and fully reconciled to God? Paul tells us that for the world, the restoration of Israel will be nothing less than the resurrection from the dead!

For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?(Romans 11:15)

 

 

 

 

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