MLToday: [Deuteronomy Chapter Twenty-Nine]: Activating the Language of the Covenant. In this chapter we see that the entirety of the first five books of the bible is actually the verbiage and terms of an elaborate covenant that God makes with His people. Even for New Testament believer’s there is an implied command to respond to the INTENT and PURPOSE of God in giving us the Old Testament as well as the New. Many believer’s either outright or in fact functionally reject the Old Testament as relevant to their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth as this chapter will show us.

 

Today: [Deuteronomy Chapter Twenty-Nine]: Activating the Language of the Covenant. In this chapter we see that the entirety of the first five books of the bible is actually the verbiage and terms of an elaborate covenant that God makes with His people. Even for New Testament believer’s there is an implied command to respond to the INTENT and PURPOSE of God in giving us the Old Testament as well as the New. Many believer’s either outright or in fact functionally reject the Old Testament as relevant to their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth as this chapter will show us.

[Deu 29:1-29 KJV] 1 These [are] the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I [am] the LORD your God. 7 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: 8 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh. 9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.

 

The whole premise of the relationship between God and the Hebrews was that of covenant. The very writing of the law was in the context of covenant. In the ancient world when two parties would establish a covenant there was a writing made that a third party would take custody of to remind the covenant-makers of regarding the terms of the agreement (if necessary). Normally this would not be a very long or complicated set of terms. In this case the enormity of the writing was remarkable and significant. The complexity of the writing of the covenant was an indicatory to the Hebrew people of the immensity of the blessing connected with it. The fact that the writing was a covenant conveyed and perhaps for the first time in human history the idea of a sacred (though not magical) text which separates scripture from the books of spells and witchcraft that were present at the time and still prevalent today.

 

How do we keep the words of the covenant? Most of us are not Jewish or proselytes of Judaism. Most of the tenets of the law beyond the Ten Commandments are not particularly relevant to modern life or western culture. We could adopt a form of compliance to the Torah but that would practically only serve to render us as obscurantists. Remember this – that for the culture into which the law was first given these things were VERY relevant to the every day life of the people.

 

What is the relevance then for us in regard to this ancient law? Paul makes it plain for us:

 

[Gal 3:24 KJV] 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

 

Over and over Paul uses the Old Testament as a similitude and metaphor to speak to the believer about who Jesus is to them and what their place is in the kingdom.

 

Back to the question – if we keep the law what is the promise? That we shall prosper. The implication of the incentive is that GOD WANTS YOU TO PROSPER. This cannot be said enough.

 

10 Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, [with] all the men of Israel, 11 Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that [is] in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: 12 That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: 13 That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and [that] he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; 15 But with [him] that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with [him] that [is] not here with us this day:

 

Verses 14-15 are very reminiscent of remarks Jesus made in John 10:16.

 

[Jhn 10:16 KJV] 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd.

 

Who were the “other sheep”? We are the other sheep. Who were those a part of the covenant that were not standing with Moses? You and I! We are partakers of the covenants and promises of God to Abraham by virtue of our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. We must GET THIS connection or the Old Testament will lose its relevance to us. Your station in Christ and inheritance in the covenant of Abraham was ratified and validated by the words of Paul in Galatians:

 

[Gal 3:16, 24, 26, 29] 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. … 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. … 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. … 29 And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 

16 (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by; 17 And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which [were] among them:) 18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go [and] serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;

 

What is the message implied here – when you turn away from the law you turn away from God. The Pharisees were minute in their adherence to the law yet their hearts were turned from God because they rejected the purpose of God to bring them to Christ! So we must continually keep before us in reading the law the two very important questions:

 

  • What does this Old Testament passage say about who Jesus is in my life?
  • What does this passage say about my place in the kingdom of God?

 

 

19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: 20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. 21 And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: 22 So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; 23 [And that] the whole land thereof [is] brimstone, and salt, [and] burning, [that] it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: 24 Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what [meaneth] the heat of this great anger? 25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 26 For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and [whom] he had not given unto them: 27 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: 28 And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as [it is] this day. 29 The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.

 

When we are outside of Christ we are outside the covenant. As Paul said in Galatians the covenant was not with one that is Abraham but with Abraham and his seed – that is CHRIST. When the seed is mentioned it does not imply those that came after in Abraham’s bloodline but to one particular person in the bloodline of Abraham that is JESUS.

 

Gal. 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ…

 

When you come to Jesus and enter into a covenantal relationship with Jesus by accepting Him as savior and as Lord then you are a partaker in the covenant on HIS TERMS not those of religious culture or some one’s idea of what relationship with Jesus implies. In so doing EVERY PROMISE of the Old Testament is yours because Jesus releases blessing to you on the basis of HIS OBEIDENCE that God accepts in lieu of your own lack of perfection. Then in the absence of your perfection God releases grace in order to grow you into what Eph. 4:11-18 “a perfect man to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ…”

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