Israel was on the brink of defeating nations that were mightier than them; a people great and tall, cities that were well fortified. As God would graciously grant Israel victory, there might be that temptation to think that it was because they had earned it – but Moses reminds them that that’s the furthest thing from the truth. They and we are not to even THINK that in our hearts (Deuteronomy 9:4).
It’s not because of Israel’s righteousness, but it’s because of God’s goodness and Canaan’s wickedness. We read such passages in:
Leviticus 18:25 (NKJV) “For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.
The people of Canaan were even sacrificing their children and burning them in the fire (Deuteronomy 12:31).
Canaan was about to be conquered because of their wickedness and not because of the righteousness of Israel, as a matter of fact, Moses lays out their history of being a stiff-necked people (stubborn and rebellious).
Moses reminded them of their history of defiance, in which if it weren’t for his intercession, God would have wiped Israel out and started a new nation through him (Deuteronomy 9:14). Moses stood in the gap for the people, just as any true leader of God should. Moses was a great intercessor, fasting absolutely (no water or food) and supernaturally for forty days, at least twice. We read his heart in:
Deuteronomy 9:25 (NKJV) “Thus I prostrated myself before the LORD; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the LORD had said He would destroy you.”
Moses prayed and pleaded for God to have mercy on Israel, his primary motive was the glory of God.
Moses broke the two tablets of Ten Commandments hewn by the hand of God, just as Israel had broken them in their idolatrous orgy.
But God is the God of the second chance, and once again God wrote His Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone, this time to be protected in an ark of acacia wood. Maybe there’s a bit of symbolism here, as the people are now given a second chance in entering into the Promised Land.
It’s not that complicated, the only question is would they keep God’s Word?
Deuteronomy 10:12–13 (NKJV) “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”
Some might read a section like this and think, it’s just the way it is. We are stiff-necked, stubborn, sinful rebels and God is gracious. We will never ever change, we’re only human. But then I read those words from Moses:
Deuteronomy 10:16 (NKJV) “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.”
Cut away the flesh – and be stiff-necked no longer.
“Lord, that’s my prayer. I know I can’t reach sinless perfection on this side of time, but may there be less of me and more You, each and every day” (John 3:30; Galatians 2:20).
Israel went down to Egypt with seventy people, and here they are, close to three million strong! God had promised this to Abraham, when he had only one child, that his descendants would be as the sands on the shore and the stars in the sky (Genesis 22:17). Truly, God keeps His promises to those who believe!
The Parable of the Sower, the Seed, and the Soils teaches us the importance of the condition of the heart. When we hear God’s Word, does it fall on hard hearts? Shallow hearts? Crowded hearts? Or open hearts?
The hard heart is not truly interested in the Word of God and therefore doesn’t understand the Bible (Matthew 13:19). The devil therefore snatches away that seed.
The shallow heart represents the person who only comes to Christ because they’re looking for an easy life. The moment temptation hits or things get challenging, they leave the Lord like a fair-weathered friend.
The crowded heart represents the person who wants the Lord but they also want the things of the world, they’re two-timers, unfaithful; their “garden” is full of weeds and other things and they bring no fruit to maturity – and no fruit, means no root.
But the open heart is the person with a noble and good heart, there’s good ground, soft soil, they’re ready and willing to hear and obey; they receive the seed, grow, and bear fruit for the glory of God – they endure because they’re real.
The heart of the matter is always the matter of the heart. Question for you, “When the Seed of God’s Word is sown in your direction, how’s your heart?” Are you open and ready to receive it by faith? (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
We need to make sure we don’t simply “…believe for a while…” (Luke 8:13). Pastor Chuck Smith comments on this passage, “…in the case of the seeds sown on the rock, they do spring forth into life, and ‘believe for a while.’ But they ultimately fall away. Were they saved and then lost? I don’t know, but it is something to think about.”
Luke 6:16 brings to mind:
Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Don’t hide the light of the Lord, go out and let it shine, Jesus is willing to express Himself through you, just let Him.
When we hear the Word of God we are warned in Luke 6:18 HOW we hear and over in Mark 4:24 we are warned about WHAT we hear; both are important!
Mark 3:21 tells us that Jesus’ family thought He was out of His mind, so they came to take Him home – this is why Jesus didn’t go to them. Jesus considers those who obey His Word – family.
David was in the middle of some very trying times, again. On one hand he’s experiencing the results of his own sin, but added to that, was the reproach of the enemy (Psalm 69:26).
He said the, “reproach has broken my heart.”
Have you ever been there? Heartbroken?
David couldn’t find any comforters, so he prayed for God to pour out His wrath upon his enemies (Psalm 69:24). It’s just how he felt. He wanted them to be blotted out of the Book of the Living (Psalm 69:28).
This Psalm has an allusion to Christ, a prophecy of when they offered Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink as He was nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:34). The difference however was that when Jesus was on the cross, He didn’t pray for His Father to pour out His wrath on His persecutors, He prayed for His Father to forgive them (Luke 23:34). Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of David wants everyone’s name to be written in the Book of Life.
David knew his God would deliver him, so he praised the Lord and stood on God’s promises. He even encouraged others to trust the Lord and truly seek Him.
Psalm 69:32 (NKJV) “The humble shall see this and be glad; snd you who seek God, your hearts shall live.”
May we be humble and seek God sincerely, may we be among those who really do love His name (Psalm 69:36). Thank You Jesus!
What a contrast between a “good man” and a “man of wicked intentions.” The good man receives God’s favor, which is God’s grace, while the wicked man receives God’s condemnation.
The wicked man is never established in anything good, but the righteous man is rooted and grounded in God’s love; he will never ever be moved (Ephesians 3:17).
Lord, please impart Your righteousness and goodness upon my life.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.