Summary: God’s relationship with the children of Israel shows us that Jesus is our only hope.
October 3, 2004
Text: Deuteronomy 4: 30-40
Subject: A Call to Obedience
Title: Jesus, Our Only Hope
What is hope? Webster’s dictionary defines it as, “a confident expectation that a desire will be fulfilled; wishful trust; something which one longs to see realized” That is a pretty good definition isn’t it?
Bernard M. Baruch tells the story of a man sentenced to death, who obtained a reprieve by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within the year--on the condition that if he didn’t succeed, he would be put to death at the end of the year. "Within a year," the man explained later, "the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. Furthermore, in a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly."
This man’s hope was based on something unknown. Hope, when put into effect, becomes faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Webster’s definition goes even a step further saying that hope is, “a person in whom confidence is placed or who could provide what is wanted; the virtue by which a Christian looks with confidence for God’s grace in this world and glory in the next.” We go through this life with the hope that this is not all. There is something better coming. We have God’s word on it.
In Deuteronomy 1-4:28 Moses recaps the history of the wilderness journey. He points out the failings of the people. What should have taken eleven days has turned into a forty-year trip. God led them up to the land of promise and they refused to go in. He reminds them of the battles they fought along the way. He encourages them by recalling the wonders they have seen. And he warns them of the dangers of idolatry. He even prophesies of their idolatrous nature and the coming captivity in Babylon. He concludes this section in 4:29 on a positive note, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.”
What does this have to do with us as Christians? As the children of Israel stumbled around in the desert, manna and water were supernaturally provide for them. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says, “all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” As Moses reminds Israel that their only hope is in trusting God, we Christians are remind that if we have any hope in this world, that hope is Jesus. He is our only hope.
I. SEEKING GOD’S PROTECTION. (30-31)
A. Turn to the Lord. Verse 30 plainly states the true nature of man. When given a choice between good and evil, we will often make the wrong choice. “When you are in distress and all these things come upon you in the latter days…” What things is Moses talking about? All the results of disobedience that he has mentioned before! We all know the testimonies of people who hit rock bottom and turned to Jesus only to be miraculously saved and changed. The problem with the nation of Israel for the most part was that they didn’t even realize they had gone astray. It happened so subtly that they thought they were still God’s chosen people and everything was all right. Right up to the time of the Babylonian captivity the so-called “prophets” were prophesying good news and victory. They couldn’t even tell that it was not God that they were hearing from. Though many go through the “rock bottom” experience, many of us were like Israel and didn’t even know it. We were “religious” enough to think we were somebody in God’s eyes. But we were in distress. But through the prayers of friends and family and the grace of a loving God, we were led out of the bondage of sin and into the freedom of His mercy. When we turned to Him, He had His arms open wide saying, “welcome home.”
B. Obey His Voice. Turning to God requires more than a confession of faith. It requires hearing and obeying. What does it mean to be obedient to God? We must understand that we are saved by grace. There is nothing that we can do to save ourselves. Being obedient to God’s voice means giving up on our own righteousness and trusting Jesus. He is the only one who can save. After we are saved God’s grace continues to work through us to enable us to live lives that are holy and pleasing to Him.
C. Trust His Mercy. Moses reminds Israel of God’s mercy. Even though they were a rebellious people deserving of death, He is faithful to keep the contract that He had initiated with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Verse 31, “He will not forsake you nor destroy you…” Jesus established a New Covenant with those who accept it; the covenant of His blood… He will not break it. There are song lyrics that go like this, “When everything around is sinking sand, on Christ the solid Rock I stand. When I need a shelter when I need a friend, I go to the Rock. Turn to Jesus. Obey His voice. Trust His mercy. You really have nothing to lose but and eternity to gain.