Summary: Lessons from Deuteronomy about doing right
Remember to Do Right! - Deuteronomy
Growing up, I watched a lot of TV. I loved the Beverly Hillbillies - but the DVD’s you get today don’t have the theme song on them - “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” - remember that? It’s due to copyright laws; but that was one of the best parts of the show: “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer, hardly kept his family fed, and then one day he was shooting at some food, and up from the ground came a bubbling crude . . .”
Or, if you’re from a younger generation, the Barney Song: “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family . . .” It’s a song that’s hard to get out of your head.
Last summer we took a lot of time to watch the summer Olympic games from Athens. And in our home, we rarely watch TV. But after that two weeks, it was amazing how many of the commercials the girls knew by heart. Repetition really drills things into our minds. We really remember things well, sometimes even the most insignificant things.
But this morning, I want to ask you, call on you, plead with you to make a commitment to make right priorities in your life. In the greater scheme of things, the Ballad of Jed Clampett and the Barney song are of little importance. Yet many of us could sing them word for word. But, can just as many of us quote Psalm 1, Revelation 4, The sermon on the mount, Deuteronomy 6? The church of the 21st century has really fallen away from an understanding and appreciation and memorization and love of the word of God. And we have placed our love and value on that which is trivial.
We say we love God, and we say we want to honor him. But we fail miserably when it comes to loving and remembering and following God’s word. We want God to speak to each one of us today - not just to show us a thing or two we need to change -- but to really draw us into a much deeper love and appreciation of Him and His word. So, as we come to reading the word of God, let’s pray together. PRAYER: for God to challenge us.
In our reading through the Old Testament, we have seen Moses lead the Jews out of Egypt, and through the wilderness for 40 years. He is now 120 years old. Moses was a great man. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 tells us, “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt--to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no-one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”
Remember God told Moses that he was to lead the Jews to the promised land, but that Moses himself was not going to enter. Moses has brought the Jews right up to the edge of the promised land, and they’re ready to cross the Jordan River and claim their inheritance. But Moses knows his time of leading the people is done. And what we find recorded in the book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ last message to the people. So here are the parting remarks of one of the greatest men ever.
If you could preach your own funeral sermon, what would you say? Many people would talk of all their accomplishments and how they impacted others through their lives. Some would talk about their regrets and the things they still wanted to do. But Moses uses his last address to the Jews to remind them to obey the word of the Lord. This is what he felt was the most important lesson the Jews could learn. And today, we also realize that it is the most important lesson that we can learn as well.
Deuteronomy 1:1-2 gives us the context: These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan--that is, in the Arabah--opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.) In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the LORD had commanded him concerning them.
Moses gives his last address to the people. And Deuteronomy starts with a reminder of why the Jews are where they are. It takes 11 days to go from Mt. Horeb to Kadesh Barnea, the land right outside of the promised land. What should have been a two week trip ends up taking 40 years, because the people failed to obey God. Deuteronomy 1:26 - But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 1:32 - . . . and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God.