I wrote in the last post about the large impact that spending time in God's law has had on me. The governor placed on thoughts, actions, and attitudes has been very apparent. Without the message of the gospel, I would be in real trouble before a Holy God of Perfection.
The thoughts of being ceremonially clean and unclean based on my daily choices has pressed my prayer life and prompted my awareness of the Holy Spirit in my heart.
I am taking a Wednesday night class on evangelism and it has been another good pressure as well. The bottom line is that God has not given up on His desire to grow me more into the son He desires me to be. And I am not even close to being all that He desires of me.
So if I may- there are 3 major principles that seem to be not only a part of this chapter, but also a big theme of the first 5 Books of Scripture.
I: GOD DESIRES AND INDEED REQUIRES US TO ERADICATE IDOL WORSHIP
I have blogged a lot on this topic- the links are below:
Time to Check My Idols, March 9- 2009
Hurts So Good, The Pain of Progress- Nov. 2, 2009
Where Are the Idols?- July 23, 2005
The Gospel Confronts the Addict- July 12, 2011
The passage here in Deuteronomy 12 is specifically commanding the Israelites to counter the places and forms of worship they will encounter when they enter the promised land. And the message is clear- RIP IT UP- TEAR IT DOWN- UTTERLY DESTROY THE FALSE WORSHIP. In other words......ruthless.
How does this challenge me? In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul writes about the confrontation with the Corinthians and his very earnest quest to deal with unrighteous behavior in the church:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the mweapons of nour warfare are not of the flesh but have odivine power pto destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and qevery lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to robey Christ, 6 sbeing ready to punish every disobedience, twhen your obedience is complete.How passive I am! How weak I am! How soft I am! I walk well for a few days and then retreat to my comforts. I listened to a presentation on prayer one time and the teacher made an impression with his analogy.
Our spiritual lives are a battle. We walk into a full frontal fire on the beaches of Normandy- pull out our beach towels, sunscreen, sun glasses, and sit with our toes in the sand while the enemy blasts our friends and family.
II: AS WE LAY THE AX TO THE ROOT OF IDOLATRY, WE FIND THE ROOT IS ULTIMATELY SELF WORSHIP.
The most important command in Deuteronomy 12 is this:
8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, oeveryone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, 9 for you have not as yet come to pthe rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you.We see this same language at the end of Judges:
21:25 cIn those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.Is there any more corollary statement in Scripture to the post-modern, post-everything American culture?
As I look over my list of detentions for the school year, I see this as the most common issue with my students. The fruit of an entitlement culture is ultimately the attitude that 'I can do what I want, when I want. I may ask for forgiveness- but I am not interested in permission'. And the reason that I see that attitude so well? It resides right here in my heart as well.
How can I be a part of a kingdom, if I acknowledge no King?
III: JESUS CHRIST DID NOT LAY ASIDE THE LAW. HE FULFILLED IT. WE ARE PERFECT IF WE ARE FOUND IN HIM!
Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy about 14 times in the gospels! He knew the Law. He loved the Law. He lived the Law. He wrote the Law.
He knew that the Ram in the thicket was pre-figuring Him. He knew all the blood in the temple was a foreshadowing of His sacrifice.
I guess we say it so much that we almost grow callous to the pain and the shame.
Men sometimes shake their fist as God and cry, "He's not fair!"
And we say "Yes"- He is not fair.... He is merciful beyond comprehension.
Deuteronomy 12:32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.