The Place Where the Lord Your God Chooses, Part I
Paul says that the law was given as a tutor to lead people to Christ. Thus, in giving the law to Israel, they were being educated on what is right and what is wrong, but in a way that will eventually lead them to a fuller understanding of what God is like, and of what He expects from His people.
This is done in such a way that we are to find Christ Jesus in the giving of this law, and to then respond by coming to Him. We can discover not only what God is like (because He is the embodiment of the unseen God), but how to properly worship Him.
As this is so, then the form of worship given in the Old Testament, via the Old Covenant, cannot be the full expression of how to worship God. In fact, in coming to Christ, we can find out what was actually lacking in the mode and means of service to the Lord in the law.
This doesn’t mean the law is imperfect, but it is – in fact – incomplete. Because of this, it is not considered “faultless” by the author of Hebrews. This is not because what is given in the law is faulty, but because we are. The incomplete nature of the service of the Lord under the law highlighted this.
Thus, this service of the Lord is only an anticipatory step towards a full, perfect, and final form of worship that will be sufficient to please God for all eternity. Jesus tells us of this in John 4 –
Text Verse: “The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’
21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’” John 4:19-24
The implements of worship under the Old Covenant are explicitly said by Paul, and by the author of Hebrews, to be mere shadows of heavenly things. Those heavenly things are found in Christ alone. Therefore, in coming to Christ we then have everything necessary to be pleasing to God in our mode and means of worship.
This is the beauty and the marvel of Jesus Christ. All of the sufficiency for us to be pleasing to God, and to continue to be pleasing to God – for all eternity – is found in Him. Let us remember this as we continue on through the magnificent body of literature, wisdom, and wonder that we call “The Law of Moses.”
As breathtaking and beautiful as it is, it is only a steppingstone to that which is more marvelous and fully complete, because it is Jesus Christ alone who can perfect us and bring us to completion in Him. This is a wonderful truth that is to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Mode and the Means (verses 1-4)
“These are the statutes and judgments
elleh ha’khukim v’ha’mishpatim – “These the statutes and the judgments.” Concerning where we are now in Deuteronomy, Albert Barnes correctly notes the following –
“Moses now passes on to apply Deuteronomy 12-26 the leading principles of the Decalogue to the ecclesiastical, civil, and social life of the people. Particulars will be noticed which are unique to the Law as given in Deuteronomy; and even in laws repeated from the earlier books various new circumstances and details are introduced. This is only natural. The Sinaitic legislation was nearly 40 years old and had been given under conditions of time, place, and circumstance different and distant from those now present. Yet the Sinaitic system, far from being set aside or in any way abrogated, is on the contrary throughout presupposed and assumed. Its existence and authority are taken as the starting-point for what is here prescribed, and an accurate acquaintance with it on the part of the people is taken for granted.”
In other words, what was given at Sinai is being supplemented now by Moses’ words in Deuteronomy, but it complements that law. It in no way contradicts it or sets it aside. Further, it is taken as an axiom that what was given at Sinai is perfectly understood by those now receiving Deuteronomy. Therefore, both the Law received from Sinai, and that which is now being added to it for Israel’s instruction is that…
1 (con’t) which you shall be careful to observe
asher tishmerun laasot – “which you (all) shall be (certainly) careful to observe. This is the fourth and last time in Deuteronomy that this word, shamar, meaning to keep, is accentuated with a paragogic nun – a letter at the end of it to provide further stress.
It may seem nitpicky to talk about things like this, but considering the outcome of not heeding it reveals it is not. This accentuation on the word shamar is found these four times in Deuteronomy, and then only one more time in all of the Old Testament. In 2 Kings 17, the words we are now evaluating are cast back in the face of disobedient Israel, at a time just after the northern tribes were exiled to Assyria. Despite their punishments, those in the land continued to fail to heed Moses –
“To this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear the Lord, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the Lord had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel, 35 with whom the Lord had made a covenant and charged them, saying: ‘You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them; 36 but the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, Him you shall worship, and to Him you shall offer sacrifice. 37 And the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall be careful to observe forever; you shall not fear other gods. 38 And the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods. 39 But the Lord your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.’ 40 However they did not obey, but they followed their former rituals. 41 So these nations feared the Lord, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.” 2 Kings 17:34-41
Israel was not careful to observe, and the woes that came upon them as a people were a self-inflicted wound. One letter of accentuation, tucked onto the end of this word, reveals much more than one might normally think is of any instructive value at all.
1 (con’t) in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess,
Moses goes from the plural to the singular in this clause. He is speaking to the nation as a whole: ba’arets asher natan Yehovah elohe abotekha lekha l’rishta – “in the land which giving Yehovah, God your (singular) fathers to you (singular) to possess.
Using the word ha’arets, or “the land,” Moses reminds Israel that Yehovah isn’t just a new god that they have recently conjured up out of their own heads, but that He is the same God that appeared to their fathers, made sure promises to them, and has kept those promises by now bringing Israel into Canaan. It is a land they are given to possess…
1 (con’t) all the days that you live on the earth.
Now, he is speaking to the people of the nation: kal ha’yamim asher atem khayim al ha’adamah – all the days which you (all) live upon the earth.” The change in the pronoun back to the plural should alert the people that individual obedience is expected and needed for national Israel to succeed.
Here, Moses uses the word ha’adamah, or “the earth.” The Lord God of the fathers is giving Israel the land. Thus, the people of Israel are to observe the words of the Lord as long as they live on the earth. One can see that the land is given to the nation, but possession of the land is conditional. The changes in the pronouns, and in the description of the object, are subtle but important.
Moses will now continue with specific statutes and judgments, explaining just what is necessary for obedience…
2 You shall utterly destroy
The words are highly emphatic, both repeating the word abad, or destroy, and again adding another accentuated letter to the end of the word: abed teabedun – “Destroying, you shall (utterly) destroy.”
It is as if Moses is saying, “Take these things, smash them, grind them to powder, and then burn them. Let nothing of them remain.” And the objects of the destruction are…
2 (con’t) all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,
Wherever the people served their gods, there was to be a complete destruction of both the mode and the means of worship. Moses will detail those things as he continues. As he is speaking to the people in the plural (you all), I would personally translate this as “peoples” instead of “nations.”
Moses is comparing the people of Israel to the peoples who inhabit the land. “They do these things; you all are to do this thing.” The modes of worship include…
2 (con’t) on the high mountains and on the hills
These are singled out because they are the obvious places to get nearer to God who is “up there.” It is understood from Scripture that God is in heaven. It is also understood, using the same word, that the heavens are “above.” The obvious thought then is, “If we go up higher, we can be closer to God.”
This was seen in the building of the Tower of Babel. It is seen throughout the Old Testament where the peoples of Canaan and the people of Israel all went to “the high places” to make sacrifices and offerings. As this is where people went to worship their false gods, those places were to be destroyed.
Jesus later came and gave instruction concerning such places as we saw in our text verse from John 4. Serving God on a mountain, even that mountain on which the temple once stood – and on which a temple will stand again someday – is lacking in comparison to worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.
2 (con’t) and under every green tree.
v’takhat ka ets raanan – “And under all tree green.” Here is a new word, raanan. It comes from an unused root meaning to be green, and so it is by analogy “new,” or figuratively, “prosperous.” In regard to the symbolism, John Lange may be right when he says –
“It is not truly the vivid fulness of color, but the mysterious rustling of the foliage which comes into view here, as in the high places it is the all-overpowering elements of air and light.” John Lange
One can think of witches casting spells under the heavy oaks, or of the hippies hanging out and burning incense under them. Even Buddha supposedly found his illumination under the Bodhi tree. In such places, people naturally tend to feel closer to the gods or spirits that the mind conjures up. From the modes of worship, Moses next turns to the means…
3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods
These are the ways in which the people served their false gods, building them altars, erecting pillars to them, and carving images of them. Any of these can be seen, even today, as one travels through Asia. There is no sense in the mind, but simply an effort to connect with the divine through the things the hands can fashion.
The words translated as “burn” and “cut down” both contain the same accentuation as in the previous verses. Last week, in verse 11:28, we reviewed a departure from the precept of the 1st Commandment. Now, of these words so far, can see the formal point of the law, the 2nd Commandment, being fleshed out in what we are looking at –
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6
There is a right way to worship and serve the Lord, and there are all other ways – each being wrong. The right way is defined in the word. The wrong ways are presented as well. Israel was given the word, they were given the admonitions and warnings in the word, and they were to pay heed to those things.
Moses is adamant concerning the necessary actions to be taken by the people. This was to ensure Moses’ next words…
3 (con’t) and destroy their names from that place.
Here, we see an immediate transition from the 2nd Commandment to the 3rd –
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Exodus 20:7
In retaining and following after the names of the false gods, the name of Yehovah will – by default – be taken in vain. The word translated as “destroy,” signifies “to perish.” Thus, this can be taken in various ways. It can mean to change in order to eliminate. For example, one can change the name of a person or a place (etc.) from the name of a pagan god to something else.
Gideon is known in the book of Judges as Jerubbaal because of his actions against Baal. Later in 2 Samuel 11:21, Joab calls him Jerubbesheth. In this, it is a literal fulfillment of this precept now being given. This is seen elsewhere as well.
It can also mean to literally destroy the thing that bears the name of something, such as a false god. The names of the gods will remain as long as the images remain. The minds of the people would be polluted with these things, and temptations would set in.
When things didn’t go well for someone, the natural inclination would be to try another god and see if it could help. The Old Testament is filled will examples of this, as is our own society. There are palm readers in most towns, there are readers of Tarot cards, and there are spiritualists from every odd religion one can think of at every turn down a new road.
One must consider that if the law was able to make a person holy, there would be no need to remove all these false gods. In being holy, there would be no need to worry about seeking that which is false. But the very fact that Israel is asked to remove these things demonstrates that the inclination of the heart is, and remains, flawed under the law.
4 You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.
lo taasun ken Yehovah elohekem – “No you shall (certainly) do so Yehovah your God.” Again, Moses provides an accentuation in the word translated as “you shall do.” One can see the firm sternness in his words as he speaks out the command of the Lord.
By including the accentuation in the written commands, it is a call to strict attention and obedience. To fail in regard to this can only mean disaster for the people. And they cannot say that they were unaware of either the precept or the stress provided in the giving of it. This is because the law was meticulously kept and maintained.
Further, this law was to be read to all of the assembled people once every seven years –
“So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, saying: “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 31:9-13
As the law was being read to the people, even as infrequently as every seven years, they would hear these emphases and accentuations provided by Moses, and they would each understand the weight of them. And more, not only were the people to be made aware of them, but the ruler of the land was to be intimately familiar with them as well. He was accountable according to law –
“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:18-20
Safeguards for both common people and the leaders were set in place. But following the commands implied that those responsible for ensuring they were known in the first place were actually transmitting that knowledge to those who needed to know them.
In other words, if Bibles were in short supply, as was the case for most of church history, and as is the case in many parts of the world today, the weight of conveying what is expected of the church is placed upon the few who have a copy of it.
Such a person may fail to convey the word at all. Or he may be either incompetent in the word or purposefully manipulative of the word. If so, the people – although still accountable for their actions – will never know what is correct.
The ideas still apply today, even though there are Bibles in pretty much every house that wants one. This is for a few reasons. One is that people have lives to live and taking time to learn sound theology is a long, difficult, and mentally laborious task. It is one that few people are actually geared for – even of those who are in the ministry of the word.
Secondly, there is a lack of caring by those who do have time to – at least minimally – train themselves in the word. In other words, the electrician or stockbroker actually does have a life beyond his job and other responsibilities. He may not have time to get a degree from a sound seminary, but he does have time to at least read his Bible.
How do we know this? It is because he has time to watch TV every day of his life. He has time to go to the movies – well, before COVID-19 closed all the movie theaters. He has time to play on the internet, watch sports, read a book, go fishing, lay on the beach and get a suntan, or whatever other thing will fill his free time.
These things are certain. If he has time to do any or all of these things throughout the week, he has time to read the Bible. And even if he doesn’t really like to read, he can listen to an audio Bible. These things cannot be denied.
And so, even if not a trained minister of the word, he can at least be learned enough in it to know when something doesn’t sound right, or something smells fishy in the theology that is presented.
The precept of the words of Moses now, “You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things,” actually extends into our modern life. We cannot worship the Lord properly unless we know how to properly worship the Lord. And that cannot occur unless we are made aware of that through the knowledge of His precious and sacred word.
Is worshiping the Lord through the infinite number of images of Roman Catholicism acceptable? Is worshiping Him through modern “prophets” and “seers” acceptable? Is it acceptable for a congregation to sit under the authority of Joyce Myers or Beth Moore? How can we know? To where do we go to find out?
For Israel, under the law, it was first to Moses, and then to those sanctioned by the Lord to continue carrying forward the word to the people. The Lord even gave safeguards concerning those later speakers and writers to determine if they conveyed the truth or not.
We’ll come to some of those safeguards in the next chapter of Deuteronomy. Until then, the word continues through Moses’ instruction and exhortation towards the people…
Are you schooled in the word of God?
If “Yes,” to what extent is it so?
Do you meditate on the word in this world that you trod?
Or, without considering it, is it “Off to the beach” you go?
What do you do when someone says to you…?
“Send in your tithes and you will be blessed!”
Do you send him your cash? Is this what you do?
Sending it to that guy who is lavishly dressed
Is that what God wants for you in your walk with Him?
Paying off someone else so that you too will get rich
If that’s what you think, your theology is dark and grim
You have been duped by the deceiver’s pitch
And it’s all because you neglected the word
Instead, you trusted in that nutty thing you heard
II. And You Shall Rejoice (verses 5-7)
5 “But you shall seek the place
ki im el ha’maqom – “For if unto the place.” It is a literal way of saying what we would translate with a word such as but, rather, or instead. “You are not to do this. On the other hand, this is what you are to do. You are to go…”
5 (con’t) where the Lord your God chooses,
asher yivkhar Yehovah elohekem – “which chooses Yehovah your (plural) God.” In other words, this is being set in contrast to verse 2. The peoples in Canaan made up false gods in their minds.
They did this either by seeing nature (say, a high place or under a tree) and then worshiping what their minds decided upon in that location. Or they made up a god for a need, such as a fertility idol, and then they went to the place that fit that need where they could worship their god.
Either way, the people of Israel were forbidden from doing this. They could not go up on a mountain and say, “I am going to worship Yehovah here because I am closer to Him.” Nor could they make an idol, call it Yehovah, and place it in a spot they thought reflected Him and say, “This is how I will worship Yehovah.”
They could not draw closer to Him anywhere they went, because He is Spirit, and thus He is everywhere at all times. And they could not rightly worship Him by making something they thought reflected Him, because He transcends His creation. Nothing can compare to Him.
Therefore, they could only approach Him in the manner He determined and in the place that He chose for them to do so. And, that choice was not to be in all of their tribes, but from…
5 (con’t) out of all your tribes,
mikal shivtekem – “from all of your tribes.” The word “from” here signifies “out of.” And the word shevet, or tribe, signifies more of a political than a genealogical arrangement. The Lord would choose a single spot that stemmed from one tribe of the political arrangement of Israel…
5 (con’t) to put His name for His dwelling place;
la’sum eth shemo sham l’shikno – “to set His name there to His residence.” Here is a word found only this once in Scripture, the noun sheken. It signifies a residence, coming from the common verb shakan, meaning to settle down, dwell, or abide. It thus speaks of the place of the tabernacle. Of these words, Charles Ellicott rightly states –
“The very form of the order proves its antiquity. No one who was acquainted with the removal of that “place” from Shiloh to Nob, from Nob to Gibeon, from Gibeon to Jerusalem, could have written with such utter unconsciousness of later history as these words imply.” Charles Ellicott
The obvious question is, “If the Lord is Spirit and thus everywhere, then why can’t the people worship the Lord anywhere. And, if the tabernacle is a part of creation, and nothing in creation can fully express the Lord, then how can the words here help the situation?”
The questions are valid, and the answer is multilayered. First, the Lord is everywhere, and yet He has presented Himself in many locations, as revealed in Scripture, and as testified to by Stephen in Acts 7.
Secondly, the Lord was worshipped in those places – both with and without the tabernacle – and thus He can be worshipped anywhere, except during the dispensation of the Law, and/or as explicitly commanded or authorized by the Lord.
Thirdly, in regard to the tabernacle/temple, although those are fabricated things, they reveal – minutely and exactingly – spiritual truths that point to the nature of God in Christ. That was revealed in the Exodus sermons that dealt with the construction of the tabernacle, and then in the other sermons from Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers that dealt with the appointed feasts and etc.
This was alluded to earlier when I brought up Paul and the author of Hebrews. Citing them now will help –
“For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’” Hebrews 8:4, 5
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Colossians 2:16, 17
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.” Hebrews 10:1
Something had to be given for the service and worship of God in Christ during the time of tutoring so that when He came, these things could be understood. This is the mode and the means by which it was to be conducted.
This is certain because of many Old Testament verses. For example, the Lord allowed an offering to be made for him by the parents of Samson, even though it was not at the tabernacle –
“So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on— 20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.” Judges 13:19, 20
The Lord was present to accept what the shadow only anticipated. And more, we see a marvelous example of this truth when Solomon went to petition the Lord –
“And Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges, and to every leader in all Israel, the heads of the fathers’ houses. 3 Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for the tabernacle of meeting with God was there, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. 4 But David had brought up the ark of God from Kirjath Jearim to the place David had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. 5 Now the bronze altar that Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the Lord; Solomon and the assembly sought Him there. 6 And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.” 2 Chronicles 1:2-6
Though the ark was at Jerusalem, the tabernacle was still in Gibeon. This included the altar of burnt offering that was still there. The implication is that a sacrifice was necessary to come before God. And so even though the ark was in Jerusalem, in order to come before the Lord, they had to go Gibeon.
The order of service and worship had to be followed because the typology of those things anticipated Christ. But Yehovah (God incarnate – meaning Christ) stood there before the parents of Samson. Thus, their offering was accepted.
What this is teaching us (remember that the law is our tutor), and indeed for the whole world to read and understand, is that no man may come before God without a sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be Christ the Lord. And when Christ the Lord is there before us, our sacrifices are acceptable to God.
He IS the Place where the Lord your God has chosen to place His name. Until He came, He was to be sought by Israel at the earthly shadow of Him, meaning the tabernacle. As Moses says…
5 (con’t) and there you shall go.
u-bata shama – “And you (singular) shall go there.” The pronoun in this one clause suddenly goes from the plural to the singular which hasn’t been seen since the middle clause of verse 1.
In this, it says, “you (Israel) shall seek, and you shall go.” The question then is, “Is Moses speaking to Israel as a nation, or is he going from ‘you all’ in general to ‘you’ the individual.
He could be looking at the whole, and with waving hands say, “All of you shall seek, and you – Israel – shall go.” Or, he could be waving his arm across the masses and saying, “You all shall seek,” and then, pointing at person after person, he then says, “and you shall go.”
Either way, the change is so sudden and so abrupt that no one would miss the importance of it. Probably what is true is that it signifies both. There is the national salvation of Israel that awaits them coming to Christ as a unified people, but there is also individual salvation of Israel where each must come to Christ apart from any other. Both are true for this uniquely called people.
6 There you shall take your burnt offerings,
The olah, or burnt offering, was minutely detailed in the book of Leviticus, every detail of which pointed to Christ the Lord. These were shadows of truths that only anticipated Him.
6 (con’t) your sacrifices,
The zebakh, or sacrifice, was also carefully laid out, mostly in Leviticus. Again, every detail of which pointed to Christ the Lord. They were, likewise, shadows anticipating the Substance.
6 (con’t) your tithes,
The maser, or tithes, for Israel were introduced in Leviticus. They were further defined in Numbers, and they will be lastly and more fully explained only in Deuteronomy 14.
Unless you are well-schooled in the Bible, have had a really thorough instructor in the past, or you have attended the Superior Word for some time, the tithes probably do not mean what you think they mean. Stayed tuned. Coming to a Deuteronomy 14 sermon near you.
The number ten in Scripture signifies the perfection of Divine order. The tenth, or tithe represents the whole of what is due from man to God, it is a mark of His claim on the whole. Thus, the tithes anticipate the Messiah who would mark His claim on the whole of His redeemed.
6 (con’t) the heave offerings of your hand,
The terumah, or heave offering, was evaluated in detail in Leviticus. It anticipates the coming of Messiah and all such offerings are fulfilled in Him.
6 (con’t) your vowed offerings,
v’nidrekem – “and your vows.” There are vows, and there are offerings that accompany vows. All such things rightfully belonged before the Lord, at the location where He chose to place His name. They all anticipate Christ, and He is the fulfillment of the reception of all such things as recorded elsewhere.
6 (con’t) your freewill offerings,
The nedevah, or freewill offering, was discussed in detail in Leviticus. Every point and part of that detail anticipated the coming of Christ. The shadows point to the Substance found in Him.
6 (con’t) and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.
The presentation of these firstborn is discussed in Exodus, Leviticus, and in Numbers. Each presentation made in this practice was a shadowy type of the coming of Christ. Of these offerings, Moses next – maybe surprisingly if you are unaware of it – says…
7 And there you shall eat before the Lord your God,
As this was the final verse of sermon typing day, and as it made me hungry, I went and got a plate full of cheese and crackers to finish things up. I won’t eat during sermon typing, but I made an exception because it was, in fact, the last verse. I found myself surrounded by little dogs as I sat down to type.
The force of these words is that they are referring to the contents of the previous verse. In other words, those things – all of them – that are presented to the Lord, at least in part – and unless forbidden due to the nature of the sacrifice – are eaten by the offeror. Keep that in mind as we continue through the next few chapters. In the eating, there was to be an accompanied state of life, attitude, and mind…
7 (con’t) and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households,
The verb samakh, or “rejoice,” has only been seen once so far – in Leviticus 23 – when referring to the Feast of Tabernacles. Being the book of Deuteronomy, one wouldn’t normally expect to find the state of rejoicing being brought up. And yet, this word will be found nine times before the book closes out.
Another new and somewhat rare word comes in the verse as well, mishloakh. It signifies “outstretching.” In other words, what the hand has reached out and grabbed. Thus, here in this verse, it is an undertaking.
With such a Christological passage as we have seen today, and in conjunction with so many offerings that clearly point to Christ Jesus, it is not at all surprising that the word “rejoice” would be planted right here for the first time in the book.
There was the putting forth of one’s hand. That resulted in taking an offering of some type, implying that the offering was available, and also that it served a purpose for the good of the one offering it.
The people went to the place where the Lord had chosen, and there they were to be thankful for what the sacrifice or offering implied. As these things anticipated the coming of Messiah, and as we have the fulness of those types and shadows in Him, then indeed! How much more should we rejoice in an even greater way than Israel did. We have the spiritual fulness of what these earthly things only looked forward to. Those are the things…
*7 (fin) in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
Once again, and to close us out, Moses goes from the plural back to the singular. He has been speaking to the people, “you all,” but now he speaks to the nation – “which has blessed you (singular, Israel) Yehovah your (singular) God.” It is a national blessing of the people whose God is the Lord.
The rejoicing was to occur because of the blessing. The blessing came because of God’s favor in Christ. For Israel, it was in anticipation of Him. For us, it is looking back on Him and what He has done.
If one can shake his head and marvel at how Israel failed in these things, then how much more should we shake our heads at our own failures in them. The words, “you shall rejoice,” are to be taken as a positive command.
The people were not to be grumpy over what they did not have. They were not to be covetous of those who had something more, better, or different. Instead, they were to be grateful, and they were – actively – to rejoice in that.
As we have the spiritual fulness of what these things anticipated, then how can we be miserable about the countless things that we allow to get us down? There isn’t a thing on this planet that we will take with us to our heavenly dwelling.
There isn’t a single earthly thing that we possess that cannot be taken from us. But we possess what is worth more than the value of the entire world, and it can never be taken from us. In understanding that, how can we allow ourselves to be shaken, anxious, depressed, miserable, or woeful?
Yes, it does happen. But why? It is because we take our eyes of the prize. We lose sight of the heavenly calling, and in our pity party we forget that the Lord of creation stepped out of His glory and humbled Himself among us in order to bring us back to Himself.
Let us do our utmost to fix our eyes on Him – our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Place where the Lord our God has chosen to put His name for a Dwelling. So, He has done. And for this, let us praise Him. To the glory of God, the Father.
With every sunset
You give me rest.
With every sunrise
You bring new hope.
With every rain
You quench my thirst.
With every rainbow
You paint your love.
With every breath
I know, I live,
by loving wonders
of your grace.
I ask what else, Lord,
do I need,
when I see scars
upon your hands?
Closing Verse: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
Next Week: Deuteronomy 12:8-19 We don’t want to hear no dismissals or refuses. Instead, you shall go where he tells to you… (The Place Where the Lord Your God Chooses, Part II) (40th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Place Where the Lord Your God Chooses
“These are the statutes and judgments
Which you shall be careful to observe, as if the highest worth
In the land which the LORD God of your fathers
Is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth
You shall utterly destroy all the places
Where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods
On the high mountains and on the hills
And under every green tree; if not, you and the Lord
———-shall be at odds
And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars
And burn their wooden images with fire; they are a disgrace
You shall cut down the carved images of their gods
And destroy their names from that place
You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things
“But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses
———-it shall be so
Out of all your tribes, to put His name
For His dwelling place, and there you shall go
There you shall take your burnt offerings
Your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand
Your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings
And the firstborn of your herds and flocks, there in the land
And there you shall eat before the LORD your God
And you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand
———-so, you shall do
You and your households
In which the LORD your God has blessed you
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.
5 “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. 6 There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.