Monday: The Law and Israel
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(Deut. 30:15-18)

The giving of the law to Israel was a special act. Just before He gave the law to Moses, God reminded His people that they are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exod. 19:6, NKJV). Among all nations on the face of the earth, it was to Israel that God specially revealed His law (Rom. 9:4). The law was not intended to be a burden to the people but to be a tool through which the chosen nation would reveal to the masses the moral code that was the foundation of God’s government. Israel was to be a partner with God in the mission of universal evangelism, and God’s law was to be the identifying mark for God’s spokespersons.

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

According to Deuteronomy 30:15-20, what is the relationship between the law and the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Also, even more crucial, how do these principles apply to us today as well, under the New Covenant? See Matt. 7:24-27.

God chose Israel to be His representatives. Israel would be the people through whom the nations of the earth received the blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, the blessings were by no means automatic. As a chosen nation, Israel was expected to walk in harmony with the Lord’s will. Moses made it clear that life and prosperity would come to the people only if they observed God’s commandments, decrees, and ordinances (Deut. 30:15-16, NRSV).

Given the numerous stories of rebellion that mar Israel’s history, Israel as a nation failed to live up to the covenant conditions. Yet, we must not forget that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23, NKJV). No nation on earth has fulfilled the will of God. Even in recent history, nations that profess to be Christian have misrepresented the cause of God with warmongering, prejudice, and oppression.

In your own experience, how are obedience and faith related? That is, when you obey, what happens to your faith in contrast to when you disobey? How does obedience strengthen faith?

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Monday: The Law and Israel — 14 Comments

  1. As the lesson author said, “The giving of the law to Israel was a special act.” However, it was not the first time God gave the law to his people. Abraham knew the requirements of God and keep them (Gen 26:5) as did all his descendents. We also find evidence of that in the giving of the mana (Ex 16:23) that happens four chapters before the law was officially given at Sinai. When the people failed God said, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." So the people rested on the seventh day (Ex 16:28-30 NKJV).

    The problem was that God’s people had just come out of a brutal, debasing slavery and were for the most part just one step above animals. The object of the Egyptians were to completely subjugate the Semitic people and to so Egyptianize them that they would never rise to power in an attempt to rule over land as was the case during the Hyksos period.

    In order to turn that whole thing around God had to do a kind of “brainwashing” and a total retraining of a completely indoctrinated people. That is one reason why God scared the people half to death when He gave the law (Ex 19:6; Ex 20:18-19). Yet, even with all of that in one month’s time they had reverted back to the Egyptian gods particularly Apis (the bull) that they had been forced to worship under Egyptian oppression.

    To me, in spite of the fact that God was in the business of building up a people to represent Him the warnings that Moses gave in Deut 30:15-18 were very much the same that God gave Adam and Eve concerning the tree of good and evil, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17 NKJV). To us the same warning is given - serve God and live or serve the devil and die and it goes beyond a mere threat. Sin is very self-destructive as we can see by the condition the human population is in. That is something that God wanted to elevate His people above; “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10 NKJV).

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  2. In answering today's question we will have to note a couple of things. Firstly that obedience comes from loving God. Secondly that it is impossible to please God without faith. Thirdly that love and faith are gifts of the Holy Ghost, thus proving that obedience and faith are related. This means that the obedient are strengthening in all aspects concerning God, as they are the vessels of the Holy Ghost. In contrast to the disobedient who are revealing how far away they are from God.

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    • In the ceremonial the Pharisees were majoring in minors you see no where in the ten commandments its written about washing of hands

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    • Patrick, the laws concerning the sanctuary were also given to Moses. The difference is that the Ten Commandments along with some other instructions were given prior to the ratification of the old covenant and were part of it while the vast majority of the laws concerning the sanctuary were given after ratification and therefore were not part of the old covenant, in fact, were given over a period of months if not years. We find such things as the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 after the sanctuary was erected and in service and after the problem with Nadab and Abihu. The ceremony of the red heifer (Num 19) came more than a year after the exodus some time after the second Passover (Num 9:1).

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      • The Old Covenant was specifically the Ten Commandments (Ex.34:28; Dt.4:13). This covenant was made specifically with Israel according to the Flesh(Dt.5:2). God said, “ Israel is my firstborn son”.(Ex.4:22; Jer.31:9). This is the relationship of Abrahamic type. His firstborn was born of the flesh but his son born later was called by God “your only son”- that is the son of Promise. God’ s promised Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was called the “ Only Begotten Son”. The firstborn Israel was a slave or bondservant - of sin. And an appropriate covenant was made with this slave son. Jesus declared that “the slave does not abide long in the house, the Son abides forever”(John 8:35) referring to the Jews as slaves. They were related to Abraham through the flesh - Ishmaels; sons of the covenant of “Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery”(Gal.4:24). The “Israel of God”(Gal.6:16) are the sons of God born free and not under Law.

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      • Hello Kenny, First I am going to state that I generally disagree with you and then I will explain why.
        You said, “The Old Covenant was specifically the Ten Commandments” and then you gave two texts Ex 34:28 and Deut 4:13 to back up what you say. And behold it does say, “And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments” (Exo 34:28 NKJV) and “He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone” (Deut 4:13 NKJV). It would therefore seem that you are right but let’s not stop there.

        For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you” (Heb 9:17-20 NKJV)

        Notice here that it is saying that the first covenant was dedicated with blood which is rather important because it was a ratification of the first covenant. Now what we have to see here is that these verses reference Ex 24:6-8 which is quoted.

        Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient." And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words." (Ex 24:7-8 NKJV)

        It is not until Ex 24:12 that the stone tablets were given to Moses. To me it is obvious what happened. God told Moses all that He was requiring of Israel from the time the Ten Commandments were spoken on Mount Sinai (Ex 20) to the beginning of Ex 24.

        So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do." And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. (Ex 24:3-4 NKJV)

        The next morning Moses, along with other things he had done, “took the Book of the Covenant (which he wrote) and read in the hearing of the people” (Ex 24:7 NKJV) which they, for the second time, agreed to keep. It is all the words that Moses wrote in the book that Israel agreed to, not just the Ten Commandments. It was also the book rather than the stone tablets that was involved in the dedication ceremony which is commonly known to be the covenant ratification. In fact there is no other recorded agreement Israel made with God like that after Ex 24:8.

        Therefore, to me, the Ten Commandments were certainly part of the old covenant but not all of it. Also while the Bible calls the Ten Commandments "the covenant" it was actually only what lawyers would call the consideration which was part of the covenant. The actual covenant is the agreement itself or what the lesson author in next week’s lessons will call the promise.

        If you think that I am just spinning a lot of hype please consider a contract you might make with a carpenter. You agree to pay him so much if he will build something for you. Now ask yourself, is the object that was built the contract, was the money you are to pay the contract? No, they were only the things that were involved in the contract. The real contract was the agreement that forms a relationship. So when the children of Israel agreed to obey what God commanded after He promised blessing to them that constituted the contract (covenant, agreement – I will do if you will do). It was that agreement that was ratified with blood and for that reason Hebrews states concerning Christ, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Heb 8:6 NKJV).

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        • Thanks Tyler for the reply. Yes, the covenant is all the words of God to Israel -the Ten Commandments and the book written and placed in the side of the ark of the covenant. Of course the covenant does not in any way include Israel’s promises. We know why Law came in - because of sins. The scripture goes to great length to emphasize that the law was delivered through angels. The new covenant is delivered by the Lord, the WORD himself. He is the Life. The old covenant could not give life. It was put in to magnify sin. It was called the ministry of death, of condemnation(2 Cor.3:7-11). If the Law could have given life then the Righteousness of God would come by it(Gal.3:21). The righteousness of law is man’s own righteousness(Phi.3:9). Under law sin has dominion. We were redeemed from under law in order to receive sonship. Do we want to go back to being slaves as Israel continued to say - “we are Moses disciples; Moses we know”. Are we seeking for our ears to be pierced with an awl. Let us look to Christ the Lifegiver through whom is the promise of eternal life. We can’t prefer to live under the guardian. Our Father has come.

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  3. The law and Israel,its where God gave laws to the children of Israel and told them if only you obey or rather keep it then all shall be well and unwell if you don't obey it.in all it calls for every believer to obey God's law to attain grace and Favor.

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  4. It is good to compare with patriachs and prophets remembering that everybody sinned and fall short of the glory of God( Romans 3:23). It follows therefore each Christian must strive to love God and keep his commandments. We are in a race where we have to out do the other by doing good. The commandments and the laws are there for us to follow in order for us to meet his promises. There is no Jew nor gentile we are all the children of God and heirs of his kingdom. Peter was instructed to go to Cornelious' house after it had been revealed to him by the angel that visited him that Cornelious was God's subject by deed and not by election.

    God's promise is for us all as long as we follow His commandments and His laws for they are a mirror for our self introspection.

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  5. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    we need to be grounded in the Bible (rock)
    today's world is full of sand may I say quick sand.
    the devil has a wrap on so much of what we do. Hollywood makes
    life look so good. We are sinking and sinking fast. Matthew 7: 24-27
    I pray that we can stay focused and pay attention to his voice, I am talking about myself as well. Time is short people, lets keep each other in prayer. Keeping looking up, focus on commandment number 10 like Paul, keep the simple life so we don't get trapped and sink

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  6. obedience is the heart of the believer who has embraced faith in its right. the two work two should work in cohesion;however it's not automatic thus faith can only cited by the act of obedience("not 5oving by mouth and actions are mute)... and since we are weak and ever failing Our Thoughtful Dad gave us the gift of grace (Eph 2:8)

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  7. Obedience to God is faith in action. Obedience brings blessings. Lord, please enable us to live THE LAW. We thank you for enlightment on the validity of THE LAW. Your law is holy and just, it' for us. Help us to this end we pray. Amen!!

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