RAF: Why was Moses’ entreaty on their behalf heard? Because the Lord was not willing to destroy them. Justice demanded it. It would have been right to destroy them. They deserved it. His fury had been aroused – rightly so. But He allows Himself to be propitiated. Even in His announcement to Moses that He would destroy them – He still, was not utterly willing. How our God gives us insight into His own heart here. To hear how He is affected by our sin and rebellion, and how in mercy and grace we remain and are blessed. God is not disapssionate about us. But his passion is in full harmony with His other attributes, and He is not captive to His passions as we are. Sin has produced that wicked distortion in us which is not a part of His character. And because it is so – irrespective of His own just anger, He was not willing. What a God we serve!
2 – Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (ESV) 12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?
RAF: What did He require of them? What, by extension does He require of us? But to respond to how He has dealt with us – not according to our sins – but in mercy and grace.
3 – Deuteronomy 10:14-15 (ESV) 14 Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.
RAF: In all the universe His hands had made, He set His image in man alone. He set His love on man alone. And then, He set His heart in electing love upon this one fraction of mankind – owing nothing to themselves. Like the others – He set His heart to love – those who had done the most damage to His glory. He is a God of GRACE!
4 – Deuteronomy 12:4-7 (ESV) 4 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way. 5 But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, 6 and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
RAF: God’s people are to be a gathered people, not a scattered people. Even at this most early stage, the groundwork is laid for establishing corporate worship. Yes, they would worship at home and in their communities – and yes, they must also not neglect the appointed assemblies. Worship must happen corporately as well as indivdually – and neither is acceptable without the other.
5 – Deuteronomy 12:7 (ESV) 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.
RAF: Corporate worship is to be characterized by rejoicing, not mourning. We celebrate His mercy and grace above grieving over our sin and shame. How easy it is to lose this. Father, forgive us. We know there is to be a solemnity, but one that is awed by the greatness of your grace, not one focused on the depths of our sin. Rejoicing in your presence is the only right response for those who have been reconciled to you by the blood of the Lamb. Teach us to rejoice! Indeed, such rejoicing is to characterize all that we undertake to do.
6 – Deuteronomy 15:1-6 (ESV) “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed. 3 Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother your hand shall release. 4 But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess— 5 if only you will strictly obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.
RAF: There is wisdom here regarding forgiveness of all kinds. When the offender is a brother or sister in Christ – at some time, whether there has been full satisfaction or not, forgiveness ought to be extended. We may even perhaps see a shadow of Church discipline here, in that those who are “foreigners” do not get the benefit of such a release. Not that we are prevented from it, but it is not demanded by God as it is of our brethren. Those now counted as outside the Body of Christ due to their unrepentance, do not enjoy the very same benefit of those to whom we are joined by one Spirit. Yet the overall tenor is to be generous in our forgivness. Time may need to be a factor. But we must let time in fact be taken into account. If you have a brother or sister in the Lord, and the days have been long without forgiveness between you, consider a “seventh year.” Set a termination point. And even if it is not settled – forgive. That we might show the love of Christ He has shown to us.
7 – Deuteronomy 16:16-17 (ESV) 16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
RAF: Oh how often we “appear before the Lord” – come to worship Him, empty handed. No, not without money, but without hearts and minds firmly holding in our consciousness the blessing of the Lord that He has given us. It is a shame to worship empty handed. How we need to take time to recount His goodness to us even before we come, and then to bring that sacrifice of praise before Him when we gather.