Obedience and What We Can Learn From Israel’s Past.

deuter116-17
Moses mapped out under God’s revelation, and directives – way before Samuel, David and or even Solomon the cultus of the Priesthood, and the roles of each person in priestly or kingly leadership was set. He even mapped out what the intended tabernacle should look like and the roles of prophets. Moses also mapped out the rulership based on the “kingly” rule. No God was not telling Samuel that he did not want the nation to have a king.

AN OUTLINE OF DEUTERONOMY

  1. The Covenant Setting (1:1-5)
  2. The Historical Review (1:6-4:40)
    1. The Past Dealings of Yahweh with Israel (1:6-3:29)
    2. The Exhortation of Moses (4:1-40)
  3. The Preparation for the Covenant Text (4:41-49)
    1. The Narrative Concerning Cities of Refuge (4:41-43)
    2. The setting and introduction (4:44-49)
  4. The Principles of the Covenant (5:1-11:32)
    1. The Opening Exhortation (5:1-5)
    2. The Ten Commandments (5:6-21)
    3. The Narrative Relating the Sinai Revelation and Israel’s Response (5:22-33)
    4. The Nature of the Principles (chap. 6)
    5. The Content of the Principles (chaps. 7-11)
      1.  261Dispossession of Nonvassals (7:1-26)
      2. Yahweh as the Source of Blessing (8:1-20)
      3. Blessing as a Product of Grace (9:1-10:11)
      4. Love of Yahweh and Love of Men (10:12-22)
      5. Obedience and Disobedience and Their Rewards (11:1-32)
  5. The Specific Stipulations of the Covenant (12:1-26:15)
    1. The Exclusiveness of Yahweh and Worship of Him (12:1-16:17)
      1. The central sanctuary (12:1-14)
      2. The sanctity of blood (12:15-28)
      3. The abomination of pagan gods (12:29-32)
      4. The evil of false prophets (13:1-18)
      5. The distinction between clean and unclean animals (14:1-21)
      6. Tribute to the sovereign (14:22-16:17)
    2. Kingdom Officials (16:18-18:22)
      1. Judges and officials (16:18-17:13)
      2. Kings (17:14-20)
      3. Priests and Levites (18:1-8)
      4. Prophets (18:9-22)
    3. Civil Law (19:1-22:4)
    4. Laws of Purity (22:5-23:18)
    5. Laws of Interpersonal Relationships (23:19-25:19)
    6. Laws of Covenant Celebration and Confirmation (26:1-15)
  6. Exhortation and Narrative Interlude (26:16-19)
  7. The Curses and Blessings (chaps. 27-28)
    1. The Gathering at Shechem (27:1-10)
    2. The Curses that Follow Disobedience of Specific Stipulations (27:11-26)
    3. The Blessings that Follow Obedience (28:1-14)
    4. The Curses that Follow Disobedience of General Stipulations (28:15-68)
  8. The Epilogic Historical Review (chaps. 29-30)
  9. Deposit of the Text and Provision for Its Future Implementation (31:1-29)
  10. The Song of Moses (31:30-32:43)
  11. Narrative Interlude (32:44-52)
  12. The Blessing of Moses (chap. 33)
  13. Narrative Epilogue (34:1-12) (Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, p 279-280).
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He had already planned that out, and He had already determined that it would be David. He had already established that Christ would be his direct descendant. No, the people were not spiritually ready for that yet. “The account opens where Chronicles ends—with a Hebrew version of the edict of the Persian king Cyrus authorizing the Jews of the exile to return to their homeland “(Ezra 1:1-4; cf. 2 Chr 36:22-23; Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, 344).
When Ezra was called by God to go back to the exiles to reinstitute the cultus of the priesthood and reinstitute the temple worship, he could not even begin there.

The narrator then recounted the preparations for return including the amassing of precious metals Ezra 1:5-11. 
 
Next follows a list of the returnees (chap. 2), the total number of which was 42,360 (2:64). 

To this list should be compared a nearly identical one in Neh 7:5-73. 

On their return, the leaders of the community assembled with the populace to rebuild the first temple altar and to offer on it the festival sacrifices, all, so far, without the benefit of a temple (Ezra 3:1-7). Burdened by this deficiency, Zerubbabel, the governor, and Jeshua, the priest, undertook the temple construction in the second year of the return (c. 536 BC; 3:8-13), an undertaking whose very commencement gave rise to intense local opposition (4:1-4).  (Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, ibid).

The remnant had become so polluted in every way through interfaith marriages that led to spiritual adultery and idolatry – which was entirely contrary to what was laid out in Deuteronomy – well let us say the Pentateuch, that He had to begin with the personal cleansing of the people. Having arrived in Jerusalem with a large entourage, Ezra confronted some problems that had engulfed the Jewish state since its reestablishment 80 years earlier.  Chief among these was the intermarriage of Jews with Gentiles, a matter which, after much prayer and confession (9:1-10:4), he addressed head-on by mandating divorce across the board (10:5-44).

He ordered all of the men who had married women who were pagans to divorce their wives. Now we in or the modern world would think about the psychological damage that would have done, the unfairness of it all.

NEHEMIAH’S COMMISSION

Meanwhile, Nehemiah had heard reports of these and other calamities from his vantage point in Susa and, having gotten permission from King Artaxerxes for a leave of absence to go to Jerusalem (Neh 1:1-2:8), undertook to do so (2:9-11). 

Once there he assessed the ruinous condition of the city (2:12-16) and determined to do something about it (2:17-20). The work of rebuilding the walls, though carried out with the most well-thought-out strategy (chap. 3), was impeded in every way possible by locals who were determined to subvert it (chap. 4). Meanwhile, Nehemiah had to contend with internal problems such as the exaction of usury by one Jew against another (5:1-13), a practice much at odds with Nehemiah’s self-sacrifice even though he was governor (5:14-19). Having dealt with this, he had to continue to resist the blandishments and threats of his enemies (6:1-14)  until the completion of the wall (6:15-19; Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti, 344-345).

Israel was supposed to be God’s exemplary nation. It was meant to be the country that all countries looked to as an example of how to live a Holy Life – there is a point to this.
God promised the patriarchs of old that there would always be a remnant left in Israel, but for multiple generations, His chosen people had chosen Baal over Him. The Book of Nehemiah compliments the intensity of The Book Ezra and apprises readers of the history of the nation of Israel. Therefore, the MT order of the Bible is the most historically accurate version of the Old Testament.

Ezra went back home with the Pentateuch to set up “shop” so to speak, but transformation had to take place first. The people of Israel had lived 70 years in exile, and spent numerous dynasties is absolute disobedience to God’s law.

Juxtapose Ezra & Nehemiah with 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles and one will begin to get a picture of the base depravity of that nation.

Then read what Jeremiah had to do when he was sent to the nation to tell them to accept only the just punishment that God was going to rain down on them. It is indeed easier to listen to these books of the Bible; it sinks in more.

The priesthood was in shambles. Holiness did not exist in the temple. God’s presence was not there because the people who were responsible for “maintaining” a holy environment and created “an unholy mess.” Now let us jump back to our present day.

America is where it is because of the state of our churches. Let us take the blue pill and deal with it. Go back into our history and see how well we have adhered to Matthew 5,6 and 7. In what way have, we treated the strangers in our gates with love and respect as dictated by the love of God? “Let us clean up the church house and leave the Whitehouse to God because He and only He can fix that.” We have a biblical responsibility to that building and the people who are in DC.

Let us maintain that biblical responsibility.  We have local duties to our neighbors – who are our neighbors? Every living human being whom we are in contact with, not just the people whom we go to church with and our family members.

Our nation is a mess because we – the church is a mess.  What would happen in this country if we were all on the mission for Christ? Are we too ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to tell our neighbors why this nation is in the state it is in now? Have we been obedient to God by showing our love to Him by being Kingdom minded? Ensuring that our children have a decent education and a chance to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is also our spiritual duty, not just the school systems.

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