Numbers and Deuteronomy Session 12- Repentance

Session 12- Repentance

Deuteronomy 30:1-10, 19-20

Resources:

Subject:  Repentance

Central Theme:  Results of Repentance

Objective Sentence:

Every person can see God’s disposition towards repentance by observing three results of repentance that God promises to Israel.

Result #1- Restored Blessing.  V.1-5.

Result #2- Restored Hearts.  V.6-10.

Result #3- Restored Relationship.  V.19-20.

Introduction:

Connection:

  • One theme that we see on the internet in the last few years are “fail” videos.
    • Fail videos are made up of people or animals caught on video messing up in some way. People fall flat on their face on a skateboard.  They flip-out walking into a spider web they didn’t see.
    • These videos can be very funny.
    • For some reason people enjoy seeing people moderately embarrass and injure themselves on video.

Tension:

  • Failure can be a difficult thing to experience.
  • Especially when we fail morally, relationally and spiritually.
  • Have you ever messed up? Have you ever severely regretted something?
  • You don’t have to answer out loud, yet there is some comfort in knowing that the answer to that is almost universally “yes.” Every person makes mistakes.
  • If you’re not willing to admit it then maybe that is big mistake your making.
  • In God’s economy, forgiveness has been offered for our sins through the person of Jesus Christ.
  • The right response to sin in our lives is repentance.
  • Today I want you to see God’s disposition to people who have messed up.
  • And I hope that if you have messed up, that your response in your failure would be one of repentance.

Every person can see God’s disposition towards repentance by observing three results of repentance that God promises to Israel.

Result #1- Restored Blessing.  V.1-5.

 (1) And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,

(2) And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;

(3) That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

(4) If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:

(5) And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

Deuteronomy 30:1-5

Explanation:

  • In the preceding verses Moses, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has laid out the case for both blessing and curse.
    • Blessing would come as the children of Israel obeyed and followed God.
    • Curse would come as the children of Israel disobeyed God and forgot about Him in the way that they lived.
  • Among the consequences of the curse was that they would be scattered abroad from the land that was promised to them.
  • Moses begins to list what would need to happen to be brought back into a right relationship with God.
    • First, in verse 1, Moses states that when they are enduring being scattered amoung the nations because of their disobedience, they should begin to hold to account the nations that take them into captivity or are present wherever they are scattered. They were to witness to the reality, holiness, and goodness of God among those nations.
    • Second, in verse 2, Moses states that they should return to the Lord, and begin to obey the first commandments in a right way with a right attitude.
  • When the children of Israel would do those two things, God would respond.
    • He would have compassion on them.
    • He would return them back to the land that their fathers had possessed.
    • When they were back, he would continue to bless their right hearted obedience with blessing and prosperity.

Application:

  • The application of blessing and consequences for the children of Israel was very specific.
    • For disobedience they would experience scattering and exile.
    • For obedience they would experience blessing and prosperity.
  • The specifics here applied to them alone, but the general application for us today is the same.
  • There are natural and God given blessings for living as He commanded, and there are natural and God driven consequences to being disobedient.
  • God applies and allows both of these results as a loving Father.
  • He cares too much about us to let us continue in disobedience without consequences knowing that it will destroy us. Our sin separates us from Him.
  • At the same time, He loves us and wants to bless us for doing the right thing. He loves to give good gifts to His children.
  • Aren’t you thankful that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love? Aren’t you thankful that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? So am I!
  • But we must remember that even though those ultimate things are true, the expectation is still for us to be obedient to our loving Father.

Joh 14:15

(15) If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Joh 15:9-10

(9) As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

(10) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Result #2- Restored Hearts.  V.6-10.

 (6) And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Deuteronomy 30:6

Explanation

  • Circumcision was an outward sign of the children of Israel’s covenant with the Lord.
  • It was an outward expression that was to represent a developed attitude of devotion and relationship with God.
  • It was an accepting of the covenant between God and His people.
  • The problem with outward signs is that they were supposed to be an expression of the attitude and heart of a person.
  • Yet, often outward religious signs were not reflective of what was going on in the heart.
  • This can be true today. Much or religion is man going through certain ceremonial motions brought about by sheer tradition.
  • Moses tells the people that once they returned from being scattered God would “circumcise their hearts”.
  • The result of this inner surgery is that they and their children would “love the Lord thy God with alll thine heart, and with all thy soul”.
  • Frankly, it would mean that the outward sign of covenant between them and God would begin to match the inner man.
  • There would be a love for God, for the law of God, for the purposes of God and it would be reflected in them and in their children.
  • Repentance would lead to a return.
  • The return would lead to an inner revival of the heart.
  • This revival would lead to right living.
  • God would remove the hardness of their heart and give them a heart that is soft and responsive to Him.

Application

  • There can be so much that turns our hearts away from the Lord.
  • We often think that religious participation will generate spiritual life in us without an inner change.
  • We think we’re good with God simply because we attend church, pray before our meals, and avoid the “big sins”.
  • This is a dangerous place to be, because we think we are good with God, and may have no relationship with Him at all.
  • We may just be participating in the ritual. What we are living on the outside may not match on the inside. That kind of relationship with God gets passed on through the generations and wreaks havoc on their spiritual lives.
  • God emphasizes the heart.

Proverbs 4:23

(23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Matthew 12:34

(34) O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

  • To be what we ought to be we must have a heart that has been transformed by God.
  • That starts with regeneration.
  • We must believe in Christ and be made alive by His Spirit at salvation.
  • Repentance will lead to a return to God and a revival of the heart.
  • This will allow us to be responsive to God as we grow to be more like His dear Son.

Response:

Here are some good verses to pray today:

Psalm 139:23-24

(23) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

(24) And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

  • The text goes on.

And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

(Deu 30:9-10)

  • God communicates what He will do when they repent, return and respond to His Word. He would prosper their work. He would bless them materially. He would rejoice over them. He would bless them.
  • What did they have to do? Obey the Lord from a heart that has been turned back toward Him.

Application:

  • The prosperity gospel, which is not a gospel at all and should be rejected, has been so proposed and proclaimed in our day that people who love God’s Word and understand it want to distance themselves from teaching that may sound like that false gospel. The prosperity gospel says that it is always God’s will that you be prosperous and healthy, and that if you are not it is because you don’t have enough faith. It states that healing is always God’s will. Prosperity is always God’s will. Health is always God’s will. Etc. Etc.
  • The truth is that we are sinners in need of a Savior. God’s ultimate plan for us is to be with Him forever in eternal glory. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, which is far better.
  • That being said, God’s plan for us on this earth does not mean that everyone will be rich, healthy, and whole. Jesus said that those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Jesus’ example himself was not one of material prosperity. He was an itenerant preacher with no home. He suffered, bled, and died on a cross as a criminal of the state of Rome.
  • I say all of that to be clear that I am not a prosperity preacher.
  • This particular text though is speaking to Israel. God promised them prosperity if they would return.
  • God promised prosperity if they would obey. If they would “hearken unto the voice of the Lord”, “keep his commandments”, and “turn unto the Lord thy God”, then He would make plenteous the “work of thine hand”.
  • This promise to the people of Israel can be taken as a proverb (not necessarily a promise) for us today.
  • When we obey God and keep His commandments God blesses His people.
  • Blessing certainly comes with obedience. This does not mean that everything will always be perfect for every individual that is obedient. That is not what is being promised here.
  • As a loving Father, God loves to bless His obedient children.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

(Matthew 7:9-11)

Result #3- Restored Relationship.  V.19-20.

(19) I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deuteronomy 30:19

Explanation:

  • Moses sums up his entire message in these last two verses.
  • He does so by calling “heaven and earth” as witnesses against them.
  • How can heaven and earth be a witness? Well, both angelic and human witnesses are being claimed here.
  • There were those in heaven that would be a witness, including angelic beings and even God, Himself. There were those on earth who would be called to witness.
  • To what were they a witness? They were witness to the fact that Moses had presented to the nation of Israel a choice. The choice was between life and death, and what would result. To obey God would bring life and blessing. To disobey God would bring death and curse. The choice was clear.
  • But the choice wasn’t to be made just once. It was a continual choice that they would have to make, and teach their children to make.
  • Notice what he said in the verses leading up to today’s text:

(15) See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

(16) In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

(17) But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

(18) I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:15-18

  • You see, it was a call to decide to continue to make a certain kind of decision. Much like choosing a path.
  • They could make the initial choice to go down a certain path, but as one travels down the road they could choose to turn around. They could leave the path and go their own way.
  • Moses was calling them to a decision to keep making the right decisions.

Application:

  • This was the nature of the law, and the problem with the law is that no one can keep it entirely.
  • The Bible says that the law was our schoolmaster teaching us that we were sinners in need of a Savior.
  • The good news for us is that there is a new covenant that has been made. When we are justified by faith in Christ we are given peace with God. God promises to save us, to make us alive spiritually, and to adopt us into His family. He imputes Christ’s righteousness to us, and our sin He will remember no more! We can rest in the truth found in Romans 8:1.

(1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:1

  • Now as a loving Father to those who know Him as Savior, we know that God blesses obedience, and He corrects disobedience in His kids. In that way we ought to choose life and blessing, rather than disobedience and chastening. This ought to be our response.

(1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:1

  • He continues…

(20) That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 30:20

Explanation:

  • Remember the context we read before in Deuteronomy 30:15-19, where we saw clearly that Moses was pleading with the people to choose life over death, blessing over cursing.
  • He pleaded with them to make that a lifestyle choice, and not just a onetime decision.
  • He was trying to make clear what would happen with either path.
  • In verse 20, he tells them the purpose of this choice.
    • “…that thou mayest love the Lord thy God”– In choosing obedience and life, they were showing their love for God.
    • “…and that thous mayest obey his voice”– Obedience to God and love for God are always linked.
      • Jesus said in John 14:15

(15) If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15

  • …and that thou mayest cleave unto him”– Obedience displays love, and love brings about intimacy. As we follow God’s path, He blesses us, and as we are blessed an intimacy with God grows.
  • “…for he is thy life, and the length of thy days”– God is their Creator and Sustainer. He is their One and only ultimate hope. It s truly the same for us.
  • “…that thou mayest dwell in the land…”– God told them that if they disobeyed they would be scattered, and that if they repented He would bring them back. This was exactly what happened. God is a promise keeping God. His desire for them was to be their in the promised land as a blessed and thriving people. This came with choosing life and choosing obedience.

Application:

  • We are not the children of Israel, but I can learn much about the character of God here.
  • He is a promise keeping God. He desires obedience. He blesses obedience. Obedience is tied to my love for Him.
  • He wants to have a relationship with us, and so we must maintain that relationship through knowing Him and His will in His Word.
  • It is best for us to choose blessing and love as it is demonstrated by obedience to God.

Response:

  • Three questions:
  1. How is your love for the Lord?
  2. How is your obedience to the Lord?
  3. How is your faithfulness to the Lord?

Conclusion:

Every person can see God’s disposition towards repentance by observing three results of repentance that God promises to Israel

Result #1- Restored Blessing.  V.1-5.

Result #2- Restored Hearts.  V.6-10.

Result #3- Restored Relationship.  V.19-20.

 

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