Have You Lost Sight of the Word In Your Pursuit of Experience?

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-three through twenty-seven of this Old Testament book. The more I read the words which are found within these chapters of the book of Deuteronomy, the more I can’t help but come fact to face with the astonishing reality that the language contained therein is a language of remembrance and reminder. As you read the words which are found within this book you will find that the words which are being spoken here are not a new revelation that Moses was giving unto the congregation of the children of Israel, but rather it was a revelation that had already been given. For forty years the word which was to be life and light for the congregation of the children of Israel was nigh unto them and was with them whithersoever they went. There was not a single place the congregation of the children of Israel went in the wilderness where the word which was spoken unto their fathers did not go with and did not follow them. It is absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that as you read the words found in this Old Testament book you will find Moses rehearsing in the hearing of this generation—not some new revelation that was exclusive and specific to them, but a revelation and word which was already spoken and already released within the earth. The words found in this particular book is in all reality a wonderful and powerful reminder unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning that which the Lord their God had spoken unto them when they stood before Him at the mountain of God in the wilderness. It is necessary that we remember the narratives and accounts found within the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus—and even the book of Numbers—for what we find within those books are the original words which were spoken by the Living God unto Moses His servant. It would be while the congregation of the children of Israel were at the base of the mountain of God in the wilderness the Lord would first speak unto them, and would give unto them the moral and civil law which was to govern them wherever they journeyed. It was at the mountain of God in the wilderness where you will find the Lord speaking unto the generation of their fathers concerning that which He required of them—not only during their journeys in the wilderness, but also when they entered into the land.

Perhaps one of the most astonishing realities that surrounds the book of Deuteronomy is how many times you will find the LORD speaking directly unto the congregation of the children of Israel and instructing them concerning when they entered into the land and when they came into the land. As I read the words found in this book even further I am captivated by how many times the commands which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel were directly linked and directly tied to the land into which they were being brought. What’s more, is that the commands and decrees which Moses would speak unto the congregation of the children of Israel would not only be spoken unto them, but they would also be spoken unto Joshua who would lead the people into the land. If you read the words which are found in this book you will quickly discover that the words which were spoken there in the plains of Moab were words which the congregation of the children of Israel were to do upon entrance into the land, but also which they were teach their children in order that they might walk in the same measure and level of obedience and faithfulness before the Lord their God. The words which were spoken in the plains of Moab were words which Joshua would have heard—not only here in the plains of Moab, but also words which he heard at the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that when Moses spoke the words which the entire congregation of the children of Israel would hear at this time, they were words which Joshua himself would have heard there at the mountain of God in the wilderness. The words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel here in the plains of Moab were words which Joshua the son of Nun—even Caleb the son of Jephunneh—would have heard at the mountain of God in the wilderness. What’s incredibly astounding and remarkable about this fact is that both Joshua and Caleb would have heard the words spoken by the living God Himself there at the mountain, and would now hear the words which were spoken by Moses.

REMINDING A GENERATION OF WHAT THE LORD REQUIRES! REMINDING A GENERATION OF WHAT THE LORD ASKS! REMINDING A GENERATION OF WHAT THE LORD DEMANDS! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely incredible reality that the entire Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is a book that is centered upon Moses reminding the congregation of the children of Israel the words which the Lord their God had already spoken unto their fathers. The words which Moses was speaking in the hearing of the congregation of the children of Israel were words which were already engrained into their psyche and engrained into their DNA. I absolutely love the words which are found at the end of this book, for at the end of the book Moses declares unto the congregation of the children of Israel that the word which they require was not some distant word that needed to be sought after, but rather it was a word that was near unto them. The word which the congregation of the children of Israel would need was not a word which was in the heights of heaven and needed someone to go up and lay hold of the word and bring it down unto them. The word which they needed was not some distant word in the very depths, and would require someone to go down into them to obtain it. This is actually truly unique when you think about and consider the fact when the word was originally spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel it did in fact require Moses to go up unto the Lord and go up into the mountain to lay hold of that which the Lord had spoken. When the Lord descended upon the mountain of God in the wilderness, He did so shrouded by thick clouds and thick darkness that His form and person might not be seen. When the LORD descended upon the mountain of God in the wilderness He descended upon it in the midst of a consuming fire which caused the smoke upon the mountain to ascend as though it were a furnace. In the midst of the thunders, in the midst of the lightnings, and in the midst of the mountain quaking greatly under the weight of the glory and presence of the LORD, the LORD would speak directly unto Moses and would give him the very words that were to be the lifeblood of the congregation of the children of Israel. While the LORD instructed Moses that the congregation of the children of Israel not come near or touch the mountain lest they be shot through and put to death, the LORD Himself called Moses up unto Himself that He might speak unto him the words which the congregation of the children of Israel were to obey and follow.

It’s incredibly interesting to think about and consider the fact that when Moses declared unto this generation that the word was nigh unto them, for when the generation of their fathers stood before the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness there was need for him to go up into the mountain, and to enter into the presence of the Lord. When that word was spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the midst of the wilderness there was a need for Moses to go up into the mountain and to enter into the presence of the LORD that he might receive the laws, the commands, the statutes and the decrees the people of God would follow and obey. Moses would climb higher into the mountain that he might enter into the presence of the LORD and stand before Him that he might receive from the LORD that which He desired to speak unto the congregation of the children of Israel. While the generation of their fathers stood before the mountain of God in the wilderness they heard the voice of God speaking unto them and speaking unto Moses, and heard the trumpet waxing louder and louder the more the living God would speak. The congregation of the children of Israel which emerged from the land of Egypt would stand before the mountain of God there in the wilderness, and Moses the servant of the LORD would need to ascend the mountain and essentially go up that he might receive from the Lord that word which He desired to give unto the congregation of the children of Israel. In the midst of the thick darkness, in the midst of the clouds, and in the midst of that tremendous sight which was upon the mountain Moses would need to go up unto the LORD and spend forty days and forty nights in His presence in order that he might receive the word which would be the very heartbeat of the children of Israel. When that word was first spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the wilderness it came with much pomp and much fanfare as the glory of the living God descended upon the mountain in the midst of a consuming fire with thick clouds and thick darkness. That word which was originally spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the wilderness would in fact be received Moses as he spent forty days and forty nights in the presence of the Lord listening as the Lord spoke unto him giving him the law which would be at the very heart of the culture and society of the children of Israel.

ONE LAW TO GOVERN THE PEOPLE! As I read the words which are found within these Old Testament books I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome reality that even before the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land which was promised and given unto them, they would be a people that would be marked by the LORD their God. MARKED BY THE LAW! It’s absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel would be given the laws and commands of the living God which were to govern them when they entered into the land. It’s utterly fascinating to think about and consider the fact that even before the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land which was sworn unto them and unto their fathers they were taught how they should live in the midst of the land. What’s more, is that we must understand that although the land was given unto them as an inheritance and possession they could not live how they desired and pleased. The congregation of the children of Israel would enter into the land of Canaan, however, upon them entering into the land of Canaan they would be required to follow the laws, commands and statutes of the living God. Before the congregation of the children of Israel would enter into the land that was to be theirs as an inheritance they would be given those laws and statutes which were to govern how they lived within the land. I continue to go back to the reality that the law was intrinsically linked and directly connected to the land, for even before they would enter into the land they would be given very specific commands which were to set them apart from the nations round about them in the earth. I am reminded of Adam when he was created and formed from the dust of the ground outside the garden and then placed in the garden, and how although the living God took and placed Adam in the midst of the garden, He would give him a command that would govern his enter existence within the land. When Adam was placed in the garden which the Lord had planted he was given the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Countless trees and an unlimited source of fruit and food which Adam could partake of, and there was one command which he was given to obey—one command that was to be carefully guarded within his heart and mind. Just as Adam was taken from outside the garden, placed in the garden and given the command of the Lord, so also would the congregation of the children of Israel be taken from outside the land of Canaan, brought into the land of Canaan, and yet they would be given the commands and decrees which would govern their entire existence outside the land.

What so completely fascinates me about what is found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is the fact that the living God sought to remind the congregation of the children of Israel of the word and commands which had already been spoken unto them and unto their fathers. The Lord the God of the Hebrews wanted to ensure that this new generation would enter into the land of Canaan and would be very much aware of what the LORD had spoken unto their fathers and what the LORD had commanded and required of them. The LORD would indeed and would in fact bring the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, and with their entrance into the land they would need to enter in with the word which had already been spoken unto the fathers earlier on during the wilderness journeys. The generation which stood before Moses there in the plains of Moab would be a generation which would hear the same word which was spoken unto their fathers in the midst of the wilderness, yet without the thick clouds and thick darkness. This generation of the congregation of the children would indeed and would in fact receive the word which the Lord their God had spoken unto their fathers, and it would be the word which they would take with them into the land which the Lord was bringing them into. In the wilderness at the mountain of God Moses would go up unto God and enter into His presence that he might receive the word which would govern the congregation and children of Israel, and he would bring that word down from the mountain and deliver it unto the people. The word which the LORD would speak unto the congregation of the children of Israel would originally be received by Moses from the mouth of the living God, and that word would be brought down from the mountain and spoken unto the congregation of the children of Israel. It would be Moses himself who would go up unto the Lord the God of the Hebrews in order that he might receive the word which would govern the entire nation and congregation of the children of Israel. That word was brought down from the mountain and brought unto the congregation of the children of Israel, and it would be spoken unto them in their hearing that they might know what the LORD their God requires of them that they might walk in the path of obedience before the LORD their God. Moses would indeed and would in fact bring the word of God down from the mountain and into the presence of the congregation of the children of Israel that they might hear and know what it was the LORD their God required of them.

The more you read the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy the more you will encounter the fact that the living God desired His servant Moses to remind this generation of that which He had previously commanded unto their fathers, for their fathers did in fact perish in the wilderness. There would be a new generation that would emerge in the wilderness and there would be a new generation that would enter into the land of Canaan, and it would be this new generation that would need to understand what it was the LORD truly required of them as they prepared to live and dwell in the land. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found in this Old Testament book you will find that the law which the LORD gave unto the congregation of the children of Israel would not only be directly linked to their entrance and access into the land, but it would also govern their existence within the land. The law which the LORD God had given unto the congregation of the children of Israel would govern their entire existence in the land and would completely and utterly set them apart—not only from the inhabitants which originally dwelt in the land, but also from the nations which were present round about the congregation of the children of Israel. The law which Moses received from the LORD during the days of that first generation would be the same law which would directly apply to this generation of sons and daughters, as they would be held to the same standard as their fathers were. This new generation would receive from the LORD those commands and those statutes which were given unto their fathers, and they would be expected to not only know and understand, but also follow that which the living God had required of them. When this new generation stood before the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab they would need to know that although their fathers had perished in the wilderness they were still required to adhere to and obey all the commands which were spoken unto them. The book of Deuteronomy is essentially a tremendous recap of that word which was spoken unto that first generation in the wilderness which stood before the mountain of the Lord and before His awesome presence. The generation which stood before Moses in the plains of Moab did not have the same experience as their fathers did, however the word was the very same word which their fathers had received.

DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE, SAME WORD! As you delve further and deeper into the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find that while the experience this generation of the congregation of the children of Israel had was entirely different than that of their fathers, the word was the same. I am convinced there is a tremendous and powerful truth that is contained and bound in this reality, for there are countless men and women who seek after and desire the same experience as others, and even expect the experience to be the same. There are men and women who think and feel as though the experience needs to be exactly as it was for our fathers, or for generations which have gone before us, and yet the truth of the matter is that regardless of whether or not the experience is the same, the word is still the same and the word still remains. For the congregation of the children of Israel which stood before Moses in the plains of Moab—even though they did not experience the thunders and lightnings, even though they did not experience the thick clouds and thick darkness, and even though they did not experience the consuming fire which was upon the mountain, the word which they were hearing and the word which was being spoken unto them was the word. How interesting and intriguing it is to think about and consider the fact that experiences come and go, and experiences change over time, however, the one constant that remains throughout history is that the word remains the same. What’s more is that someone else’s experience might be entirely different from your experience, but that doesn’t mean that the word you have received and the word you are receiving is any different. There are countless men and women who are looking for and expecting the same experience(s) as others have had, and in the process of chasing after experiences they miss the word that is being spoken unto them. It would have been very easy for this congregation of the children of Israel to look upon the experience their fathers had in the wilderness and expected that type of manifestation, however, they would have been looking in vain. The LORD did not desire to manifest Himself among this generation of the children of Israel the way He had unto their fathers, and the word which they would hear, and the word which had been spoken unto their fathers would be the same word which was spoken unto them.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there are countless men and women who spend much time, effort and energy in chasing after experiences, and in their pursuit of experiences they neglect and even miss the word that is right before them. It would have been very easy for the congregation of the children of Israel to get caught up in the experience their fathers had in the wilderness, and perhaps even to desire and expect a similar experience for themselves. They could have very easily heard of the tremendous manifestation of the presence and glory of God when the Law was first given at Sinai and desired that same experience and manifestation, however, to do so would have been to miss the word that was spoken to their fathers—the word that was the same in their generation as it was for their fathers. This generation which stood in the midst of the plains of Moab and which stood before Moses would hear the same word that was spoken unto their fathers yet without the same experience and manifestation. The more I think about and consider the words which are found in the book of Deuteronomy, the more I can’t help but consider the fact that there are times when men and women in the house of God allow themselves to get so caught up and consumed with chasing experiences, and as a direct result of chasing experiences they miss out on hearing and receiving the word which has not changed throughout the years. What’s more, is that I am convinced that there is a tremendous and great danger in chasing after experiences and manifestations within our lives, and perhaps even expecting our experiences to be the same as others. There is a great danger in looking at the experience of another, or even how God had manifested Himself in the life of another, or perhaps even in another generation, and in the process of doing so we can completely miss the word that is before us. In all honesty, this is one of the greatest reasons why those which were present during the days and time of Jesus the Christ missed that which was right in front of them, as they were looking for and expecting something which was completely different from what they were actually finding. The apostle John alludes to this reality in the opening chapter of the gospel narrative which he wrote concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, as well as in the opening chapter of the narrative which the beloved physician Luke wrote concerning the church and body of Christ. I would also dare state that this same reality is manifested when Jesus overlooked Jerusalem and wept over it because they didn’t know or understand the hour of their visitation. Consider if you will each of these narratives, which are and have been written and recorded within the New Testament:

“IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of GOD. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, HE that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law as given by Moses, by grace and truth came by Jesus Christ NO man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared him” (John 1:1-18).

“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8).

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chikcens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:37-39).

“An when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).

MISSING THE WORD SEARCHING FOR THE EXPERIENCE! NO PEACE FOR AMMON! NO PEACE FOR MOAB! REMEMBER WHAT AMALEK DID! WHEN YOU GO FORTH TO WAR, KEEP YOURSELF FROM THE EVIL THING! It is absolutely critical to consider the words which are found within these passages of scripture, for what we find within them is a powerful example of an entire generation, as well as an entire religious system and community which completely missed that which was right in front of them—simply because it didn’t line up with the experience and manifestation they thought they would experience. As you read the words which are found within the opening chapter of the narrative of Jesus’ life which was written by the apostle John you will find him writing how Jesus had come unto His own, and how His own had rejected, despised and received Him not. In the nineteenth chapter of the narrative which was written by the physician Luke you will find him writing how Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because they did not understand and did not recognize the hour and time of their visitation. In the opening chapter of the book of Acts you will find the disciples asking Jesus if He would at that restore the kingdom unto Israel. We must pay close attention to each of these portions of scripture, for within them we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that this entire generation completely missed the hour of their visitation because they were looking for and expecting one thing and found that what they were experiencing was entirely and altogether different. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and astonishing truth, as this truth helps us understand the fact that an entire generation missed the hour of visitation—and not only the hour of visitation, but also the manifestation of the living Word which came forth out of Heaven. I have spent a considerable amount of time in this writing focusing on missing the word which is nigh unto us and is right in front of our faces because we allow ourselves to get caught up in pursuing the experience, and it’s necessary to consider these passages concerning Jesus the Christ, for the apostle John emphatically declares that He was in fact the living Word of life which came down from heaven. Please mark and make note of this as it helps to dramatically and powerfully illustrate this point all the more when we read the words which are found within scripture.

I find these passages to be absolutely astonishing and utterly remarkable the more I think about and the more I consider them, for within and during the generation of Jesus the Christ we find both the religious system and establishment, as well as much of that generation missing the revelation of the word which was sent down from heaven because they were looking for and expecting the experience to be entirely and altogether different from what it actually was. Jesus wept over an entire city because they did not know or understand their hour of visitation, and when speaking unto the disciples before His ascension we find it written that He declared unto them that it was not unto them to know the times and seasons appointed by the Father. These passages are altogether necessary to consider, for within these passages we further confirm the tremendous danger in seeking and running after experiences, and how more often then not in our pursuit of experiences we can miss out on the manifestation and revelation of the word that is right in front of us. For the congregation of the children of Israel the word was that which the Lord has spoken unto their fathers and which Moses was now speaking unto them in the plains of Moab. For the generation and religious community which was alive and present during the days of Jesus the Word was actually made flesh, as Jesus was the living Word which was nigh unto them and in their midst. In our days and in our generation the word is the canon of Scripture as is found in all sixty-six books of the Bible. What’s more, is that the word that is nigh unto us is the revelation of Jesus the Christ which was manifested in the earth two thousand years ago. In each of these generations there was a direct and distinct manifestation of the word of God—albeit that manifestation took place in different shapes and forms with the generation during Jesus’ day witnessing and beholding the Word made flesh. Oh how absolutely necessary it is to think about and consider this truth and reality, for this reality brings and confronts is with the powerful truth that we can miss the revelation of the word which is nigh unto us and which has been spoken and written us on account of chasing, searching after, seeking and running after experiences. There is a tremendous danger and underlying temptation to run and chase after experiences and manifestations, for in the process of doing so we find ourselves compromising the revelation of the word which is manifested among us in our midst. There is a strong and underlying temptation in our midst to lose sight of and miss out on hearing the word which is right before us in our mouths and in our hearts because we allow ourselves to get caught in the trap of pursuing experiences and manifestations.

With all of this being said I find it worth considering what was contained with the word which was nigh unto the congregation of the children of Israel there in the plains of Moab. If and as you read the words which are found within the book of Deuteronomy you will find Moses not only rehearsing the manifestation of the presence and glory of God at Horeb in the wilderness, but also reminding them of the victories they had won over kings on the eastern edge of the Jordan. What’s more, is Moses would remind them of how their fathers sinned and transgressed against the commandment of the living God, and how their fathers would not enter into the land they left Egypt planning and preparing to enter because of their continual temptations of the living God in the midst of the wilderness. The generation of their fathers would miss out on the inheritance or the land of Canaan because of their transgression in the wilderness, and they missed out on that which the Lord had promised unto them because of the hardness or their heart and their unbelief and doubt. Even with reminding this generation of each of these realities we find Moses speaking unto this new generation and declaring unto them that where their fathers fell short and where their fathers missed out they would move forward and they would lay hold of. Their fathers would miss out on that which was right before them and that which was promised unto them, and this generation would rise up to lay hold of and take possession of it. The sofa which you find written and recorded within the book of Deuteronomy is in all reality a truly wonderful and powerful reminder of how the Lord our God desires to remind us of that word which He has spoken unto us—a word which we do not have to search high and low for, but rather a word which is right before us and which has been fire us the whole entire time. There is found within this entire Old Testament book a remarkable set of commands and instructions which the congregation of the children of Israel which stood before Moses would hear and be reminded of. As this generation stood before Moses in the plains of Moab you will find them hearing a word that was spoken unto them—a word that was and had already been spoken unto their fathers, as well as a word that was to govern them as they entered into the land of Canaan into which they were being brought. There is within this word which Moses was speaking unto them a wonderful and powerful warning and caution against disobedience to that which was commanded, as well as blessing for obeying the word which was spoken and given unto them. What’s more, is that there was in this word and within these commands a powerful set of instructions concerning warfare—and not only warfare, but also how they were to treat the neighboring nations round about them. What’s more, is that there was also a powerful set of instruction concerning their treatment of the poor, the afflicted, the orphan or fatherless, and the widows among them. It’s necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this, for it had the awesome potential to dramatically alter and transform our way of thinking in this generation.

If you begin reading with and from the opening verses of the twenty-third chapter you will find Moses speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning five very specific peoples which they had previous dealings with. It’s quite interesting that when you think about and consider the words which are found within this Old Testament book that you will find Moses speaking unto them concerning their treatment of the nations which were round about them and round about the land into which He had brought them. The opening verses of the twenty-third chapter begins with laws and matters of cleanness, and access and entrance into the congregation of the LORD, but as you come to the third verse of this chapter you will find that Moses begins transitioning the words and language he speaks unto the congregation of the children of Israel, for he declares unto them that neither an Ammonite, nor a Moabite should enter into the congregation of the LORD—even unto their tenth generation should they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever—for they did not meat the congregation of the children of Israel with bread and water when they were in the way as they journeyed through the wilderness. What’s more, is that Moses goes on to describe how these nations hired against them Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor to curse them. With these words Moses was very specific when speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel, for he declared that neither a Moabite, nor an Ammonite would be permitted to enter into the congregation of the Lord because of their treatment of them as they met and encountered them in the way. The congregation of the children of Israel sought peaceful travel and peaceful relations with the nations and peoples which they encountered on their way and journey to the land of Canaan, and instead of meeting them with bread and water, Moab and Ammon hired Balaam the son of Beor to curse them. This is actually quite astounding and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for the LORD was very specific and very adamant concerning these two nations and peoples, and even though they would have an inheritance in the earth among the nations because of being the descendants of Lot, they would not have access into the congregation of the children of Israel. There was a lasting and abiding statute that was given unto the congregation of the children of Israel that there was to be no access to the congregation of the Lord unto the tenth generation for ever because of how they treated the congregation of the children of Israel as they passed by them along the way as they traveled and journeyed to the land which was to be theirs as an inheritance. What’s more, is that Moses would go on to instruct them not to seek the peace, nor to seek the prosperity of Moab and Amon all their days forever because of how they treated them when they emerged from the land of Egypt, and as they prepared to enter into the land which was theirs as an inheritance. Oh I can’t help but be reminded of the words which were spoken unto Abraham when the Lord called him forth from Ur of the Chaldeans:

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

With these words we encounter the the tremendous truth that when the LORD God called Abraham out of the land of his nativity and out of his father’s house, He declared unto him that He would bless those who blessed him, and would curse those who cursed him. This reality is underlined and manifested in the midst of what we find before us in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, for the congregation of the children of Israel were not to seek the peace, nor were they to seek the prosperity of the nations and peoples of Moab and Ammon all the days of their lives, for these nations and peoples did not meet them with bread and water as they met them along the way, and they instead hired Balaam son of Beor to curse them. The words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel are truly remarkable when you consider them, for the words which you find in the book of Deuteronomy highlight this awesome truth which the LORD spoke unto Abraham concerning His blessing those which blessed him, and cursing those which cursed him. The LORD promised Moss that He would bless those which blessed him, and would curse those who cursed him, and this truth and promise not only directly applied to Abraham, but it also directly applied to his descendants which would come after him. Just as the LORD would bless those who blessed the nation and congregation of the children of Israel, so also would the LORD curse those who cursed the nation and people of Israel. The words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel must be carefully considered and carefully understood, for not only did Moses declare unto them that they were not to seek the peace, nor were they to seek the prosperity of the nations and peoples of Moab and Ammon, but He would also speak unto them concerning the memory of Amsler and MIdian—two nations and two peoples whom the LORD would have a controversy. In fact, if you come to the seventeenth chapter of the twenty-fifth chapter you will find Moses the servant of the LORD speaking and emphatically declaring the following words which concerned the people of Amalek within the earth. Consider if you will the words which are found in this chapter beginning to read with and from the seventeenth verse of the chapter:

“Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it” (Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the astonishing reality that the congregation of the children of Israel were not to forget that which Amalek did unto them when they came out of the land of Egypt and entered into the wilderness, for Amalek came out against them and struck the hindmost part of them. Of course we know and understand from that which is written and recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Exodus that this was that encounter when Aaron and Hur sat Moses down and held his hands up high until the going down of the sun that the children of Israel under the leadership of Joshua the son of Nun might gain victory in battle over this enemy and foe which would come against them. It’s worth noting that although Joshua and the children of Israel did in fact defeat Amalek on this particular occasion, and even though they did in fact win a great victory there in the wilderness without any previous battle experience, this enemy and adversary would still remain alive within the earth. In all honesty, this people would remain in the earth until the days and time of Saul and David, and it was Saul who was given the command to strike down and utterly destroy Amalek when he ruled and reigned as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. It would be Saul who would be given the command and instruction to utterly destroy Amalek and to carry out and fulfill that which Moses the servant of the Lord had spoken unto this generation, and yet we find that while it was true that Saul put to death both man and women, as well as children young and old, he spared and kept alive Agag king of Amalek, and even spared the best of the livestock, the best of the herd, and the best of the cattle. It would be the prophet Samuel who would rebuke Saul for his disobedience and rebellion before the LORD, for he was given a very specific command to carry out the command of the LORD and utterly destroy Amalek, and yet he failed to carry out the command which the LORD had spoken unto him. What’s more, is that as you come to the thirtieth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find that it would be Amalekites which would raid the city of Zkilag which David and his mighty men lived and dwelt in, and not only burned the city, but also took their wives and children as captives. I find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that the LORD was very specific when speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel, for not only were the congregation of the children of Israel instructed not to seek the peace, nor the well prosperity of Moab and Ammon, but they were also to remember what Amalek did unto them when they came out of the land of Egypt, for they came out against them and struck down the hindmost part of them. What’s more, is that you will find the congregation of the children of Israel were also instructed to utterly wipe out and consume the people of Midian because of what they had done unto them when they met them along the way as they journeyed unto the land of Canaan.

What’s so interesting and unique about what is found within these chapters is when you come to the ninth verse of the twenty-third chapter, for within this portion of Scripture you will find Moses speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel and declaring unto them that when they went out and went forth against their enemies, they were to keep themselves from every wicked thing. The instruction that is found within this particular portion of Scripture is quite remarkable and utterly captivating when you think about and consider it, for not only did Moses instruct and command the congregation of the children of Israel to keep themselves from every wicked thing when they went forth into battle, but Moses would also declare unto them that when they went forth unto battle they were to have a paddle upon their weapon, in order that it might be when they eased themselves, they were to dig with the paddle, and cover that which proceeded forth among them. While this might not seem like something that is at all worth considering, I would draw and call your attention to the fact that towards the end of this passage you will find Moses declaring unto the congregation of the children of Israel that the LORD their God walked in the midst of their camp, to deliver them, and to give up their enemies before them. Furthermore, Moses would declare unto the congregation of the children of Israel that the camp of the congregation of the children of Israel needed to be holy, and the LORD was not to see any unclean thing in them or among them, and so turn away from them. It is this reality of the congregation of the children of Israel keeping themselves from any unclean and any evil thing upon their going out to battle that is worth considering and thinking about, for when you come to the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will. Find that as the congregation of the children of Israel began engaging the peoples and inhabitants within the land of Canaan, they suffered defeat at Ai. What we must realize concerning the matter of Ai is that at first Joshua couldn’t understand how the congregation of the children of Israel could suffer such defeat at the hands of those in the midst of the land considering the LORD had promised and guaranteed them victory within and throughout the land. What you find within this chapter is a direct violation of that which Moses had spoken and commanded unto the congregation of the children of Israel, for you will read of a man named Achan who would look upon spoil in the midst of the city of Jericho, how Achan coveted that which he saw, and how he took and hid that which was present before him. Consider if you will the words which are found within this Old Testament book of Joshua, for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth concerning our going out to battle against our enemies and against our foes. Consider if you will the words and language which is found in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua beginning to read with and form the opening verse of the chapter:

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Hericdho to Ai, which is beside Beth-Aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up, and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O LORD God, wherefore hath thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us unto the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan. O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribes of Judah was taken: and he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: and he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: when I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent and brought them unto Josiah, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Acahan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? The LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LROD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day” (Joshua 7:1-26).

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I want to draw your attention to what is written and contained within this passage, for it directly relates and connects to that which is found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. The LORD the God of the Hebrews gave a specific command that when they went forth to battle they were not to touch the unclean thing, nor defile themselves, and undoubtedly Achan would have heard this command there in the plains of Moab. The tragic reality of this narrative and account was that Achan deliberately and intentionally chose to disobey the command and instruction of the LORD, and as a direct result of his disobedience to the command of the LORD, he caused the entire camp of the congregation of the children of Israel to be defeated before their enemies. What’s more, is that it wasn’t until Achan, his family, everything that belonged unto them, and that which he saw, that which he covered, that which he took, and that which he hid were utterly destroyed and removed from the camp that the anger of the LORD was turned away from them. It is absolutely necessary that we think about and consider this absolutely tremendous and incredible reality, for what we find in the seventh chapter of the book of Joshua brings us face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that as we prepare to engage our enemies and adversaries in battle, and as we prepare to march against those who are before us, there is a great need for personal purity and personal holiness in the sight of and before the LORD. If we are going to engage our enemies and adversaries in battle there is this underlying need for obedience, for faithfulness, for righteousness, and for holiness in the sight of and before the living God. The question we must ask ourselves as we consider these words is whether or not we are truly willing to commit and give ourselves unto this obedience which the LORD our God demands and requires. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we can and will commit ourselves to the faithfulness and obedience the LORD desires and demands of us in this generation, in order that we might not only stand before our enemies, but also defeat and overthrow them. Oh that we would read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and that we would allow ourselves to be directly challenged within the depths of our heart and soul concerning our own personal purity and our own personal holiness in the sight of the living God, and that if we are going to attempt to stand against and stand before our enemies and adversaries we commit ourselves to personal purity and personal holiness in the sight of and before the LORD our God.

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