February 9, 2020
The book of Deuteronomy is Moses' last speech before Israel crosses the Jordan to go into that land that God promised them. Now, Moses knows he's not going with them. God had already told him, "You're not crossing that Jordan." He could see it. He could go to the top of the peak and see it, but he couldn't go. Therefore, Moses is wanting Israel to do well when they cross the Jordan. When they get into that land that God promised, he wants it to go well. God gives him this message. There are many powerful parts where he says, "O, Israel. You should listen. You should be very careful. Take these words into your heart. Do them, live by them, that it may be well with you, that God may multiply you greatly as he promised."
We saw last time as we got to Deuteronomy 6 the greatest words that God has ever spoken, that he gave to Moses where he said, "Hear, O Israel. The Lord Jehovah is our God and the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart." Those are the most important words that God has ever said. You shall love with all of your soul. Love God with all of your mind. Then he said, "Now these words, which I am giving you today, they shall be on your heart and you should teach them diligently to your sons." You should talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way. So important are these words, he said. Then he brought us to chapter 8 where we are today, where over and over again he says to them, "Never forget all that God has done for you."
When you remember all that God has done and the way that God has blessed your life, then you are reminded that God is the one who did it. It keeps you humble, keeps you very thankful, makes you really appreciate God and his heart and his kindness and his grace brings you back to the love that you had at the first. I love that verse out of the book of Revelation where he says, "Remember the love that you had at the first." What if you do forget? If you forget all that God has done, then you forget that God is the one who did it. You're no longer humble and you're no longer thankful and you no longer appreciate that it was God's heart, God's grace, God's kindness that did it because it's not only the love that you had at the first, it's also the following after him. When you first came, when you began this journey with God, walked close, you wanted to hear his word so thankful, it was so fresh.
All the principles of wisdom you wanted to take hold of. Those were the things that brought you to the place of blessing but if you forget that it was God who gave you those blessings, then you forget the love that you had at first. You'll then also now walk by the wisdom of understanding and the principles and the statutes that God had used to bless your life and your heart gets lifted up. Then your proud heart leads you into a path of destruction. That's why he says, "Never ever forget that God is the one who blessed your life."
Let's read it. Deuteronomy 8:1. "All the commandments that I am commanding you today, you shall be careful to do that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers. You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these 40 years that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not, and he humbled you and he let you be hungry. Then he fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know that he might make you to understand."
Then we come to some of the most famous words in the Bible where he then says that he might make you to understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you, your foot did not swell for 40 years. Thus, you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep his commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways and fear him for the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land. He's bringing you to a place of great blessing, a land of brooks of water and fountains and springs flowing forth in valley and in hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates. A land of olive oil and honey, a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything. God's going to bless your life. God's bringing you into this place. A land whose stones are iron. In other words, you can get the iron out of the stones and make tools and out of those hills you can dig copper.
Then, verse 10, "Then when you have eaten and you've come to this place of blessing and abundance, when you've been satisfied and the Lord has done great things for you, then you bless the Lord your God for that good land which he has given to you." "Beware." Verse 11, "Beware, lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. Lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied and have built good houses and lived in them and you're herding, your flocks multiply and your silver and your gold multiply and all that you have multiplies, beware, lest your heart become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt.
He brought you out of the house of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with his fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water. He brought water for you out of that rock of flint. In the wilderness, he fed you with manna, which your fathers did not know that he might humble you, that he might test you to do good to you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, my power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth, but you shall remember the Lord your God for it is he who is giving you the power to make wealth, that he may confirm his covenant, which he swore to your fathers as it is to this day."
Now, those are some epic verses, powerful, helpful, instructive, application for us today. I want us to see how they apply starting with this. He says, "Remember all the ways that God has led you these 40 years." Remembering. Never forget.
I. Remember All the Ways God has Led You
Remembering all the ways that God has led you in the wilderness will remind you that God did it and it will strengthen your faith when you remember. Never forget because God has proven himself. God has proven himself to you. I'll tell you what. God has proven himself to me. God has made his power known. He has proven himself to me. How about you? Has God proven himself to you? He's won us. You've proved that, Lord. You've won us.
A. God will let you be hungry
I love this in chapter 4 where he says, "I personally brought you out of Egypt. I personally, by my hand, I brought you out myself, personally. I walked with you. I was in your presence the whole 40 years." When I think back on my life, all that God has done for me personally, I am very thankful. I'm reminded again and again when I look back and I think back on all the amazing things, I hope one day I get a chance to write a book on all the amazing ways that God has revealed himself and his hand has moved in my life.
It's amazing to me how he has loved me, poured his favor out. See, here's what I know. It's so important to look back to see that God has done it so that you can look forward and know that God can do it again. God's not finished. God's not finished with me. God's not finished with you. I say to the Lord, "You have done amazing things. You've done great things. God, do it again." Anybody else? Do it again, Lord. He's not finished with me yet. Is he finished with you? Let's give the Lord praise for all he's doing in us.
He says, "Remember all the way that God led you." How did he lead? Well, that's interesting because he reminds him of something. He says, "God led you in this way. God let you be hungry. Remember all those 40 years he humbled you. He says testing you, to know what was in your heart. Verse 3. He humbled you and let you be hungry that he then might feed you with manna, which was a miracle. An absolute miraculous provision every single day. Now, the wilderness was a time of testing, it says. It was an opportunity, wasn't it, to trust God, to look to God, to be the provision of their lives, to look to God, to be helped in time of need. They're in the wilderness, it's hot, it's dry. It was a test so God doesn't just pour overflowing abundance into your life right away, he says you let them be hungry.
Here's an opportunity to put faith, real faith, into action. See, it's one thing to believe that there is a God. If you did a survey today, many surveys have been done, 90 some percent of the people say they believe in God. If you believe in God, you do well, the scripture says but the demons believe that. There's more, isn't there? There's more. To believe that there is a God is wonderful but to believe that God is with you, that while God walks with you in the course of this life and that his favor is poured out on your life is a whole different thing. They didn't do well in this test. They grumbled, they complained, they even accused God in this.
B. That God would give manna
Why did you even bring us out into this wilderness? There weren't enough graves in Egypt, was that it? Is that why you brought us out here, that we might die in this wilderness? They're accusing God in this thing. They didn't do well in the test. It says God led you by-- He let them be hungry, he says, that he might give them manna. That's what he says. He fed you with manna, which you did not know nor did your fathers know. God let them be hungry in order to give them a miraculous provision but would you notice something with me? Yes, it was miraculous, it was amazing and let's not forget that manna was delicious and tasty and healthy.
It's like this. If you took all the good things from a health food store and infused it into a Krispy Kreme doughnut, that's manna. It's delicious and healthy, but it's infused with all good things. It's amazing, right? Now follow with me on this, because it's very important. It was delicious, it was healthy, it was a miraculous provision, but it was not milk and honey. It was not pot roast, it wasn't roasted chicken, it wasn't roasted lamb with mint jelly gravy. That would come later. They would wait 40 years for lamb with mint jelly gravy.
They had manna and manna was a miracle and manna was enough. That's the point. It was enough, it was God's provision, it was a miracle and it was enough to teach him a very important lesson, man does not live by bread alone. Man lives by every word that precedes out of the mouth of God; it was faith. It's about learning to trust God in the midst of the wilderness, of the midst of the desert. It's dry, it's hard, it's hot. Don't complain if you're in the wilderness. If you're going through the desert, don't complain, don't whine, don't become bitter. God let you be hungry, but God will give you manna and it will be enough.
It's about faith. It's about building faith. Matthew 6:9-11 where the disciples came and they said, "Teach us how to pray." Jesus gave that famous example of prayer in Matthew Chapter 6 where he said, "Our father. When you pray, you pray this way. Our father." Notice how he begins in such a personal relational way. "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread." It is enough. God will see to it, God will make a way. He'll give you the manna. It'll be enough.
I remember when many years ago, when I was in my young 20s and I was in the restaurant business. Many of you know my story. I was manager, part-owner and God had put it on my heart to go into ministry. I left my position as manager of the restaurant and all of the accouterments of management, if you know what I mean. Brand new car, all that stuff and the salary and all of it. Left it all behind and I go to become a youth leader in this small church. I remember my salary still to this day. $1,250 a month to live on for me and my wife. I know. [laughter] To make ends meet, I had to give piano lessons on the side.
I know, but God- but it was enough. It was enough, it was glorious. It was enough. We even had treats. We discovered we can go to Orange Circle and get an ice cream cone for 25 cents, which we rode our bikes to. Then for Valentine's Day, speaking of Valentine's Day, we would go to the store for Valentine's Day. We'd go to the card section and I'd pick out the card and I would say to her, "Here's the card I would have bought you." She'd go, "Aw, that is so sweet.” Then she would say, "Now, this is the card I would have bought you," and, "Aw, that is so sweet. Thank you." We hugged and we kissed, and we walked out the door.
Amen, because it was enough. It was enough. They were glorious days. We didn't feel a lack but then we felt if we're going to be serious about this ministry thing, then I got to get a good Bible education. Multnomah University was nearby, and that's where we want to go, but it's very expensive. I can't pay for that on $1,250 a month. God, what am I going to do? I started thinking. I had left my position as manager, but I had not sold my partnership yet. I had this idea. My partner was working on a deal. There was this hotel that wanted a restaurant on-site, and it was practically a “give me”.
I thought, "Oh, I got it. We're going to make this deal." Then my partnership portion will be worth X more and then I can sell and take all of the profits and pay my way to Bible College. God, I am so clever. Just bless my plan if you can help me. Help me, Lord. Bless my plan. Well, you can imagine, no. I remember very clearly it was a Friday night. I was at a marriage conference in the church I was going to and my partner came because he was-- He became a Christian in the course of our friendship and he came also to that conference and he pulled me aside and he said, "I got to tell you some news. I killed the deal today." I said, "You did? Why?" He said, "These people have no integrity and I will not be in partnership with people that have no integrity. I killed it and I knew as a Christian you'd understand it. I didn't call you." I said, "Of course, I understand." I did understand, but it was a punch in the gut.
God, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? I can't afford this! I can't go to the bank and borrow this. As a pastor, I'll never pay it back. God, I need a miracle. I need a miracle, so all day Saturday, I'm praying. God, I need a miracle, reveal yourself to me, and so that I know it's a miracle and anyone else, whoever hears this story knows it's a miracle, I'm not going to tell anyone I need this money. I need a miracle. I'll go to bed on that Saturday night. Friday night I heard the news, Saturday I'm praying. Sunday morning, I go to the church where I was a youth leader. I walked in the doors of the sanctuary and a fellow stood in front of me like this and he said, "I need to tell you something. God has put it on my heart that I'm supposed to pay your way through Bible College. Yes, amen.
Immediately in my heart, I thought, God your way is way better than mine and he meant every word of it. He meant every word of it. By the way, side note, some of you might have been here when last year he came to me. By the way, they had been in the church the whole time. Incognito, never wanted it to be known who they were. They were just quietly sitting there watching. Then last year he came, he says, "We got to move to another city." I said, "Would you let me introduce you just one time?" He said, "Oh." I said, "Pray. One time I want people to know that you're real." Sure enough, the next Sunday, I said, "What do you think?" He said, "Okay." I got up that morning and I said, "You've heard this story. Many of you have heard this story. I want you to meet the man and his wife who actually did it." I had him stand up. They were sitting over here. The church gave them a standing ovation. It was glorious. He came up and said, took the microphone and just encouraged people, "Man, if God puts something on your heart, do it." It was just a great moment.
Here's my point. God gave us enough. It was enough but God was showing us that God was going to walk with us through the course of this life because then he did more. I'll tell you what, when God provided that way for us to go to Bible College, that wasn't the last of his miracles. God was just beginning. God is not finished yet. See, when God gave them the manna in the wilderness, that wasn't the last of the miracles. That was the first of the miracles, along with defeating the gods of Egypt and parting the Red Sea and destroying the armies of Egypt and bringing water out of a rock. These were the first miracles. They weren't the last ones. If they believed God, God was proving himself. If they would believe God, God would reveal himself to Israel all through the way.
God isn't finished. There is more. God has proven himself to you so that you will look into what God will yet do in your life. See, how about you? Have you stopped looking to God to do something with your life? God hasn't changed. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, the same God who walked with Israel in the desert is the same God who walks with us today. Do you believe this? Same God, hasn't changed. Are you still looking and watching for God to move in your life?
I was thinking of another occasion in the history of Israel. This is revealed to us in the book of Zechariah. When Israel got into the land, after a number of years, they did forget. They did walk away. They did turn their heart away from God. As a result, their nation was destroyed and Israel was exiled into Babylon, modern day Iraq, for 70 years. At the end of 70 years, then they were sent back to return to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. When they came back to Jerusalem, they were so discouraged at what they saw. The city is in ruins, a mountain of rubble and they were just so downhearted. We have to begin again. We have to start all over again.
Now, this is important because many people relate to this. What do you do when you got to start over even? It says in Zechariah 4:10, a very important word, "Do not despise the day of small beginnings." God, this is nothing. Look, I am nothing. This is nothing. I've got a mountain of obstacles and a mountain of rubble in front of me. God says a word, "Do not despise the day of small beginnings." These will be glad, referring to the eyes of the Lord. These will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the governor.
II. When God has Done Great Things; Bless Him
What's a plumb line? Well, a plumb line is what an engineer would hold to keep the wall straight. If you're going to build a wall, the very first thing you do is you set up a plumb line. First thing, first step, set up a plumb line. The eyes of the Lord, which range to and fro throughout the earth, these will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. Then He adds a very famous statement, Zechariah 4:6-7, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel. Take this word into your heart. This is the word of the Lord. It is not by might and it is not by power, it is by my spirit," says the Lord of hosts. What are you, oh great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will become a plain and he will bring forth the top stone, the finishing stone with shouts of grace. Grace. It was God's grace that did this. It was God's grace that did this.
That brings us to this next point, life lesson. This is a life lesson. When God has done great things for you, you bless him. When God has done great things, you bless him. Verse 7, "The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a good place. A land of brooks and water. A land of wheat and barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil, honey. A land where you will eat without scarcity in which you shall not lack anything." God is going to bring you to a good place.
Verse 10, "And when he has done it, when God has done it, when God has done great things, verse 10 says, when you've eaten and are satisfied, then you will bless the Lord your God for that good land that he's given to you. It's a life lesson. When God has done great things for you, when God has done great things for me, bless him. This is a key to spiritual maturity. It's a key to spiritual victory. It's a key to taking hold of greater things yet to come because God is not finished yet.
Here's another psalm that comes out of that same occasion, when Israel came back out of Babylon into Zion, and it says this in Psalm 126:1-6, "When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Our mouth was filled with laughter. Our tongue was filled with joyful shouting." He's summarizing this whole thing. Then they said among the nations, they said, "Well, you look at Israel. The Lord has done great things for them. Look at Israel. The Lord has done great things for them."
Then the psalmist adds, "The Lord has done great things for us. We are glad, so very glad." Then he adds this key lesson of life. "Those who sow in tears will reap with joy for shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, but bringing his harvest of sheaves with him." Here's the point. You come back. Got to rebuild with tears running down your face. You may be planting that seed. With tears running down your face, you're setting those stones and laying the mortar. Starting again. Laying the first bricks, laying the first stones, planting the first of the seed, tears running down your face.
The point is, but you do that, you sow that seed, you lay down those rocks, you put down that mortar, and here's the thing. He who sows in tears will reap and will reap with joyful shouting. Don't quit because you're discouraged. You plant that seed. You press forward. You lay down that rock. You put down that mortar. You press. You keep pressing. You sow in tears, if you got to sow in tears, but you keep sowing. You can lay down that rock in tears. It may be covered and wet with your tears, but you lay down that rock and you press that mortar into place and you keep building because he who builds will see that God has done it.
A. God’s discipline is spiritual training
He will reap with joy for shouting. Here's the point he wants to make. God's discipline. He says God was disciplining you in that desert. God was disciplining you as a man disciplines his son. It's a spiritual lesson. God's discipline is spiritual training. It says in verse five, "Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord was disciplining you as a man disciplines his son." I can almost guarantee that this is widely misunderstood. See, when many people think of the discipline of the Lord, they often think of it wrongly. They think of it as negative. They think of something to be avoided. They think God disciplines because he's angry. No, God disciplines because he loves. That’s a whole different thing. God disciplines because he loves. See, the word discipline, what does it mean, actually? See, the root of the word discipline means to train up, it means to teach, to make a disciple. Same root, isn't it? Disciple discipline. You cannot make a disciple without discipline. To make a disciple is to make a man or a woman with godly character, spiritual power to accomplish great spiritual things. That's why in Hebrews chapter 12, the writer says in verses 5 and 6, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faith when you are reproved by Him. For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines." He trains up with spiritual training to build something, to bring you to something, to bring something greater in your life.
I was thinking of a way to maybe illustrate this, so work with me on this. If you were an NFL football player, okay, just imagine. Work with me on this. Women, work with me on this. If you were an NFL football player, who would you want to play for? Not the team, the coach. Who would you want to play for? It's interesting the answers that I often hear from this question. Joe Gibbs, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi. Wow, these are some names. Why would you want to play for Joe Gibbs or Tom Landry or Vince Lombardi? Why would you want to play for them? Because they're good. Because they know how to make a player out of a man.
What if he disciplines you? What if he says, "No, you're going to run that again. You're going to run that play, and you're going to keep running that play until you get that play written on your heart. That's what you're going to do." What would you say in response to that? "What did you do? Did you bring me out to this field to let me die of exhaustion? Is that what you're doing?" No, you wouldn't say that. You know what you'd say, "Yes, sir. I'll run that play as many times I got to run that play because I know that you make men. You make great people, so I'll run it, and I'll run it, and I'll run it." See the difference?
Here's my point, I would rather be disciplined by the Lord than spoiled by anyone else. Discipline, Lord, if you need to because I know that you'll make a man or a great person, a place of spiritual victory and power. He will give life meaning. He will give life purpose. Otherwise, verse 17 says, "Otherwise, you may say in your heart, "My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth." I tell you what, success can be a dangerous thing. You finally get to the point where you can pay your bills. You get a promotion, a raise, things are starting to feel good. Starting to feel good. That's when you got to be very careful.
Otherwise, you don't think you need God anymore. "I'm good. I don't need God. How do you think I got this promotion? I worked hard. That's how. I used my smarts. I worked my way up this ladder. I did this." God says, "You be careful right there. You are treading on dangerous ground right there." God is saying, "I built that. I built that, and I can destroy it." This is a life lesson. When the Lord has done great things, bless Him. Give the Lord honor for it. "I bless you, Lord. You did great things in my life." I tell you what, God has done great things in my life. Anyone else? Bless the Lord. All my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Can we give the Lord blessing and praise even right now?
Because God isn’t finished. This is the thing. If a prisoner says in his heart, "I did this thing, my power, my might," they're diverting the course. That diverts the course. When you bless God and you honor God, then your course is straight before you, and your path will lead you into greater and greater things. Keep blessing God because He's not finished with you yet. There's still more. Don't divert the course. Verse 18 says, "You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who has given you the power to make this wealth, to confirm His covenant."
B. Man lives by every word God speaks
The last thing I want to say, and we'll conclude with this, he says, "He humbled you in the desert. He let you be hungry, that he might give you manna so that He might make you to understand one of the greatest lessons of life. Man does not live on bread alone. Man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Verse 3. This is a difficult lesson because life is not found in the things of this earth. That is not where life is found. God made us with his soul, and it's only when the soul is alive that a person is alive.
Jesus said in Luke 12:15, he said to them, "For not even when one has an abundance does his life consists of his possessions." The most important part of us is the soul. That's where life is found. These words out of Deuteronomy 8 were made famous when Jesus quoted them. Do you remember that as Jesus was beginning his ministry, he spent 40 days in the wilderness? Now, that's interesting. To begin his ministry, he spends 40 days in the desert, 40 days in the wilderness. How many years did Israel spend in the desert? 40. How many days did Jesus spend in the wilderness fasting? 40. That's interesting.
It says in Matthew 4:2-4, "After he had fasted 40 days and nights, he then became hungry. The tempter came and said to him, "Since you're the Son of God, then command that these stones become bread." He answered and said, 'It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" He then later said to his disciples in John 4, the famous story of when Jesus had that encounter with that woman at the well, this woman from Samaria. It was an amazing conversation after which she went into the city to tell the city, "You must meet this man."
After she had departed, the disciples came, and in John 4 says, "Rabbi eat." He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." Verse 34, Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me to accomplish His work. That's what sustains me. That's what delights me." I love that word right there. That's a great word for all of us. This is what's sustains me. I want to do your will, God. Pour out your spirit. Let your power be known, because I know this, you're not finished with me yet.
Father, thank you so much for your word, your grace on our lives. Father, I pray for every one of us in this room this morning, that we will look back, and we would see all the amazing ways that you have moved in our lives, how you have revealed yourself, how you have shown yourself to us. God, I say, I pray with everyone in this room that we would then look at all of those things, and then we would say to you, Lord, do it again. I know that you're not finished with me yet. There are great things yet to accomplish in my life. I want my life to honor you. God, move with your power, reveal your hand in my life.
Do it again. Do it again, Lord. Reveal your power. Reveal your hand in my life. Do it again. Would you say that to the Lord? Would you just say it by raising your hand in a bold way, raising your hand by saying, "Lord, I know that you have done great things." You have done great things in my life. Do it again. Do it again, Lord. Do it again. Use me. I want to honor your name in my life. Do it again. Father, thank you for moving in power. Thank you for all that you have moved and done. We say to you, we bless your holy name for the great things that you have done, and then we say, do it again. Father, we honor you and thank you in Jesus name, and everyone said--