How to Truly Live
October 10-11, 2020
The Book of Deuteronomy is Moses' last final speech that he gives to Israel before they cross the Jordan and enter the promised land. They're at the end of their 40 years. God has told Moses, you are not leading these people across that Jordan, and we're going to read why here in these verses, so he's got one last opportunity, one last speech. I tell you, if you had one last speech, it would be epic. I was thinking that.
Imagine that you're on your deathbed or let's say, you know your time is near, and your family gathers around to hear your last thoughts. In your heart, you want to give to them, especially the younger ones, you want to give to them those truths, those principles, the life lessons that they're going to need to make it, and you're going to give your heart and I just think what a powerful picture is that.
Israel is about to cross the Jordan, and God wants it to go well with them, but he knows that he is sending them out into a land that's filled with the things of the world that will poison their soul. That's the problem. That's the issue. What is it that they can hear that would help them to truly live and they keep from those things that will destroy their nation and their lives?
Over and over in this book, we've been reading it as we've been going through these warnings of the dangers that are in that world that they're going to encounter. He says it this way, "Give heed to yourselves, keep your soul diligently, lest you forget all the things that God has done, that your eyes have seen." In other words, never forget, God has blessed, God has done so much.
He says, "Lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Watch yourself carefully, lest you act corruptly and go after the images of the world. Beware, lest you be drawn away. Watch yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord, which he made with you, for the Lord God is a consuming fire."
Then just to make the point so abundantly clear, he said, "Now, when you cross the Jordan, I want the nation of Israel to go into this particular Valley, the Valley of Shechem. On one side, there's a hill, Mount Ebal. On another side, there's Mount Gerizim. I want some of the Jewish leaders to go up onto Mount Ebal and to call out to the people, all the warnings, all the disasters, all the troubles that will come upon their lives if they turn away from God. I want some leaders to go up to Mount Gerizim, and I want them to shout over the people, the blessings of God, the favor of God, the hand that would bless if they walk with God with all of their hearts."
I was mentioning on Wednesdays, it's kind of like a parent that is sending their kids off to college or sending them out into the workaday world. We raised five kids, and so we sent many kids out into the world. I'll tell you, as a parent, when you're sending your kids to college or you're sending them out into the workaday world, whatever, you know, you are sending them out to the wolves. That's an apt description of what happens. You send your kids out, you know that you are sending them out to the wolves.
You so want their lives to go well, you really want them to do well in life, and you know the key, you know the answer. If they would just walk with God, if they would just stay with God and walk with God, all the blessings that would come on their lives. You know the answer, and so you want to instill it into them, and that's the urgency of what is on God's heart and Moses' heart as he gives this message.
Let's read it. We're in Deuteronomy 32. We're going to begin in verse 44. Remember, now Moses has just finished giving them a song. He wanted to put the heart of God into the words of a song that they could teach it, sing it, and remember it because they didn't have it like we have. We all have a copy of the speech of Moses, but they didn't, so they learned it in a song.
All right. Chapter 32: 44. "Then Moses came and he spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. He, with Joshua, the son of Nun. When Moses had finished speaking all the words to all Israel, he then said this, 'Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For this is not an idle word for you. This is no insignificant word for you. Indeed, this is your life, and by this word, you shall prolong your days in the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.'"
You want it to go well, you want the prosperity of the hand of God, this is the key. You want the favor of God in your life, this is the key, but then he says this, verse 48. "And then the Lord spoke to Moses that very same day and He said this to Moses, "Now go up to the mountain of the Abarim." The Abarim is a mountain ridge to Mount Nebo.
Last year, when we went to Israel, a large group of us, we went to this very place. I tell you, when you go there, it all just opens up to you because from Mount Nebo on the ridge of the Abarim, you can look out and you can see, there's the Dead Sea, there's the Jordan River, and there's Jericho, right opposite you, and then beyond that, the hills of Judea.
Oh, the Word of God just comes alive when you see it because He says, "Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho. Look at that land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel, then you will die on this mountain where you ascend, and you will be gathered to your people as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people because you broke faith."
Now, we're going to see what happened, we're going to go over this story, "because you broke faith," in other words, you did not believe, "In the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat me as holy." This is a very key understanding. "You did not treat me as holy in the eyes, or in the midst of the sons of Israel, but you will see the land at a distance, but you will not go there into the land which I'm giving to the sons of Israel."
I. Write These Words on Your Heart
These are the words I want us to see, and to see how they apply because I want us to recognize the significance after he gives his great speech and the words of this song, he then says this. "Write these words on your heart." It's the theme of the speech. It's over and over, he presses this into them, "Write these words on your heart."
Notice, Deuteronomy 6:6-7, "These words, which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your sons, you shall talk about them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." That's a lot of talking about that because he says this is the key. Take these words to your hearts, because he knows it will keep them from falling, from shipwrecking their lives.
A. God’s Word is God’s heart
Take these words, write them on your heart, and here's why because God's word is God's heart. God's word is God's heart. When you take hold of God's Word and you write it on your heart, you're taking God's heart and you're putting it on your own heart. The power of that is key. You see, because even us, our words are powerful. The words we speak are powerful. The reason our words are powerful is because when you speak, you are speaking from who you are. Your words come from who you are.
It's like what Jesus said in Luke 6:45, "The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart," so your words are powerful too because you are speaking from who you are, therefore, be very wise. Your words can hurt, your words can cut down, your words can criticize or your words can build up. They can strengthen, they can edify because when you speak, you are speaking from who you are.
A person who is wise will learn to choose his words carefully because they're powerful. In fact, James gives a warning to that. James 3:8-10, he says, "No one can tame the tongue. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse men who have been made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not be this way."
Our words are powerful because you speak from who you are. They can edify, they can build up, they can criticize or tear down, but God's word is the very power of life and death because when God sends his word, he is sending the heart of God with that word. That's why Moses gave this admonition. It's the key to revival. It's the key to keeping them from being spiritually shipwrecked. There's some powerful verses that speak to this very point.
Notice, Hebrews 4:12, one of the powerful verses in this regard. "For the word of God is alive." It's not just a printed word on a page. "The word of God is alive, it's living, it's active, it's sharper than any two-edged sword. Piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit of both joints and marrow, able to judge the very thoughts and the intentions of the heart." When God sends His word, He sends it with His heart and He sends it with power. He sends it to accomplish the purpose for which He sent it. I love that point.
In fact, Isaiah 55, I love the whole chapter. Listen to this verse, verse 11, "So shall my word be which goes forth from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." He sends His heart. He sends His power. When you take God's word and you write it on your heart, the very presence of God, God's heart is on your heart. You are carrying His heart. That's why, the condition of the heart is everything. See, a good heart desires what is good. That's what he tells us, a good heart will desire what is good.
B. A good heart desires that which is good
Notice verse 46, "Take these words into your heart." He knows that if they don't do this, there's simply is no hope. This is the key to revival. This is the key to them doing well in the land. It's the key to spiritual prosperity. To receiving the blessings of God. Jesus spoke also of the condition of the heart. It really is the key to our relationship to God, notice what He said. He said, "Now, the word of God being sown is like a farmer sowing his seed and that falls on different types of soils." He said that that seed can land on the hard path. That's like the heart that's hard.
The heart that's hard cannot receive the word of God at all. It bears nothing. He said, "There's another kind of harder soil, it's like the soil that's filled with rocks and it's very thin, shallow. Then receives the word of God, but there's no depth. Then as the heat of the sun arises, it withers." In other words, it's easily offended at the slightest difficulty. It bears no fruit at all.
Then there's another kind of heart, He says it's like the heart filled with thorns. He says it's like the word of God is received, but then the worries of the world and the cares of the day, they choked the word, and it bears no fruit at all. There's another kind, the good soil, He says, receives the word. Notice what He says, Luke 8:15, "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart and they hold it fast, and they bear fruit with perseverance." You want to bear fruit? This is the key.
He says, "The good heart takes hold and holds it fast," because when you take hold of the word of God, you are taking the heart of God into your own. It's like this, what Jesus spoke in Luke 6:45. I love quoting this because it's such a powerful understanding so relevant to where people are right now today. Luke 6:45, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good. The evil man, out of the evil treasure, brings forth what is evil, for the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart." The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart.
You take hold of the word of God, you've got the heart of God on yours. That's when you speak forth life. The question is if a good man out of the good treasure brings forth what's good, the question is how do you get good treasure in the heart? How does that happen exactly? The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 119:11, "Your word have I treasured in my heart--" I treasured, notice the word, it's precious to me. "Your word have I treasured in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Yes, you take His word, you have His heart. You put His heart on your heart, and you will not sin against Him. Just like Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." I like the King James there. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is." When you have the heart of God written on yours, it's going to transform how you think. It's going to transform how you live. It's going to transform your heart. Since this is true that the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart, we must be very, very thoughtful and careful about that which fills the heart.
The Prophet Jeremiah gives us this picture, I just think it is so beautiful. It says it this way, Jeremiah 15:16, "Your words were found and I ate them."
I just love that picture because it shows you the taking in, the consuming in. "Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and a delight of my heart. For I had been called by your name, Oh, Lord God of hosts." He's right. What a picture is that. "Your words were found and I ate them and they became joy and a delight in my heart."
Yes, because you have the heart of God in your heart, it's going to be a joy. It will be a joy to you. I will tell you because God is love, joy, and peace. You take the heart of God in yours, it will be a joy and a delight to you and it will strengthen your faith. The scripture tells us, Romans 10:17, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Want to get strengthened in your faith? There's the key. The heart then is the answer. What you put into your heart will determine how you live your life. What you put into your heart will determine how you live your life.
I tell you, there are so many inputs today. There are more inputs than ever in the history of the world. The technology that we have available today is such that the myriad, various ways that input can come into you, oh, my word. All manner of sources of inputs can come into your heart. Therefore, be very, very careful because those things can either fill your heart with doubt which leads you away from God, or it will lead you toward God. When you take God's word, you are taking God's heart and you're writing it, you're putting it on your own.
I want to give you a quote now from A.W. Tozer, one of the great writers of Christian History. He makes such a powerful point. I want you to listen to this quote. A.W. Tozer said, "We are all in the process of becoming. We're all in the process of becoming, but we are becoming what we love. We are, to a large degree, the sum of our loves. We will of moral necessity grow into the image of what we love most. For love is among other things a creative affinity. It changes, it molds, it shapes, and transforms. We're all in the process of becoming."
II. Give Weight to God’s Word
That's why he said, "Hear O Israel. The Lord our God is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart and all of your soul, and all of your strength," because it will transform your life. That's why these next verses that he's going to give to us are so important to take hold of. We can see it and summarize it this way. Give weight to God's word. Notice what I'm saying, verse 47. "This is not an idle word for you, this is no insignificant word for you. Indeed, this is your life." This is no idle word.
In other words, this is the word of God. How much weight does that have? See, if they followed God's word, if they put weight to God's word, they would prosper, see the strong hand of God's blessing on their lives. If they didn't, if they follow the idols and turn their hearts away, they would see famine and troubles and the presence of conquering armies. Would they believe? Will you? How much weight do you put to the word of God? Now, that's shown to us in this account of what happened with Moses.
He says in verse 50, "Go up to the mountains of Abarim, Mount Nebo, and then you will die in that mountain. You'll be gathered to your people. You will not cross this Jordan," verse 51, "Because you broke faith with me, you did not believe me." When did this happen? I'll tell you the occasion because He says it was at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel.
What happened? It was this. They came to Meribah and there was no water. The people began to grumble very strongly against Moses and against God. They complained bitterly, "Why did God even bring us out of Egypt? Were there not enough graves in Egypt?" They began to grumble and mumble against God. God said to Moses, "Stand in front of the people with the staff in your hand, then I want you to speak, just speak to the rock. Then that rock will bring forth water to satisfy their thirst and that of their beasts. That's what I want you to do, Moses."
Now there's a picture. There's a picture He wants Moses to demonstrate to them, but that's not what Moses did. Moses was angry at these people. These people are grumbling, difficult, murmuring people. He became angry and he stood up there. Oh, he had his staff in his hand. He stood up in front of Israel and he started his speech like this, "Listen up you rebels." Now I suggest when you start a speech with, listen up you rebels, it's probably not going in the direction of God's heart.
Moses is angry. "Listen up you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?" Then he took the staff and he struck the rock. That's not what God said. "I want you to speak to the rock." He struck it not once. He struck it twice because God was making a point. Do you remember? It goes back. It goes back to when Moses had first led the people out of Egypt. They had come to this place. There was no water and the people were grumbling and they're complaining. God said to Moses, "Take your staff and strike the rock once. Once that rock is struck, it will bring forth water."
Now the scripture clearly tells us that that rock was Christ. It's irrefutable. It's absolutely irrefutable because He tells us in the scriptures, "And that rock was Christ." He's making a picture of the provision of Jesus Christ. Having been struck once, it must never be struck again because it pictures Jesus on the cross struck, taking the penalty for our sin upon Himself on the cross.
He died once, and once for all, and such was the provision of what Jesus did for us on the cross. That never again would such a provision need to be made because that was so sufficient that it paid for the sins you've ever committed in your life. That if you ever need the living water, you simply speak it. It's as near as your mouth, you just ask. That was the point. That was the message he wanted to relate to the people of Israel. It was prophetic, but Moses was mad. Moses was angry, and so he let his anger be such that he did not listen.
In other words, he did not give weight to the word of God. You give weight to God's word. Then you have come to recognize that this is the word of the Almighty. This is the word of the Almighty. It has weight. See I tell you, there needs to be more revering today? There needs to be more revering of God. Too many people, they're very flippant. They're flippant about the word, they're flippant about God. There needs to be more revering. Put some weight, put some weights on this word.
Let me give you a verse that shows it to us so powerfully. Galatians 6:7-9, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked." Now that's a weight of a word right there. There's some weight to that word. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from that flesh reap corruption. The one who sows to the Spirits will from the Spirits reap eternal life." He says, "Therefore, let us not lose heart in doing good. For in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary."
A. The world’s promises are empty
I tell you, this is a word that if you put weight to this word, it will transform your life. It will transform your life. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. That which a man sows, he will also reap." You put weight to that. You put weight to that. "The one who sows to the flesh will from the flesh reap corruption." You put weight to that. "The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap life." You put weight to that. Put weight to God's word. Don't put weight on the world's promises because the world's promises are empty.
There are many who get in trouble today because they don't give weight to God's word and they believe what the world has got to say. They put weight on the world's promises. I remember I was thinking of an illustration. When I was young, when I was young, I watched a lot of television. I don't watch TV today. Back in those days, there was a lot of cigarette commercials. I'm sure that they don't do that today.
Back when I was young, when I was young, we had all these cigarette commercials and I remember very well the Marlboro Man. Anybody remember? It's like the message of the Marlboro Man was, "You want to be a man, you need that hat and you need those Marlboros. That's what a man-- That's a man right there. He's got the hat. He's got the Marlboro's. That's a man's man." That's what the message I got until I heard my dad coughing and hacking every morning, and I knew it was a lie.
My dad smoked like packs a day. In the morning when he coughed, it wasn't a little [coughs]. He was hacking and we were all worried. "What is he doing? It's like he's coughing his lungs out." I knew it was a lie. I thought, "What a picture?" "What an illustration?" Don't give way to the world. if you, "Oh, what is the world from us? Oh, if you've got the right toys, if you got the right parties, if you got the best friends, then your life will have meaning and your heart will be full." You put weight on that? Those are empty promises.
Ecclesiastes 5:10, "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money." That's what God says. "Nor he who loves abundance will be satisfied with his income. This too is vanity."
B. The eternal God is a dwelling place
It's empty, but you take hold of God's word. You put weight on God's word because God's word is God's heart. There's where life is. There's the stuff of life. God's heart is joy. God's heart is peace. God's heart is life because this is what he says in the next chapter, but it's so good, I bring it to this one.
"The eternal God is a dwelling place." Listen to this word. It's from the next chapter. It's from Deuteronomy 33:27. He gives them all of this speech, and then he says, "Because the eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms." If you've been in the church a long time and know some of the old hymns, you might know that there was a hymn in the church written on that very verse, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
The point is this, "The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms." We need more dwelling. We need more dwelling in the presence of the eternal God because there is the heart of God. There His presence is found that will transform your life. It reminds me of Moses when he first brought the people out of Egypt. He brought them to Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb, and he set up what he called the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who wanted to meet God, anyone who wanted to meet God could come to this tent, this place, the tent of meeting.
It says that Moses would regularly go there. When Moses would go to the tent of meeting, the glory of God, would reside on that place. It says, "God will speak to Moses like a man speaks to his friend." What a beautiful picture is that? The eternal God is a dwelling place. Hey, if you are called a son, and you are, if you are a daughter, you're in a relationship to God where He wants to have a nearness, dwell there. The eternal God is a dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms.
You may be pressed down, weighted down, burdened down, but it's there you will find the everlasting arms of God. Jude 1:24, "Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without falling, with great joy." There is the abundance of God's blessing and presence. We need more dwelling. We need to dwell more. It'll transform your life, and then the blessing of God—
C. This is the substance of life
Notice, 1st Corinthians 2:9, "As it is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered the heart of men the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." Which is to say, you have no idea, what God wants to do, how He wants to bless, how he wants to reveal to you, you have no idea. We need more dwelling. We need more dwelling in the presence of the living God because He says, "This is no idle word for you." He says, "This is no idle word. This is your life, this is the substance of life."
This has been the theme of the book, this has been the theme. Notice all the way back to Deuteronomy 8:3, "Man does not live by bread alone," that's not where life comes from, "Man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Jesus quoted that very verse. It's not by bread you live, your life is by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God because when He sends forth His word, He sends His heart. You have His heart on yours, the overflowing of the Spirit will bless your life. We need more dwelling.
These are not idle words, this is your life. This is the reality of Christ's presence, that is what will transform. You be in the presence of the living God it will transform your life. One of the great pictures of that I think comes out of the gospels where Jesus is coming from Jericho and He says that there's a man who's despicable, despised, hated as a betrayer of Israel and he admits it, his name was Zacchaeus, he was a tax collector, but he had heard that Jesus was coming that way and he just wanted to see Him.
"I just want to see this man that everyone speaks so much about, I just want to see him with my own eyes that's all." He had no thoughts at all that this man of God would have an interest in him, despised, despicable, betrayer. He had no thought at all that this man of God would have any interest in him, but he just wanted to see Him with his own eyes. He says that he was a man of short stature, so he climbed up into a tree and there he looked down, he could see that man of God in that crowd.
Jesus looked up and saw him there. The man was quite shocked when that son of God took an interest in him. "Zacchaeus, come down, I'm going to have a meal in your house today." Can you imagine, the son, the man of God wants a meal with me. It says he went and they had this meal and he was so transformed, the presence of God so transformed him that he became a completely different man.
The history in the story of Covenant Chapel is God taking a hold of wrecks, messes, people who have ruined their lives with all manner of ungodly worldly things, but God took an interest in them, and they took hold of God's heart and it transformed their lives. I tell you, God's not finished. He takes an interest in you. He has an interest in you and He wants to transform you, He wants the presence of the living God to be in your heart.
You take hold of the word of God, you've got the heart of God on yours and you can be sure that when the heart of God is on yours, you will be changed. We need more dwelling, we need more of God, we need more of His presence. We need more dwelling. Put weight to God's word, have his heart speak, you will be changed, you will be transformed. He has an interest in you, He's pursuing you, open your heart, He's pursuing you.
Father, thank you for your heart poured out to us. The eternal God is a dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms, oh, what a picture is that. God, we need more dwelling in the presence of God. We need to put weight to the word because there your heart is found. If the heart of God is on our heart, oh, the transformation that would come.
Church, here we are, the Holy Spirit is speaking life, the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart right now. God has an interest in you. I don't care how much of a scoundrel, I don't care how much you've done, how much of a wreck you've made, He has found an interest in you. He said, "If you'll open your hearts, I will come in." In the presence of God, that is how you will be transformed. When you take God's heart and you put it on your heart, you will be transformed.
How many today would say, whether you're in the sanctuary or the fellowship hall or watching from home, how many of you would say, "I want more dwelling in the presence of God. I want to dwell more." God has an interest in you, He wants to have a relationship, but you've got to put weight to that.
You've got to believe His heart is for you, would you open your heart to Him? Would you open your heart and say, "God, I want more. I want to dwell in the place where you are." Would you say that to the Lord? The eternal God is my dwelling place, I want more dwelling, I want to be nearer to the living God. Would you say that? You just lift your hand up to the Lord and just say it by raising your hand to the Lord. God bless you.
Those in the fellowship hall, just raise your hand to the Lord. It's His fear that will see, those that are home, raise your hand or raise your heart, let it be known to God, "I want more of you, take me, take my heart, thank you for finding an interest in me, thank you for pouring your spirit out, I want to dwell in the presence of the almighty." Father thank you for touching our lives, for moving by your Spirit. We ask that in Jesus' powerful name and everyone said, Amen.