Orwell Bible Church

Lord’s Day Message, July 5, 2020

Today’s message from Acts 14:21-28 can be viewed on our YouTube page or listened to and downloaded in mp3 format. Please contact us if you have questions or something we can pray for!

Information about giving offerings is here.

Current bulletin: July 5
This week’s daily devotional: July 6-12

Lord’s Day Message, June 28, 2020

Today’s message from Philippians 2:14-16 can be viewed on our YouTube page or listened to and downloaded in mp3 format. Please contact us if you have questions or something we can pray for!

Information about giving offerings is here.

Current bulletin: June 28
This week’s daily devotional: June 29 – July 5

Lord’s Day Service, June 14, 2020

Today’s message from Romans 16:21-23 can be viewed on our YouTube page or listened to and downloaded in mp3 format. Please contact us if you have questions or something we can pray for!

Information about giving offerings is here.

Lord’s Day Service, June 7, 2020

Today’s message from Romans 16:17-20 can be viewed on our YouTube page or listened to and downloaded in mp3 format. Please contact us if you have questions or something we can pray for!

Information about giving offerings is here.

Deuteronomy 8 – Living by God’s Word

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

As Moses continued his instruction and exhortation to Israel regarding their covenant with the Lord, he now gives lessons from the past to warn them of rebelling against the he Lord (8:1-10:11).

Israel’s years of wandering in the wilderness had a disciplinary aim (vv. 1-5). They were to learn the necessity of God’s Word for life: believing and obeying him resulted in life, disobedience and unbelief brought death. It wasn’t a matter of physical “necessities;” God miraculously provided those. Thus, when Israel received God’s miraculous provision of the promised land, they were to focus on the Lord and his Word, not the physical bounty they enjoyed (vv. 6-10).

Moses warned Israel of the great danger of physical prosperity: forgetting God by not obeying him (vv. 11-17). Such forgetfulness resulting in apostasy (v. 19a) is gradual, never sudden. In Israel’s case, as they focused on the bounty of the land they would lose the discipline of focusing on the Lord. God’s deliverance from Egypt and provision in the wilderness would be forgotten and they would take the credit for their great prosperity. Forgetting God would be manifested by their throwing his commands aside and focusing on prosperity and abundance.

Moses’ admonition and warning was that Israel must focus on the Lord, not things (vv. 18-20). When they focused on the Lord they would enjoy God’s continued blessings as he promised to the patriarchs. When they focused on things they would turn from the Lord and worship idols, and in doing so they would perish. Believing and obeying the Lord brought life, disobedience in unbelief brought death.

Note:

  1. God’s purpose in trials is to strengthen faith by seeking and trusting him in the difficult circumstances.
  2. Believers must not orient their lives toward or by the necessities of life, but rather on doing God’s will. Cf. Matt 6:31-34; Phil 4:11-13; Col 3:1-4; 1 Tim 4:8; 6:6-10
  3. God’s preventatives for apostasy are his Word; faithful, trusting obedience to it; remembering he is the God from whom all blessings flow; and the discipline and training he provides through trials.
  4. The right response to God’s blessing and bounty is praise, thanksgiving, and obedience, (cf. vv. 6, 10).
  5. Beware the peril of apostasy in times of prosperity and ease. The seeds of apostasy are self-centeredness and forgetting God, and are planted in the heart. Those seeds grow to be life-choking weeds (Mark 4:19).

Deuteronomy 7 – Israel’s Calling, Expectation, and Responsibilities

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

When Israel entered the land of their inheritance they were to utterly destroy every one of the Canaanites. They were to show no mercy to them, make no peace treaties, and not intermarry, for doing so would result in their apostasy from God (vv. 1–5).

The reason why Israel was to utterly destroy the Canaanites and their gods and make no peace treaties with them was because God chose Israel from all other peoples to be his holy people. His election of them was based entirely on his sovereign love and according to his purposes. It was not based in any way on them (vv. 6–8). Intermingling Israelite and Canaanite cultures and worship was contrary to their standing as God’s holy people.

Because of who God is and because of his righteous judgment Israel was to obey all of God’s commands (vv. 9–11).

When it came to Israel’s experience in the land, God promised prosperity in every aspect of life, freedom from sickness and disease, and victory over the Canaanites. Such blessings would be Israel’s only as they listen to and obey God’s ever command (vv. 12–16).

Furthermore, Israel’s feelings and desires were to be controlled by God’s past works, his “behind the scenes” providences, his presence, and his plan. Thus, Israel should not have feelings of fear toward the Canaanites, though vastly outnumbered and outmatched by them, because God would give the victory. Also, Israel should not desire what God condemned. Doing so would ensnare them, bringing God’s judgment upon them. Because God hated it, they were to hate it (vv. 17–26).

Note:

  1. These blessings (and curses) from God to Israel were actual and literal. Christians should not expect such in this dispensation for they are not under Mosaic Law.
  2. God commands what his people should do, how they should feel, and what they should desire.
  3. God’s electing grace springs from his discerning, sovereign love and is according to his purposes. God’s election is never based on human beings; there isn’t a single person who merits God’s grace.
  4. God’s people must always remember God’s past works, his providences, his presence, and his promises.
  5. Disobedience brings trouble.
  6. God’s commands are clear and simple and should not be rationalized or ignored.

Deuteronomy 6 – Truly Loving God

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Moses exhorts Israel to love the Lord with their entire being and thereby obey his commandments. This is the essence of God’s covenant with Israel. God delivered Israel from Egypt, brought them to the land, and gave them these commandments because he loved them. Israel should thus love the Lord wholly and entirely.

Such faithful, devoted love for the Lord would be seen in tangible ways: continual reminders on their persons and in their homes (vv. 8-9); faithful teaching of children and grandchildren in every time of life (vv. 2, 6-7, 20-25); resisting temptations to forget God and go after idols, resulting from forgetting God because of the abundant bounty they inherited (vv. 10-15); resisting temptation to complain against God because of difficulty (vv. 16-19).

If Israel demonstrated faithful, devoted love for the Lord, then God would bless them in tangible ways: long life and preservation as a nation (vv. 2, 24); increased population (v. 3); and enjoyment of the promised land (vv. 3, 18-19).

Lastly, if Israel so loved the Lord and demonstrated that love by glad, willing obedience, they would have a right standing before him (v. 20). This is not legalism, for the root is faith in and love for the Lord and the fruit is glad, willing obedience to the Lord. Neither can truly exist apart from the other.

Note:

  1. Truly fearing (believing in) the Lord is evidenced by obeying the Lord.
  2. Israel’s covenant with the Lord given at Mt. Sinai promised blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. It was a “conditional” covenant. It was not a covenant for personal salvation so much as it was a national covenant between a people and their Sovereign.
  3. True love for God is evidenced in every area of life.
  4. God’s Word and ways must be inculcated in children.
  5. Living, devoted obedience of God’s Word protects from dangers from both affluence and affliction.

Deuteronomy 5 – The Law of Israel

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Moses second message begins at 4:44 and extends to 26:19, detailing the obligations of the covenant.

At Horeb (Mt. Sinai) God made a covenant with the nation of Israel that he brought out of Egypt. This covenant consisted of various testimonies, statutes, and judgments which made up the law, the governing code which regulated every aspect of Israelite life in the Old Testament theocratic kingdom. This kingdom with its governing law code began at Mount Sinai (v. 2). The law and the theocratic kingdom were essentially bound together (vv. 2-3, 6, 15-16, 31, 33). Continuance in and enjoyment of the blessings of the kingdom depended on adherence to this law. This laws governance, authority, administration, and enforcement occurred in the realm of this kingdom.

The Lord through Moses gave the Ten Commandments to Israel (note v. 3). The first four commandments addressed Israel’s responsibilities to the Lord, and the last six their responsibilities to one another.

Israel’s response to this event (cf. v. 22) was frightened awe and amazement. Consequently they feared for their lives and begged Moses to mediate between them and God. God agreed with their assessment, sent them back to their tents, and had Moses remain to receive all the rest of the law that would govern Israel in the promised land.

Note:

  1. God gave the law to Israel to govern them in their land. It is distinctly Israelite. It involves details of daily life, as well as morality and worship.
  2. The law is a single code, a unified whole, consisting of individual statutes and judgments. It revealed God’s righteous will for Israel in every aspect of life. Separating it into different laws (such as civil, moral, and ceremonial) invalidates it entirely. Note v. 33, “all…”
  3. Merely hearing God’s Word or being in awe of him are insufficient. These are all external. What is needed is a heart to love, fear, and obey him (vv. 10, 29).
  4. Because the law was from God and obeying it brought blessing, it is good.
  5. The Christian must distinguish between the law as a code and some of its commandments which are also part of the law of Christ. The fact that some individual commandments are part of Christ’s law does not mean Christians are under the Mosaic law. Christians are under the jurisdictional authority of Christ’s law (Rom 8:2-4; Gal 6:2; Jas 2:12) not the Mosaic law (Rom 7:4; 10:4; Gal 5:18) which no longer serves as a governing code (John 1:17; Heb 7:12, 18-19; 8:13).

Deuteronomy 4 – Know, Obey, and Fear the Lord

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Having established Israel’s recent history, Moses transitions to God’s laws which were essential to his covenant with Israel.

Israel must listen to Moses’s teaching of the Law, for obedience is necessary for living in the land. Obedience brings life, disobedience brings death (1–4). Obedience was essential for wisdom and understanding; merely having and knowing the Law was insufficient, but walking in wisdom would make them like no other nation (5–6).

Indeed, what set Israel apart from every other nation was their God, who appeared and spoke to them, whom they could speak to in prayer and be heard, and who gave them good and righteous statutes so they would fear him (7–14).

Consequently, Moses warned Israel of the great danger of worshiping according to their feelings and own ideas, for that would result in idolatry and corruption (15–24). Moses foretold that the time would eventually come when Israel would corrupt their way and God would destroy and disperse them. Yet because God is merciful and faithful, he would deliver them when they called for help (25–31).

Moses concluded his message by pointing Israel to the fact that there is no God like the Lord who created mankind, spoke from the fire, and redeemed a nation by great miracles. Israel saw this so they would know the Lord. God let them hear his voice. God loved the patriarchs and chose to bless them and their descendants. Therefore, Israel must know there is no other God, and determine to obey him all their days (32–40).

While on the east side of the Jordan Moses appointed three cities of refuge, one in each of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh (41–43).

Note:

  1. God’s Word must continually be taught to know and obey it. No one innately knows God’s truth.
  2. Obedience is essential to wisdom. Merely knowing facts is insufficient. A great many fools are very smart.
  3. The majority of humanity are spiritually ignorant, corrupt, and idolatrous. The only reason some are not is because God loved them despite their sinfulness and enabled them to know and love him. The knowledge of the Lord separates God’s people from the world
  4. God cannot be known or feared apart from his revealed Word.
  5. God’s election is based solely on his distinguishing love. Faith and obedience are the evidence and results of God’s love.
  6. Worship that is driven and controlled by human feelings is anti-God and idolatrous.

Deuteronomy 3 – Strengthening Faith

Moses concluded his historical review as part of his introduction to renewing the covenant between the Lord and Israel. Following Israel’s total destruction of Sihon, the king of Bashan, Og, attacked them. Before the battle the Lord assured Moses of total victory, just like they experienced over Sihon. Moses and Israel should not then fear Og and his mighty empire but utterly destroy them, which they did. No matter how stout and skilled the attacker or how well fortified and defended the empire’s 60 cities were, all were completely annihilated.

These conquered territories were then given to the Israelite tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh as their inheritance.

Moses exhorted and encouraged his successor, Joshua, that just as God defeated these pagan kingdoms so he would do to every Canaanite nation. Joshua should therefore not be intimidated by the Canaanites, because the battles would not be won by Israel, but by the Lord God himself.

All this greatly affected Moses. The Lord had only begun to show his greatness and mighty power, evidences of his being the one true and living God who does whatever he pleases. Moses thus asked the Lord to be able to cross the Jordan and see the promised land, but God expressly forbade it and told Moses not to ask about that again.

Note:

  1. God directs circumstances that believers would not seek, in order to strengthen their faith. Sihon and Og attacked Israel, Israel did not take the initiative to attack them, and that was by God’s doing. Seeing God do what he said he would do encourages and strengthens faith and then compels faith driven initiative.
  2. There are some things you don’t need to and shouldn’t pray about. While God’s promises are and should be the fuel and content of prayers, whatever he prohibits should not be prayed for.

Deuteronomy 2 – It Begins

Moses continued his historical account of Israel in the wilderness. Israel left its 38-year cycle of circling in the desert after everyone of the first generation died. As Israel approached Canaan God forbade their attacking Edom, Moab, and Ammon because of their relation to them. Indeed, Israel was to pay these countries for any food or water they used.

As Israel made their way through those countries God caused the various Canaanite nations to be absolutely terrified of Israel. Consequently, though Moses peacefully asked permission of Sihon to pass through their land, Sihon absolutely refused and came out to destroy Israel. Unlike the account in Numbers which simply relates the historical details, here Moses provides the fuller perspective. Despite the terror at the coming Israelites (v. 25), Sihon and his people were bound and determined to fight Israel to the very last of them. This determination was entirely theirs because God hardened his heart, letting Sihon fully go the way of a sinful heart. Consequently the Lord delivered them all into Israel’s hand.

Lord’s Day Service, May 31, 2020

Today’s message from Romans 16:3-16 can be viewed on our YouTube page or listened to and downloaded in mp3 format. Please contact us if you have questions or something we can pray for!

Information about giving offerings is here.