Possess the Good Land

20/10/2019 13:08

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Date: 17 October, 2019
Text: Deuteronomy 4:22-31
Title: Possess that Good Land
 
Introduction:
 
As we come to Deuteronomy 4 this morning we find the old servant of the Lord, Moses (now about 120 years old) preparing Israel to possess the PROMISED LAND.
 
 exp. This term "promised land" comes from the promise given to the Father of the children of Israel - Abraham by God as recorded in Gen. 12:6  And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
7  And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.
 
HE IS PREPARING THEM TO MAINTAIN POSSESSION OF THAT GOOD LAND.
- The key is not military might or military strategy.
- The key is keeping their heart right with God.
 
Moses begins the chapter reminding them of the seriousness of God's law.
1  Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
2  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
ill. The first sin took place because of adding to God's Word and taking away from God's Word.
- Eve added to God's Word.
Gen. 3:2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
- Satan diminished from God's Word.
Gen. 3:4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
app. Adding to God's Word - catholic church forbidding to Mary, sacraments, etc or taking away from God's Word - like liberalism - BOTH VIOLATE GOD'S LAW.
 
Moses let's them know that God is serious about his law.
3  Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
ill. Baal-Peor
- King of Moab - Balaak wanted a false prophet - Balaam to curse Israel.
- Balaam - was not allowed of God to do so but would instead bless Israel.
- Balaam - counseled to destroy Israel with God's displeasure through idolatry.
Numbers 31:16  Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
 exp. Sexual sin led israel into idolatry.
Numbers 25:1  And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
2  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
3  And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
4  And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.
5  And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.
exp. God not only gave his law - but he enforces his law.
ill. Moses used a second illustration to emphasize this as even he could not enter the land because he disobeyed God.
exp. OUR TEXT - Deut. 4:22  But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: 
 
now - Back to Moses main idea - Deuteronomy 4:22
But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: 
but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
 
exp. They were going over to possess that good land and Moses wanted them to maintain possession of that land.
1) If they maintained possession, their enemies would be defeated.
2.) If they maintained possession, God would provide for them.
3.) To be dispossessed of the land was to be defeated.
 
My message this morning is POSSESS THAT GOOD LAND.
our text: v.23-31
 
1.) Are you living where your enemies are defeated?
2.) Where God is blessing and providing for you?
3.) Or have you been dispossessed of the land of promise?
 
I. If you are in the land, be careful.
23  Take heed unto yourselves, 
exp. It would sadly be easy in the land of blessing to forget the SOURCE of their blessing.
Deuteronomy 6:10  And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
11  And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
 ill. Do you remember teaching your children to ride a bike. Running with them while holding onto the seat to keep them from tipping.
exp. The child in pride thinks they are doing so well that they boast - then dad let's go. Or they demand that you take off the stabilizers and crash a few times before demanding that you put them back on.
exp. Human nature sadly is quick to cease to be dependent upon God.
1Co 10:12  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
app. And so Moses, warns the people to TAKE HEED UNTO THEMSELVES.
A. Remember God's covenant.
v.23 ...lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, 
exp. There were in a covenant relationship with God.
 ill. We enjoyed seeing Jamie and Rebekah and their baby this past week. Last year several of us witnessed Jamie and Rebekah entering into a marriage covenant. 
note: Marriage is a promised marriage agreement before God by man and wife to be faithful to one another until death.
exp. Adultery breaks that covenant between man and wife.
 note: When you got saved, you entered into an eternal (not until death do us part) covenant relationship with God by faith in Jesus. 
exp. Spiritual adultery - breaks that covenant. James used that idea when he said in....
Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
app. If we want to stay in the land of God's blessing, let us remember that we are in a covenant relationship with God and that we need to honour that covenant.
B. Remember God's law.
v.23 ...lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
exp. Idolatry would break their covenant with God and disposses them of the land.
 ill. The first two commandments are against idolatry.
Exodus 20:1  And God spake all these words, saying,
2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
exp. God is a merciful God to them that love him and keep his commandments. BUT - idolatry violates the first two commandments.
 question: What is an idol? Anything that steals men's hearts away from God.
1.) It is something men honour obey instead of God.
2.) It is something that takes God's place.
3.) It is something that controls men's actions.
4.) It is something is dearer to man than God.
app. Do you have any idols in your life today?
1.) It could be family. (Do you obey them or God, have they taken God's place, do they control your actions, are they dearer to you than God?)
Matthew 10:37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
exp. Do you make excuse to God because of family?
2.) It could be work. (Do you obey them or God, have they taken God's place, do they control your actions, are they dearer to you than God?)
Luk 14:19  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
exp. Do you make excuse to God because of work?
3.) It could be cherished sin. (Do you obey them or God, have they taken God's place, do they control your actions, are they dearer to you than God?)
Isa 59:2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
exp. Have you let sin separate you from God?
  4.) It could be hobbies, pleasure, enertainment, sports, digital devices....
Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
app. Has anything stolen your heart away from God? This is the heart of our text. This is the key problem of concern to Moses as he warns them to be careful.
 transition: Remember your covenant, Remember God's law....
C. Remember God's power.
24  For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, 
ill. Israel would hear these words and be reminded of the fearful fiery power of God.
 ill. Mount Sinai - Exodus 19:17  And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18  And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
ill. The pillar of fire - Exo 13:21  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
 ill. Sons of Aaron - Nadab and Abihu
Lev. 10:1  And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
2  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
ill. As a child I well remember an object lesson of fire which my dad gave us every Christmas. We would go out in the back garden and burn the Christmas tree. It would go up like a torch. 
 exp. We knew, you don't mess with fire.
app. God is not to be trifled with. He is a consuming fire. 
 transition: Remember your covenant, remember God's law, remember God's power.
D. Remember God's jealousy.
....even a jealous God.
ill. When someone tells you that they have a boy friend or a girl friend, you don't ask them how many they have. You expect even in those budding relationships that there is an exclusivity even at the point of uncertainty as to whether or not that person is their future spouse. 
exp. Certainly in marriage exclusivity is expected and if violated IS RIGHTLY THE SUBJECT OF JEALOUSY ON THE PART OF THE INJURED PARTY.
Proverbs 6:34  For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
question: How does God feel about you if He does not have first place or you are unfaithful to Him - He is RIGHTLY JEALOUS.
transition: Remember your covenant, remember God's law, remember God's power, Remember God is a jealous God.
E. Remember God's knowledge.
exp. I suppose an Israelite could think through this whole argument - God's covenant, His law, His power, and His jealousy and think - as long as God doesn't know about it (It's a little idol, I can hid it.... 
25  When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
exp. Moses let's them know that God is omipresent and omniscient. He is everywhere and He knows all things.
ill. Hagar - Had a good name for God with regard to this.
Gen 16:13  And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
 ill. Remember Elisha's servant - Gehazi - thought he could sin secretly. Namaan, captain of the host of syria - healed of his leperosy - Elisha refused his gift - but Gehazie coveted them and went secretly and lied to Namaan.
2 Kings 5:25  But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
26  And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
27  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
app. Lest we think that we can violate God's covenant without him knowing, Moses makes it clear that God has complete knowledge of our walk with Him.
transition : Remember your covenant, remember God's law, remember God's power, Remember God is a jealous God, remember God's knowledge
note: If someone is careful about these truths, they will continue to possess the land. BUT IF NOT....
 
II. If you are departing the land, be concerned.
exp. Someone could hear the truth Moses shared and not take it to heart thinking that they could just stay in the land DESPITE THEIR TURNING AWAY FROM GOD. But, they are wrong.
A. You departure begins as soon as you depart from God.
25  When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
exp. "when thou shalt... corrup yourself (idolatry) " - their departure begins.
B. Heaven and earth are witnesses that your departure is at hand.
 exp. Moses calls upon God creation to testify against them that they have chosen to depart as soon as they chose to depart from God.
1. You won't be able to stop it.
26  I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
exp. They thought they could maintain their land by their strength or wisdom, but they would fail without God. 
 ill. Deut. 1 - Moses has already recorded how strong Israel is without God.
```42  And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.
43  So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill.
44  And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.
 app. You can not raise a good family, have a good marriage, have a good Christian home, without God! Idolatry will not only separate us from God. It will remove us from the land of God's blessing.
2. God will be behind it.
27  And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
exp. They not only lose the blessing of God, they are under the judgment of God because of their idolatry.
3. Your false gods won't be able to help you.
28  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
 saying: Like talking to a rock.
 note: Idolatry really is like talking to a rock. 
exp. They were unrepentant and still following their idols. They would get no help from their idols because IDOLS CAN NOT HELP ANYONE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOTHING.
 app. Someone who's heart has turned away from God could think, I'll be fine.... I've got my entertainment, my family, my sports, my hobbies, my bank account....my IDOLS - they will help me. BUT THEY CAN'T HELP YOU - They don't know you or your needs - ONLY GOD DOES AND ONLY GOD CAN MEET YOUR NEEDS!
TRANSITION: If you are in the land - be careful. (Remember God's covenant, law, power jealousy, knoweldge.
If you are departing the land - be concerned. (Remember your departure begins when you depart from God, you can't stop it and your idols can't help you.)
 
III. If you are out of the land, be converted.
 exp. There could be a generation gap here. The parents, grandparents, great grandparents turned away from God. 
Or it may be that this person could return.
exp. And so for us this morning - 
- there could be a generation gap where your family has been away from God in idolatry.
- or it could be that you've let idols lead you away from God.
YOU NEED TO BE CONVERTED.
def. convert - "change their religious faith or belief" to God or back to God.
James 5:19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
app. If idols have taken you away from God - God wants you to get right with him this morning.
A. Conversion is possible when far away from God.
1. You can find God.
29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, 
exp. If this person, away in heathen land and far away from the land of promise, sought God, they could find him.
 ill. Children  many times will say about something they want to find - I can't find it. Did you look for it? "no." How do you expect to find if if you don't look.
exp. There are a lot of unbelievers who say something like, "God hasn't ever revealed himself to me." "I'll find out about God when I get there." 
 app. They aren't looking. Don't be foolish like that this morning. God is findable!
2. But, only if you diligently seek Him.
if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
exp. If you have not found God, I have a question, how hard have you looked?
 ill. woman who kept her wedding ring in a candle in their bathroom. Changed the decor in their bathroom and took a load to the tip, yes the candle was in the bag, realized it later that night when the tip was closed, 2 council workers and her husband spent 4 hours going through black bin bags....
app. If you don't take time to pray, to get in God's Word, go to church, ask questions, are you really in earnest about finding God. God is findable by those who seek with their whole heart and soul.
B. Conversion is possible when things are really bad.
30  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, 
exp. When they were under God's judgment and things were tough, they could be converted.
 ill. I meet people who say, "I don't want to get right with God just because things are tough. I feel like a hypocrite." But, I would remind them, things are tough because you are not right with God.
app. Many people would share their own testimony of coming to God during a difficult time. Turn to him and then stay with him when you get back in the land of God's blessing.
C. Conversion is possible even in the latter days.
even in the latter days, 
 exp. There was no expiry date on God's promise.
ill. A thief on the cross next to Jesus, found Jesus at death.
app. It is never to late to turn to God in this life. As long as a man has breath with which to cry out to God, God is ready to honour His Word. (Don't delay, but don't think it is too late.)
D. Conversion is possible if you are ready to follow God.
if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
exp. They couldn't return to the land of blessing with their idols. 
 note: You can't marry two people. Which do you chose?
ill. Joshua will say to this same group of people - Jos 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
 app. Conversion is possible if you are ready to turn and follow God. Are you ready to obey His voice?
E. Conversion is possible because God is merciful.
31  (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
exp. God wasnt being mean to Israel in banishing them from the Land. He is a just and holy God. He didn't want them to go away - but they did. BUT HE WAS WAITING FOR THEM TO RETURN TO HIM.
ill. Like the father of the prodigal son - if they came back 
- he would do something undignified and run to meet them.
- he would do something unexpected and throw a party.
app. Are you off of the land of blessing, God does not want you to stay there. He is ready to get you back in possession of the good land - because God is a merciful God.
 
Conclusion: Moses was preparing Israel to maintain possession of the land. Idolatry would steal their heart away from God and dispossess them from the land.
Do you possess the good land this morning?
Remember God's covenant, law, power, jealousy, knowledge.
Are you departing from the land? You won't be able to stop it and your idols won't help you.
Are you out of the land? You can be converted.
Even if you are far away from God.
Even if things are really bad.
Even if you have put it off for much of your life.
 
Only  if you are ready to turn and obey God.
Only because God is merciful.
 
May God help us - TO POSSESS THE GOOD LAND.
THE LAND OF BLESSING AND PROVISION.
THE LAND OF GOD'S PROTECTION.

Date: 17 October, 2019

Text: Deuteronomy 4:22-31

Title: Possess that Good Land

 

Introduction:

 

As we come to Deuteronomy 4 this morning we find the old servant of the Lord, Moses (now about 120 years old) preparing Israel to possess the PROMISED LAND.

 

 exp. This term "promised land" comes from the promise given to the Father of the children of Israel - Abraham by God as recorded in Gen. 12:6  And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7  And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

 

HE IS PREPARING THEM TO MAINTAIN POSSESSION OF THAT GOOD LAND.

- The key is not military might or military strategy.

- The key is keeping their heart right with God.

 

Moses begins the chapter reminding them of the seriousness of God's law.

1  Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

2  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

ill. The first sin took place because of adding to God's Word and taking away from God's Word.

- Eve added to God's Word.

Gen. 3:2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

- Satan diminished from God's Word.

Gen. 3:4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

app. Adding to God's Word - catholic church forbidding to Mary, sacraments, etc or taking away from God's Word - like liberalism - BOTH VIOLATE GOD'S LAW.

 

Moses let's them know that God is serious about his law.

3  Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.

ill. Baal-Peor

- King of Moab - Balaak wanted a false prophet - Balaam to curse Israel.

- Balaam - was not allowed of God to do so but would instead bless Israel.

- Balaam - counseled to destroy Israel with God's displeasure through idolatry.

Numbers 31:16  Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.

 exp. Sexual sin led israel into idolatry.

Numbers 25:1  And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.

2  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

3  And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

4  And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.

5  And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.

exp. God not only gave his law - but he enforces his law.

ill. Moses used a second illustration to emphasize this as even he could not enter the land because he disobeyed God.

exp. OUR TEXT - Deut. 4:22  But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: 

 

now - Back to Moses main idea - Deuteronomy 4:22

But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: 

but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.

 

exp. They were going over to possess that good land and Moses wanted them to maintain possession of that land.

1) If they maintained possession, their enemies would be defeated.

2.) If they maintained possession, God would provide for them.

3.) To be dispossessed of the land was to be defeated.

 

My message this morning is POSSESS THAT GOOD LAND.

our text: v.23-31

 

1.) Are you living where your enemies are defeated?

2.) Where God is blessing and providing for you?

3.) Or have you been dispossessed of the land of promise?

 

I. If you are in the land, be careful.

23  Take heed unto yourselves, 

exp. It would sadly be easy in the land of blessing to forget the SOURCE of their blessing.

Deuteronomy 6:10  And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11  And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

 ill. Do you remember teaching your children to ride a bike. Running with them while holding onto the seat to keep them from tipping.

exp. The child in pride thinks they are doing so well that they boast - then dad let's go. Or they demand that you take off the stabilizers and crash a few times before demanding that you put them back on.

exp. Human nature sadly is quick to cease to be dependent upon God.

1Co 10:12  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

app. And so Moses, warns the people to TAKE HEED UNTO THEMSELVES.

A. Remember God's covenant.

v.23 ...lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, 

exp. There were in a covenant relationship with God.

 ill. We enjoyed seeing Jamie and Rebekah and their baby this past week. Last year several of us witnessed Jamie and Rebekah entering into a marriage covenant. 

note: Marriage is a promised marriage agreement before God by man and wife to be faithful to one another until death.

exp. Adultery breaks that covenant between man and wife.

 note: When you got saved, you entered into an eternal (not until death do us part) covenant relationship with God by faith in Jesus. 

exp. Spiritual adultery - breaks that covenant. James used that idea when he said in....

Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

app. If we want to stay in the land of God's blessing, let us remember that we are in a covenant relationship with God and that we need to honour that covenant.

B. Remember God's law.

v.23 ...lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

exp. Idolatry would break their covenant with God and disposses them of the land.

 ill. The first two commandments are against idolatry.

Exodus 20:1  And God spake all these words, saying,

2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

exp. God is a merciful God to them that love him and keep his commandments. BUT - idolatry violates the first two commandments.

 question: What is an idol? Anything that steals men's hearts away from God.

1.) It is something men honour obey instead of God.

2.) It is something that takes God's place.

3.) It is something that controls men's actions.

4.) It is something is dearer to man than God.

app. Do you have any idols in your life today?

1.) It could be family. (Do you obey them or God, have they taken God's place, do they control your actions, are they dearer to you than God?)

Matthew 10:37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

exp. Do you make excuse to God because of family?

2.) It could be work. (Do you obey them or God, have they taken God's place, do they control your actions, are they dearer to you than God?)

Luk 14:19  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

exp. Do you make excuse to God because of work?

3.) It could be cherished sin. (Do you obey them or God, have they taken God's place, do they control your actions, are they dearer to you than God?)

Isa 59:2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

exp. Have you let sin separate you from God?

  4.) It could be hobbies, pleasure, enertainment, sports, digital devices....

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

app. Has anything stolen your heart away from God? This is the heart of our text. This is the key problem of concern to Moses as he warns them to be careful.

 transition: Remember your covenant, Remember God's law....

C. Remember God's power.

24  For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, 

ill. Israel would hear these words and be reminded of the fearful fiery power of God.

 ill. Mount Sinai - Exodus 19:17  And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.

18  And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

ill. The pillar of fire - Exo 13:21  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

 ill. Sons of Aaron - Nadab and Abihu

Lev. 10:1  And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

2  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

ill. As a child I well remember an object lesson of fire which my dad gave us every Christmas. We would go out in the back garden and burn the Christmas tree. It would go up like a torch. 

 exp. We knew, you don't mess with fire.

app. God is not to be trifled with. He is a consuming fire. 

 transition: Remember your covenant, remember God's law, remember God's power.

D. Remember God's jealousy.

....even a jealous God.

ill. When someone tells you that they have a boy friend or a girl friend, you don't ask them how many they have. You expect even in those budding relationships that there is an exclusivity even at the point of uncertainty as to whether or not that person is their future spouse. 

exp. Certainly in marriage exclusivity is expected and if violated IS RIGHTLY THE SUBJECT OF JEALOUSY ON THE PART OF THE INJURED PARTY.

Proverbs 6:34  For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

question: How does God feel about you if He does not have first place or you are unfaithful to Him - He is RIGHTLY JEALOUS.

transition: Remember your covenant, remember God's law, remember God's power, Remember God is a jealous God.

E. Remember God's knowledge.

exp. I suppose an Israelite could think through this whole argument - God's covenant, His law, His power, and His jealousy and think - as long as God doesn't know about it (It's a little idol, I can hid it.... 

25  When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:

exp. Moses let's them know that God is omipresent and omniscient. He is everywhere and He knows all things.

ill. Hagar - Had a good name for God with regard to this.

Gen 16:13  And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

 ill. Remember Elisha's servant - Gehazi - thought he could sin secretly. Namaan, captain of the host of syria - healed of his leperosy - Elisha refused his gift - but Gehazie coveted them and went secretly and lied to Namaan.

2 Kings 5:25  But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.

26  And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

27  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

app. Lest we think that we can violate God's covenant without him knowing, Moses makes it clear that God has complete knowledge of our walk with Him.

transition : Remember your covenant, remember God's law, remember God's power, Remember God is a jealous God, remember God's knowledge

note: If someone is careful about these truths, they will continue to possess the land. BUT IF NOT....

 

II. If you are departing the land, be concerned.

exp. Someone could hear the truth Moses shared and not take it to heart thinking that they could just stay in the land DESPITE THEIR TURNING AWAY FROM GOD. But, they are wrong.

A. You departure begins as soon as you depart from God.

25  When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:

exp. "when thou shalt... corrup yourself (idolatry) " - their departure begins.

B. Heaven and earth are witnesses that your departure is at hand.

 exp. Moses calls upon God creation to testify against them that they have chosen to depart as soon as they chose to depart from God.

1. You won't be able to stop it.

26  I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

exp. They thought they could maintain their land by their strength or wisdom, but they would fail without God. 

 ill. Deut. 1 - Moses has already recorded how strong Israel is without God.

```42  And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.

43  So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill.

44  And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.

 app. You can not raise a good family, have a good marriage, have a good Christian home, without God! Idolatry will not only separate us from God. It will remove us from the land of God's blessing.

2. God will be behind it.

27  And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.

exp. They not only lose the blessing of God, they are under the judgment of God because of their idolatry.

3. Your false gods won't be able to help you.

28  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

 saying: Like talking to a rock.

 note: Idolatry really is like talking to a rock. 

exp. They were unrepentant and still following their idols. They would get no help from their idols because IDOLS CAN NOT HELP ANYONE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOTHING.

 app. Someone who's heart has turned away from God could think, I'll be fine.... I've got my entertainment, my family, my sports, my hobbies, my bank account....my IDOLS - they will help me. BUT THEY CAN'T HELP YOU - They don't know you or your needs - ONLY GOD DOES AND ONLY GOD CAN MEET YOUR NEEDS!

TRANSITION: If you are in the land - be careful. (Remember God's covenant, law, power jealousy, knoweldge.

If you are departing the land - be concerned. (Remember your departure begins when you depart from God, you can't stop it and your idols can't help you.)

 

III. If you are out of the land, be converted.

 exp. There could be a generation gap here. The parents, grandparents, great grandparents turned away from God. 

Or it may be that this person could return.

exp. And so for us this morning - 

- there could be a generation gap where your family has been away from God in idolatry.

- or it could be that you've let idols lead you away from God.

YOU NEED TO BE CONVERTED.

def. convert - "change their religious faith or belief" to God or back to God.

James 5:19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

app. If idols have taken you away from God - God wants you to get right with him this morning.

A. Conversion is possible when far away from God.

1. You can find God.

29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, 

exp. If this person, away in heathen land and far away from the land of promise, sought God, they could find him.

 ill. Children  many times will say about something they want to find - I can't find it. Did you look for it? "no." How do you expect to find if if you don't look.

exp. There are a lot of unbelievers who say something like, "God hasn't ever revealed himself to me." "I'll find out about God when I get there." 

 app. They aren't looking. Don't be foolish like that this morning. God is findable!

2. But, only if you diligently seek Him.

if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

exp. If you have not found God, I have a question, how hard have you looked?

 ill. woman who kept her wedding ring in a candle in their bathroom. Changed the decor in their bathroom and took a load to the tip, yes the candle was in the bag, realized it later that night when the tip was closed, 2 council workers and her husband spent 4 hours going through black bin bags....

app. If you don't take time to pray, to get in God's Word, go to church, ask questions, are you really in earnest about finding God. God is findable by those who seek with their whole heart and soul.

B. Conversion is possible when things are really bad.

30  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, 

exp. When they were under God's judgment and things were tough, they could be converted.

 ill. I meet people who say, "I don't want to get right with God just because things are tough. I feel like a hypocrite." But, I would remind them, things are tough because you are not right with God.

app. Many people would share their own testimony of coming to God during a difficult time. Turn to him and then stay with him when you get back in the land of God's blessing.

C. Conversion is possible even in the latter days.

even in the latter days, 

 exp. There was no expiry date on God's promise.

ill. A thief on the cross next to Jesus, found Jesus at death.

app. It is never to late to turn to God in this life. As long as a man has breath with which to cry out to God, God is ready to honour His Word. (Don't delay, but don't think it is too late.)

D. Conversion is possible if you are ready to follow God.

if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;

exp. They couldn't return to the land of blessing with their idols. 

 note: You can't marry two people. Which do you chose?

ill. Joshua will say to this same group of people - Jos 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

 app. Conversion is possible if you are ready to turn and follow God. Are you ready to obey His voice?

E. Conversion is possible because God is merciful.

31  (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

exp. God wasnt being mean to Israel in banishing them from the Land. He is a just and holy God. He didn't want them to go away - but they did. BUT HE WAS WAITING FOR THEM TO RETURN TO HIM.

ill. Like the father of the prodigal son - if they came back 

- he would do something undignified and run to meet them.

- he would do something unexpected and throw a party.

app. Are you off of the land of blessing, God does not want you to stay there. He is ready to get you back in possession of the good land - because God is a merciful God.

 

Conclusion: Moses was preparing Israel to maintain possession of the land. Idolatry would steal their heart away from God and dispossess them from the land.

Do you possess the good land this morning?

Remember God's covenant, law, power, jealousy, knowledge.

Are you departing from the land? You won't be able to stop it and your idols won't help you.

Are you out of the land? You can be converted.

Even if you are far away from God.

Even if things are really bad.

Even if you have put it off for much of your life.

 

Only  if you are ready to turn and obey God.

Only because God is merciful.

 

May God help us - TO POSSESS THE GOOD LAND.

THE LAND OF BLESSING AND PROVISION.

THE LAND OF GOD'S PROTECTION.

 

THE LAND OF PROMISE.

THE LAND OF PROMISE.