• Wayne Fox

Sin is penalized by death

Sin is penalized by death

In the book of Deuteronomy we have a record of Moses giving the law a second time. Deuteronomy means “The Second Law”. God gave the law the first time at Mt. Sinai. Then the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years as a result of their disobedience to God. During the 40 years in the wilderness those above 20 years of age died. So Moses gave the survivors the law that God presented at Mt. Sinai a second time. The book of Deuteronomy is sometime called the “Book of Remembrance”. It is a series of sermons given by Moses who was 120 years old at this time to the new generation who survived the 40 years of wilderness wanderings before they entered the promise land. Many times in the book of Deuteronomy we see a divine treatise on obedience. We might go so far as to say it is an exposition of the great commandment we find in Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The total appeal of the book of Deuteronomy is to know God, to love God, to obey God, and to trust God.

In Deuteronomy 30:15-20 the Children of Israel are given a choice of two possibilities, life and good or death and evil. This brief paragraph calls the Children of Israel to make a choice. This paragraph contains several of the standard elements of the covenant pattern – stipulations, covenant sanctions, witnesses and the call to commitment. I didn’t place the full passage in this blog. I would challenge you at this point to pause and open up your Bible and read this passage.

We find similar statements in the New Testament in passages such as: Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Romans 5:13-14. We also find that God curses those who break His law Genesis 2:17. The world is different after the sin than it was before the sin of Adam and Eve. Death invaded and turned a good creation into a fallen one that we now live in. Sin has destroyed relationships and harmony in our world. The harmony between humanity and nature is destroyed since nature itself rebels against its ruler.

In Genesis 3 God reveals the consequences that sin has brought upon our life. God curses the serpent. There will be hostility between humanity and the serpent. The woman will experience pain in childbirth. Instead of a harmonious joy of marriage relationship the woman will experience a desire to rule her husband and her husband will mistreat her with oppressive power – Genesis 3:16. Instead of a joyous task of caring for the Garden of Eden the man will work the land with pain and sweat. Instead of enjoying communion with God through the Tree of Life, humanity will return to the dust from which they came. Childbirth became a painful effort. The harmony between human beings has been destroyed. Sin has introduced foreign elements like hostility, pain, and death into God’s good creation.

God permits for reasons known only to Himself, people to act contrary to and in defiance of His revealed will. But he never permits them to act contrary to His sovereign will. In other words a person can choose to disobey the things that God has revealed in Scripture, but that person cannot act contrary to the will of God. We can make plans but those plans can succeed only when they are consistent with God’s purpose.

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Proverbs 21:30 “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.

This is also expounded in other Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 7:13; Lamentations 3:37; James 4:15; Revelations 3:7.

Cannot Trust God?

Adversity and its accompanied emotional pain that comes in many forms: a bout with cancer, loss of a job, problems with children, death of a child, death of a spouse, putting a parent in a home, injustice, loneliness. All of these circumstances and scores of others contribute to anxiety and emotional pain. We all experience at various times in our lives and in varying degrees some of these adversities. Some pain is sudden, traumatic, and devastating. Some pain is chronic, persistent, and wears down our spirits over time. Sometimes we are called on to help bear the pain of others.

There are other circumstances that cause anxiety and pain: war, terrorism, earthquakes, famine, racial injustice, and murder. During these times we are tempted to ask: Where is God? Doesn’t He care about the thousands who are suffering in Africa?

There are other smaller problems: the washing machine breaks down. A vacation has to be canceled because of illness. You tear your shirt/dress on the way to church. Life is full of things such as these. Life is filled with such little events, little frustrations, little anxieties, and little disappointments. All of these situations tempt us to fret, fume, and worry. Any of these can cause us to doubt God. This is where most live our lives each day. And ask the question: Can I trust God?

When life seems pleasant and smooth, we don’t know what the future holds. Proverbs 27:1 “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” God’s children are not immune from pain. The problem of pain began when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and is universal – Romans 8:20-22.

Where is God in all this? Can I trust God when adversity strikes and fills my life with pain? Does God deliver those who call upon him in the day of trouble? Does the Lord’s unfailing love surround those who trust in Him?

Psalm 32:10 “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

Jesus said we would have troubles.

Mark 13:8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Where is God in all this? Can you really trust God when adversity fills our life with pain? Does God come to the rescue of those who seek him?

Psalm 50:15 “and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

Does the Lord’s unfailing love surround those who trust in him?

Psalm 32:10 “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

Can you think of the first time adversity struck in your life?

Can you think of the last time adversity struck in your life?

#Deuteronomy #harmony #hostility #remembrance

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