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Lesson 3: The Everlasting Covenant *

Introduction: As a short review, recall that we learned in the first two lessons that Moses was making his farewell address to a people who had a history of not trusting God. How could that be fixed? What could Moses say to help God’s people trust Him more? In light of that goal, let’s continue our journey through the book of Deuteronomy!

  1.         Getting it Right

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:1.  What two things is Moses urging the people to do? (1. Listen and obey. 2. Go and take possession of what God has given you.)

  1.         What reason does Moses give for listening and obeying? (That they might live.)

                                        

  1.         The Hebrew word for live does not mean simply staying alive, it means living well. Being nourished. Revived. What does that say about the connection between the quality of your life and your obedience? (Our motive to obey should not be to get into heaven, it should be to live the better life that God has in mind for us. That kind of life brings glory to God.)

  1.         Why does God want the people to take possession of Canaan? (It is to make their lives better. It is a gift that they need to grasp.)

  1.         Is this the way we should view the Ten Commandments today - that God has given us a gift to make our lives better?

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:2. God warns against two things. What are they? (Adding to His commandments and subtracting from His commandments.)

  1.         Which of these is the main problem you see in the world today? (Subtracting. Pagans say that we need not be concerned about God’s commandments. Modern humans should choose the path best for them.)

  1.         Which of these is the main problem you see   in the church today? (Adding to God’s commands.)

  1.         Read Genesis 3:2-3. Eve answers Satan’s question about what she (and Adam) are not supposed to do. Does she violate Deuteronomy 4:2? (Yes. Nowhere is it recorded that she was told not to touch the fruit.)

  1.         Read Genesis 3:6. What did Eve do before she ate the fruit? (She touched it.)

  1.         Put yourself in her place. What is the impact of her touching the fruit and having nothing bad happen to her? (It encouraged her to eat the fruit. It gave credibility to Satan.)

  1.         Christians often believe it is harmless to create “protective” rules to help young people avoid violating the real rules. Does God think it is harmless? (Obviously not, because God prohibits adding to the rules.  God does not prevent youth leaders (and others) from saying that they think refraining from certain things is a good idea.  The problem arises when a leader falsely says that some good idea is really a matter of sin.)

  1.         Why would Moses talk about not adding to God’s commands in a message that is supposed to help the people better trust God? (Adding commands that God did not authorize causes distrust.)

  1.         Instant God

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:7. Have you ever considered this issue of access to God? How difficult is it for you to have a conversation with someone who is a high government official?  How about a high church official? (God is above all officials, and yet He is instantly accessible.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:8. What else is good about God’s system of government? (His laws provide their own certificate of worthiness. They result in good people and not bad people. They result in better, not worse lives.)

  1.         Unique God

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:23. What has the covenant to do with a “carved image?” (Recall that in Exodus 32:1-4, while Moses was still on Mt. Sinai, the people and Aaron made a golden calf!)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:15-16 and Deuteronomy 4:19. How would you describe this part of the covenant with God? (Not to trust anything else.)

  1.         What is the key problem according to Deuteronomy 4:19? (Bowing down and serving them.)

  1.         Read Exodus 32:7-8. What is the problem at the heart of idol worship? (The people attributed to the idol the power and blessings of God.)

  1.         What does this have to do with trust?

  1.         I hear people say that a person’s house or their car is their idol. Can that be true? (Not unless the person places some divine-like trust in those things.)

  1.         How about money? Can it be an idol? (This gets much closer to the problem. If a person trusts their money to protect and help them, then money works just like an idol with regard to protection.)

  1.         Do people worship money - the second part of the prohibition?

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:32. What claim does God make that we should trust Him? (He asks whether any other God could create humans.)

  1.         What does this say about Christians who promote the evolutionary theory of origins? Do they have another god!

  1.         Covenant God

  1.         When we think of the Ten Commandments, we think of Exodus 20. In Deuteronomy 5:6-21 Moses restates the Ten Commandments. Read the preface to this restatement of the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy 5:1-3. What does Moses call the Ten Commandments? (He calls them “a covenant with us in Horeb.”)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 5:22. Why does Moses note that God “added no more” to “the two tablets of stone?” (He is reinforcing the point made in Deuteronomy 4:2.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 5:28-29. What does God say is the benefit of keeping His commandments? (Life will go well for the people.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 5:33. What link does God make to keeping the Ten Commandments and salvation? (God makes no link like that here. He only links commandment keeping to a good and long life on earth.)

  1.         If this covenant, the Ten Commandments, is about obedience and a good life here, how did humans come to make it about salvation?

  1.         If keeping the commandments gives us salvation, what does that say about trusting God versus idol worship? (If we believe that our keeping of the commandments gives us salvation, then we are trusting what we have done and not what God has done. Trusting the work of our hands for our eternal destiny is the ultimate idol worship. It is little different than pagans who argue that they get to say what is right and wrong.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 26:16-19. Since a covenant is essentially a contract, what promises is God asking His people to make? (Heartfelt obedience. Trust.)

  1.         Look again at Deuteronomy 26:19. What promise does God make to those who trust and obey Him? (He will honor you. He will make you famous. You will be praised. You will be honored above all others. You will have a special relationship with God.)

  1.         Does this apply only to the nation of Israel, or is this also a promise to individuals?

  1.         Could other nations follow God’s Ten Commandments and expect the same success?

  1.         Friend, I think Moses’ farewell instructs us in trusting and obeying God. Do you want a better life? Would you like people to praise and admire you? Why not decide, right now, that through the power of the Holy Spirit you will obey God’s commandments and disregard the commandments of humans?

  1.         Next week: To Love the Lord Your God.
* Copr. 2021, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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