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Moses' second speech, Part 16

Aug 07, 2012

In Deut. 5:28-30, Moses tells us that God recognized Israel's fear of hearing God's voice. Later, Moses tells us in Deut. 29:4,

(4) Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.

So in that sense, Israel's refusal to hear more than the simple Ten Commandments had legitimacy. It was God's will that they hear, but it was God's plan that they remain blinded at least until Jesus would come to do His work. For this reason, God said in Deut. 5:28, "They have done well in all that they have spoken," in their request to have Moses do the hearing. Israel was not ready for a direct relationship with God, for they did not want their flesh to die.

Then Moses continues in verse 30, telling us God's response to their request,

(30) Go, say to them, "Return to your tents."

God had extended the invitation for Israel to draw near to Him on the mount. But after they assigned Moses to do this on their behalf, God says, "Return to your tents." The Hebrew word for "tents" here is oholah (Strong's #170). It is a feminine form of ohel, "tent," so it could be translated "her tent." Strong's Concordance says that it might be understood to mean "an idolatrous sanctuary."

In Ezekiel 23:4 we find that Samaria, the capital of Israel, was called by the spiritual name of Aholah(Strong's #170), which is essentially the same name in Hebrew as oholah (#170). The root word for both of them is ohel (#168). The prophet called Samaria Aholah, and he called Jerusalem her sister,Aholibah, "My tent is in her." (This was a reference to the temple of Solomon, or perhaps to the tabernacle of David before the temple had been built.)

Samaria was Aholah, because she had committed spiritual adultery with Assyria. God divorced Israel (Jer. 3:8) as a result, and she went to live with Assyria and his gods. Ezekiel 23 is a chapter describing the adultery of Israel in "her tent."

It is significant, then, that in Deut. 5:30 God told Israel to return to their oholah. Many years later, the prophet Ezekiel called Israel by that name in order to make the point that in refusing to hear/obey His voice, they were committing spiritual adultery. The root of this problem is seen in their initial refusal at Mount Horeb to hear and obey God's voice.

Then God spoke directly to Moses, giving him a different set of instructions:

(31) But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess. (32) So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. (33) You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.

Being willing to hear God's voice results in the revelation of God's will and character in the commandments, statutes, and judgments. By hearing, the law is written on our hearts, so that we do not turn aside from His righteous standard, but "walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you."

The people of Israel thought that they could avoid hearing God's voice by substituting Moses in place of God as their teacher. Moses, indeed, could speak to them, but even those inspired words could not write the law in their hearts apart from the mediation of the Holy Spirit. Hearing Moses was better than nothing, of course, but in itself, this could only educate their carnal minds.

Their carnal minds, being from the first Adam, were naturally at war with the mind of God (Rom. 7:23). The carnal mind desires to violate the law by following "the law of sin" (Rom. 7:25). Sin is lawlessness (anomia). For this reason, any spiritual education that the carnal mind receives brings about a master-servant relationship at best. God's will is imposed upon the unwilling carnal mind as it is brought into subjection.

The only way to have the law written on the heart is by hearing God through Moses (or any other person). This is done only by a spiritual process via the Holy Spirit.

So when Israel requested that Moses hear God on their behalf, it ensured that the vast majority of the Israelites would be subject to what we now call the Old Covenant. Paul thus calls them the sons of the bondwoman (Hagar), or sons of Mount Sinai, where they were commanded to return to their tents of spiritual adultery.

Moses, on the other hand, went up the mount to hear the voice of God. He alone heard the rest of the law and learned the more complete picture of the will and mind of God. And so Moses shifts into teaching mode, yet continues to stress the people's need to hear God and obey Him. So Moses continues his speech in Deut. 6:1 and 2,

(1) Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, (2) so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.

The Promised Land was a prophetic type of the fulness of the Spirit by which we overcome all the effects of Adam's sin and are fully developed into the image of Christ, where the law is written on our hearts.

(3) O Israel, you should listen [shema] and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses recalled the Fruitfulness Mandate of Gen. 1:28, which, along with the Dominion Mandate of Gen. 1:26, formed the essence of the Birthright. I explained this more fully in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright. The Fruitfulness Mandate was the command to bring forth a multitude of children in the image of Christ. This is the promise of Sonship, not only of Jesus Himself, not only of the overcomers, not only of the Church, but ultimately for all nations as seen in the promise given to Abraham.

Moses then gives us the core of the law itself according to the mind of God:

(4) Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! (5) And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Jesus said in Matt. 22:38 that "this is the great and foremost commandment." From here, Moses begins to remind Israel of the specific laws which God had given him in the Mount--those laws which gave greater clarity to the Ten Commandments.

(6) And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on [or "in"] your heart;

These are the laws which must be heard and written upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit in order to transform us into the image of Christ and thus fulfill the promises of God.

(7) and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Those who love the word of God cannot help but make it the central topic of discussion, even in casual conversation. There is a vast difference between those who love the word and those who find it boring.

This is the sixteenth part of a series titled "Moses' Second Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.

Moses' Second Speech

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Category: Teachings

Dr. Stephen Jones

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