Deuteronomy - Lesson 14

Internal Test - Not Living by Bread Alone Deut. 8.1-20

When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

Daniel Block
Lesson 14
Watching Now
Internal Test - Not Living by Bread Alone Deut. 8.1-20

Internal Test: Not Living by Bread Alone (8:1-20)

I . Introduction

II. YHWH's Vision for Israel

III. YHWH was Faithful in the Desert

A. Manna

B. Why 40 years in the wilderness?

C. What comes from God’s mouth?

D. Who needed to know the depth of Israel’s commitment?

IV. Future Test

A. Mark of a passing grade

B. Reward for a passing grade

V. Moses' Ode to "The Good Land"

VI. Possible Responses to the Internal Test

A. Correct response (8:10)

B. Wrong response (8:11-17)

C. Correct response (8:18)

VII. Lessons From Deuteronomy 8

  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Internal Test - Not Living by Bread Alone Deut. 8.1-20

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Our topic in this session continues the theme of testing. We've seen in Chapter seven the external test represented by the Canaanites. Will they trust God to deliver the land into their hands? And will they confirm their trust in God by doing that which God asks them to do with the Canaanites? In this text, the assumption is our text today. Deuteronomy Chapter eight. They are now in the land, and once they're in the land, they are faced with a new test that I call the internal test. It's no longer external enemies that challenge your faith and test your faith. It is what happens when everything goes right. Where do we land up then? So this internal test is all about not living by bread alone. I remind you of the structure of this Schama text that starts with heroes of the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And it takes us all the way through to chapter nine, verse one, where we have the next Schama. We've worked our way through the internal and external tests. Chapter six. Chapter seven. The external test. Test. And now we're into Chapter eight, the internal test, which he drew our attention to already in chapter six, verses 10 to 25. We didn't spend a lot of time on it there, but we will here. What do you do when everything goes right? When prosperity strikes and I use the language intentionally, we always we tend to think of when disaster strikes. But here the case is prosperity striking. And the structure of this passage is similar to what we've had before. You've got the nature of the test 1 to 16, and then the conclusion by somebody in the audience and see what I have accomplished. And that leads to Moses reminder and warning.


[00:02:17] You don't want to go there. Another way of looking at this passage, this Chapter eight verses 1 to 20 is with recognize it's chaos structure. It begins and ends with an exhortation. Then it be you have a discussion of what happened in the wilderness, the desert at the beginning and at the end. And then you have what happens in the land, the arable land. Now we're settled versus 7 to 10 and verses 12 to 13. And then right in the middle, the exhortation, lest you forget, watch it. That's the big problem here. Deuteronomy is all about a theology of remembrance. If we forget how we got here, if we forget the Lord who brought us here, if we forget the Lord who gave us the land, then we are in trouble. So let's set the context first in verse one. The entire command that I command you, I mean, this is interesting language. He uses the singular for that command. We tend to think of all the commands. No, it's a whole package. This entire covenantal charge that I charge you with today you shall keep by doing. Again, that construction is all the way through to Deuteronomy. How do you keep the Torah? How do you keep the law? Not by putting a fence around it. But by doing it that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land that the Yahweh swore to give to your ancestors. This is the dream. This kind of structure to these things you find all over the book. When we get to chapter 30, we will see that this Chapter eight, verse one, he unpacks with more detail. But the structure is the same. But he begins by talking about the way of the Lord in the desert verses 2 to 3.


[00:04:30] And you must remember the whole journey on which your way, your God has enabled you to walk these 40 years in the desert, to humble you, to test you, to prove what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. And so, of course, he's taking a backward look. This is the significance of the desert experience, where you trust God to provide for you when there are no resources around. What will you do? Then he goes on. He humbled you and made you go hungry and then fed you the man which neither you nor your fathers had known to make. You know that it is not on bread alone that a person lives. But it is an all that comes from the mouth of Yahweh that a person lives. It's not what goes into your mouth that makes you brings you alive. It what? It's what comes out of God's mouth. Well, notice what God has done. The way of the Lord in the desert. What does He do in the desert? He led Israel for 40 years. He humbled Israel. He caused them to hunger. He fed them The man on whose the subject of all of these war verbs, it is God. God was leading them long deliberately into trying circumstances, causing them to hunger. That's what the text says. And then he feeds them, fed them manna, and the manna becomes a test. Will you be satisfied with the manna? But then we need to ask, What is this manna mystery? Food. Really, That's what it is. But there are several clues that we get from Exodus Chapter 16, where the Lord gives the Cook confirms his provision by talking about the manna that's coming. We learn that it is from heaven, from Exodus 16, verse four.


[00:06:40] It's called Let Them. Usually that's translated bread. Man does not really buy bread alone, but the Hebrew word is a general word for food. It's often simple, plain food. So this isn't actually bread. It's manna, not bread. So it's food. It's the residue of dew on the desert floor. Exodus 1614. It's a fine, flaky substance. It's like frost on the ground. It bread, maggots overnight. If you tried to store it for the next day, that's an act of unbelief. And the Lord sent maggots. They were the next morning. And except on the eve of the Sabbath, it didn't breed maggots. There was always enough for the next day of on Friday, enough on Saturday without the maggots. It melted in the hot sun. It's white, like coriander seed. It tastes like wafers and honey. It's like the deli and the aromatic gum. It's like myrrh exuded from a tree. Well, what is it? We're still debating. What is it? I wish they had kept that jar of mine that they put in the Ark of the Covenant. But it's gone. The ark is gone. Everything is gone. And so what they called it was man, not man who. That's the question. What is it, man? Who? What is it? And the answer? It's manna. It's what you may call it. That's the best translation I know for man. What's your May column? It's absolutely unknown. Unknown. It's miracle food. It's never heard of beef. Been heard of before. They'd never seen anything like it. Nobody has. But what is the point that you may know that I am your way? That's what the signs and wonders in Egypt were about. But you may know that I am the fourth. Well, the. The manna has the same function.


[00:08:49] It's revelatory that the people might know. But there's a second function. It's testing function. He sent it to test you. Look, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you. Then the people shall go out and gather a day's force. And every day that I may test them whether or not they will walk in my Torah. What's that got to do with the Torah? And of course, it is a matter of recognizing Yahweh as the surgeon who takes care of us. He's our patron. But that means also he is our sous and we are his vassals. We live for him. And so you've got the link here between provision and obedience. The two are interesting, intricately link. Well, in what ways was the man a tete a tete? We can suggest several one. Would they believe God when he said it would be there for them every day in the morning? That was the test. No, of course you remember the story. Some gathered more than they needed for one day because they didn't believe I would be back tomorrow. And of course, that turns out to be an act of unbelief. The people's response in Exodus 16, Some of them didn't listen and some kept some of it until morning. But then it was all full of maggots and had a terrible smell. And Moses was very angry with them. After this, the people gathered the food. Morning by morning, each family according to need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up, melted and disappeared. It's amazing. This is magical food. You can go in the afternoon and get some more. It's gone. It's. It's. It's like a special effects cartoon. That whole world, the Roadrunner and the coyote are always left, and all that whole shows up and falls into it.


[00:10:57] Next thing you know, it's gone. The question is, would they believe the second test? Would they believe God when he said there would not be any on the Sabbath versus 22 to 26 of Exodus? But look what the people did. Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. And so, yeah. Asked Moses, How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and my instructions? Why can't they listen to me? They're not because they are a hard hearted lot. They must realize that the Sabbath is Yahweh, His gift to you. That's why he gives you a two day supply on the sixth day. So there will be enough for two days on the Sabbath day. You must not. You must each stay in your place. Don't go out and pick food on the seventh. You're violating the Sabbath. And everybody asks, Well, what's the Sabbath? Never heard of that. There's an interesting concept here. They are keeping the Sabbath. Long before there was a Sabbath or before we know there was before the Sabbath was legislated, which the will. We may get to discussing the significance of that later. Well, the interesting thing, Joshua 512 while the Israelites were camped at Guild Go, they had just crossed the river. And they can't at Guild, go on the plains of Jericho, west of the Jordan. They celebrated the Passover on the evening of the 14th day of the first one. That's amazing, the timing here. They crossed the river just in time for Passover. The very next day, they began to eat unleavened bread and roasted grain harvested from the land. It's harvest time and they immediately have food there. No manna appeared on the day they first aid from the crops and it was never seen again.


[00:12:49] So from that time on, the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan. That's over. That period of testing is done. We are now setting up for a new test so bad that Manna functions as a foil for the future test. The desert experience represented one test. Will you trust God in times of deprivation and want? You will remember the whole way that you play. Your God has led you these 40 years in the desert that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, let you hunger and fed you with manner which you didn't know, nor did your fathers know that he might make. You know, that man does not live by bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God. That's the traditional translation. We'll have to fix it in a moment. But in any case, your clothes didn't wear out, your feet didn't swell during 40 years. So know in your mind that just as a man disciplines a son, so you are for your God, disciplines you. This is an amazing story. They they had enough food to live those 40 years. Their clothes didn't wear out. They never had to go to the store to get new shoes. But they died. And the point of 40 years was that they die. And of course they didn't die because of the external circumstances. The their death was totally other. They didn't starve to death. The that the clothing didn't wear out. So no in your mind heart that just as man doesn't discipline themselves. So the Lord, your God was disciplining you. And here again, it's not necessarily beating you up. It's teaching you stuff.


[00:14:51] Instructing you in the way of faith. Raises the question why did Yahweh treat Israel this way? The text tells us to keep them humble, to test them, to expose the depth of Israel's commitment. Or should we say, to expose the shallowness of Israel's commitment that would be better here? And to teach Israel that people do not live only by eating physical food. We've had more than our share here as we have been working through these sessions, and we are very grateful for everything that the hosts and the Lord has provided. But that's not what gives us life. They do not live by eating physical food, but by everything that comes from the mouth of God. Which raises the question, what is it that comes from God's mouth? Well, the Septuagint guys, they knew what it was. That which comes from the mouth of God is the Word of God. So they translate every word that comes from the mouth of God. That's what nourishes the inner spiritual self in contrast to physical food with which we feed the body. So I guess that's what they were thinking here. So that which comes from the mouth of God is what He speaks. The Lord spoke these words and the Decalogue is the effect of that. Second is that which comes from the mouth of God is every provision decreed by Yahweh, in contrast to that which we gain through human effort? The rest of this chapter will be all about what is the role of human effort in our prosperity? But here they learn you live because God has decreed your life in contrast to that which we earn ourselves. Third, that which comes from the mouth of God to be. Turns out to be His revealed will as represented by the Supreme Command and all the statutes and the ordinance and stipulations.


[00:17:08] The law. If you want to use the old traditional language, people live by keeping the law. Except that isn't what the text says. The text says simply, Whatever comes out of the mouth of God, it doesn't specify. The Hebrew said simply has the verb. Whatever comes out of the mouth of God. Well, which raises, I think, the best possibility. The most natural thing that comes out of a person's mouth is breath, so that when a baby is born, the first thing they have to do is be sure that the windpipes are are open and clear and they're catching breath and they are breathing. It is the life giving breath of God that which gave life to that piece of clay in Genesis chapter two verse said He breathed into it his breath and he said, and it came became a living being or as Ezekiel has it, in 16. Chapter 16 to this little foundling who was whom, whom God discovered out there just before the vultures got her, He said to her, In your blood, live. This is the call to life. And when something that is in an image receives the breath of God, it comes to the life. And the Ezekiel's wheels, his chariot, those were living wheeled because the text says the breath of God was in the wheels, therefore they were alive. And I actually think this is God breathes his breath, and when God withdraws his breath, things die. And so in response to disobedience, God's breath is withdrawn. So there are lots of references. Ezekiel 3427 I will put my breath in you. Spirit, the rock. It's all the same word so that you will obey all. Really. When we receive the breath of God, we follow His ordinances and keep his stipulations.


[00:19:20] That's been Israel's problem all along. They've been physically alive, but spiritually dead. And that as a result, they were not obeying him. Well, that generation, the previous generation, was living proof that lots of bread, but no breath of God. This is a recipe for disaster. They expired in the desert, but who needed to know about that? Or that we might know or that? He did it to know whether you would live by bread or whether you would keep ordnance. Who needs to know this? And of course, he doesn't, actually. And so the question is it that God himself might discover, does he give this test, that he might discover what's in there? He knows everything. He doesn't actually need to do that. But now we recognize that it is the appropriate action of the shoes run regularly to test the loyalty of the vice role. And in this case, he is testing the loyalty of the vessel, I think, to prove to the vassals what's really in your heart. That we might know, that we all might know who is the problem. We should probably interpret to know as instead as to prove, to demonstrate, cause no to expose, bring to light what is in people's heart. Well, in verses 6 to 9, he begins, he shifts the subject from the past test of the desert, which God did, to demonstrate that if the people died in the desert, it was because they didn't walk by whatever comes out of the mouth of God, nor did they keep the combatants. But now, in verse six, he shifts to the future. We are at the Jordan River. The past is behind us. The desert is behind. All those people are buried. We're looking to a new life on the other side.


[00:21:32] So keep the commands of the way your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. Now we're back to the old formula, these regular expressions we'll see over and over again. But notice the logic. The commands are kept not by reciting them. With our lips, not by creedal statements, but by life. Therefore, be careful how you walk. Not as fools, but as wise. That's Paul, isn't it? In Ephesians. Walking life is a journey. And here, walking in the Lord's ways. We'll have more to say about this in chapter ten. What does it mean to walk in the ways of God? It could be to walk the way God tells you to walk. It could also mean to walk the way God walks. Imitate SEO Day, the imitation of God, and then, of course, by firing him as elsewhere, both expressions are ambiguous. Fearing him probably involves again, all the trust while Yahweh has provided for us again. We trust in him to carry on with this. But now we're dealing with the future. We're dealing with a triangle. Yah, we, the people and the land will all be together on the other side of the river. This is why Moses is so upset that he can cross. He can participate in the triangle. Flourishing it. But it will come. This is the context in which the covenant triangle will be functioning perfectly. But that will be the context of the new sort of task. The reward for a passing grade in the future will not be simply life, but life abundant. Prospering in the land. The logic of versus six goes something like this. Faithfulness yields eating which yields satisfaction which yields blessing blessing you you shall bless the Lord. Who gave you all these say? That's the passing grade here.


[00:24:00] And of course, the blessing carries two different sorts of connotations. It depends on who blesses whom. The greater blesses the lesser. That's normal, isn't it? When the greater blesses the lesser, the greater bestows upon the lesser wonderful things, as opposed to tragedies and curses, whatever. But when the lesser blessed is, the greater bless the Lord, all my soul and all that is within me. I mean, God doesn't need our blessing in that other sense. He doesn't need us to be so all good, any good things on him. He is the self existent one, whatever else he needs. Nobody. So what does that mean? Well, when the lesser is blessing, the greater. It's a virtual synonym for praise. Bless the Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. That's the blessing. From the lesser to the greater. It's very common language. Though it is technically and literally odd for a lesser to bless the greater. Well, this leads then to what I call Moses Ode to the Good Land. I love this. He waxes poetic as he begins talking about the land that lies ahead verses 7 to 9. Yahweh is bringing the people to a land, a brook, some water fountains and springs flowing out in the valleys and the hills. It's a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates. That's a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you lack nothing. Now, in the desert, they like everything. There was nothing there. But here it's the opposite. A land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig. Copper. It's the good lad. And of course, those of you who have been to the Holy Land, you.


[00:26:07] I ask myself the first time when I landed there and we drove through the Judean hills. What was Moses smoking? What was the smoking? A good land. And if you're looking from the Jordan across the river, if you're standing here and looking across and you see Jericho on the other side of Jericho, what is is this barren hills? It is just buried hills. But this is his own to the land, a land of brooks and waters and fountains and springs and valleys and hills. It's amazing. This is a veritable e dead. A land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates and grain and grapes. It's all there. A land of olive trees and honey. Now, what's that got to do with agriculture? And all of a sudden we run into where bees and there's been a land flowing with milk and honey. Is it literal honey? Probably not. The word is also used more generically as a word for sweetener. And so a lot of people think and I think quite rightfully so, this is actually the date palm fruit that he's talking about here, which was used as a sweetener, a land in which you lead bread without scarcity, you lack nothing. And of course, these are modern pictures, but of course, it's always been a land whose stones are iron. Do you know of any iron mines in the land of Israel? Well, of course, this is this is the. This is just before the beginning of the irony age. And in that time, 13, 1400 B.C., Iren was more precious metal than gold. So that when the Egyptians had iron chariots, it's not that the chariots were made of iron, but they were wooden chariots decorated with iron.


[00:28:26] It's their decoration. It's a precious metal. It's that. It's the end of the Bronze Age. It's the beginning of the Iron Age. So. And out of whose hills you can dig, Copper? Well, with reference to copper, I don't know that they found any of it in Palestine proper. But south of Palestine and in the Arava, the Valley that leads down to the Red Sea. There was lots of copper in Solomon's time, so that one looks like it's realistic. But when I see the land, I. This is what I see. When I think of the land of Israel, it's scarcely what he has been describing, this ode to the land. Whatever Moses personal feelings about not being permitted to enter the land, that he is a bitter man at this point. Well, actually, once we get rolling, the bitterness is all gone once we're out of that first address. We never hear that from Moses again. Never. Not for Moses. At the end of chapter 32, we'll hear it from God, reminding him you're not crossing over. But that's not Moses complaining. Moses is compliant, completely compliant by then. But here, whatever his personal feelings about not being permitted to enter the land, his literary style rises to semi poetic register here as he describes the endemic world that awaits his people on the other side of the Jordan. This is what they're facing. Well, this style of description is scarcely the objective report of a surveyor whose person who has personally explored the land. In fact, I think it's very obvious here. Moses has never been there. If you had been to the promised Land, you wouldn't describe it this way. But this is the world of a man dreaming the wistful dreaming of a man who has spent four decades fixated on home.


[00:30:41] Grousing because of the people, they wouldn't enter the ladder. These missteps. This is the home that we had reserved for his people centuries early buddy earlier. But he can only imagine what it must be like. He's dreaming. No doubt his imagination was fed by concrete evidence of the land's fertility. When the scouts came back. 38 years ago. The pomegranates, figs and cluster of grapes so huge they had to hang them from a pole and carry the body to bed. Your Sunday school pictures had all of that imagery here. That's undoubtedly in his mind. They know compared to the desert they've been walking through. This is a paradise. And even in chapter 11, we will encounter this compared to Egypt, where the only way to get food is for you physically to move the water to where it can. There are no trees in Egypt, naturally, and it's just this barren desert. But if you work it, you can get good fruit, good food. But that's all man made here. The picture is, though, the land is just oozing productivity, and that's what they're about to experience. And of course, with time, the memory idealizes and exaggerates the reality. You know how it is the world in which you grew up. You think back and what that was like. Well, that was so beautiful. When you're a kid, you've got all these wonderful memories and you imagine it still to be that way. But you go back 50 years later and just what's happened here. This is not not the world I grew up in here. Moses description is idealized and idyllic. It's obvious he's never been there. But this is the land where. That is the gift from God and that is paradise. Today you will be with me in paradise.


[00:32:48] Jesus tells the thief on the cross to be with God as paradise, to be in the triangle that God has created in that covenant relationship. That is paradise. This is the dream. Well, that's the test. What will you do with. Everything's going well. The possible responses are described then in verses 10 to 18. And here's an A, B, B, or an AB a pattern. He starts with a correct response, verse ten. Then the flunking response, the failure wrong responds 10 to 7, 11 to 17, and then the correct response again at the end. So what's the correct response? Verse ten When you reach an end or satisfied, then give praise to your way, your God for the good land He has given you. That's the right response. Wow. Aren't we privileged? God is giving us this all. When we get to chapter 32, Chapter 26, The little Ritual at the Central Sanctuary, a private ritual in which the worshiper recites what we call the Deuteronomy Creed. He recites the creed. There he will distinguish between what how a fertility religion operates and how true religion operates. And here this is the opposite of fertility religion. It's not that when you are beaten end are satisfied, then you will lose. You're Exhibit A Jack Horner theology. Little Jack Horner sat in the corner eating his Christmas fy, who stuck in his thumb and pulled up. Vollmann said. See, what a good boy am I? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Has nothing to do with what a good boy am I? It's the gift of God, the land as a gift. But what's the wrong response? Well, then, in verses 11 and following, he says, Watch yourselves. Notice. Beware. Guard yourselves. Lest. And what does the last about a manager? A whole list of lists.


[00:35:11] Lest you forget your weed, your God, lest you eat, lest you are satisfied, lest you build nice houses, lest you live in them, lest everything you own multiplies, lest your heart becomes proud. And lest you forget your way. And lest you say. You see what happens. The progression. And of course, where does it start? Lest you forget. Yeah. Your God. That's the problem. When things go well, you. We all know people like this, don't we? When people flourished, it went to their heads and they forgot that every bend, the fish bend, the faction that we received is a gift. Nothing is deserved. So it opens with a warning. Guard yourself. Lest you forget. Yahweh, your God. Oh, really? How do we demonstrate? Forget. But now we have to talk about what forget means. In Hebrew, forget does not mean amnesia. Your memory fails. Nor does remember mean your memory is alive and well. It's different from that. To remember means to take into account. Past events. To forget means not to take into account past events. And that's what happens here. Guard yourselves, lest you forget. How do you demonstrate love by action? How do you demonstrate a failed memory? It's by action. How do you demonstrate memory? By keeping his commands, his stipulations, his ordinances. With which I am charging you today. Now, this is anything. Again, it's anything but legalism. It is remembering that everything we have is a gift. The land is gift. Life is give your way is gift. Knowing the will of God is gift. Everything is gift. But that's what happens when you prosper. You forget it's all gift. And all of a sudden something else happens. God yourselves as a second. Guard yourself. Lest you forget Yahweh, your God, or as elsewhere.


[00:37:56] It's not amnesia by not keeping his statutes and in ordinances, and then in verse 14, be the sixth in a whole bunch of lest you forget Yahweh, your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, who led you through the fearful desert, who provided water from the rock, who provided manna from heaven? I mean, all of these wonderful memories take them into account. Not to pass a test at the end of a course. But to change your life. God has given us everything we have. Everything. Yahweh himself is the source of every bend a faction. To forget is to imagine or act as if none of that matters. None of it matters. And it's to become practical atheist. God has had no part of it in our lives. We live as if we are self-sufficient. This ends then with a correct response. We saw it in verse ten the correct response or wrong response 11 to 17 and then the correct response. Verses verse 18 ending then with a final warning. 18. He brings us back home. But you shall remember that yea, we're you shall remember Yahweh your God, for it is he who has given you power to make wealth, that he may confirm his covenant, that he swore with your ancestors as it is this day. That's what you should remember. We are the covenant people. This is the Covenant triangle. Everything is happening. But we got to go back to verse 17, because here he introduces that interlocutor again. He imagines somebody in the audience in the moment of flourishing, you will say, Guard yourselves, lest you say to yourself, Oh, you would never really brag about it publicly, but in your heart. My own power and the strength of my hand have produced as well for me.


[00:40:11] I've done a great job. I worked for a farmer like that early on in my life for four summers. I worked for him the first summer he he farmed eight quarters of land. Half mile by half mile by half a mile. The second summer 12, the third summer 21, the fourth summer, 30 two quarters of land. He was such a good farmer that everybody in the neighborhood wanted him to farm their land for them and give them one third of the of the crop. And they would make more than if they farmed it themselves. Everything turned green. Everything turned green. Now, the first summer I worked for him, it was on. I was like family. He had six kids and the oldest was 16. And then we shared a bedroom in the house. I lived with them. They went fishing on the on for three or four days in at the end of June. They took me along as if I was one of the family. We were two. I had never fished in my life. We were too poor and, you know, lots of fish up in northern Saskatchewan, but never, never got out there. And my first fish was a £14 jack. While that was a what a moment. What a more it was a joy. That first summer, he was active in the church and an elder he preached regularly, taught us Sunday school class and in the community. But five years later. When he didn't get Saskatchewan Farmer of the Year award, he was angry. The whole world is against them. And by then he had by then he had become so paranoid. The pressures were so great earlier. Everything he touched turned green, literally. John Deere tractors. Big John Deere tractors.


[00:41:55] I'd never driven tractors like that on my farm. I grew up. Everything was junk. But this was a dream world. Everything turned green. He died. A bitter old man lost every £350 overweight alcoholic. Lost it all. One doesn't live by bread alone. He forgot. He discovered. I'm a really good farmer. He believed the advertising. It's a problem. It's a problem. Watch out lest you say how good I am. That's why I mentioned earlier at our house, we were never allowed to say I did a good job. We were encouraged to say Ben did a good job. That's good. Ben, you did really well. But you don't say it yourself. Keep yourself humble. I am not a self-made person. Everything I am and have I owe to the Lord and to His grace. Which leads to chapter two, verse 18 the appropriate rebuff, and he declares again, Satisfaction. You shall remember your way, your God, when everything goes right. Praise God from whom all blessings flow that He may confirm his coming while he is confirming His covenant by giving you prosperity. But watch it. This could go off the cliff. If you don't respond rightly so, prosperity is the test. So we have two formulas in Moses lesson on testing. In the past, miraculous provision combined with obedience yielded life. That's the desert in the future. The bounty of the land. Plus gratitude. Yields life. Of course, this is Paul and Romans, isn't it? They forgot to be thankful. And that's the beginning of the downward skid. Well, what lessons do we learn from Deuteronomy eight? Well, of course, we learned that people don't live by bread alone, but part of whatever comes from the mouth of God, it's God's breath that sustains us. And all he needs to do is withdraw and we're gone.


[00:44:21] And there's nothing we can do about it, too. Success may be a greater challenge to our faith than depravation. You know, it's not it's often not hard to trust God when you have nothing that you can create yourself and you're absolutely dependent on him. When we were students in university, some of us remember those days dirt poor, and we trusted God for everything. And he provided. But what happens when everything goes our way causes us to become proud, smug, self-sufficient, and applied to the church, of course. Effectiveness in ministry is not based on ability, opportunity, pre qualifications. Giftedness. These lead to arrogance. Did you notice even the gifts we have for ministry are gifts for God. Watch out. Lest you forget that I gave you the hands to make wealth. Where would you be without the hands I gave you? My translation has power, but interpret it more literally. I gave you the heads up that he may confirm his covenant for you. And finally, what shall it profit if we gain the whole world? And lose their own souls. If we are preoccupied with bread. We too, will perish. Because the bread becomes the idol. Displacing God. The test of comfort. But I've never heard a sermon on this text other than what I've preached. Never heard a sermon on the set. But in these opening, 1011 chapters all the way through the sermon for today is right on the surface. You don't have to scratch at all to see the relevance. This is the eternal Word of God. For me, it's my scripture. It teaches me how to live. Thanks be to God. I've just a couple of clarification questions. I want to I want to make sure I understand a couple of things.


[00:46:41] I know there's diversas like the Cedars in Lebanon, the the lions in the jungle. And when I first went to Israel, too, I was looking to go where the lions go. I mean, is it possible that the land substantively changed and that it used to be literally flowing with milk and honey or the. The answer to that question has the has the land and the climate changed? And the answer to that is yes. But at what point. What happens when the Canaanites began populating this land? They were building cities. And what did they do? They cut down the trees. And what happens when you cut down the trees in a mediterranean climate? Now, here in the West coast, northern west coast, you know, trees just grow magnificent with the cedars of Lebanon. But have you seen pictures lately of the parts of Lebanon where the cedars used to be? You can scarcely find the cedar left. They've they've denuded it all. And the people are destitute, destitute. They are artificially planting, some, trying to recover. But the economy, there is such a disaster that it's just eking out a living. That country used to be the paradise of Europe. They go there for the vacations. But it's all it's largely gone. But it didn't it didn't happen as quickly as with our massive equipment. We have to denude a mountain in a hurry. But yes, the the climate. But the landscape was treated much more than it is today. When you remove the trees, the climate also changes. It becomes more arid. And so the rainfall was probably a little bit less. But if you've got trees on the hillsides, then it preserves your soil structures and everything else. And it's been a disaster. That's what human occupation without God does.


[00:48:55] Human occupation with God creates a paradise. But without God, it creates a desert. Hmm. My other questions had to do with the manner and again. Yeah, man. Okay. And. I love bread, but I can't imagine eating bread for 40 years. And so I want to make clear when in verse. So when you have men introduced, it's this what you might call it. It's like this mystery food. Yes. And then in verse four, Man does not live on bread alone. That's the actual Hebrew word for bread, right? It is, But it's a Hebrew word for food. Olam is food in general and food in general. Okay. So it's it's not defining manna as being bread. No, it's not defining it as bread. No, it's. It's physical food. That's the point. Manna was physical food. They don't live by. You can have all the manner you want. They still died. They all died because they didn't have. The other thing that comes from the breath, from the mouth of God, which is name of his breath, his spirit, willingness to obey.