Deuteronomy - Lesson 15

Sheer Grace of Covenant Relationship Deut. 9.1-10.11

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.

Daniel Block
Lesson 15
Watching Now
Sheer Grace of Covenant Relationship Deut. 9.1-10.11

Sheer Grace of Covenant Relationship (9:1-10:11)

I. Introduction

A. Third Shema

B. Dominance of the number 40

II. Logic of the Passage

A. The hypothesis

B. Testing the hypothesis

C. The new hypothesis

Class Resources
  • 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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Sheer Grace of Covenant Relationship Deut. 9.1-10.11

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] We're moving now into Deuteronomy Chapter nine The Sheer Grace of Covenant Relationship. If we haven't got that so far, I hope we have it by the time we're through this chapter, actually. Once again, the chapter division is out of place. It should be nine 1 to 1011 nine one begins with here all Israel. There's that third Shamar in this address. Today you are crossing the Jordan to go in and dispossessed nations greater and stronger than you. And of course in Moses vocabulary today is not literally this 24 hour period. It's that moment has come now. Now, today we're going but now then turned to chapter ten or 12. Then you have a new signal. And now Israel. Listen. What does the Lord, your God ask of you? The ATAR in Hebrew is a little particle that signals a shift in the rhetoric from a presentation of the case to a presentation of the implications of the case. I beseech you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that therefore, in light of all that we've talked about, how then should we live? Well, that's what we're noticing here. Now, as you look at this section nine one to chapter ten, verse 11, you will see the dominance of the number 40. It takes 40 days and 40 nights for the Lord to deliver the written copy of the Covenant to Moses. Nine, 9 to 10. It takes 40 days and nights for the Israelites to prove the shallowness of their covenant commitment verses 11 to 17. It takes 40 days and nights for Moses to deal with the sin of the people, including his confession of sin before the Lord and His destruction of the sin 18 to 21. And then it takes 40 days or nights for Moses to wrestle with God concerning Israel's future until God declares a renewal of the Covenant through the Remaking of the Covenant.


[00:02:26] Tablets. 40, 40, 40, 44 times. My goodness, Has he been going without food and water this whole time? This is no soft spot in the life of Moses. This is the most intense moment of his life and 40, 40, 44 piling on. And then finally, it takes 40 days and nights to complete the work of atonement. And here Yahweh is marching orders to renew the trek to the Promised land. Get going. Well, the logic of this chapter. This is what we call in prophetic studies as a disputation address. In prophetic disputation, the Prophet begins an oracle by quoting what people are saying as representative of their disposition. And what he then has to do is debunk the theory. And recast it in terms of a new theory, expose the falsehood and declare the truth. And that's what happens in this chapter. The hypothesis that we have in verses 1 to 6 Israel's covenant relationship with the way is based on the nation's intrinsic moral superiority over the can. Canaanites. The Lord is giving us the land because we are more righteous than they are. And Moses answer Oh yeah, that's what he disputes. Israel's history exhibits no evidence of moral superiority over the Canaanites. That's what we will work on here. Israel's covenant relationship with Yahweh is based entirely on sovereign grace. Or I prefer actually gracious sovereignty. That's the new hypothesis. And confirming the new hypothesis. Israel is the undeserving beneficiary of the wage race as demonstrated by the tablets. We got a new set of tablets, which means the covenant is back on. We're back on track again. It's all of grace. So let's start with Israel's desperate need for grace. The golden calf affair. 912 24. So this session will take us to 24, and then in our next session will actually deal with Moses prayer of intercession.


[00:05:08] And that will take us through the end of ten or 11. The hypothesis this is the first section in the introduction verses 1 to 3. Moses. Moses calls attention and he announces the fact verses one, two, three, and here are some important little details. Today you are crossing the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you. Notice nothing has changed. The towns are huge with fortifications reaching up to the sky. The people are great and tall, descendants of the and the Giants about whom you know and of whom you have heard. And you are saying who can stand firmly before the descendants of the Attica. So of course, that's 40 years ago. That's what they said. We can't do this. It's impossible. That is his call to attention. And apparently the fact is nothing has changed. The apparently invincible strength of the enemy is still there. Nothing has changed. But the key to victory turns out to be the actions of your way. Trust God. You should know today that Yahweh, your God, is a old color. I consuming fire the word Ocala. That means consuming r cal t h, but is a fire that eats well. We tend to think of consuming fire as a judgment of fire. If you go after other gods, his fire will burn. His passion will be ignited and he will burn you and the other gods who have seduced you away from him. Well, here it's actually a different function. It's the h o cola. The consuming fire goes ahead of you across the Jordan. He will devour them and subdue them before you. That's the promise. Notice Yahweh is the consuming fire. He is the one crossing over before you. He will destroy them.


[00:07:29] He will subdue them before you. This is the key to a victory. The enemy is invincible. He doesn't say, Well, yeah, there are fortifications as high. But you can do this. It's in you to do this. No, the answer is not in the people. The answer is in your way. Then in verse three, we have his highlighting of what is Israel's role in this? Yahweh goes before you as that consuming fire bod, and he will drive them out. He will. So do them so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly. Just as he has spoken. You must dispose this, possess them and annihilate them. God is not simply taking it away and from them and handing it over to you in your receipt. Acceptance of the gift. You've got to take care of your business, too. So you will see from this that this is a synergistic project. God is doing his work. Israel must do theirs. And that's why that external test of Chapter seven is in the background of this. Testing the faith. You must do what God asks you to do. Well, then we. We've had that announcement. But then in verse four, A, you have the people's explanation of the fact. The fact is the land is ahead of you. The enemy is great, but God is walking before you. God will take care of the enemy and you must drive them out. Their hypothesis. Verse four Age When Yahweh, your God has driven them out before, you do not say to yourself, It is because of my righteousness that Yahweh has brought me here to possess this land. There's the theory. This is the Jack Horner theology. See, what a good boy am I. God is rewarding me because I'm such a good guy.


[00:09:44] Well, Israel's covenant relationship with Yahweh and with and with it, they're entitled to the Promised land, is based on the people's intrinsic moral superiority over the Canaanites. That's the thesis. God is giving it to us because we deserve it. The Canaanites are wicked. Now, Moses will not deny that. In fact, he will say they are wicked and it's time for the judgment to come. But the issue is your explanation is quite wrong. Which leads in for B to six Moses alternative interpretation of the facts for B? No, it is because of the wickedness of the nations that Yahweh is dispossessing them for you. But it is not because of your righteousness or your inner moral uprightness that you are going in to possess the land. Indeed, because of the wickedness of these nations. Yahweh, your God will dispossess them before you, but to fulfill the covenant word that He swore to the ancestors. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It's not rewarding you for your piety and righteousness. No, it's to fulfill his promise. It is to punish the evils of the Canaanites. But it is also. So you must know that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord, your God is giving you the good land to possess. For you are stiff neck people. That's how we edit at this point. You are stiff neck people. Well, this is Moses alternative explanation of that fact. His point here is I've got to poke a hole in this balloon of the sense of moral superiority. God is giving it to us. Well, his alternative explanation. Well, your act of driving out the Canaanites has nothing to do with Israel's righteousness. It does indeed have something to do with the wickedness of the Canaanites. But that does not mean you're better than they are.


[00:11:55] B While the Yahoo is determination to drive out the K Knights says nothing about the K, the Israel's integrity. It says a great deal about God's integrity. Because he has made a promise and then saving the most devastating argument for last. He declares that far from claiming said that car righteousness as their intrinsic fundamental quality, the Israelites are intrinsically Caché or F stiff of neck. Well, of course we have to talk about these two expressions. What is? So they're coming. We talked about this yesterday in an earlier session. Silica is human behavior, not just human behavior, divine behavior. It is behavior in accordance with an established standard. And in this case it is the standard of the covenant. We are righteous, which means we are the epitome of that which the covenant calls for. We are that. But the other thing we have to define here is stiff neck. And of course, now he is setting the stage for what is about to happen. This is a bovine metaphor. It has to do with cattle oxen specifically that you use to pull your plows or to pull your wagons. And when you put a yoke on an ox and their necks defends, you have trouble putting the yoke on them. And if their neck is stiff, even once the yoke is on them as stiff neck refuses to go the direction that our owner wants, that the goal. That's the problem. You guys are oxen. We'll see how this comes back to haunt them. The metaphor, the bovine metaphor, is quite dominant in this state of neck. Well, in versus 7 to 24, he tests the people's hypothesis. It's a long section in which he gives the reasons, He denies the thesis, and he gives the reasons for its rejection.


[00:14:18] The this is versus 7 to 24. Notice the literary frame versus verse seven. Remember, do not forget that you ignited off your God's wrath in the desert. And then he adds, From the day you came out of Egypt until you arrived at this place. From the day I knew you. You have been rebellious against Yahweh. Talk about righteousness. That's not how I know you. Of course, this could be simply Moses, the bitter old man. I mean, he's. He's in a sour mood in the first one here. And in the first address, he was in a very sour mood, but he used a slightly different expression there. They're just complaining about you guys are such a load. I can't carry you anymore. And you're bickering and all the rest. Now, here, it's stronger. You've been rebellious against your way. It's not Moses problem. It's not because they are a heavy load for him to carry. It's rebellious. And then in verse 24, he ends this last section by renewing this. You have been in a rebellious state against Yahweh from the day I knew you. As long as I can remember. It is the opposite of righteousness. And then he presents the case and he begins with recollections of Israel's rebellion at Horeb. We've been to Horeb before the book opened up with recollections from Horeb, but now he takes us back even farther on the other side of those recollections. There is a memory here that we've got to bring to mind. And he recalls verse eight already at Horeb, You ignited Jacqui's wrath and he was furious enough with you to destroy you. And then he elaborates, It's interesting to watch what Moses does with that memory by putting it alongside the Exodus narrative of this one.


[00:16:28] And so in the in the slides that follow, you will see what Exodus says and and Moses recollection and. And of course, he puts it into first person. When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of the covenant that Yahweh made with you, I remained on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights. Another eight bread nor drink water. Exodus is in third person. Moses entered the cloud and went up the mountain. I neither a bread nor drank water. Yahweh gave me the two tablets of stone written with a finger of God, and on them were the words that Yahweh had spoken with you on the mountain, out of the midst of the fire. On the day of the assembly, at the end of 40 days and 40 nights, Yahweh gave me the two tablets of the come that everything is going on cheder. This is what he went up there for. The Lord had said, Come up to the mountain so I can give you the tablets of the covenant document. And that's what's happening here. Everything is quite correspondence to what you have in Exodus. But there are some interesting differences in the presentation and the contrast between Moses and the people. And the reason for being on the mountain. There are some interesting things happening here. But this is the moment we're talking about the golden calf. And of course, artists have played with this a lot. And you've got all kinds of imaginations of this. But if you go to the Israel Museum, you'll see replicas of this golden calf every. I mean, there are three or four. This one they discovered Daniel Master, my colleague, and his and his guys at Ashkelon. They discovered this one complete with a barn.


[00:18:07] It's now there. Here's another one. And here's the one. This one they found near Dalton Northern. These bovine figures are quite dominant in the iconography of Canaanite religion. So that in Canaanite mythology, Al the high God, the guy seated on the throne that you saw, we will see him again. He is called Bull El. Of course, it's a it's a symbol of strength, but also of fertility. And so but now we are talking about this calf, the Lord's response to what happened at Sinai. Then Yahweh said to me, Get up, go down quickly from here for your people whom you brought out of Egypt. Did you hear that? The people you brought out of Egypt. Moses is rarely, if ever, the subject of the verb. With Egypt as the origin. What is God doing it? And of course, it's in the Exodus narrative whom you brought out of the land of Egypt. They have acted corruptly. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commend to them. They've made themselves a mental image. Furthermore, Young said to me, I have seen this people and look, it's a stiff necked people talk about a calf. And he said, Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they. Now, if you would have been Moses, what would you have done? Hey, man. Hey, man, It's about time. Of course, this is at the beginning of the journey, isn't it? But the amazing thing is what Moses does. If. If Moses had said that's a good idea, why don't we go with that program? To this day, we would not be talking about Israelites. We'd be talking about more sites.


[00:20:22] The Hebrew word name is Moshe and it would be more sites. This is what God offers Moses. He says to Moses, I will make you the replacement of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You will become the patriarch. Which is what makes Moses response so remarkable. Moses says, I don't want that. I will make of you, Moses, a nation mightier and greater than they. But there are a couple of things here. We notice in the Lord statements, too, to Moses first. Yahweh distances himself from the Israelites whom you brought. They are your you know, Did we have your people? Whom you brought. They should be my people whom I brought out of Egypt. But the Lord says Here, Moses, what's wrong with your people? I'll never forget. Shortly after we moved across the border, I was a. Bethel Seminary and Reagan was president then and they had just bombed Libya. The capital. Gadhafi. And the next day in class, we get there. And of course, they know on the one end, I'm Canadian. I just come down from the north and they know secondly, that my roots are Mennonite and we don't do that. So before the class had begun. They're just waiting for it to begin, and they're waiting for the rest of the students. They asked me casually, Well, what do you think about what happened last night? And I just said, I'm not really in a position to judge what your president is doing. I mean, it's just a casual, casual response. It wasn't planned. It wasn't anti-anything, as I just said. I had a green card. We're not a citizen of this country and we have no guarantee we're going to be here for a long time. We're an alien in this foreign land.


[00:22:33] He's not my president. I mean, I am a guest of him and the rest of you. But I just said I'm not in a position to judge what your president is doing. Well, at the end of the semester, when the term papers came in at the bottom of one of the papers. One of the students wrote. Dr. BLOCK. You have three options. You are a guest in this country. You can either. Get with the program. And identify with us and our president. Two. You can keep your mouth shut. Or three. You can go back home where you came from. All because I use that little pronoun. I'm not in a position to assess what your president has done. I have distanced myself subtly from it. I've been here long enough to identify with everything that's going on. But in any case, it was sort of and that's what's happening here. That's what having what your people, your staff, that people whom you brought out of Egypt and Moses. Well, we'll hear what Moses has to say in the next session. He distances himself from the Israelites. The Lord is reticent about the people specific actions. He doesn't actually describe exactly what they did. It's just that what they have done. He threatens to blot out Israel's name. And start over with a new name. He begs Moses to leave him alone. Leave me alone. And I will make me I will leave me alone so I may destroy them and blot me out from under heaven. And I will make of you a greater nation than they. Now that is really something God asks Moses. Don't but in. Leave it to me. But of course, you understand that by saying that he's actually. Open the door for intervention.


[00:24:56] Just a crack. He begs Moses to leave and Moses responds to the rebellion at Horeb. What does he do? So I turned and I went down from the mountain. Meanwhile, the mountain was burning with fire and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. And I looked and see, there's that ubiquitous Behold, you had sinned against Yahweh, your God. You had made yourself a golden calf, and you had turned aside quickly from the way and Yahweh had come. And he was shocked. He had no idea this was going on down there. So I took hold of the two tablets and I threw them out of my two hands and brought them before your eyes. Now, the read in all of this is what's not in the parallel text. You pick that up. So now he inserts. We we wouldn't have known this from Exodus. But he's remembering from his own perspective. This is how seriously. Then I lay prostrate before Yahweh as before 40 days and 40 nights. I neither aid bread nor drink water because of the sin you had committed by doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord. And again here, what was evil? That should be different because you had done the evil in the sight of the Lord. As always, has the article, the evil, and it's always the violation of the first command you shall have. I actually think this has implications for the Lord's Prayer. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Your kingdom, your will be done on earth as a give us to and lead us not into temple testing, but deliver us from. The evil. The article is on there, isn't there? And so we say, so the alternative in the margins are always deliver me from evil generically.


[00:27:00] Or the evil one. Well, I actually think neither of them is right. It's Deliver me from the great evil. Which is turning to any other God. A false allegiance. That's the test. That's the test. Will you worship other gods? The whole Lord's Prayer is Deuteronomy. From beginning to end. I, I. I'm waiting for an occasion to actually do a paper on that. It is Deuteronomy. Our Father in heaven. All the rest of it's Deuteronomy from beginning to end. And in this case, the great evil deliver us from the temptation of idolatry. Of any sort. Well, here's what that's what happened here, to provoke him to anger. And now he this look at the long stretch of his own insertions Moses is remembering. Remember, I was afraid of the anger. Rarely. Rarely in biblical narrative. Robert Alter has taught us this. Do the characters in the narrative explain or define their definition, their disposition? You are left to judge what they are feeling, thinking of whatever their their mental and spiritual state from their actions and their words. But here, Moses is as transparent as can be. He lets us know. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that Yahoo! A against you so that he was ready to destroy you and Yahweh. Listen to me at that time as well. And Yahoo! He was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at that time. If he hadn't told us this, we would never known that because this isn't an exodus. And now we discover that the reason why Aaron survived that event. And remember, they haven't built a tabernacle yet. They haven't ordained the Levites as the official tribe. Aaron as high priest, that's still a future event.


[00:29:10] This is Exodus 32 and 33. That happens later on. If it hadn't been for Moses Aaron intercession, Aaron would have been out of the picture. Well, then I took the sin. The Hebrew here is very interesting was sin. He took the object, the sinful thing. I took the sin that you that the calf that you had made. That's the sin. And I burned it with fire. I crushed it, grinding it very small until it was fine as dust. And I threw the dust into the brook that ran down from the mountain. Well, that's Moses response. Let's review what has happened here. First, there's the symbolic gesture of smashing the tablets. Of course. What does that mean? The covenant to which you have just signed on is off. It's over even before we're done with the covenant document. I mean, he's got it in his hand, but he hasn't even made it down to the bottom of the mountain to show the people, Look here, this is the covenant God made with us. It aborts right at the beginning the symbolic gesture of smashing the tablets. Then there's the symbolic gesture of intercession be for Yahweh. I was prostrate before the Lord all those days. And then you have the intercessory, intercessory gesture on behalf of of of Aaron. I prayed for Aaron to. And finally, another symbolic gesture of disposing of the calf. Verse 21. Of course, that is a way of declaring that if you worship an idol, you become like the idol. It becomes a part of you. It is an abomination to God. And like the idol itself, that sin, you become an abomination to God. So here he grinds it to powder and he pours in the water, pours the powder into the river, and then he forces the people to drink it.


[00:31:41] Well, in versus 15 to 19, you have further evidence of his counter thesis. For I was afraid of the anger. The Lord was angry. And I did this. I took that thing. But it should be versus 22 to 24. Also at Tabora and Masa and Kibbe broth shot. Have you ignited God's wrath? What's interesting, he tells only one story. But he says, Hey, this has been the pattern. I could tell lots of stories. And so in shorthand, he says, Tabora Maza, Cabral, Gotabaya, you ignited God's wrath. And of course, speaking of when you you yak, we send you out from Cadiz, Vania saying, Go up and possess the land that I have given you. You rebelled against the command of Yahoo! Your God, you didn't trust them and you didn't listen to his voice. But of course, now he's talking to a new generation. These people weren't there. But remember earlier, he had taken this generation back to Horeb for the compliment. Well, now he's taking this generation back to the hora. Back to Carter's. Vanya. You guys, you didn't trust him. You didn't listen to his voice. Your idolaters. But of course. We understand what breaking the covenant means. That is replacing Yahweh as the object of our devotion. The object of our allegiance. The object of our trust with our own manmade gods. And speaking of the bull, now we have our own problems, don't we? Whom do we trust? Where do we go? Do we go to the golden calf? We didn't talk about. Where does. Where did the people get the idea for of the golden calf? We don't know exactly why the golden calf. But we know that in Egypt, Bovines were viewed sacred. They worshiped in Cain, and Bovines were metaphors for the divinities.


[00:33:55] So it's everywhere. We don't have to answer the question, where did they get this specific idea from? But what they have done is they have replaced Yahweh, who brought them out of Egypt. With another idol. And of course, he doesn't even talk about Aaron's complicity in his memory. This is what fascinates me. In a sense. He shields Aaron. But Aaron is no longer here anymore When Moses is giving this address, Aaron's been buried. Errands. Errands. Gone. But he could have talked about it. Of course, at that point, Moses was up on the mountain for days and 40 nights and receiving the tablets. And the people say, we don't know what has happened to this guy Moses. And they feel lost without Moses. And they say, Make us a God who will lead us out from here. That tells you what they think about Moses. The only replacement for Moses will be a God. That's how highly they have esteemed him by now, apparently. And then when they. They create this calf. And the way it is created, Aaron asks for all this, their jewelry and whatever, he melts it down. And then when Moses, Moses asks, What have you done? And he says, They gave me the stuff and I threw it into the fire and out came the calf. Of course, that's a lamest thing explanation you ever heard of. But in the ordination ceremony, or shall we say, dedication ceremony of this, Remember, Aaron's absolutely orthodox speech. The words are orthodox. Behold ESV, Behold your God O Israel. Who brought you out of the land of Egypt? This is your God who brought you? Why wasn't even there? I mean, the folly of idolatry. It wasn't even there 20 minutes ago. This is the God who to whom.


[00:36:08] Aaron attributes the exodus. And Moses prayed for him. Would you have prayed for your brother? I mean, he's supposed to be in charge while Moses is away. He's absolutely betrayed his trust. Well, the need for grace and the point of this whole business is if there is a covenant relationship, as Moses stands here on the plains of Moab with these people, if they are in covenant relationship with God, guess what? It's all of grace. Because ever since I knew you, everything you have done has been to demerit you. To disenfranchize you and you say it's because of our superior righteousness. Give us a break. Look at yourselves. Look in the mirror. This is who you really are. But guess what? Here we are. And so, in the next session, we'll talk about. How did we get here? And that will be the point of the next session.