Welcome Back to the Bible Blog!
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” These words begin the greatest story ever told; a story that still has an ending yet to come.
In Moses day, near the end of his life, he and all of Israel had been a part of the most incredible drama ever to be played out in our history. Each character had a mix of good days and bad days. Some were more good than bad, while others were seemingly tragic from start to finish.
Had the invention of modern cinema been around in their day they may very well have seen a trailer of the next installment of The Bible! Have you ever seen a movie that you knew was only Part 1? Having not read the book you viewed the trailer (or preview) of Part 2, but couldn’t completely imagine how it would play out. You’d have to be patient and wait for its release to see it for yourself. Chances are it doesn’t play out exactly as you imagine, but if it is in the style of most modern stories, all the good things get wrapped up in the end and the story concludes in an amazing way.
The story which begins, “In the beginning, God created…” has left some people to ask, “Why?”
- Why did He create us?
- Did He know we would reject Him?
- Did He know He would grieve that He had made us?
- Did our sin surprise Him and He’d have to form a plan B?
- Why even give us a choice to sin if He knew we’d take it?
Why…indeed. Some have attempted to explain that God didn’t know we would reject Him and that Jesus was His way of fixing the problem we created. In fact, we sometimes even describe the Gospel that way.
Was Jesus really God’s, “Uh oh! I better do something” resolution? Well…no. God knew what would happen even before He created the world. God always knows what will happen before it plays out.
As we get into the New Testament later this year we’ll explore the passages that explain Jesus’ timelessness, but what about here? What about within the pages of the Torah, the Pentateuch, the first 5 books? Does God know even here what will happen soon? Later in the OT? Even in the NT?
Deueronomy 17 describes what a king should and shouldn’t be like. In fact the mere reality that Israel would request a king was sinful (see 1Samuel 8), but God knows they will. He says in Deut 17:1 “When you…say, ‘Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us.’” He knows they will.
This chapter describes not only what a king should do, but what he should not do. Tragically we’ll see when we read through the life of Solomon, that at the end of his life his reign could be described very accurately by listing the do nots of Deuteronomy 17. God knows.
Jumping ahead a little, how about the blessings & curses for obedience & disobedience listed in Deuteronomy 28? Did you notice that the descriptions of the curses, what will happen as a consequence of disobedience, are nearly 4X longer than the descriptions for the blessings? Why do you think that is?
He (through Moses) begins chapter 29 with this amazing statement, “Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.” (vv. 2-4).
Jesus will make similar statements in the Gospels. Why? For us it doesn’t always seem to make sense. But the chapter ends with, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (v. 29a). God knows the beginning and the end (and all points in between) and He is putting something together.
After this long list of curses and consequences in chapter 30 God describes how He will welcome them back into relationship with Him when they repent and return to Him with all their hearts. He says, “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (v. 6).
Moses finishes his plee with Israel by describing these blessings and curses as life and death. He concludes by exclaiming, “choose life!” (v. 19), but God reveals to him in Deuteronomy 31:16, “these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them.” God knows.
“When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant.” (v. 20). God knows.
In the hymn that God commands Moses to teach the Israelites as a testimony against them for when they actually do turn away, He tells them that He will make them (Israel), “envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.” (v. 32:21). Paul identifies these people as the Gentiles (in other words all those who are not Israel…in other words, us!) in Romans 10:19.
But Moses declares to Israel near the end of Deut 32, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” (vv. 46-47). God knows.
God knows what we will do… more importantly He knows what He will do.
What will you do?
Have you wandered away from Him? In your actions? In your attitude? In your heart?
He longs for you to return to Him. He will renew your heart so that you can, “love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (30:6b).
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