Monday, August 24, 2009

"God Call's for Decision"-Sunday School Lesson

International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending August 30, 2009

Purpose: To realign our lives with God's purposes by opening ourselves to God's transforming work in us.

Scripture Text: Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (NRSV)

Deuteronomy 30:1-10
(1)When all these things have happened to you, the blessings and the curses that I have set before you, if you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, (2)and return to the Lord your God, and you and your children obey him with all your heart and with all your soul, just as I am commanding you today,(3)then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, gathering you again from all the peoples among whom the Lord your God has scattered you. (4)Even if you are exiled to the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will bring you back. (5)The Lord your God will bring you into the land that your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.

(6) Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live. (7)The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on the adversaries who took advantage of you. (8)Then you shall again obey the Lord, observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, (9)and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, (10)when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

My Thoughts by Burgess Walter

This week's text is a very important text for us to understand and appreciate, even more so if you include the last verse of the previous chapter 29:29, which says “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children for ever, to observe all the words of this law.” There are things we do not know about God, but those things that He has revealed to us belong to us and we are expected to be obedient to what has been revealed.

Our text seems to assume,Israel was going to fail, and it did. It also makes clear that there is a way to overcome that failure and to be restored. I think the latter is still taking place today. The nation of Israel is stronger today than it has ever been, and those that have come back to the land God had promised, have come from every corner of the globe.

Because of the next few verses (6-20) this portion of God's word has been a major influence though out Christianity. The “circumcision of the heart” was Wesley's way of calling for a filling of the “Holy Spirit”, or (a sanctified life) within each of us. When we allow ourselves to have a heart that God has circumcised or removed that which we do not need, then our lives can become the testimony that God had originally planned for His special people; the ones that were called to circumcise their young men as a sign to the world that they belonged to God. Circumcision of the heart is a repeat of last week's lesson on the “Great Commandment,” “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Notice that in verses 7-10, this becomes a commandment, with both a promise and a curse. If the children of Israel remained true to God and kept this commandment they would prosper, and their enemies would be cursed, however they too would face God's curse if they were disobedient to God's commands.

The rest of this chapter addresses another theological question, “The Complaint of Inability.” In church history this teaching is called “antinomianism” (against the law) which says that saving faith is of such a nature as to remove the obligation of obedience to God's law. The reply of Moses leaves no doubt about the matter. Moses said, (v-11) “Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away.” When you include verse 29 from the previous chapter and verse 11 to our printed text, you can realize that some things are kept from us, but following His commandments is not one of them. God has been very clear with us and He expects us to follow His commandments and to allow our heart to be circumcised, and filled with His love and presence, and to remove ourselves from the sin and distractions of this world.

What do I need to remove from my life, to be more fully devoted to His will? Are you willing to accept the transformation God wants to work in you? We can walk closer to God; our goal should be to be more like God and less like our old selves. Which do you choose today, blessing or curse?

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