An Erroneous Conception
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Deuteronomy because that is the portion of the Word that we are considering together. We want to notice the portion which is recorded in chapter 9 and verses 1-11 in chapter 10 because that is dealing with a specific subject matter that goes together. Keep in mind that we have often emphasized that we don't always stop where a chapter ends because the subject doesn't stop there and we look at the entire theme. I want to read the entire portion so that we can have the whole section clear in our minds. We will go back and notice some things that we trust the Lord will use as a source of blessing. Reading from verse 1:

Deuteronomy 9:

1Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
2A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
3Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee.
4Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee.
5Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
7Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord.
8Also in Horeb ye provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry with you to have destroyed you.
9When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
10And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the Lord spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
11And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
12And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
13Furthermore the Lord spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
14Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
15So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.
16And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you.
17And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
18And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
19For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also.
20And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
21And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.
22And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, ye provoked the Lord to wrath.
23Likewise when the Lord sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.
24Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.
25Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the Lord had said he would destroy you.
26I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:
28Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.
29Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.

Deuteronomy 10:

1At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
2And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
4And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me.
5And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me.
6And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead.
7From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters.
8At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
9Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him.
10And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also, and the Lord would not destroy thee.
11And the Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.

Now, I repeat, we have read all of chapter 9 and chapter 10, verses 1-11, because it is all dealing with the same theme that is to be brought to our attention tonight. Let's refresh our minds as to the exact setting of this passage of Scripture. Keep in mind that Moses was with the children of Israel on the borders of the land and the book of Deuteronomy records three speeches which Moses made over a period of forty days. We are in the midst of the second speech that he made. That speech is recorded in the portion of the book of Deuteronomy that begins with chapter 5, and goes on through chapter 26, so it is a rather long speech. The speech itself is divided into three sections because it is dealing with the Law of God and the Law of God falls into three sections. Chapters 5-11 is dealing with the moral law or the Ten Commandments. Chapters 12-15 is dealing the ceremonial law. Chapters 17-26 is dealing with the judicial law.

So, you can see where we are tonight. We are in this first part of Moses' second speech, which is dealing with the Ten Commandments. He started out in this speech by giving them the Ten Commandments, amplifying them somewhat and now he is emphasizing to them the importance of keeping the law of God after they get into the land. Our natural reaction would be to say, “Well, why wouldn't they?” Well, we have been learning why. There are perils related to keeping the law. There are perils related to obeying God's Word. Some of them we have noticed as being the perils of prosperity because the last time we met together we heard Moses warn them that after they got into the land and the fields were yielding their harvest and the enemies were subdued that they would need to be very, very careful that they not yield to the temptation of saying, “Well, here we are. Everything is all right. Why do we need to be so careful about this?”

Remember that Moses reminded them that the reason that they had as difficult time as they had in the wilderness was that they might learn how to live when they got into the land, but he was concerned that they had not learned their lessons as well as they might have. That was indicated to us in chapter 8, verse 17:

Deuteronomy 8:

17And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.

He said, “You will be tempted to say that when you get into the land, and I want to remind you of what your temptation will be so that you will be prepared for it when you face it.” He is thinking along the same lines here in chapters 9-10, but he said, “You are going to face another danger when you get into the land, because you are going this day to march into the land and God is going to conquer the Anakims before you.” They knew about the Anakims. They were the children of Anak and the children of Anak were giants. You will remember when the twelve spies went into the land and came back and made their report, one of the reason they gave that they knew they would never be able to conquer the land were the Anakims. They were no match for them. So, Moses said to them, “Now, you were afraid and God knows you are afraid, so God is going to take care of the Anakims for you and when He does, you might misinterpret why He did it and you might become again so full of self that God will have to chasten you. You have got to remember that your dependence must be upon God.”

Now, we don't study these Old Testament books primarily to accumulate some knowledge about Old Testament people. We study these books, primarily, to make application to our own hearts and lives as we live here in this century. Tonight, I want to point our to you three errors which the Israelites made in their evaluation of the way God does things, or three errors, shall we say, that they were in danger of committing…three areas that Moses was concerned about to say the least.

An Erroneous Conception of God's Government

The first one I have labeled An Erroneous Conception of God's Government . They were going to make an error related to God's government. You know, many people in our day and time do that very thing. We speak of a God of love, and we speak of a God of mercy, we speak of a God of grace. We are familiar with all of these terms related to God, but I wonder if we are as familiar as we ought to be in relation to God's government?

Let me give you an illustration from the New Testament viewpoint. In Paul's letter to the Colossians, he speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ who must have the preeminence and then he said, “…in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of our sins.” There are no strings to that. Forgiveness is in the Lord Jesus Christ and that is the forgiveness of grace. Do you know that that is the only kind of forgiveness that a great many people know about?

When you get over into the Gospel of Matthew, for example in a portion that is recording the Lord's prayer, you hear the Lord Jesus Christ say (and I am paraphrasing) “If you don't forgive the fellow that does something against you, then God won't forgive you.” That isn't related only to the Millennium. You go over to the Ephesian letter and what do you hear? You hear: “Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake forgave you.” People don't understand the difference between God's government and God's grace. They think there is a contradiction. There isn't. God operates in grace and He freely forgives the sins of men, but once they become His children they are under His guidance, His discipline, and His care. He says, “I am not going to have My children act like that. If you expect me to forgive you, then you are going to have to forgive the man who does something against you.” Otherwise you are out of fellowship until you meet God's conditions. Because people have an erroneous conception of the government of God, they don't realize this.

It is illustrated for us here in this portion. In the first three verses, Moses describes the defeat of the Anakims at the hand of God. You heard it when we read it. In verses 4-5, Moses said, “Now you folk are going to say, ‘you know why God defeated the Anakims? Because we are more righteous than they.'” That is why he said here in verse 4. Look at it:

Deuteronomy 9:

4Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land…

You see. God went before. He defeated the Anakims and the Israelites sat around and said, “Wonder why God did this,” and somebody said, “Well, don't you know why. We belong to God. We are a righteous people and God has done what He has done here because we are a righteous people.” You see, this is self-deception. Look at the first part of verse 5:

Deuteronomy 9:

5Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Well, they might say then, “Why did God do it? If He didn't do it because we are more righteous than they, why did He do it?” Moses said, in the last part of verse 5:

Deuteronomy 9:

5Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee…

“Their being put out of the land doesn't have a thing in the world to do with your righteousness. It is all related to the government of God.” Look down at verse 5, and notice he emphasizes again: “…but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee…” To amplify what I am trying to say to you turn back with me to the book of Genesis, chapter 15, and look at a verse of Scripture that we have looked at a number of times, because these first five books of the Bible are more or less related to this specific truth. In Deuteronomy, chapter 15, is recorded the story of how God promised Abraham that He would give to his people a land for a home and He said, in verse 15: “Abraham, you won't live to see it. You will die before I give these people the land of which I speak, because I am not going to give them this land until the fourth generation from you. That is how long they are going to have to wait.”

Abraham said, “Lord, why?” He said, “Well, Abraham, before I can give you the land, I have got to move the Amorites out of the land.” Abraham said, “Move them out, Lord. What are you waiting for?” God said, “I can't move them out. I am a just God. They have not forfeited the right to that land yet, but I know they will, because I know the end from the beginning and I know that they are going to forfeit that right to the land, and when they do, then you can have it.”

I paraphrased the last statement of verse 15 so that you could understand what it meant, because the last statement of verse 16, says, “For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” That is what it means. God said, “I can't give you the land that belongs to the Amorites because they haven't forfeited their right to it, but I know they will and so when they do, I will move them out.” This is related to the government of God and Moses is telling the children of Israel, “When you get into the land and you see those Anakims fall down like little sticks before you, don't you get big-headed and say, ‘We are righteous. That is why God did it.' God did it because it was time to punish the Amorites.” God works according to government.

Now, for a New Testament illustration of this same thing, turn with me to the book of Acts, chapter 2, and you will notice Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, relative to the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will notice in verse 22, he said:

Acts 2:

22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Let's stop right there for a moment and let me read these two verses, leaving part of them out so that you will find the human approach to the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 22: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs that God did by Him in the midst of you as ye yourselves also know ye have taken and have by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Now, that is the human story of the Crucifixion, and they go about boasting on. “Here is this fellow. He said He is God, but look at Him there on the Cross. We killed him. He wasn't so big after all.” But, they reckoned Him without the government of God and you will notice the part I left out makes the difference:

Acts 2:

23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken…

“If God had not delivered the Lord Jesus Christ to you, you could not have done one thing, but according to His time and His purpose, He did it.”

Now, back to Deuteronomy, chapter 9. Let us remember that God does not do things because we are better than somebody else. He does things because men oppose His government and we are incidental to the entire plan and purpose. If they understood God's government, then they could realize that what happened to the Anakims could happen to them. You see, if they just talked about how righteous they were, they would say to themselves, in so many words: “The sky is the limit. God gave us this land and we can do anything that we want to do.” God would say to them through Moses, “Wait just a minute. I gave the Amorites the land too and when their cup of iniquity was full I disposed of them and if you don't live for Me and do what you ought to do, I will move you out of the land just like I moved them out of the land.”

They didn't listen to what God had to say, so God moved them out of the land, as you well know. What did He do when He moved them out of place? He put the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in the place that Israel had, as far as being the oracle of God, as far as getting the message out is concerned. What did the Church do? Well, you listen to a lot of unenlightened preachers and you will hear them say, “God is through with the Jews. They messed things up. We have it all now.” What does God say to the Church? “Don't be too sure.” When you have time read Romans, chapter 11. Paul describes it in the form of a tree. Here is an olive tree that wasn't bearing any fruit and what did God do? He reached out and got a branch of a wild olive tree and grafted it into this tree that wasn't bearing any fruit. Then that wild branch got life from the main tree and bore a lot of fruit. Then they began to get real proud. That is us. Paul said, “Now, wait a minute. If God grafted in a wild branch, He is just as able to cut it out again. What is going to happen? That very thing. God is going to set aside the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and put Israel back in the tree, put Her back on the main line and She will be used of God once again.”

So, the lesson that I would drive home to our hearts is, let not us make the same mistake. Let not us have an erroneous conception of God's government. God's grace is full, free and unlimited, but let us not presume upon the grace of God. Let us not forget that God operates according to government and that every disobedience receives its just recompense of reward. When individuals who have a vision of the grace of God apply it say, “I am who I am and God can't do anything to me,” God says, “You are forgetting about My government. I operate according to grace, yes, but I operate according to government.”

An Erroneous Conception of God's Guarantee

On the other side of the ledger, the extreme to which the pendulum could swing upon the other side, I have described as another error they made. They not only had an erroneous conception of God's government, but they had an erroneous conception of God's guarantee, and one is just as bad as the other. Now, notice over here in Deuteronomy, chapter 9, he said, “Now, when the Anakims are destroyed and you get the land, don't say that it was because of your righteousness. It wasn't because of your righteousness. It was because of their wickedness, and another reason why you need to know that it wasn't because of your righteousness, it is,” notice the last part of verse 5:

Deuteronomy 9:

5 …but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Do you see what was happening? The Israelites will say, “Well, the reason we are in this land and the reason we are enjoying all of these privileges is because we are righteous.” God said, “No. It is because I made a promise that I have to keep.” Now here is an individual who will say, “I am not going to go to hell because I am righteous.” No, that isn't true. The reason you are not going to hell is because God made a promise and He has to keep it. Are you following me? You see the danger? Here is a group of people saying, “We got this because we are better than they.” God said, “No, you got it because it was according to My plan.” Here is a group of people say, “Well, we have got what we got because we are living it and we are earning it and we deserve it.” God said, “No. You have what you have because I made a promise and I keep My word.”

A very good illustration of that is found in Numbers, chapter 23. You remember that Balaam, the prophet of God, was hired by Balak to curse the children of Israel and, of course, he thought that some way, somehow he could get it done. He knew deep down inside that he couldn't, but somehow he thought he might pull a fast one. But, when he opened his mouth to prophesy, instead of a curse, came out a blessing. So, in verse 19, Baalam said:

Numbers 23:

19God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

You see why I say that they had an erroneous conception of God's guarantee? They had whittled God down to their own size and they knew what they did. They lied. So, they would naturally assume that God could lie. They didn't keep their word. Any number of times they made promises that they had failed to keep and so they said that God might not keep His promises. They were wrong about God's guarantee and Balaam reminds them of that here. He said: “God's not a man that He should lie. Neither is He the son of man that He should change his mind about anything. Hath He not said and shall He not do it? Shall He not make it good?”

You see, the children of Israel forgot that they were in the land according to God's promise, not according to their goodness. They forgot that they were in the land according to God's government, not according to their superiority in righteousness over someone else. You make these applications to your own lives.

An Erroneous Conception of God's Grace

Go back to Deuteronomy for one more erroneous conception that is emphasized in this chapter. For the sake of alliteration I am going to refer to it as an erroneous conception of God's grace. They had an erroneous conception of God's government, and they had an erroneous conception of God's guarantee, and they had an erroneous conception of God' grace. Will you look down at verse 6:

Deuteronomy 9:

6Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

He repeats it now. “Don't you go around saying that God has given you this land because of your righteousness, because you are not righteous. You are a stiffnecked people and if God gave to you your just desserts, He wouldn't have even let you in the front gates to begin with.” You see, they were forgetting all about God's grace. They were forgetting about how stiffnecked they were, so in this paragraph that we have read in your hearing, Moses cites several different incidents in which they were stiffnecked. If you are familiar with your Bibles, you will notice that he did not cite these instances in their order. The critics notice this, you see, and they say, “Well, the Bible isn't inspired; why this isn't the way it happened at all. In Numbers they say it happened this way, and in Deuteronomy they say it happened this way.”

Moses was a preacher and he was driving home truth and he didn't say, “Now, I am going to list for you the way in which you were stiffnecked in the order in which they occurred. I just want to remind you of some times when you were stiffnecked.” So, he chose the incidents, not on the basis of their schedule, but on the basis of their subject matter, so he called to their attention that they were stiffnecked in Horeb. He said, “I was up there in the mountain and God was giving me the law and He had written it on tables of stone. When He had it finished He said, ‘You had better get on down there and look out for your folk.'”

Did you notice how God changed the pronouns? He said, “They belong to you Moses. They don't belong to me. They are down there at the foot of the mountain and they are dancing around a golden calf and I have disowned them. They are your people, not mine.” Moses said, to them, “You dare talk about God doing anything for you because of your righteousness when you were idolatrous and adulterous at the same time.” They he said, “You remember something else you did. You remember what happened to you at Taberah? You remember how that God had been so gracious and He had done so much and you got tired of what God was doing and you said, “Can't God do anything?' You doubted the very power and the wisdom of God. Don't forget it. I haven't forgotten it,” Moses said.

Then he said, “Do you remember how stiffnecked you were at Massah? You remember how you wondered whether God was even with us because you got a little bit thirsty? You said, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?' Well, you may have forgotten it, but I remember.” Then he said, “You remember what happened at Kibrothhattaavah? You remember that even when God answered your prayer and sent you flesh to eat, you didn't even stop to say the blessing. You grabbed it up and began to eat it and then it was so obnoxious to God that before you had a chance to get a toothpick and pick your teeth, God struck all of that group dead. Do you remember that? Well, I remember it. Don't talk to me,” Moses said, “about your righteousness. You are not righteous. You don't deserve anything at all from God.”

God's Response to Intercession

Then they said, “Now, Moses, if this is true, if we don't deserve anything and if God didn't do this because we are righteous, why did He do it?” Here is one of the most precious lessons there is in the Word of God. Moses said, “God did it because of my intercession. God did it because I prayed for you.” Look at chapter 9, verse 18 and listen to Moses as he said:

Deuteronomy 9:

18And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
19For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also.

He said, “It is not your righteousness. It is my intercession.” Then he said in verse 20:

Deuteronomy 9:

20And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.

Then down in verse 25, he speaks of another kind of intercession like the first time. He said, “The only reason in the world that you are able to be in this land today is my intercession.”

The reason I say that this is one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture, to my mind, in the Word, is related to what I said at the beginning of our discussion. We are not interested in accumulating facts about Old Testament characters. This is a wonderful illustration of the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. If you catch a glimpse of the intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will know that you are eternally secure. You see, the reason it is hard for people to believe that they can be eternally secure is they are conscious of their own unrighteousness except when they are bragging. What was it Paul said in Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 25? Notice:

Hebrews 7:

25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

He is able to save from the beginning all the way through to the end. Why? Because we go to church and read our Bibles and pray and do what we ought to do? No. Wait a minute. If you were listening in the early part of our discussion here, you found out God doesn't ignore things like that. He deals with disobedience, but that is not the reason why you are going to Heaven. The reason why you can be sure of it is, the Lord Jesus Christ is making intercession for you.

There is an interesting illustration of the real basis of intercession that will drive these nails a little bit deeper. Look with me here in chapter 9 again, verse 26, and notice the basis of intercession. First there is relationship . He says:

Deuteronomy 9:

26I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

“Lord, these people belong to you. Remember that. Don't forget it, God. And even though they deserve to be shut out of the promise land, don't do it. They belong to you.” Relationship makes the difference. You see, when the Lord Jesus Christ makes intercession for me at the right hand of the throne of God, He could well say to God, “Joe Temple deserves Hell. He deserves Hell. That is where he ought to go, but Father, he is Mine. He belongs to Me and I am making My plea, not on the basis of what Joe Temple is. He is nothing, but he belongs to Me.” Look again at verse 27. We are still talking about the basis of intercession. First on its relationships. Then on its remembrance . In verse 27:

Deuteronomy 9:

27Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:

“Remember your promise to them, Lord.” The Word of God is the thing upon which we rest and when the Lord Jesus Christ makes intercession for me, He says, “Remember Thy Word.” As a matter of fact, He even says, if you look at the last part of verse 27: “Look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin.” You see, if God looked at that, He would have to send us to Hell, but He said, “Remember your Word.”

Notice the third word which is the basis of real intercession and that is the word recognition . Relationship, remembrance, then recognition. That is brought to my mind from verse 28:

Deuteronomy 9:

28Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.

“Lord, I want people to recognize,” Moses said, “that you finished the work that you began; and if these people do not come into the land, then the people will say, ‘God couldn't do what He said He could do.'” You see, if one person goes to Hell, then the Devil and all of his hosts will say, “Uh oh, God said He could do it, but He couldn't,” and God loses the glory.

The Assurance of God's Grace

We could suggest to you something else about Moses' intercession, and that is that it illustrates the assurance of God's grace. Do you know why in chapter 10 God wrote on the tables of stone again? Do you know why? So that we would learn a lesson. He told Moses, “Before you come up to get these stones, you build an ark out of shittim wood. As soon as you get them, put them in the ark.” The ark represents the Lord Jesus Christ. The only way that we can stand before God in the light of the Ten Commandments is that they are hidden in Christ in the sense that they have been fulfilled by Him. Otherwise we would still be under the sentence of death. Did you notice what happened when Aaron died? Immediately, immediately, God appointed another priest, because without a priest there could be no intercession and without intercession, men would be lost. Thank God the Lord Jesus Christ never dies. His is a continuing priesthood. Notice verse 11. Moses listed all of these things and said, “You are a rebellious and stiffnecked people.” But God said, “Moses, lead on. Lead on into the promised land.” If it were not for God's grace, Beloved, we could never take one step toward Heaven, and that grace is available through the intercessory work of Christ.


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