Conclusion of the Second Discourse
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Deuteronomy, that portion of the Word of God we are studying together. We present again the analysis of the book of Deuteronomy, which we have been following in our discussion, keeping in mind what we have already told you—that the book of Deuteronomy is made up of three discourses. The first discourse, chapters 1-4, is a repetition of Israel's past failures as they marched through the wilderness. As we make that statement, you will remember that the children of Israel were camped on the borders of Canaan, waiting to go in. They had a forty day camp meeting because the book of Deuteronomy comprises everything that was said over a period of forty days. That is not to suggest that it was a night and day meeting, but as protracted meetings were held, that was the procedure that was followed.

Moses' second discourse, beginning with chapter 6 and concluding with chapter 26, dealt with a repetition of the law of God. This is where the book of Deuteronomy actually gets its name—the second law. Deuteronomy is a repetition of God's law. This is the discourse which we will be concluding in this discussion.

The third discourse, at which we have not yet looked, is found in chapters 27-31, and it represents a revelation of the future of the nation of Israel. This is future as far as Moses and the people of his generation was concerned, and it is future as far as we are concerned as well. If you want to know Israel's place in the plan of God, you will find it in these three chapters.

Then we pointed out to you that chapter 32 of the book of Deuteronomy contains the song of Moses. This is a song that is a famous song because God says in His Word that two songs are going to be sung when we get to Heaven. One of them is the song of Moses and the other is the song of the Lamb, given in the book of Revelation.

Chapter 33 of the book of Deuteronomy contains a blessing. This is somewhat prophetic. It is a blessing which Moses pronounced upon the twelve tribes of Israel.

Then the last chapter, chapter 34, we have entitled The Obituary because it represents the obituary which Moses wrote concerning himself—the manner in which he would take his departure from this present land.

As we were looking at the second discourse, you will recall that it is found in chapters 5-26. Chapters 5-11 dealt with the moral law and that was what we commonly refer to as the Ten Commandments . We discovered, as we looked at the moral law, that there were no changes in it from the time that it was given in the book of Exodus until it is repeated here in the book of Deuteronomy. The reason is that God's moral principles never change.

When we looked at the ceremonial law, which began with chapter 12 and went through chapter 16, verse 17, we discovered a number of changes, contrasts related to how this law was described in the book of Leviticus and how it was found in the book of Deuteronomy. The reason for that was a very simple one. Religious ceremonies change from time to time for very practical reasons. For example—when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, various ceremonies were observed in a manner in which they did not need to be observed after they moved into the land of promise. Certain ceremonies were observed in the tabernacle, which was a tent, which would not need to be observed in the temple when it was built after they were settled in the land of promise. The pronouncements of Moses related to the ceremonial law were for the people after they got into the land.

The third part of this second discourse we referred to as the judicial law or the civil law . It began with chapter 16, verse 18, and the entire discourse ended with chapter 26. Sometimes this section is referred to as the civil law because most of the laws of our land today, most of the laws of the western world, have found their roots in these laws of Moses as they were delegated at this particular time.

A Fitting Conclusion

Turn to chapter 26 because this is the portion of the Word of God that we are going to discuss together. Chapter 26 forms what I have been pleased to call A Fitting Conclusion to the entire section at which we are looking. As we read together, keep in mind that Deuteronomy, chapter 26, forms a fitting conclusion or a fitting summary of the second discourse. We say that it provides a fitting conclusion because in this chapter, we are going to find three ceremonies which Moses told the children of Israel they should observe.

The first ceremony we have referred to as The Ceremony of Adoration . You will see the reason for that by and by, but keep that thought in mind as we read together the first eleven verses:

Deuteronomy 26:

1And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;
2That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there.
3And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.
4And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God.
5And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
6And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
7And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
8And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
10And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God:
11And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

We remind you that the Ceremony of Adoration consisted of action—that is, adoration in deed and adoration in word. I will have more to say about that when as we consider the chapter, but in the reading of it for the purposes of understanding , we pass on to another ceremony which, for the sake of alliteration as an aid to your memory, we have referred to as the Ceremony of Accounting . First, the Ceremony of Adoration and then the Ceremony of Accounting. Notice the paragraph which begins with verse 12:

Deuteronomy 26:

12When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
13Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.
14I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
15Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

The accounting was given in deed and the accounting was given in word. The last portion of the chapter deals with the third ceremony, what I have referred to as the Ceremony of Affirmation . Actually, Moses speaks of this ceremony as one that has been already observed in relation to the activities of the people, but observed in relation to these other ceremonies. Notice verse 16 of this chapter then:

Deuteronomy 26:

16This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
17Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
18And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
19And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.

If you were listening while we read this portion of the Word of God, you recognized that the Ceremony of Affirmation consisted of man's affirmation in relation to God and then of God's affirmation in relation to man.

The Ceremony of Adoration

Let's notice again what we referred to as the Ceremony of Adoration . As we bring these thoughts to your attention, let us re-emphasize what we have emphasized in every session in our study of the Old Testament. You are not supposed to have a formal ceremony such as this. In fact, it would be an impossibility for you to do it. Who of you farm? Who of you could bring the firstfruits of your garden to the Lord, literally speaking? As we have constantly emphasized to you, the Scripture is given for our admonition, for our understanding. These things were written for types, for illustrations for us, and we would suggest to you that there is an illustration concerning the matter of adoration for every believer in this particular portion of Scripture.

You may wonder why we use the word adoration . We are using it in the sense of its meaning in relation to worship, for that is what we are talking about—this ceremony of worship. God said to the Israelites, “The first thing that I want you to do when you get into the land is to worship.” The reason we use the word worship as the meaning of the word adoration is brought to your attention in verse 10 of this chapter, where the worshipper said:

Deuteronomy 26:

10And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. [Then Moses said] And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God:

We have referred to this Ceremony of Adoration or this ceremony of worship as being related to deed and as being related to word. It is an interesting thing to notice how the Word of God emphasizes these two things as being essential to the right kind of worship. The reason that the Word of God emphasizes it is that we are prone, as human beings, to be lopsided in our worship. All too often we worship in deed. That is, we spend all of our time and our effort in busy activity. Some of us don't even have time for prayer because we are so busy. We don't have time for reading the Word because we are so busy. We say, “We are doing it for the Lord,” and we are. We are busily engaged for Him in acts of worship, but He does not want us to limit our worship to deed. He wants to hear our voice as well.

I say that these two things are mentioned often in the Word of God. By way of illustration, turn with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 4, and call to mind the conversation which the Lord Jesus Christ had with the woman of Samaria as they sat together there on the curb of Jacob's well. The subject of discussion was worship. Notice verse 22, where we read:

John 4:

22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

In that day, this was a correct and accurate statement. The Samaritans were a mixture. They were a mixture of breeds and as they were a mixture physically, they were a mixture religiously. Their worship was involved in a great many different things. But the Jews had the pure, undefiled worship of Jehovah. In verse 23, you will notice the Lord Jesus Christ saying:

John 4:

23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Notice the two statements—worshipping in spirit and in truth. The Samaritans, as the Jews of that day, were placing a lot of emphasis upon the ceremonial observances in relation to worship. The Lord Jesus said that there would come a time when the worship of the Spirit would be far more important than any overt act related to worship; but that Spirit worship must be related to truth, and truth included not only word but deed, as is indicated in what John had to say in his first epistle. Notice I John, chapter 3, and notice what John was emphasizing along this very same line. Notice verse 18:

I John 3:

18My little children,[that is, little born again ones] let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

The suggestion is that you love in word, but let that not be the only thing. Accompany your words with your action. Let your words accompany your deeds. This companion kind of worship is essential if we are to be well-pleasing to the Lord.

Let's go back to Deuteronomy, chapter 26, and notice how it was that these individuals were to worship in word. It might give us some pointers as to how, when we come into the presence of the Lord for worship, we might approach God. As I make that statement, I wonder what your attitude is in relation to worship when you come to worship. To many folk, worship is simply going to church and listening to a sermon or listening to a choir, listening to someone read prayers or statements from a common book, but worship is well illustrated in chapter 26 as a vital part of the life of the believer.

The worship in deed needs no explanation because you are told in verse 2 that as soon as the Israelites were in the land, they should take the first of all the fruit of the earth and bring it to the place that God was going to appoint. We know now that was Jerusalem; but at this particular time, people didn't know it. All they knew was that God would appoint a central place of worship, and it was to that central place of worship that the individual was to bring the firstfruits of the land.

If you are thinking, you know that in the book of Exodus, there is reference to the offering of the firstfruits. Be very careful now. Do not confuse what we are talking about in Deuteronomy, chapter 26, with what is recorded in various passages in the book of Exodus and in the book of Leviticus. Those passages related to the offerings of the firstfruits were also related to animal sacrifices as well as various other kinds of sacrifices—the sacrifice of oil, the sacrifice of incense. The principle difference is that those offerings of the firstfruits were national and public. They were related to the activity of worship on the part of the nation.

This offering of firstfruits was individual and private. This is the individual responsibility of every person. It wasn't a matter of its being done in a public ceremony; it was a matter of being done privately before the priest who met the worshiper at the door of the sanctuary. He was handed the basket of firtfruits and then the worshiper began his testimony or his worship in word. The first thing of which he spoke is found in verse 3, where he emphasized the faithfulness of God. Moses said:

Deuteronomy 26:

3And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.

“I want to testify,” he said, “that God has been faithful, that God has kept His word.” That was the first thing that was said in relation to his act of worship.

I would like to emphasize to you that if we enter into the right attitude and spirit of worship, the thing that we will be praising God for is His faithfulness. Did you notice that not a word is said about the beauty of the fruit which the worshipper brought nor the beauty of the basket in which he brought it, but only that God is faithful. “I want to say,” said the worshipper, “that God has kept His word. He has brought us into the land just as He said He would.”

Individuals who speak of God's answering prayer for them, individuals who speak of God's fulfilling the promise of His Word for them, can become a bit filled with themselves. They can leave the impression that God does things for them and He does it for nobody else. They can elevate themselves to a place of spiritual prestige that God never intended anybody should have. This very thing is what the Jews did. Instead of recognizing that God had given them a special place of privilege in order that they might be a channel through whom He could reach the rest of the world, they got all exalted and excited about God's attention to them and said, “We are Jews, and you are dogs. The only way you can have anything is to be nice to us.” They had completely misconstrued why God had chosen them. It is possible for believers today who have been abundantly blessed of the Lord to get an exalted idea of their own importance to God.

I am going to say something that I hope you will understand. I have said it before, but I say it as the Lord brings it to mind for the sake of emphasis. I believe that the people who worship at Abilene Bible Church are a privileged people. You are privileged because you have the opportunity to study God's Word. If you don't believe that, talk to the average person who attends the average church and see how little of the Word is presented.

Because individuals have discovered through the years that Abilene Bible Church is what its name implies—a place where the Word of God is emphasized—they find themselves coming here more and more. Then I have to warn them about something. I have to warn them about the fact that though they have been led here, God has not led everybody here; and men should follow the leadership of God, the leadership of the Holy Spirit, not the leadership of individuals. Sometimes I put it this way: You have left a certain place. Forget it. God has led you out. Forget it. Don't be talking all the time about how sparse the table was there. If God has led you to a full table, be grateful.

The Grace of God

If we do not keep such a thought in mind, it is possible for us as a people or for any individual group to become exalted in their own mind's eye. That is why it is necessary to include in your worship the second ingredient that I have designated here. I refer to it as the grace of God . Beloved, don't ever forget God's grace. The only way that you will ever stay humble is to remember the grace of God. Remember the pit from whence you have been digged, as the Psalmist has put it.

Going back to the book of Deuteronomy, I like the way that Moses instructed the worshiper to begin his worship after he had acknowledged God's faithfulness. In verse 5, he said:

Deuteronomy 26:

5And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father…

Beloved, that is a humble confession. He didn't say a Jew—one of the chosen people—but a Syrian. He was speaking of his father, Jacob, and the reason that he referred to his father, Jacob, in that sense was that Jacob spent the good part of his life in Syria. That was the place that he obtained all of his children; and though the nation of Israel did begin with the birth of Isaac, it did not actually begin as far as a growing nation was concerned until Jacob and his sons came along. So he speaks of his father, Jacob, or really he might have been his father removed by fifty generations, but still his father, Jacob. He said, “My father, Jacob, was a Syrian, ready to perish.”

May I remind you that that is the exact condition of every one of us. We ought to be able to give that testimony, and when we come into the presence of God, we ought not ever to forget that we were ready to perish because the sentence of sin has been passed upon every member of the human race. Though God, in His grace, has redeemed us from sin, we should never forget that we were ready to perish.

God's grace was acknowledged first with the confession to which I have just referred in verse 5. Never be afraid or ashamed to confess that you are a sinner saved by grace. Did you notice how the Syrian ready to perish obtained deliverance? Down into Egypt they went and sojourned there, Egypt being a type of the world. They were utterly helpless. They were evilly treated, and when they could stand it no longer, what did they do? Did they stand up on their hind legs and fight to assert their strength and provide for their own deliverance? No, that is not what they did. That is what a lot of folk try to do, but if you will look at verse 7, you will notice the cry:

Deuteronomy 26:

7And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers…:

Ah, that is a sweet testimony. It speaks of God's grace. There is not one word there of self-effort. There is not one word there of any emphasis upon works. “We were ready to perish. We cried.”

What happens? God said, “You Israelites down in Egypt, don't be such big babies. Everything works out if you let God do His part and you do yours. Work together and we will get this thing solved.” No, that's not what God said. You look again at verse 7, and you read the compliance to the cry:

Deuteronomy 26:

7And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
8And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9And he hath brought us into this place…

Once God starts something, He finishes it, doesn't He? Aren't you glad for that? What was it? He heard the cry and He looked, and then with His mighty, outstretched arms (Look at that verse. You can't find one thing that they did, not one thing.) He brought them out of Egypt. Most people stop reading too soon. You must never stop this paragraph without at least reading the first statement of verse 9, because there you read: “He brought us into this place…”

Beloved, our God, the God of whom I speak, never brings you out without bringing you in. The God Who some people worship seems, if you can believe what they have to say, never to complete the job. He brings them out, and then they wander endlessly about trying the best they know how to get in. But that isn't the story here, and it isn't the story anywhere in the Scripture. This is just another illustration that when He brings you out, God, in His mercy and His grace, brings you in.

Ceremony of Accounting

Let me suggest to you that we notice what I referred to in the beginning of our discussion as the ceremony of accounting . It is described in the paragraph which begins with verse 12, as it was related to tithes. It isn't a suggestion that you get all involved in a discussion of whether you tithe or not. We would remind you that you can't make this Old Testament passage of Scripture literally apply to the tithing of money. If you did, you would have to eat some of your money and as dirty as some of it is, you might get indigestion or something. Don't be too literal in the application of the tithing here. We are thinking about principles.

Why do I call this the ceremony of accounting ? In verse 12, you have an explanation. Every third year the tithes of the individuals were to be kept at home, not taken to the central place of worship. Out of those tithes that the individual kept at home, he was to perform good deeds. You notice in verse 12, he was to give it unto the Levites. That was the priest. That might represent the religious worker of the day, and he was to give it to the stranger. That is the man who had no home, no income. He was to give it to the fatherless and to the widow.

There is something I have always been amused at, and really I don't suppose there is any need to say it, but folk who emphasize storehouse tithing on the basis of these Old Testament passages of Scripture will tell you that it is wrong to use part of your tithe to buy a hungry man something to eat. If you are going to use these Old Testament passages of Scripture, you had better be consistent. Right here you are told you ought to reserve some of your tithe. Pay the preacher with some of it. He is the Levite, but don't forget the stranger and the fatherless and the widow. I am not suggesting to you that you ought to pay the bill for your own mother in the rest home and call it your tithe. I am not suggesting that. I am saying that consistency is a rare gem that you ought to possess; and when we take certain passages of Scripture to prove certain points, we are not always as consistent as we might be.

Keep in mind we are illustrating with the Word, and so we are saying to you that the third year they kept the tithe at home and they dispersed it. After they had set aside this tithe for the purpose that we are talking about, that was the deed. There had to be something said so there was a relationship to the Word, and then you read: “Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God…” So, you see, there is, in the ceremony of accounting, a matter of doing what God tells you to do as far as deed is concerned and then a matter of giving an account to God about how you did the thing that you were supposed to do.

I would like for us to notice for a bit an accounting of the work that every Israelite had to give to God. He laid aside those tithes during the third year and then he gave an account to God in relation to those tithes. Does this bring anything to your mind? I hope you are thinking. It ought to be suggesting a marvelous New Testament truth, and that truth is that God has entrusted to us material goods—talents, used in the way that it is commonly used in religious thinking, abilities, opportunities. He has entrusted us with a great many things and one of these days we are going to have to give an account to God for the way that we have used these particular things.

It isn't enough to dedicate your life to the Lord. It isn't enough to give your life to Him. There is a need to recognize that one day you are going to have to give an account to God for the way that you have used that dedicated life or the way that you haven't used it as the case may be. If your memory needs jogging a bit, turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 14. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul was a bit concerned about the spirit of judgment that existed among the Christians. You see, some of them were doing some things and others of them were not. Some Christians were saying, “I feel perfectly free to do this,” and other Christians were saying, “Oh, I wouldn't do that.”

I heard this illustration and it may say more in a few words than I could say in many: A Sunday School teacher was not living the testimony that she should outside of the church house. She was living in adultery with a man. She was married and she still stayed at home, cooked her husband's food, met his needs, but she was interested in another man. She met this man at a certain place and she taught her Sunday School class on Sundays. One of the members of the Sunday School class was a witness to this regular weekly act of adultery. So this teacher was standing before the class and the witness to this said, “You know, I don't believe there is anything worse in the world than smoking.” Then she paused for some reaction, and she got more than she bargained for because the man who was in the class who knew about this extra-curricular activity raised his hand and said, “You know, I believe that is right. I don't think there is anything worse than smoking, unless it is adultery.” Do you get the point? These folks in Romans, chapter 14, were judging one another and Paul said in verse 4:

Romans 14:

4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. [Then he adds this comforting word.] Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

The first part of that is, “Mind your own business. God is able to take care of His servant if he doesn't behave himself.” But then Paul adds, “God is able to hold him up. God is able to make him stand.” I wonder how many of God's servants would have fallen if God, in His grace, had not held them up, for His servants are weak. Remember that.

Actually, this spirit of judgment is dealt with in this whole passage of Scripture and then in verse 10, Paul said:

Romans 14:

10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall[notice] all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

This does not refer to your salvation. That is already settled, but it does refer to the tithe of the third year, figuratively speaking, which you set aside for God. It does refer to how you use what He has given you—your life, your breath, your money, your time, your talent, you name it. There will be an accounting someday. Slip over to II Corinthians, chapter 5, to etch this in your memory even more deeply and notice in verse 9, where Paul says:

II Corinthians 5:

9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

No, this is not salvation, Beloved. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” You don't have to labor to be accepted as far as your salvation is concerned, but you do have to labor that your labor will be accepted before the Lord, for you will notice in verse 10:

II Corinthians 5:

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

We are going to have to give an account of these deeds one day that we have done or not done as the case may be. If you go back to Deuteronomy, chapter 26, you will notice a few illustrations of the manner in which the accounting could well be given. This worshiper, when he brought these tithes to the Lord, said, in verse 13: “I have done according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me.” This is complete obedience on his part. “I have done everything that you have told me to do.” He was not claiming perfection. What he was saying was the same thing Paul was saying: “I have finished the job; I have completed the work.”

I wonder how many unfinished tasks are going to have to be reported to the Lord at the day of accounting? I wonder how many of us are going to have to say, “Lord, I just didn't finish the job.” So there comes to mind the matter of omission. Not only do we give account in relation to obedience, but an account in relation to omission, for he said, “I have not transgressed by commandments, neither have I forgotten them.”

You parents, you teachers, what is the excuse you hear most often in relation to unfinished tasks? “Oh, I forgot. I meant to, but I forgot.” We realize that sometimes that is used as an excuse and folk are not really telling the truth, but many times they are telling the truth. They just forget. I wonder if some of us are going to have to stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and simply say to the Lord, “I forgot. I just got busy about many things.” The Israelite said, “I remember Lord everything I was supposed to do with this third year tithe.”

Then will you look at verse 14. I have used the word misappropriation to describe what you find in that verse. This third year tithe was to be set aside, and he said: “I have not eaten thereof in my mourning,” which means, “I have not used this tithe in relation to dead folk.” That would make it unclean for reasons we can't go into now. “Neither have I used it for any unclean use. I haven't even used it in relation to the dead.”

That is the reason I have used the word misappropriation . As far as the Jew was concerned, in this particular instance, had he used this tithe that was set aside for the purpose designated for anything related to the dead, it would have been unclean; it would have been unacceptable to the Lord; it would have been misappropriated. I am going to ask you to answer this question in your own hearts and your own minds, and you are going to have to stand someday at the Judgment Seat of Christ and acknowledge that you have misappropriated your life if you have. Let's just put it very generally. God gave you your life. Are you misappropriating it?

I have been so conscious of this. I have wanted to be conscious of this all my life, but I have been so conscious of it for the last four years. I underwent heart surgery and I asked the Lord for an extension of days. As we were discussing before the surgery—just from a human standpoint that I want to make a point—with these doctors what I might could expect if I went through this surgery and what I could expect if I didn't go through it, they all said, “You can expect fifteen years.” I was indignant—to go through all this and just fifteen years! Of course, I realized that was a human estimate, and I don't know whether I will even have those fifteen years. I may have, but I am conscious of the fact that God gave me fifteen years more. That is the way I put it, and I have been unusually burdened and concerned that I am not misappropriating these fifteen years. So much so am I concerned about it that sometimes I wonder if I am even as well rounded as I ought to be because I am living under the constant pressure of not wasting these fifteen years.

I wouldn't want any of you to live under such pressure that your life would be miserable, and I don't mean to imply that mine is. I am afraid sometimes I make other people miserable because I am under such pressure because of the danger of misappropriation, but I would have you carefully consider the fact that someday you are going to have to give an account for the way that you spend your life. What kind of account can you give?


The word expectation is brought to my mind in verse 15:

Deuteronomy 26:

15Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Why do I use the word expectation ? Because, Beloved, I believe that though we should live with a constant realization that we must give an account to God for the kind of life that we are living, we should also live with a full realization that God is able to make his servant stand and God, being able to make His servant stand, is able also to find that for which He can bless us as we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ because we are reminded at that day that every man shall have praise of God. This is expectation's corner, for I fully expect that though everything I have said to you up to this point in relation to my own life, I have meant, I fully expect when I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ to have some praise from Him, for I believe I walk in fellowship with Him—if not always, at least a good bit of the time. At least, that is the desire of my heart.

The Ceremony of Affirmation

The last thing that I want to say to you is related to the third ceremony which we have called the ceremony of affirmation . Why do I use a term like that? Look at verse 16:

Deuteronomy 26:

16This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
17Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God…

Then down in verse 18:

Deuteronomy 26:

18And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people…;

Notice the word avouched . It comes from the Hebrew word amar , which means not only “to vouch,” but it means “to boast” and it means “to publish.” What is it? Ah, there is something else that you and I ought to do. Call it a ceremony if you like. You and I ought to publish the fact that God is our God. If we publish the fact that God is our God, we will find that God is publishing the fact that we are His people. It is an amazing thing how much emphasis is placed in the Word of God upon this mutual reciprocity in our relationship with God.

Turn to James, chapter 4, and look at verse 8. Notice an exhortation familiar to many of you and something, I trust, that you adhere to. Notice:

James 4:

8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…

Do you see this reciprocity of which I speak? You avouch, you affirm, that God belongs to you, and God will affirm that you belong to Him. Oh, it isn't that God's election is set aside and His plans and His purposes are overruled by the will of man; but it is that God is not going to claim you if you don't want to claim Him openly, publicly. You are familiar with what is recorded in Revelation, chapter 3, verse 20:

Revelation 3:

20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

As we have pointed out to you so often, we use that in relation to salvation, and we should not. It is a matter of fellowship, but who has to open the door? You do. You see, that is exactly what is presented to us here in Deuteronomy, chapter 26, by way of illustration. What is the first thing you read in this last paragraph? “Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God.” What kind of affirmation does man give in verse 17? First, a matter of identification—“God is my God.” To prick your conscience and to provoke your thinking, do you publish the fact that God is your God? I don't mean that you go around waving a Bible in your hands and saying, “Look, look, I belong to God.” But I wonder, if you permit a phrase from the unregenerated life, “when the chips are down,” do you let folk know that God is your God or do you hope they don't find it out?

Affirmation Related to Obedience

Notice this affirmation is not only related to identification, but it is related to obedience as well because you will notice in verse 17, not only does the individual affirm and publish and declare that God is his God, but he also declares that he is going to walk in His ways and is going to keep His statutes and His judgments. He lets it be known where he stands.

There is a lot of discussion among people as to whether there ought to be such things as public invitations or not. I think you all know my position on that. I certainly don't think that services ought to be closed with public invitations just for the sake of an invitation, but there are times when God leads, when a public invitation ought to be given, and men have an opportunity to walk the aisle and declare before men, “I am going to keep God's law. I am going to obey Him. I am going to do His will and walk in His way.”


The last thing I have for you is the word fellowship , and it suggests to my mind by the last statement of verse 17: “I am going to harken to His voice.” Oh Beloved, that is so necessary, for we have seen this happen over and over again. We have seen folk affirm that God is their God. We have even seen them walk the aisle and declare that they are going to walk in the ways of God. Then we have seen them fail on this last point. They don't spend any time listening to God's voice. They don't spend any time alone with Him, and because they don't spend any time alone with Him, pretty soon that affirmation that was made before men doesn't mean anything. You can't live without that fellowship.

The last part of our comment—what did I say? “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” What did our text say? “You avouch this day that God is thy God,” and then down in verse 18, you read:

Deuteronomy 26:

18And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people…;

So there is the matter of identification on God's part. God says, “Yes, you claim Me and I will claim you.” You will notice that the word peculiar does not mean people who act differently. It means people who are God's own possession—His very own. Then there is the matter of honor where God is concerned because God goes on to say in this portion of the Word that He had promised the Israelites that if they kept all of His commandments, He would make them high above all the nations—high in praise and in name and in honor. As we shall see when we enter into this third discourse, this was a special promise to the nation of Israel, but it is an illustration—an illustration of a principle that no man can deny—that Christ has said, “Him that honoureth Me, Him will My Father honor.

We sometimes get impatient and we wonder why we are not elected the outstanding young man of the year. Honor doesn't come to the believer on the earth necessarily. It may, but you are not home yet. This honor will come in due season in God's own time.

Separation to Himself Results in Holiness

Then you will notice the word separation . God not only promised honor, but He promised to separate this people to Himself. In verse 19: “…that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God.” I close, Beloved, with the thought that separation which stems from you will result in narrow bigotry; but separation that stems from God results in holiness. Will you remember that? When you try to be separated yourself, you put yourself in an untenable position—unattractive to the world; but let the Holy Spirit of God work in your life, and He will separate you in a way that will be a testimony to men whether they agree with you or not.

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