Deut 11:8-25 Two Covenants 4/28/2002

 

 

 

#1. A Land that Drinketh Water of the Rain of Heaven (Deut 11:10-11, Isa 55:11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. The First Rain and the Latter Rain (Deut 11:14-15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. When Thou Sittest in Thine House (Deut 11:18-21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to Deuteronomy, chapter 11, verse 8. (2X) The title of this sermon is: "Two Covenants" (2X) Did God indeed make two separate covenants with mankind, so that there were two different ways of getting into heaven? Did God give the nation of Israel the opportunity to become saved by obeying the law? For example, the beginning of this chapter starts out with the words: "Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway." Always means "always", which means all the time, and it means forever. To make sure we don't miss this, God repeats this in verse 8,

Deuteronomy 11:8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;

Deuteronomy 11:9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Does God state here the conditions of salvation? Does this passage talk about salvation, or just about possessing land? Look at verse 9 carefully. God speaks there about "a land that floweth with milk and honey". What does that mean? God put this expression 20 times in the Bible. You can find 20 verses in the Bible where God quotes "the land flowing with milk and honey". Now, should this be understood literally? It would be a sticky situation there with all that honey in the land, and in that climate the overflowing milk turns sour in two or three days. But God does not lie. Obviously, it should not be understood literally. The first time God used this expression was in Exodus, chapter 3. You may want to turn there to look at those words. That was the situation where God was speaking to Moses from the burning bush, and there God said in verse 7, (Ex 3:7),

Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Exodus 3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

In other words, God said: "I have seen the affliction of My people, and therefore this is what I will do: I will deliver them out of the land of Egypt, and I will bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey". First of all, God chose to whom He was going to be kind. God was not kind to the Egyptians, but God was kind to the children of Israel. Does that not tell you that God chooses on whom He will have mercy, and all others He passes by? Secondly, God said: "I will do this, and I will do that". God is the one who takes the initiative, and God finishes the work He started out to do. This great exodus of at least 2 million people out of Egypt in one day was a stupendous miracle, and it was a fabulous picture of salvation. The Passover Lamb was killed, and the same night they were declared a free people. They were no more slaves. And God was leading them to a land flowing with milk and honey. God created that wonderful historical event and God recorded that in the Bible, because that same picture also applies to our salvation: When we were saved, we were delivered out of the land of bondage where we were born, we were delivered from the power of sin and Satan, and we were translated into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 1:13). Egypt was a picture of the kingdom of Satan, and the land of Canaan was a picture of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Therefore, the expression "a land flowing with milk and honey" refers to the Kingdom of God on this earth.

Today, the externally visible Kingdom of God here on earth is the Church. God says that it is:

#1. A Land that Drinketh Water of the Rain of Heaven (Deut 11:10-11, Isa 55:11)

Please turn back to Deut 11. It appears that God states the condition for entering the Kingdom of God. The condition is that we must keep His commandments, and keep them forever. Then we read:

Deut 11:10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:

Deuteronomy 11:11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water from the rain of heaven:

Historically it means that in Egypt they would get water from the Nile River by irrigation, but in the land of Canaan the water comes down from heaven. What a beautiful analogy has God chosen to convey the idea of where the water of the Gospel comes from. We have seen last week that the rain from heaven represents the Word of God raining down on us, and that we drink in that rain from heaven. Now look at how perfectly this matches the picture. The land of Egypt is flat. It seldom rains there. The only water obtainable is that from the Nile River. Likewise, when we were in the House of Bondage we never saw any Word from God. The Gospel was available, but it was not understood there in the House of Bondage. But once we have become saved and we are in the Kingdom of God, we receive an abundant amount of rain from heaven in its season. We receive so much of the Word of God that we cannot take it all in. The whole land of the Kingdom of God is drinking the water from the rain of heaven. The whole church is inundated with the Word of God, the Gospel.

It is a land of hills and valleys. The externally visible church is like a land where some are on a mountaintop, and others are in a valley. Some have been saved, and others have not been saved, yet they are in the church and listen to the water of the Gospel pouring over their heads week after week. Those whom God chose to hear will hear the beauty of the Word of God, and believe the Gospel of free grace, so that God's purpose is accomplished. Those whom God passes by cannot hear the beauty of the Word of God. They do not believe the Gospel of free Grace, and remain unsaved and so God's purpose is also accomplished. This is the meaning of Isa 55:11. Just listen:

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper (in the thing) whereto I sent it.

In summary: The church is the land flowing with milk and honey, and that drinketh water from the rain of heaven. Moreover, it is a land where:

We read in Deut 11:12,

Deuteronomy 11:12 A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

God cares for the church "from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year", which means God cares for the church all the time. Historically we can see that God was very patient with the children of Israel, for hundreds of years. But when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and the veil in the temple was rent, God's eyes shifted from the nation of Israel to the N.T. church. Even with all the apostasy that is going on today, God's eyes are still on the church. You cannot make the declaration that the whole church worldwide is dead. It would fly in the face of this verse and many other verses of the Bible. The church is not a human invention. The church is a gathering of people desiring to hear the Word of God, but it is God who gathers the people together for the purpose of raining down the Gospel on them, so that they may be saved. God designed the church. Just listen as I read from Eph 2:19-22, where God spoke to the saints in Ephesus:

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Ephesians 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The church is built upon the teachings of the Apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone of the entire doctrine of the church. The saints then are called "an holy temple in the Lord", and they are called "an habitation of God through the Spirit". Wherever the saints are gathered, there is the land flowing with milk and honey, there the eyes of the Lord are always upon it, and there is where the Gospel rains down. Let us now look now at the words:

We continue to read in Deut 11:13-15,

Deuteronomy 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

Did you see how verse 13 is stated? "IF ye shall hearken", not to some of the commandments, but in verse 8 God stated you must keep all the commandments. This is a big IF. Is this passage speaking about salvation? Absolutely! God speaks here about loving the Lord and serving Him with all your heart and with all your soul. The Lord Jesus equated that with salvation when He answered the lawyer in Mark 12:30 and in Luke 10:27. Did God here in Deut 11:13 lay down His conditions for entering into His heavenly Kingdom? Absolutely! Now, does it seem that God gave the children of Israel one way unto salvation and He gave the N.T. Church another way to salvation? Does it seem that God gave the O.T. people the Old Covenant of the Law and He gave the N.T. Church the New Covenant of grace? It certainly seems so, but it is not true! Now can you see why this sermon is titled: "Two Covenants"? There can be only one Covenant that brings salvation.

When the Bible speaks about the Old Covenant, or about obeying the Law meticulously, that is indeed the requirement God has stated for salvation. But if that is our goal, then that is the ministration of condemnation, because no one can come into heaven stained with just one sin. Anyone who attempts to earn his way into heaven by obeying the Law of God in all points is under a curse, because we are not able to obey the Law of God in all points perfectly. And yet that is what God requires from us. Let me just read to you what God says in II Cor 3:7-9,

2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

2 Corinthians 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

2 Corinthians 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

Did you hear what God called the ministration of death? The giving of the Law was not evil. God does not sin and He tempts no one into sin. God says in Rom 7 that the Law is holy, and just, and good. But no one can come into heaven by obeying the Law. Why then did God give the Law? God gave the Law to let people understand that it is impossible to earn your way into heaven by being a good boy or a good girl. What then is the way to heaven? What is the ministration of righteousness? Perhaps you remember that the Lord Jesus said in John 14:6,

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

God sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world not to save those who call themselves righteous, but to save sinners who are in need of a Savior. This is what the Bible says about the ministration of righteousness: Before the foundation of the world God the Father chose a Bride for His Son. This Bride consisted of wretched people, stained with sins. Besides, there are no other people to choose from. Everyone comes into this world born in sin and in rebellion against God. Before God the Son could take these people into God's holy heaven, their sins needed to be washed away, but this needed to be done without violating the righteousness of God, which requires that every sin be fully paid with an eternity in Hell. Therefore God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, came into this world as a man, fully God and fully man, except sin. Christ took upon Himself the guilt of all the sins of all those whom the Father had chosen, and paid for those sins on the cross the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. When He rose from the grave, God proved that Christ fully paid every sin that had to be paid. As our stand in, Christ fulfilled every aspect of the Law of God in our place. Therefore we can confidently say that in Christ we have fulfilled every aspect of the Law. God committed Himself to rescue every one of those human beings for whom Christ had suffered and died. But when we came into the world, we were still rotten to the core of our being, just like anyone else, deserving Hell for our sins. Then at some point in our life God the Holy Spirit came to give us a new soul, and to give us the faith to believe the message of the Gospel of the Bible. No one else will believe this Good News that God saved dirty rotten sinners who did not even ask for salvation. That is why God can say, "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". It is not that we believed, and because we believed we were saved. God says in Acts 13:48, "And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed". God cannot lie. That is one thing God cannot do. Therefore we always remember to give God all the credit for our salvation and for all the works we do. God says:

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

For all those people for whom Christ suffered and died God brings:

#2. The First Rain and the Latter Rain (Deut 11:14-15)

God said in Deut 11:13, "And it shall come to pass, IF ye shall hearken diligently", in other words, "It shall come to pass, If you have been saved", and then follow the words of verses 14 and 15,

Deuteronomy 11:14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

Deuteronomy 11:15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

The gift of rain is given as a result of salvation. And as a result of the First Rain and the Latter Rain you will have a great harvest in corn (meaning wheat), and wine and oil. What does God have in view here? Does God always give believers much physical prosperity? No! That is the prosperity gospel, which is a false gospel, drawing people to selfishness and into Hell. What is the meaning of the First Rain and the Latter Rain, and what have corn, wine and oil to do with this.

Historically, the land of Canaan has rain falling in October, at the time of sowing. This is the early rain, or the first rain. Some more rain falls periodically in November and December to help grow what has been sown in September and October. Then the latter rain falls in February and March and April, to make the crops ready for harvesting in May and June. During the next five months, from May through September there is practically no rain. But what has this to do with the context, which speaks about salvation?

Last week we have seen from Joel, chapter 2, that the rain refers to the words from God, or the Word of God. God is raining down His messages on those who have received a new soul, and are eager to hear what more God has to say. The First Rain refer to messages from the O.T. and the Latter Rain refers to messages from the N.T. After Rev 22:18 has been written, all messages from God have to come from the Bible, and all interpretations of passages in the Bible have to come from the Bible itself, particularly from the context. The context of Deut 11 is that of the two Covenants. Those who are saved, like Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Joshua, and David, and Isaiah, and so on, who are O.T. people, but they have put their trust in the Covenant of Grace. The Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Law perfectly and forever in their place, as their Substitute. Those who are not saved, like Doeg the Edomite, have put their trust in something that they have done that supposedly was pleasing to God. They will be held accountable for all the times that they have not obeyed the Law perfectly, because they are adherers to the ministry of death, which is the Covenant of the Law.

Look again at Deut 11:14. What have the corn, and the wine, and the oil to do with salvation? These are the fruits of a saved life and the result of the First Rain and the Latter Rain. Just like "the land flowing with milk and honey" was an expression to indicate the spiritual abundance in the Kingdom of God, so the corn, wine, and oil is also an expression to indicate the spiritual abundance in the Kingdom of God. There are 18 verses where exactly the same expression is used, with the same words in the same sequence. This expression is also used in Joel, chapter 2, in the same passage where the former rain and the latter rain are mentioned. What are the fruits of a saved life? The fruits are that the purity of the Gospel is preached throughout the life of this saved person.

Corn is actually the wheat from which bread is made, is pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ, because Christ said: "I am the Bread of Life". When we read and study the Word of God, we are partaking of Christ, the Bread of Life. Wine is pointing to the blood of Christ, which in turn points to the cross where He gave His life for us in enduring the wrath of God on our behalf. The oil points to the actions of the Holy Spirit in bringing the Gospel to other people, that they too may become saved.

Then God says in Deut 11:16,

Deuteronomy 11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;

Why is it that we need to take heed to ourselves? Why should this warning be necessary? Would it not be obvious when we turn aside to other gods? No, it is not obvious! That is the reason God gave us this warning. When we were in the land of bondage, in bondage to sin and Satan, it was not obvious that we were serving other gods. We did not know the God of the Bible, and we did not know the Gospel of free grace, which gives all the glory to God. Is it certain that we now know Him? Is it certain that we now know the Gospel of free grace? How can we be certain? Have we studied the Scriptures so that we now know it all? No! But if we are so confident, then we can still be deceived. God says: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Cor 10:12).

How is it that today so many people believe that there are many ways that lead to heaven? Don't they realize that if we do not give God all the glory, then we are deceived, and we are serving and worshipping other gods? Those who are in a freewill gospel are usurping part of the glory that belongs to God. Will God let this go unpunished? God says in the next verse:

Deuteronomy 11:17 And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

No rain means the Bible remains a closed book. Therefore there will be no fruit. No fruit means that there will be no new converts, because the Gospel will not be preached, and therefore "ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you".

Now let us look at some applications:

#3. When Thou Sittest in Thine House (Deut 11:18-21)

We have learned about the Two Covenants, we have learned about the First Rain and the Latter Rain, and we have learned what the true Gospel is. Now, what do we do with all that information? God says, beginning in Deut 11:18,

Deuteronomy 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

In other words, these teachings must be in your heart, but they must also be visible on the outside. First of all, let our hearts be filled with the Word of God, and let our eyes and our minds be fixed upon the Word of God. The things we do with our hands must reflect that we have been taught by God. The things we do with our eyes must reflect that the things of God are in the forefront of our mind, since the eyes are the gateway to our soul. Now we should ask ourselves every day, and every hour of the day, if the things we do with our hands and with our eyes are in any way pleasing to God.

Deuteronomy 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deuteronom 11:20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:

Deuteronomy 11:21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

Let our tongues be employed about the Word of God. When? When thou sittest in thine house and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. It means all day long we should be looking for opportunities to teach our children those things we have learned from the Word of God. And teaching them is not preaching to them. There should be a two-way communication going. And we teach them through being an example.

Look at the atmosphere in our home. Is the atmosphere testifying that this is a home where God's ways are practiced? Do we actually write Scripture verses on the doorposts of our house and on our doors? Only if we have an assignment to memorize verses do we do those things. But normally that is not meant in verse 20. We are not to show off to the outside world that we are Christians. These things must be in our heart. Does anyone entering our home know that this is a godly home? And do they recognize that God's promises spiritually are fulfilled in our home. And do WE realize that God's promises are only given to the elect of God? That is the message of verse 21.

And then we must recognize and acknowledge that:

Deuteronomy 11:22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;

Deuteronomy 11:23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

Deuteronomy 11:24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

Deuteronomy 11:25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

This passage speaks about warfare. This passage speaks about us being victorious over our enemies. What does this mean, and how can we apply this to our life today? It means that it should not be in the power of our enemies to disturb our relationship with God. God will make us recognize snares and traps that the Devil puts in our path. For example: Where does our time go? Are we busy with activities outside the home so that there is no time for God? That means we have been snared. Secondly, Where does our money go? That is another snare. I know that tithing is an O.T. rule. It does not apply to the N.T. church. But if the O.T. side of the cross was glorious, should not the N.T. side of the cross be more glorious? Should not our dedication be greater than that of O.T. Israel? And is that not what God emphasizes in Rom 12:1, where He says: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". Do not present your bodies as a dead sacrifice, but as a living sacrifice. It means we give our whole self to God. And God says: "It is only reasonable that you do this service". God gave His very best. He gave the Lord Jesus Christ. What have we given Him? How great is our gratitude? Thirdly, we are in a warfare and therefore we must be careful who the friends are whom we choose. Those may be people used by the enemy. Especially to those who are eligible to marry I have this advice: Be careful which mates you pick. If your mate is of a different persuasion then you are about to become unequally yoked. That is against the laws that God has laid down. Do you want to take on God by deliberately violating His commandment? Your mate is not a mission field, but a minefield. Fourthly, we ourselves and our families are targeted by Satan. We are especially targets when our own interests are taking priority over the interests of the family. Remember that our cars, and our TV, and our entertainment, and our free time, and our money are not ours. If Christ indeed has purchased us, then all that we call ours also belongs to Him.

But in all these things we will be more than conquerors. Who can be against those that have God for them, and God is certainly on the side of those who sincerely seek Him.

Please turn with me to Psalm 121, where we find these comforting words,

Psalm 120 through Psalm 134 are called Songs of Ascents, which the pilgrims sang when they set out to travel to Jerusalem, to visit the Temple as required by the Law. That means they traveled to Jerusalem three times each year, at the Passover, at Pentecost, and at the Feast of Tabernacles. Each following Psalm indicates that they are getting closer to their destiny.

Psalm 121:1 (A Song of degrees.) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

Psalm 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Psalm 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Psalm 121:5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

Psalm 121:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

Psalm 121:7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

Psalm 121:8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

It means that God's protection is on every side of us. Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless" and the Greek word there is "orphanos", meaning: "I will not leave you as orphans". I will not leave you on your own. I will continue to protect you on every side.

Please listen to the words of the Hymn we are going to sing, which is a versification of Psalm 121. And remember Psalm 121 when we sing, especially during the singing of the first and the last stanza. Let me read to you the words of the first and the last stanza of Hymn # 261.

 

I lift up mine eyes to the mountains, I look to Jehovah for aid;

My help is the Lord God Almighty; The earth and the heavens He made.

Jehovah will keep thee from evil, Thy coming and going He knows;

Thy soul He preserves unimperiled; Look thou to the hills for repose.

 

Amen. Let us go to the Lord in prayer.