Message: Today is another day of interesting parallels between our reading in the old and new testaments. In 2 Corinthians, Paul was giving a final warning to the church at Corinth to repent. This was his third time bringing these accusations and he quoted back to them a verse from Deuteronomy 19 “Every fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” He intended to come back again in person and planned to use his apostolic authority given to him by God if they didn’t repent by the reading of his letter. Similarly, our reading in Deuteronomy 9 was Moses giving final warnings to the people of Israel. They were getting ready to cross over to take possession of the promised land. Moses was prepping them and reminding them that the people were giants and were strong and powerful, but God was going to go ahead of them and give them over. This was going to be a powerful defeat so this is where Moses’s words become sobering. He warned them not to go through this victory with the attitude and belief that this promise was because of their righteousness. He began to remind them of all of their rebellion and continued sin and he repeated this at least 3 or more times that this victory was not due to their righteousness because they were “stiff necked” people. They were stubborn and rebellious but God had made a promise and the people they were about to devour were wicked.
Command: Repentance and change is a constant and ongoing process.
Promise: Repentance brings change, and change brings growth.
Warning: If we are not in a constant place of self-examination we will get comfortable with our sinful conditions and take for granted the grace we are living in. When we are comfortable we are not changing, When we are not changing we are not growing.
Application: Both of these chapters are sobering and it’s easy to see from our outside view that both the Israelites and the church at Corinth were trying a very patient God. The Israelites seemed to take for granted that they were God’s chosen people so they didn’t seem to fear his wrath. They had a huge promise coming to them and they lived in the favor and constant provision of God because of that promise. They had used Moses as a mediator between them and God in order to not have to deal with seeing his wrath so while they enjoyed all of that provision, they also stubbornly followed their sin. The church at Corinth were believers discipled under the covering and leadership of the apostle Paul and they also were enjoying the benefits of grace and salvation but seemed to be blind to their own sin. In both cases they were being warned to repent and understand that the patience of God and the favor of God was not because of their righteousness, but out of God’s promise. As new testament believers we tend to love riding on the grace of God and testing the limits of that grace. We talk about his grace in our imperfection and use it almost like a pass, while at the same time following our own desires and resisting change. What I see in this is the warning that we can’t sit back and resist change. We have to be constantly pressing for God to show us what is next on the list for change. We can’t grow without change and we can’t change without constant examination and repentance. When we are not in a mindset of repentance, we tend to take an attitude of pride and we forget just how patient God is with us all. I get scared when I go to prayer and I can’t think of anything specific that God is currently working on in my heart. When I am unaware of the current condition of my own heart, I am not growing. Holy Spirit, please show me what I need to see in my own heart.