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Praise the Lord

  • by LA UBF
  • Nov 20, 2005
  • 676 reads


Praise the Lord

 Praise the Lord

Deuteronomy 8:1-20 2005 Thanksgiving

Key Verse 8:10 (Lesson I)

1. Read verse 1. What do the following words indicate about the Lord's purpose in bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt (where they once lived as a 'slave' nation) to the Promised Land: 1) live; 2) increase [in number]; 3) enter; and 4) possess [the Promised Land]? How is this purpose different from the purpose(s) that other [unbelieving] people and nations might have? On what condition is the Lord going to fulfill this purpose for the Israelites? 

2. Verses 2-6 describe the Lord's training program for the Israelites. What is the [one] point of this training? The fact that the Lord God put the Israelites through training for forty long years indicates that the point of this training is NOT a matter of small importance. Why not?  

3. Compare the "good" land described in verses 7-9 with the "dreary" land depicted in verses 14-15. In what respect is life in the "good" land going to be different from life in the desert land? 

4. Read verses 10-20. What does this passage tell us about the Lord's ultimate purpose in commanding his people to give thanks and praise to the Lord God (instead of forgetting Him) in time of success and prosperity? 

** Write a Bible testimony on the "fruit" of thanksgiving.

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  Praise the Lord

Deuteronomy 8:1-20

Key Verse 8:10

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

For the 2005 thanksgiving we would like to have Thanksgiving Bible Studies in two lessons: the first lesson deals with why the Lord wants us to give thanks to Him (based on Deuteronomy 8); and the second lesson teaches us what we need to do in giving thanks to God (based on Romans 12). This Sunday we will think about why God wants his children to be thankful to God. 

I. So that you may live… (1)

The first reason we need to be thankful to God is that God has a glorious purpose and plan for all of his children.

Look at verse 1. “Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers.” Here “every command” includes the command for the Israelites to decimate the seven nations in the land of Canaan. These seven nations operated as the root of idolatry. They practiced inhuman practices such as sacrificing their children to idol gods. They degraded themselves to the point of becoming hopelessly evil. Because they completely dedicated themselves to promoting the cause of the devil the time for their judgment came. Describing the level of the wickedness practiced by the seven idol worshiping nations, which deserved nothing but God’s judgment, Genesis 15:16 reads, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." 

The command “to follow every command” then tells us the Lord’s will to clear the Promised Land of the idol worship, and repopulate it with the children worshiping the Lord God. This idea is flashed in the word “live” or “increase”. “Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers.” As used in the Bible, the word “live” means “living a spiritual life that is consistent with the image of God.” The antonym of the word “live” is “die” or “dead”. God’s purpose for man is life. God wants his children to be truly living, not just biologically up and running and yet spiritually remaining dead, but being alive both physically and spiritually. We can easily understand this concept when we think about how the Lord God created man. In Genesis 2:7 the Lord God formed man out of dust. Then he put his breath (i.e., spirit) into man, and man became a “living” soul. 

The word “increase” indicates that God wants to see his children (bearing his image, filled with God’s Spirit) growing in number. God expressed this vision by saying to Abraham Genesis 15:5, “He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Astronomers estimate that there are at least 10 to the power of 26 stars in the universe. If one could count 10 numbers per second, it would take him at least a thousand-million-billion years to count up to 10 to the power of 26. God wants his children bearing his image to keep increasing as many as the number of stars in the universe. 

The word” enter” or “possess” tells us that God’s will for his children is to let them inherit not just the small pocket of land called the land of Canaan, but the whole earth. But a journey of a thousand miles must begin with one putting forth the first step. God created this beautiful universe and everything in it, to give it to his children bearing His image, and being filled with God’s Spirit. When Jesus came he expressed the same will of God in teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in Heaven! Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.” Later, the Apostle Paul expressed the same idea when he said in Romans 8:17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Similarly Hebrews 11:9 reads, “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.“ 

“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers.” For us living in the 21st Century, we have one supreme command from the Lord: the command to love God the Father with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. After rising from the dead, the Risen Jesus expressed the command to love our neighbor as ourselves in a practical way by saying, “Go into the whole world, and make disciples of all nations.” 

Today we thank God for revealing to us his glorious plan. We also thank and praise God for giving us the supreme command: the command to love the Lord God wholeheartedly. We thank and praise God for giving us the world mission command: the command to make disciples of all nations. We thank God for establishing the U.S. as a shepherd nation for all peoples on earth.

II. Man does not live on bread alone…(2-6)

The fulfillment of God’s glorious plan is conditional upon his children obeying the Lord’s command. Without obedience, there is no fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose. 

But as many of us know it is not easy for any one to obey the Lord’s command. For example, the Risen Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you”, said Simon Peter. But if he truly loved Jesus, why did he deny Jesus not just once or twice but even three times? Surely loving Jesus in all circumstances is not easy.  And loving Jesus is not just a matter of talk but a matter of action.

God knows that we are good in talking but terrible in obeying. God knew that the Israelites were steeped in a slave mentality for 430 long years in Egypt. Knowing that they were accustomed to following their natural instincts, rather than God’s holy command, after leading them out of the land of slavery, the Lord God put them through an intensive training program in a desert land.

How did the training go? Let us read verses 2-6. Deut. 8:2-3. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

This passage tells us that God’s training program came in three steps: (1) to humble; (1) to test; and (3) to teach. To humble you, to test you, and to teach you – these were the steps in which the Lord trained them. 

The purpose of humbling a man is to test him. The idea is that in order to test whether or not one is an obedient person or a rebellious person, the easiest way is to put him in a humble situation. For example, Shepherd Jay looks very obedient. But you never know. So knowing that he wants to go out to a foreign land as a missionary you want to test what is in his heart. How can you test him? The answer is simple. Give him training called DDT – dead dog training. For example, ask him to go and empty all the trash cans, and clean bathrooms in Downey UBF not just four months or four years, but 40 long years, every day, without exception. Will he obey? If he obeys without complaining, you can rest assured that he is truly obedient. If he complains saying, “Oh, Missionary Isaac Kim is a dictator. He is worse than Adolph Hitler.” Or “Oh, UBF is a cult organization”, then at least you can tell one thing: he is not as obedient as he is supposed to be. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Imagine the Israelites numbering about 2 million people living together, not just one or two months, but for forty years. Their life in the desert was one big “common life” where there was no bathroom, no shower, no Internet, no TV, no video games, no Seven Eleven stores, no Norms or Denny’s restaurants, no McDonalds, no nothing. Everything was dry. Then, lo and behold: they started complaining – complain, complain, and complain; grumble, grumble, and grumble. 

And the Lord God did this because he “loved” them. In what respect was it an expression of God’s love for them? The answer is obvious. It was to let them have a sense of problem about themselves. No problem is greater than the problem of a man who does not know that he has a problem, particularly the problem of habitual disobedience. “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,” says Romans 12:3.  

It also has been said that knowing the problem is already half way to the solution to the problem. Likewise, after blessing them to have a sense of problem, the Lord God then began to teach them that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Figuratively speaking the Israelites in the desert land were as bad as a cancer patient who is terminally ill. After giving them a correct diagnosis of their problem, the Lord God gave them a prescription called “the word of God” which is called “manna.” In Korean language, the word “manna” or “matna” means “delicious.” But in Hebrew it means “What is it?” But from a spiritual standpoint, it refers to Jesus Christ the remedy for man’s sin (of disobedience). Speaking of this truth, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." John 6:32-33 Then in John 6:35 Jesus declared: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” 

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” 

The training to eat Jesus Christ the bread of life, and go by the guidance of His Spirit always bears good fruit. We can understand this concept when we think about how the Israelites fared in the desert while they were being disciplined. How did they fare? Look at verse 4 again. “Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” Imagine more than two million people living in a desert area for forty long years. None of them had a job. No one labored to earn bread. They did not have to labor like tilling ground, or sowing seeds to grow rice or barley for food, or operate sewing machines to make clothes, or doing the laundry or taking showers to keep themselves clean. They did not have any medical doctors or dentists. Yet, their clothes did not wear out. They did not have to go to bathroom all the time. No one got sick. Despite the long journey not in Nike’s, but in mere sandals, their feed did not swell. In short, the life that feeds on the Lord enabled them to come under the direct provision and protection of the Lord. As a result, they could live like angels. 

One person I know used to be addicted to doing harmful things. At first he was addicted to nicotine. He started out smoking from his high school days. This habit continued through his college years. Upon graduation from the college, one of his classmates invited him to a Bible study. After one year of Bible study he married a spiritual woman. Everything about his marriage life was perfect except that his wife did not like him smoking. This man then struggled hard to kick the habit. But he could not. The Lord had mercy on him. In his mercy the Lord put him through a daily bread training program. After 7 years of daily bread training finally the man was able to kick the habit. The urge for smoking disappeared. 

But he was addicted to other problems such as addiction to food, lustful thoughts, and computer games. The Lord had mercy on him. In his mercy the Lord continued to give him daily bread training. As a result, this man was able to overcome addictions. But he knows that the old habit dies hard. Lately, each time he felt frustrated, he felt like playing a computer game. One Saturday evening he was writing a message. Accidentally he hit wrong keys. Then he lost the file. He got mad. Immediately the evil urge to play a game hit him. “Oh, don’t kick yourself. Just take a break. You can play a game for about a half hour. Then you can start writing a message.” But thanks to the daily bread of that day, he was encouraged to pray about the matter. Then after a few seconds of prayer, he decided not to play a game but re-write the message all over again. Then the Lord blessed him with a better message.  

Thank and praise God for his divine discipline. Thank God for putting some of us (if not all of us) through humble conditions. Thus far in this year, we used to have lots of troubles and hardships – problems with a job, problems in common life, problems at school, problems in the family relationships, problems within the ministry and much more. But, still we can give thanks to God and praise His name, for He is treating all of us as his children, so that through his divine discipline we would all rise from an animal level, develop godly character, and rise to God’s level. 

III. The Lord is bringing you to a good land (7-9)

The third reason for us to be thankful to God and praise his name is quite obvious. Look at verses 7-9.  “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land--a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.” In this nation America, we have an abundance of food and clothing. In this land of opportunity, the United States of America, the Lord God has made everything abundant. In 1 Tim. 6:8 the Apostle Paul says, “[I]f we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” But all of us have more than food and clothing. And we must be thankful for all the great provisions the Lord God lavished upon us so far. 

A pastor I know used to live as an orphan. One day he met a missionary from the U.S. Through the help of the missionary he came to know Jesus. He also finished a divinity school and became a pastor. He then married the younger sister of my wife Rebekah. He is now running a small church in a small island called Jeju, which is located at the southern most part of the Korean Peninsula. About a month ago, he sent me an email to share the good news that he started having a Sunday worship service in English. The problem was that his English is poor. So, he sent me a couple sample prayers in Korean. He asked me to translate his sample prayers into English. Gladly I translated them and sent them back to him. However, one thing that struck me was the content of his prayer of benediction. It goes something like this: “Heavenly Father! I thank you for your great love for the flock gathered here. I pray that in accordance with your mercy, please provide each of them with something to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep at night.” In his benedictory prayer, he did not even ask for a house, a car, or a good job. Simply he prayed for food, clothes, and a place (not a house) where each of them could lay their head for a night’s sleep. And I could understand his sentiment because as an orphan he understands what it is to live without food, without clothes, and without a shelter. 

In this thanksgiving season, may the Lord bless us to give thanks to the Lord for all of his good provisions. 

IV. Do not forget the Lord your God (10-20)

The real challenge then comes when one gets well established materially. Let us read verses 10-20 responsively. In this passage we see two phrases stand out: (1) do not forget; and then (2) praised the Lord. And the Lord God urged the Israelites not to forget the Lord but rather praise the name of the Lord not only in times of hardships such as in poverty but particularly in times of prosperity.  

When the Lord God says to you, “When I make you rich and you are satisfied, please do not forget me” you may say, “Oh, I will not forget. Please make me rich first. Then, I will definitely praise your name.” 

But Deuteronomy 8:13-14 says, “and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” The Lord also knows what you will say when He makes you to be rich. What will you say? Deut. 8:17 reads, “You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."” I know you will not say this publicly, but you may say “to yourself”, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me…” [Pay attention to the phrase “for me”!]

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” 

How then can we overcome a proud heart? The answer is clear: do not forget the Lord, but praise the Lord. Do not forget indicates that we are “forgetful”; we are born ingrates! So in order not to forget all the grace from the Lord, in time of success we need to “think” and “remember” what the Lord has done. During this thanksgiving season, may the Lord help us to overcome our “forgetfulness”, and find out more than seven thanks topics and share publicly, praising the Lord. 

Lastly let us think about the ultimate reason why the Lord God wants us not to forget Him, but rather praise His name all the time. Look at verse 16. “He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.” Here the phrase “in the end” is very important. Say to your neighbor, “in the end.” 

“In the end it might to well with you.” This passage indicates that the ultimate reason God wants us to give thanks to Him all the time is for our ultimate success so we can become truly prosperous from eternity to eternity. And thanksgiving is at the heart of the life that participates and secures God’s ultimate plan to make his children to be truly prosperous, as prosperous as our Lord Jesus, who is now seated at the right hand of God, and is ready to come to this world as the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 

One word: praise the Lord

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