Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 123 ISRAEL PUT TO THE TEST

 
Deuteronomy 8:1-20; Hebrews 3:17-19; 4:1, 2;

Lesson 123 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2).

I An Admonition to Remember

 Israel was admonished by Moses to remember all the way that God had led them the past forty years, Deuteronomy 8:2-4, 11, 15, 16; 7:18, 19; 29:2, 3; 4:32-39; Psalm 77:11-20; 106:7-48 Israel was to consider in their hearts that God chastened them as a father chasteneth his son, Deuteronomy 8:5; II Samuel 7:14; Job 5:17, 18; Psalm 89:31, 32; 94:12; Proverbs 3:11, 12; I Corinthians 11:31, 32; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19 Moses told Israel that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, Deuteron¬omy 8:3; Psalm 104:27-29; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4; Proverbs 30:8 Israel was told to remember the goodness of God toward them, evident in the wealth of the land they were to inherit, Deuteron¬omy 8:7-10; 6:10, 11; 11:10-12; Nehemiah 9:25; Ezekiel 20:6  Israel was warned to beware that they forget not the Lord their God, in not keeping His commandments, Deuteronomy 8:1, 6, 11-20; 4:9, 23; Hebrews 3:17-19; 4:1, 2; Psalm 106:21, 24-27

II God's Chastening Hand

Israel was humbled, caused to hunger, tested, tried by the chastening hand of God to prove their loyalty to Him, Deuteronomy 8:2, 3, 15, 16; 13:3; Genesis 22:1; Proverbs 17:3; Malachi 3:2, 3; John 15:2; James 1:2, 3; I Peter 1:6, 7; Jeremiah 17:9, 10 Every Christian will be tested by the Word of God, and the hand of God, even as Israel was, Hebrews 12:7, 8; James 1:12; 5:11; I Peter 5:9; Job 23:10; Lamentations 3:1, 27-33 God's chastenings and teachings are to instruct us in the way of righteousness, to enable the Christian to inherit eternal life, Deuteronomy 4:36; Job 36:22; Psalm 25:12; 94:10; Isaiah 48:16, 17; Nehemiah 9:20; John 6:45, 63; 16:13; Romans 8:14 To reject God's Word and His teachings is to reject eternal life, and to receive condemnation from God, Hebrews 3:17-19; 4:1, 2; II Chronicles 36:16; Proverbs 5:11-14; Romans 2:4, 5; Hebrews 10:28; Acts 13:38-41

NOTES

God's Curse

Moses' admonition to Israel was: 'And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.' Israel suffered many things in their forty years of wilderness wanderings.


To the casual reader of the Bible it might seem that God was severe in His dealings with them. God is never severe nor unrighteous in His dealings with men. Sin in the world and in men's hearts is what brings severity of circumstances to the lives of men. It was Israel's own sins that brought forty years of wilderness wanderings upon them. That same sin was the cause of many plagues in their midst, and other dangers and hardships, too, that they would not otherwise have needed to experience.


In the beginning, the whole creation was cursed by God because of man's sin. All mankind suffers under that curse even today. Disease, death, pain, sorrow — all are the result of the curse placed upon the earth because of sin.

Chastened Sons

Irrespective of the curse of sin which is on the world, we see that in the pages of the Bible God in His infinite wisdom and mercy often uses these pains and trials for the benefit of His own people. This truth is what Moses had in mind when he reminded Israel to remember all the way that God had led them through forty years of trouble and trials.


The Bible tells us that many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of them all (Psalm 34:19). God does not permit afflictions just to prove that He can deliver His people out of them, but often to work out a desired end.


Moses told Israel that they were to consider in their heart that as a man chastened his son, 'so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.'


Israel was God's chosen people, and He treated them as sons. The Christian is a son of God, and receives both the blessings and chastisement of a son. Many people are willing enough to receive the blessings that God can and does bestow upon people, but are very unwilling to accept chastening from the Lord.


Paul tells us: 'My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: never¬theless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby' (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Israel's Test

'Consider in thine heart,' was the Lord's injunction to Israel. Well it would be with all if they would consider in their heart that disobe¬dience brings swift and evil returns, and that if they are to enter the gates of Heaven they must learn of God. God permitted great hardship of circumstances to come upon Israel that they might have revealed to them their unbelief and lack of faith in God. Israel, while standing at the very threshold of entering the Promised Land, woefully disobeyed God. Their hearts became full of unbelief and fear and they sinned against themselves and against God. They were forced to wander forty years in the wilderness because of their sin. It was while they were in that wilder¬ness that God attempted to awaken them to the true condition of their own hearts. Peter the Apostle said: 'But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (II Peter 3:16). It is one thing to come to an awakening of sin through the knowledge of Christ; it is quite another to continue in that knowledge, and to grow in the grace of God. Israel had been awakened to their need of a savior when they were bondsmen in Egypt. They had followed God momentarily until they had escaped that particular bondage. Their failure was that they did not continue in that grace and knowledge of God.

God's Love

God desires all to inherit eternal life. The Christian, starting out in his profession of Christ, is as a newborn babe. (Read I Corinthians 3:1;


I Peter 2:2.) It is obvious that babies as they grow older must have much instruction in the ways of life. So it is in the Christian walk: we stand in need of much instruction. We do not know our own hearts, nor our proneness to drift away from the love of God. It is these hard tests and trials of life, that seemingly have no meaning other than unwanted sorrow and pain, that are many times God's method to teach us our own hearts, to prove to us whether we are willing to serve Him or no. These tests and trials are to humble us and prove us, that God might do us good at our latter end.


Sickness, pain, approaching death, are all very strong tests that may come upon a child of God, by God's permission, to awaken him to some truth God knows he needs to see more clearly. Job is a grand example of a man who stood the test. God permitted him to be afflicted to the point of death, his possessions all taken away — not because he had sinned but because God wanted him to be a testimony to the world that he served God because he loved Him God also used him as a shining example for all Christians, that no matter how terrible the trial may be, God knows and sees, and in His own good time will deliver.

'Lest Thou Forget'

Israel was faced with two extreme tests. They lived in a world of sin and of unbelief. They had to be completely convinced in their hearts that God was their King and He was their Salvation. They had to come to an undoubting faith and belief in God as their Savior in every circum¬stance and hardship By passing through many difficulties and trials, seeing the mighty hand of God in their behalf, they became more firmly established in their confidence in God. Yet they had another equally difficult test to face. Moses told them to beware 'that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is mul¬tiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.'


These were Israel's tests, and are every Christian's tests: to have implicit faith in God, and not to forget Him who delivered from sin and its consequences. When man is in desperate straits, and despairs of life, he will cry to God; but when the riches of life come, too often he forgets the One who loved him when he was lost.

Peaceable Fruit

Sinners look at the lives of Christian people and often observe that Christians must suffer as does the sinner. It is true that the Christian suffers many things here in the world, but he has a hope of eternal life; he believes the Word of God is true in that 'all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose' (Romans 8:28). No sinner has such hope in his heart. If one does not suffer correction and chastisement from God, then he is not a son. Israel could not always believe that truth. 'So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.'


Israel's test was to believe that in every circumstance God knew all about it, and in His own good time He would take action in their behalf. It is the final test for every child of God. He can say like Paul: 'Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ' (Philippians 1:6).

QUESTIONS

1 What was the reason for God's testing Israel?
2 What was Israel to remember?
3 Is a child of God free from sickness and affliction?
4 What is God's purpose in trials and afflictions?
5 Can we refuse to submit to the chastening of God and still remain in a good state of grace?
6 What is the primary cause of sickness and disease?
7 Did Israel have to wander in the wilderness for their sins or because God merely wished to test them?
8 What are two great tests with which every child of God is faced?
9 Explain the chastening of God.
10 Are sinners chastened by God as are His own children?

 
   
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