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signing a contract March 22 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Deuteronomy 27:1- 29:1

Contracts and Commitments; do we have any with God?

What is the purpose of a contract? It is to lay out specific responsibilities between two or more parties. It usually contains provisions for the fulfillment of the contract and penalties if they are not fulfilled according to specifications and time tables. A contract is binding. It makes both parties committed to fulfilling them to reap the benefits and not experience loss. Many contracts are private, but some are big, public, government or corporate affairs. God is big; do we have any contracts with him? Read on.

A contract is usually a written covenant between two or more parties, but it may also be a verbal agreement. As was said in yesterday's lesson, the covenant in Deuteronomy was a verbal and written agreement patterned after the Suzerainty Treaties of the day (more…).

The general blessings and the cursings of the covenant were to be spoken by the Levites and committed to by all the Israelites (Deuteronomy 27:9-26). After they entered the Promised Land, the words of the covenant were written clearly on plastered stones, as was common in that day. If Egyptian customs were followed, the commands of God may have included the entire book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 27:3 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 309). Sacrifices were to be made before the LORD on an altar made with fieldstone, and fellowship offerings were to be shared between the people and priests. It would be a time of rejoicing in the new land as they would make a renewal of their covenant. New contracts with bountiful provisions are exciting, but they carry responsibilities that must be fulfilled. As it was true for Israel, it is also true with our New Covenant with Christ, purchased by his blood; we, too have responsibilities to fulfill. He wants us to have a personal committed relationship with him, and he wants us to obey him in everything to experience his forgiveness, peace, and favor. Do you have a personal committed relationship with God? (more...)

The place of the covenant with Israel is significant. The afore mentioned Bible Knowledge Commentary (p.309) states that the base of Mt. Ebal was the city of Shechem, where God first appeared to Abraham to give his promise that his offspring would inherit the land (Genesis 12:6-7). God fulfilled his promise to Abraham. As God fulfilled his promise to Abraham, he fulfills his everlasting promise of eternal life with us (John 14:1-3).

When the Israelites entered Canaan, just north of Jerusalem, they were to take the stone tablets and set them up on Mt. Ebal for all to read. Six tribes stood at the base of Mt. Gerizim while Levites proclaimed the blessings of keeping the covenants, and six tribes stood at the base of Mt. Ebal as the Levites proclaimed the curses for not following the covenant. In number and severity the cursings far outweighed the listed blessings (Deuteronomy 6:1-15). The LORD, who was among them, was a jealous God. He was jealous for their love and devotion, much like a parent or a spouse would be. God is also jealous for our love if we belong to him.

In the covenant there would be blessings of children, livestock, good harvests, peace and victory over enemies and divine favor for obedience to God's laws. Curses would be experienced by Israel, however, if they made false gods, dishonored their fathers and mothers, cheated, were immoral, or committed other sins of disobedience to God's laws. They would experience, among other things: curses on their family and livestock, bad harvests and blight, defeat, destruction, and exile from their enemies, and God's hand would be against them for their obstinacy (Deuteronomy 27:15-26 and 28:1-8).

What does God require of Christians today? Is there a covenant we are to obey? The Apostle Paul said in a second letter to his church in Corinth,

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts, (2Corinthians 3:3, NIV).

In a letter to the Galatian church Paul said,

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all [Jews and Gentiles] sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.... If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise, (Galatians 3:25-26, 29, NIV).
If we are sons of God and heirs of God we need to act like it. If we will just obey the Word of God and submit to his Spirit, he will willingly work with our spirit to help us. We will then be more like him and will experience his favor, not his discipline.

What if we are just trying to do all the right things but do not really belong to Christ? Isn't that good enough? Hebrews 10:28-29 says,

Anyone who rejected the Law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (NIV)

Real truth is true whether we believe it or not. The truth is there is only one way to God. The New Testament covenant of Christ's blood is available for all. We need to trust in his sacrifice to cleanse us from our sin and make us righteous (more...). After that, we need to live a life pleasing to God by reading and obeying his Word.

Lessons to live by:

  • New contracts with bountiful provisions are exciting, but they carry responsibilities that must be fulfilled. As it was true for Israel, it is also true with our New Covenant with Christ, purchased by his blood - we also have responsibilities to fulfill.
  • As God fulfilled his promise to Abraham, he fulfills his everlasting promise of eternal life with us (John 14:1-3).
  • God is jealous for our love if we belong to him.
  • If we are sons of God and heirs of God we need to act like it. If we will just obey the Word of God and submit to His Spirit, he will willingly work with our spirit to help us. We will then be more like Him and we will experience his favor, not his discipline.
  • The New Testament covenant of Christ's blood is available for all. We need to trust in his sacrifice to cleanse us from our sin and make us righteous (more...). After that, we need to live a life pleasing to God by reading and obeying his Word.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Proverbs 3:33 “The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

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