The Book of Genesis (Hebrew-origins) was written by Moses after the Exodus, but before Moses’ death. It deals with the three hundred centuries before Moses birth and his authorship is indicated in both Old Testament (Ex. 17:14; Num. 33:2; Josh. 8:31; Ezra 6:18; Nem. 13:1) and New Testament (Matt. 8:4; Mark 12: 26; 32:33; Acts 15:1). Moses wrote the “words of the Lord” (Ex. 24:4) also wrote this book after he was 80 years old. Leviticus was written by him after the first month of the second year of the Exodus. Numbers was written by him in his final year before he died. Deuteronomy comprises his farewell speeches that he gave from the day of 11th month of the forty years after the Exodus from Egypt (1:3). Moses first speech is recorded in Deuteronomy 1:5-4:23.
GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES
Have you ever thought you are putting much into life and getting nowhere? There is no advance. You haven’t moved on or are moving in circles? Are you in the place where you are complacent about the Lord, about the church, about your spiritual temperature? Are you thinking “What is wrong, I can’t put my hands on it?” Do you believe the time has come to arise out of your sleep and lethargy and move out from where you are?
Israel had become satisfied to be going round in circles. They had lost hope of the Promised Land and gotten comfortable where they were. They were at a mountain. Today you may be at a mountain, something that is sinful, some spiritual hurdle you must get over, some state of spiritual or physical affairs and they are like mountains to you and preventing you from getting the riches of God. They stop you from entering into the promises of God.
The Jewish enemy, the Edomites, would have come after them, the Israelites would have fought to the last man and probably would have beaten them, and they could have made progress. Instead they were twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the routine to continue. The worst enemy you face and the church faces today is not liberalism, not heresies, not politicians, not Islam. It is the problem of the routine, the programs that we have always done our own traditions. We can predict the dead routine in our churches. We are in our usual a routine procedure, a situation, or way of life that has become uninteresting and tiresome, you are in a rut. We are not expecting God to do anything. Nothing is going to change and this may go on for years.
There is no life in a graveyard just cold dead bodies that are going nowhere and expecting nothing. You may be able to fit right in there. The people there bother no one; they are going nowhere, doing nothing. Everything is routine. But the church is not graveyard, it is a living body, and should animated with the life of the Spirit. The Head (Christ) guides us in what to do. People are supposed to be alive, to grow.
With growth there is a process of natural or spiritual development. We need nutrients so that we can grow in both areas. We have our basic structure but are expected to develop. We have strong foundation in the Word of God but are willing to change and be led by the spirit. We are not stuck, there is movement. We blame the devil, the state of society, the “last days” and anything else we can think of, but the greatest enemy is not on the outside of us, it is within us. It is an attitude of accepting things as there are. We have no expectations, no sense of risk, and no sense of adventure.
Getting busy is not the answer, it is an internal problem. It is a matter of the soul and the mind that ultimately determines our attitude.
There is no feeling in it we sing the songs we have always sung, without power, enthusiasm, or conviction. We evangelise in a half-hearted way. We believe in prayer but do not meet with the saints to pray. We have no passion, no reason to function or fight, there are no surprises, and no expectations in our Christian lives or churches. We repeat words, and things we have heard or done before. We need courage to move out, to go where we have not been before.
YOU HAVE SETTLED DOWN TO LETHARGY
We have become contented with our circumstances and lost the spirit of adventure. When we were young in the faith we let nothing stop us from going to the meetings, going to pray, going to evangelise, discussing or debating the word of God was exciting. Now we are half asleep. Someone has said, “Man is made of dust and tends to settle.” People settle down and loose the concept of being a pilgrim here. We let the world squeeze us into a mould, even though scripture warns us not to let it (Rom. 12:1-3). We accept its philosophies without question or fight. We get sick and don’t know it. We have an ailment and are not aware of it. We go on doing the routine not knowing that there is a cancer inside. Spiritually speaking we get into a rut. We are in bondage to the routine, the familiar, and do not want to change.
DRY ROT HAS SET IN
“The church is afflicted with dry rot. Dry rot can set in and we may not be aware when it happened but years later we are paying for it. It is a costly thing. It is death of the wood. There are no expectations for it to change. It is the same with spiritual life, no life, all is spiritually rigid. There is a lack of desire for improvement. Do we want to attract people to share our rut?” (A W Tozer). Do we want people to share in our rut? It is because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance in our lives in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking after god, and nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with his bible no one seeking to mend his ways. We just want more people to come and repeat our dead Christian services, without meaning, without feeling, without wonder, without surprise. Spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is.
“The church is individual members composed of people. It is made up of real people who come together as the church. To improve the church we must begin with individuals. We are not to point to others for improvement but ourselves. We have to get of our high horse of judging the state of others and deal with our self-righteousness, self sin of judgement and complacency. There must be a humble repentance a stopping of the pointing of the finger.” (A W Tozer). We need to change we need improvement. We need to be careful in judging others. We dare not cover our own sin. We dare not remain satisfied were we ware. There are to see among us expecting to rule over five cities with the lord but cannot rule our own nature, our own households. We expect to be emancipated into his glorious presence but no nothing of emancipation here and now.
Are you fooling yourself? You have stayed too long where you are. It is time to break camp. It is time to move on.
Vs 1 “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel.” Almost all of Deuteronomy consists of speeches given by Moses at the end of his life.
Vs 2 “It is eleven days journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seirto Kadesh Barnea.” It was only eleven days journey but it took Israel more than 38 years.
Vs 3 “Now it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all the Lord had given him as commandments to them.” Moses acted on upon the authority of God who inspired the words he spoke.
Vs 4 “After he had killed Sihon king of the Amorites and …and Og king of Bashan, who dwelt at Astoreth in Edrei.”
IT IS TIME TO MOVE OUT
VS 6 “You have stayed too long where you are. Break camp and advance into the hill country.” It is time to do something about your situation. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back
Vs 7 He tells them of God’s promise for the land. He gives a description and boundaries of the land and its dimensions. Do you claim the promises of God?
GOD HAS GIVEN THE LAND TO YOU
Vs 8 “See I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of it.” We can have victory here and now, we can have power here and now, we can have a fruitful life here and now. Go take it. It is your possession. Would you dare to sit any longer in your rut? You ought to get out of it. It is time to prick your self to see if you are real or a dead Christian. It is time to examining your fruit, it is green, is it luscious or is it dray and like dust?
Vs 6-8Israel had settled down and become contented with their circumstances. They had lost their sense of adventure. They were in a spirit of lethargy. God now stretches his hand forth to arouse them. Man is made of dust and tends to settle. We do the same things year after year. We get religion and it is dead and evil.
We sleep in our spiritual rut. Sometimes we influence others to settle also convincing and persuading them to yield to their pressure. Weak Christians and lazy Christians love this kind of lifestyle. Don’t bother me they say, everything is going all right. Some plead the sovereignty of God and say what will be will e I cannot change it. That is wrong God wants to change things and people it is part of his plan. We must get up and obey God.
No wonder churches are weak the members are weak. Human nature is lazy and does not want to be bothered be involved with action. You need to be real, ask God to give you the desire, to convince you to do something. You must take command of yourself, crucify the flesh, get up and walk in the spirit. The Holy Spirit must prompt people to escape from their lethargy.
We have become so busy with our own lives that Christ no longer has control of them. We have been making excuses for too long we have become soft. We have lost the sense of the Christian adventure. We have our eyes on people on things, on the devil and not on Christ. We are satisfied and contented with our lot and do not want to be disturbed.
IT IS TIME TO MOVE NOW
You are seeing no progress in your life; your Christian walk has changed into a lazy crawl. If you are you were three months ago you have settled down. You have adjusted to your present spiritual state. Ask God to create a natural spiritual hunger for Him, for His work, for Missions, for worship, for evangelism. It is no use you trying to make yourself does it. That would fail He needs to do it. Ask him to change you, be willing. It must not be because of guilt, because you feel the urge, but because you know it is what is right. You do not need to be pressurized to do something we need to obey the truth and trust the Holy Spirit to prompt you. If you are not progressing it is time for you to submit to God’s Spirit now.
THE LORD’S RETURN
The next great event in the history of the Lord’s calendar is the Christ’s return. It is not a war with Islamic extremists, not a coalition with the countries of Europe and America. It is not Christmas. It is not a new government or political leader that will cure man’s ills. Are you expecting Him today? He may come in our lifetime. We have such a short time to prepare for a long time in heaven. We must not fail to prepare for this future. Nothing in the world is more important than the future with Christ in heaven. We must live for eternity. Do not ignore what God offers you today. Let Him take you out of your laziness. Let Him touch your life to day.
N. B. We are indebted to A W Tozer for his insight on this passage.