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The Lawgiver (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
March 1, 2023 6:00 am

The Lawgiver (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 1, 2023 6:00 am

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The character of this man is astounding and I believe had his name been a little bit more attractive to us in our language, we would have more children named after him. Moses is one of the greatest men God ever made. And when you consider that the five books that he put together for us are almost as large as the New Testament, it's quite remarkable.

Great in character, in his devotion to God. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Deuteronomy.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 34 as he begins his message called, The Lawgiver. God's law has love written all over it.

No Christian should be intimidated by the law of God as far as its beauty and its glory. Deuteronomy chapter 34 verses 5 and 6 then 10 through 12. This will give us the context for the text itself. Verse 5, So Moses the servant of Yahweh died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of Yahweh. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Bethpeor.

But no one knows his grave to this day. Now verse 10, But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom Yahweh knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which Yahweh sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land. And by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

The Lawgiver, again, that's the title. Our text is verse 10. And by that, this is the, hopefully, the message that God has for us this morning. And I will reread verse 10. But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom Yahweh knew face to face.

What an honorable epitaph. Hopefully, I will preach something useful to you this morning, helpful things, things you may have not heard before, or at least maybe I can stir your heart to ponder them again. To converse with God, to conform to his will, it is what every believer wants. And to hear this said about such a man in scripture as Moses, that he conversed with the Lord face to face is quite attractive. God said through the prophet Jeremiah, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me. Moses once asked God, that God would help him understand God even more. He said, I pray if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your way that I may know you, that I might find grace in your sight.

Exodus 33, 13. The character of this man is astounding. And I believe, had his name been a little bit more attractive to us in our language, we would have more children named after him. Moses is one of the greatest men God ever made. And when you consider that the five books that he put together for us are almost as large as the New Testament, it's quite remarkable. Great in character, in his devotion to God, it is what every believer craves, to be great in character and to be devoted to God. God saw in Moses what apparently was absent in everyone else. God goes out of his way, we could say from a human perspective, to find Moses, not for God, but of course Moses was in the backside of the desert. And that's where God met with him to call him into ministry.

God saw things in Moses, and I hope God sees good things in me too. Life before the burning bush, and life after the burning bush, you could say that sums up the life of Moses a little bit more to it than that, because he had 40 years in Egypt, 40 years in the wilderness, and 40 years leading the people of God through the wilderness. Born a slave, survived death on the Nile as an infant, that could have been death from exposure, death from starvation or dehydration, and death by crocodile or whatever else. But he was raised, pardon me, rescued, then raised in the palace. The greatest education available was given to him. And yet, with this remarkable beginning, in those early years of his life, he had a zeal for God, but it was an ignorant zeal. He blundered as a self-appointed servant with self-appointed needs. He made a mess of helping God, and he fled for his life. All the education of Egypt could not prepare him for serving the Lord.

These things to me are astounding when you consider the whole record. He had to go through weight training, W-A-I-T. He had to learn to weight on God, to be shaped by God, to be governed by God, and while he did so, he tendered another man's flock, another man's sheep, another man's possessions. He was a steward, a steward-shepherd, again at the edge of the desert.

He served there, where it was desolate. He had much time to ponder his life, which I assume he believed would end as a shepherd in the wilderness. And year by year, for forty years, he had been dying more and more to his own self-importance.

Not an easy thing to do, to die to your own self-importance. He is the lawgiver, though. Our divine lawgiver, of course, is God Almighty, Yahweh in the Old Testament, Christ in the New. Moses is the appointed deliverer of the law. He, too, is a lawgiver in that sense. Jesus said of him in John 7, did not Moses give you the law?

Of course he did. But now, now when he is called to be this lawgiver, no longer self-appointed, now he is the servant of God. And even then, even though he is called, and this time in his life he is serving God, he still has to develop, he still has to be turned into the greater man of God that he could be. Exodus chapter 3 verse 10. Come now, therefore, God said to him from the burning bush, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. Was Moses reminded when he saw the bush that burned but was not consumed by the flames, was he reminded that once he flamed for God, once he burned with indignation against the injustices committed to his brothers? In Exodus 3, Moses said, I will turn now aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.

And of course, that was God drawing him in this spectacular moment. What was in the bush that Moses lacked? What did the bush possess that flamed and the voice of God came from it?

Mainly it was timing. Because in that timing there were so many other things that he would benefit from and so would we. Gradually he began to realize that God had not ceased caring for his people. God had not ceased caring for him when he himself had given up, when he himself found himself alone with the sheep. Proof of this is found in his initial reluctance to accept his calling to public ministry. God listened to Moses debate with him, him in awe, come up with reasons why someone else should do it and not him until finally Moses came out and said it in Exodus chapter 14. But he said, Oh my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else you may send. Get someone else. I don't want to serve in public ministry.

I don't want the problems and I certainly don't think I'm up to it. Of course, God got past all that with Moses. By the time he stands before Pharaoh, Moses is no longer, and I think this is very important for us Christians, Moses is no longer a promoter of righteousness. He is an instrument of God.

He no longer sees a way to do right things outside of just listening to God and doing what he is told. He is an instrument of God, a tool in the hand of God Almighty. So much so, that when his brother and sister turned on him, and that had to have hurt deeply, when they turned on him, God summoned those two, Miriam and Aaron, and there they stood before him. And there the Lord chastened the two of them.

That story is in Numbers chapter 12, and we pick it up in verse 6, God speaking to them. Then he said, Hear now my words. If there is a prophet among you, I, Yahweh, make myself known to him in a vision. I speak to him in a dream, not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings. And he sees from Yahweh.

Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? You get goosebumps reading about this if you're mindful, I think, of how real it was and how real it still is. This man is astounding, and I want some of that, and that's why we preach on these things, because some of this is available. How much is available?

Enough. Enough is available according to God. Through this man's teachings, the Jewish people became the teachers of the world. This morning I'm reading to you from a Jewish document. And it is a testimony to the kindness of God and to the meaning of scripture in our own lives. God chose this great man to make possible Isaiah and Jeremiah, and understand how I say this, God chose this man to make possible Jesus Messiah. Of course, it is Christ, the author and finisher.

Well, that's what I mean by understand what I am saying. This is the route God chose to take. And he heads down this route, and he fortifies it through this man and the Ten Commandments, which we're going to come to in a moment. The divine Lord giver gave his law for man to a man to deliver, and that he did. And the whole Bible largely, even our New Testament, is commentary on the Ten Commandments. That's not a legalistic saying.

It is a fact. There we have a summary of man's entire duty to God and his fellow man. And the Lord upholds it. He condenses it, but he upholds it nonetheless.

No better inscription can be placed upon a building dedicated to justice among humans than the Ten Commandments. The one great question of religion is this. Does God speak to man? Does God speak to sinners? Has God spoken to man?

If so, have we a credible record of what he has spoken? The Bible replies that God has spoken indeed, and it is credible. And that the Bible we have is trustworthy, a trustworthy account of what God has spoken and what he wants. The only alternative to that, the only alternative for an infallible record from the hand of God, revelation from God, for our guidance and for our salvation, the only alternative would be human reason.

And if that's my only alternative, you can keep it. I'll go with God's revelation. I find it easier to believe the Word of God when I read the Word of God than anything humans have to say without God. The psalmist saw the glory of God in the heavens in creation.

So did all the saints. In Psalm 19, he wrote, the heavens declare the glory of God. And the firmament shows his handiwork. But he saw the glory of God in the Ten Commandments, the revealed word of God to man. And then that same psalmist goes on to say the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. And by them, well, before he says that, he says, More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. He's talking about the Ten Commandments, which of course is broadened by other details that belong to the Ten, but the Ten stand. And the first three of those commandments, you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, of course, in the act of worship. You shall not take the name of Yahweh in vain. Those three indicate to us that the word of God is more than social justice, that there is a spiritual feature to it that cannot be ignored, of which the consequences are quite severe.

And this is still our message. These three have to do with God and man's worship to God. And an unbeliever may come along and say, I admire thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, etc. But if he rejects the first table of the law, that says you shall have no other gods before me, you shall not carve images to approach me, you shall not take my name in vain, if he ignores those commandments, the judgments will not ignore him.

There will be judgment. The six of the Ten Commandments, Commandments 5 through 10, honor your father and your mother, you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, you shall not covet. These concentrate on man's relationship with his fellow man in the presence of the same God who said you shall have no gods before me.

There's a consistency here that is noble, that is high, that is glorious. It is the ultimate attraction that we could experience, that attraction to come and stand before God and hear him say, take the sandals off your feet, the ground you stand upon is holy. What Christian does not love that?

What Christian does not look forward to the day when we stand before God and instead of him telling us to take the sandals off our feet, he says, well done. The fourth commandment, remember the Sabbath to keep it holy, that centers on both man and God. But the tenth one, you shall not covet, that pinpoints motive and desire, thoughts and cravings, things deep on the inside.

It goes beyond deeds. This one looks forward to Christ and his declaration of the ten commandments. We learn this as we go through the scripture, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. In John 25, we read just this little comment that means so much because you could not apply it to anyone else in history.

And he had no need that anyone should testify of man for he knew what was in man. How perfect the law of God is will be seen if we imagine a society without these laws. Or let's take it in the positive, what if we saw a society with these laws faithfully and fully observed?

Well, you'd have to get to heaven for that. But to make the point to uphold God's word, to demonstrate that human reason cannot approach this level of sanity, we consider that God would always come first if the ten commandments were upheld, you shall have no gods before me. Religion would have no idols, no superstitions. There would be a universal day of rest and worship. The home life would be pure, marriage would be sacred, property would be safe for there would be no stealing. There would be no slander or malicious gossip or lying, no wars or rumors of wars and no need to correct those who were doing these things. There would be no coveting of another person's or another nation's possessions.

There's nothing wrong with a type of envy that says, well I sure wish I had that too. But when it starts to take hold and becomes a dominant feature and goes beyond just admiring that there is something noble and something that someone receives, then it enters into covetedness. It enters into sin and it can get away from us very quickly. It would be a society ruled by the ten commandments which the Lord summarized when he said, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. And he said this knowing that you had to first love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. This is the first of the ten commandment table and the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

This is Old Testament teaching too. Deuteronomy 6-5, you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Leviticus 19-18, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

I am Yahweh. And of course man had come along and they had adjusted that so that you could only love the neighbor of the Jewish race. And Christ comes along and he fixes that. And so when we come to the New Testament, the author and finisher of all of scripture says this through his apostle Paul. For the commandments you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet. If there is any other commandment, all are summed up in this saying, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. If you treat others the way you would like to be treated, you will not steal from them.

You will not lie. Galatians 5-14, for all the law is fulfilled in a single word, even this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. And this, when Paul wrote the Galatian letter, he's trying to stop them from being legalistic in their approach to Christ and coming to Christ, getting them to come by faith, yet not without the rule of God's word. So the lawgiver delivered the law, not by human inspiration, but divine. Because at the beginning of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, the first verse, we read this, and God spoke all these words. That gives it all of its authority. Without that authority, it is just human reason.

The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. There is life beyond death for everyone. What kind of life? What is the quality of that life going to be? Everyone has an afterlife.

You don't have to believe it for that to be true. Moses was prohibited from entering the promised land while he lived. The great lawgiver.

He could take the people out of slavery, he just couldn't bring them any further than that. His greatest moments are associated with three different mountains. Mount Sinai, where he did talk to God face to face and receive the law of God and the commandments of God. Mount Nebo, where God showed him the promised land and ended the life of Moses there.

In fact, this is a very interesting thing. One of my favorite things about Israel is you can stand in parts of Jerusalem and you can see Mount Nebo, which is in Jordan, across the Jordan River. It is though that in the shadow of this mountain you have the law of Moses looking over Israel. And most of the people don't get it. They don't understand. They don't accept their own scripture and how they got into that land. They cannot connect the dots because they will not listen to God.

The lawgiver, almost 1600 years after his death, on that third mountain of importance, the unnamed mountain. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. We hope you've been blessed by this Believer's Basics series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series or share it with someone you know, please visit We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-01 09:49:35 / 2023-03-01 09:58:30 / 9

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