To be someone the enemy must game plan around is to be obedient to God and His ways. Pastor Jason shares from Deuteronomy 11:16-25 #ravnaz #thedirtpathpastor #thedirtpathsermonpodcast #podcast #kickoff
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Text: Deuteronomy 11:16-25
If you have ever coached a sport, you know that there are certain players who are game changers. These are players who are so good that special strategy is needed to stop them, or at least try to minimize their impact on a game. Jonathan Taylor, running back for the Indianapolis Colts, is a guy who can ruin a day for a defense. TJ Watt, a pass rusher for the Steelers, is a defender that keeps coaches, blockers, and quarterbacks awake at night.
Moses, God’s leader over His people, knew the nation’s arrival at the Promised land would have them facing game changers. Deuteronomy is Moses’s farewell address to the people, in it he shares God’s gameplan for them to succeed.
READING OF THE TEXT
16 Be careful that you are not enticed to turn aside, serve, and bow in worship to other gods. 17 Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you. He will shut the sky, and there will be no rai; the land will not yield its produce, and you will perish quickly from the good land the LORD is giving you. 18 Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates, 21 so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your fathers. 22 For if you carefully observe every one of these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, and remain faithful to him—23 the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will drive out nations greater and stronger than you are. 24 Every place the sole of your foot treads will be yours. Your territory will extend from the wilderness to Lebanon and from the Euphrates River the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put fear and dread of you in all the land where you set foot, as he has promised you. (CSB)
Word of warning
Moses begins God’s gameplan for the Israelites with a word of warning. “Don’t be enticed by other gods” is what Moses says in verse 16. The people are being warned to not have open minds to the worship practices taking place in the Promised land by its current inhabitants.
Why would they be tempted? Remember, they came from Egypt that had their own gods. These tribes in the Promised land ha deities unique to each of them. In the culture of this era, gods were limited to geographic locations and specific people groups. To change locations was to change gods.
God Almighty is not bound to a specific location because He is Creator of All. He met with Moses and the people at Horeb, but God was also with them in Egypt. And God was with them as they traveled to the Promised land. When things got difficult and settling the land became a challenge, God wanted His people to not be led to believe they needed to adjust to the gods of the land. They needed to trust and obey the living God. That was their game plan.
Word of promise
Verse 18 says “Remember these words.” The survival of God’s people would be based on God’s laws. If they stick to God as their gameplan they would be successful. This was not a threat, although there were consequences of failure. God made a promise to them. Their survival was dependent on it, so there were things the people could do to live up to their end.
First, they had to tell their children. Some of them were old, others could be fighting in battle. The kids had to know why they were fighting, where they were going, and the means for survival. Also, the kids had not seen God at work in Egypt. Most of the adults had not. The kids probably missed the wondering in the wilderness. They needed to know who God was and why He was worthy of worship.
Second, God’s people had to be committed to following God’s law. Verse 22 says, “Carefully observe every one of these commands I am giving you.” This is a call to pay attention to the details with every step. Paying attention to details takes commitment.
Third, the people needed to be active. Verse 24 says, “Every place the sole of your foot treads will be yours.” God gives them a promise and He will be faithful to it, but His people have to move in step with it. “Tread” implies movement, or action. Earlier God tells them to “walk.”
God’s gameplan for God’s people was based on everyone knowing His laws, being committed to them, and actively living them out. If they wanted to survive in the Promised land, this was how the people would succeed.
Survival is great, and God’s gameplan for His people would result in that if they followed it. But sprinkled throughout this section and strongly highlighted in verse 25 is something else. Something more than simply surviving.
If God’s people followed God’s gameplan, a transformation would take place. They were planning because of a new land and facing new enemies. They were encountering game changers. But if they walked with God, “No one will be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put fear and dread of you in all the land.” God’s people would become the game changers. If they were able to trust and obey.
This change would not come about because of the people’s power and might. Transformation happened because they were walking with God. His power changed them and changed how others would see them.
In this life we face enemies of darkness. There is an adversary who wants to see each of us chained and defeated by our sins and to remain in the pit of sin. He is not powerful enough to defeat God, but the devil can take those God loves to destruction with him.
But this enemy does not waste his time. He is not every where at once, all-knowing, or all-powerful. The devil and his forces have to work efficiently. If someone is living a life of sin, has accepted there is no other way, and is firmly secure in their grasp, they have no need to gameplan for that person. That person is already lost, there is no purpose or point to wasting time on them.
James 4:7-8 says, “Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” The apostle gives an outline of someone the enemy has to gameplan for, a person who draws near to God and walks with Him. Just God’s people in our passage up against the enemies they would face in the Promised land. A person who draws near to God becomes a game changer and the enemy has to gameplan for them. Those who are attempting to draw closer to God are the enemy’s biggest concern.
The question has to be then, how do we draw closer to God? In John 3, a religious leader named Nicodemus is having a conversation with Jesus. Nicodemus is wrestling with God’s truth while clouded with the enemy’s twisting of words. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Unless someone is born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” There is something wrong with the way we were born the first time; we were born sinful in a sinful world where we sinned and developed sinful habits. We must be born again.
How are we born again? Jesus tells Nicodemus the answer in John 3:16-18. “For God love the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” To draw near to God we must be born again, and to be born again is to believe in the Son of God.
Who is the Son of God? In Matthew 16, Jesus is asking His disciples, “Who do people say I am?” Everyone says Jesus is a prophet and a teacher. But when Jesus asks Simon Peter, he responds, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus is the Son of God. Believing in Him is how we are born again and draw near to God. And when we draw near to God this makes you and me game changers.
After Simon Peter answers Jesus, Jesus blesses him. Then Jesus adds this amazing statement in Matthew 16:18, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not over power it.”
Belief in Jesus makes us game changers. It is a declaration that sin no longer has any claim on us, and that through Jesus we have the power to overcome sin and all the powers of darkness. We are game changers, changed and changing.