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Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (KJV) Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
When I read or hear the word of man my heart is often discouraged. I read with shock and dismay how many are leaving the Church that Jesus built and are turning to Eastern Religions like Buddhism. One man who claims to be a pastor stated:
“I was surprised to learn how Buddha and Jesus were so similar in their settings. Their messages were so similar that, to a people who were in many ways stuck in oppression, there was a way to find hope or change.”
That is discouraging to me because God
specifically forbids idolatry in His Bible.
When we engage in idolatry we turn away from the Living God and magnify ourselves and our self made gods above Him Who made us and loves us.
In the very context of our Deuteronomy 11 passage we read of a time in Israel’s history when Korah (a Levite or minister of God) and Dathan and Abiram (from the tribe of Reuben) lead 250 men in revolt against Moses and Aaron. The story is told in detail in Numbers 16. God had Moses stand before the tents of Dathan and Abiram. He then called upon those who followed them to repent, to get away from the tents of these rebels. Those who refused to repent died in one of two ways. Those closest to Dathan and Abiram, the Bible says:
Numbers 16:31-33 (KJV) … that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
What happened to the 250 rebels? The Bible says that:
Numbers 16:35 (KJV) … there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men…
Though God’s people initially repented, the next day they returned to their idolatry. God sent a plague upon Israel, killing 14,700 people (Numbers 16:48-50). There would have been more dead but Moses sent Aaron to stand between the living and the dead; and the plague was stayed (Numbers 16:48). This is the picture of the believer who stands up for the Lord. This is also a picture of our Christ, Who protects us from the evil one.
The word of man and idolatry brought HELL upon the earth.
What does this have to do with our text?
The word of man and vain religions the world follows brings DEATH.
The Word of God brings LIFE.
Proverbs 12:28 In way of righteousness (God’s Way) is LIFE; and in the pathway thereof there NO DEATH.
When I hear the word of man I am discouraged and bewildered and confused. But when I hear the Word of God my heart is lifted up. God says and promises such blessings for those who hear HIM and HIM ALONE. Did you notice what God promised? Oh, do not miss it! At the beginning of chapter 11 He warns of hell upon the earth. But in the last 8 words of the text we read today promises:
as the days of heaven upon the earth
God promises “days of Heaven upon the earth” to those who love Him and follow Him. There is no blessing in idolatry and in a self serving religion. There is blessing in hearing and obeying Him.
You may think there can be no Heaven on this earth, but you would be wrong. The first Heaven described to us in the Bible is the Heaven that was in the Garden of Eden. Every day was a perfect day. It was a perfect environment. The Bible says:
Genesis 2:5-7 (KJV) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
It was with a kiss that God breathed life into man. There were no storm clouds in the sky. There was no sickness, death, nor pain. The Bible says:
Genesis 2:8-9 (KJV) … the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
God gave man absolute liberty.
God gave unlimited YES’s and only one NO.
Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV) … the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God’s NO was for man’s benefit. “If you eat it, you will die that very day”.
God was not speaking of physical death – though that would eventually come. But God spoke of spiritual death.
To disobey God would bring confusion and an end to Paradise. To disobey God would cause us to lose the best thing we ever had. What was the best thing we ever had? It was companionship with God. To walk with God daily. This is what Heaven is all about. When people think of HEAVEN they think of the place.
Heaven is where there is no suffering.
Heaven is where there is peace.
Heaven is a Buddhistic Nirvana.
Heaven is where I get everything I want.
Heaven is a street of gold.
Heaven is my fellowship with my relatives once more.
Heaven is … you fill in the blank!
Are these things HEAVEN? No. Heaven is not an experience you will enjoy. Heaven is not absolute self gratification. Heaven is COMPANIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Heaven was on the earth in a place called Eden until man’s word took precedence over God’s Word. Heaven will one day be on the earth once more. When the Apostle John saw the end of evil in the new Heaven and new earth how did John describe Paradise reborn? He said:
Revelation 21:3-4 (KJV) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Why is there no more suffering at end of time? It is not the environment, but it is the Person of God. Heaven is all about God. God is with men. There is no racism or hatred or evil, for God is with us. He dwells in the midst of His people. God Himself shall be with them and be their God. No one will be chasing after false gods, nor will anyone be elevating themselves to the status of god. God will be God, and we will be His Children. There will be no death, sorrow, crying, or pain because God will touch us. As He breathed life into Adam with a kiss, so will He breath into us eternal life and love. If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and your only Savior, for He has said:
John 14:6 (KJV) … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
You cannot come into the Presence of God the Creator and Father except through Christ.
Buddha will not get you there. Good works will not get you there. Lifestyle changes will not get you there. Unless you come to the Father through the Son you shall never inherit Heaven. Period. Jesus told those who not believe in Him:
John 5:37-40 (KJV) And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
There is life only in Christ, in repenting of the false gods and false ways, in cleaving to my Jesus. Too many of you who are “religious” have listened to the words of the thief, or thieves. That so called pastor is a “thief” who was ordained probably by “thieves”. Jesus said:
John 10:10 (KJV) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Christ came to give you and I abundant and eternal life. He came so that we can experience days of Heaven on the earth. The Bible tells us that it was written:
John 20:31 (KJV) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
If you are a Christian you can remember “days of Heaven upon the earth”. The first time I experienced Heaven on earth was when God kissed my soul through His Gospel. I left home when I was 16 years old. I chased after things that I thought would bring me happiness. Alcohol, drugs, things I am now ashamed of. But one day someone invited me to a Church service. I went to Church that day expecting to go through the same old boring routine I grew up suffering under. The mindless catechisms we had to learn. The rituals we did. The songs that we drearily sang. But I went because it was a friend who had encountered a day of Heaven upon the earth, and wanted to share this with me. I went that day, and actually heard the Gospel preached. And I had a day of Heaven upon the earth. Jesus reached out to me. He saw my sin sick soul, and saw my aching heart filled with loneliness and need. Just as He did with Adam He put His nail scarred hand on this walking pile of dust – and He kissed me with Grace. Oh Beloved, the kiss of God is such Heaven!
I breathed out human evil and human ways,
And inhaled life from the Son of God!
I went home that day and lay in a lonely bed where I used to weep. Now I wept with joy. I looked upward, and over and over praised the God Who died for me and rose again to lead me upward. This was a day of Heaven upon the earth. The prodigal son had come home!
I have not forgotten our Deuteronomy text. This text is a formula for finding “Days of Heaven upon the earth”. What does God command of us? How can we experience His presence in our lives?
Deuteronomy 11:18 (KJV) Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
The ancient Jew – probably inspired by those who had no genuine relationship with Him as Father – took these verses quite literally. They created the phylacteries or tefillin which were small square leather boxes that were worn in pairs during weekday morning prayers. The word phylactery comes from a Greek word that means “safeguard, protection, or amulet”. The phylactery was strapped to the arm (shel yad) and the other to the forehead (shel rosh). Inside the phylacteries were verses from the Bible (usually Exodus 13:1–10, 11–16; Deuteronomy 6:4–9; 11:13–21). Jesus chastised the Pharisees for wearing phylacteries:
Matthew 23:5 (KJV) But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
God did not call Adam to ritual worship, nor does He call His children to the same thing today. Counting beads, genuflecting, or wearing religious symbols without loving God is worthless. What does God want of us? He tells us:
Deuteronomy 11:13 (KJV) … ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
God wants us to love Him as He is, to honor Him as God. He wants us to store His Word in our hearts, so much so that our worldview is God’s view. God wants us seeing the world through His eyes and His Word. He wants our hands to do the things He said do because we love Him. We are to obey Him. Our God is the “Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind”. He sees where your heart is pointed. And where your heart is, that is your God. If God is yours and you are God’s then:
Your eyes will behold Him
Your feet will follow after Him
Your hands will serve Him
Your lips will praise Him
Your ears will listen for Him
Your heart will rejoice in Him
Jesus said in:
John 14:21-24 (KJV) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
God does not manifest Himself to the world, nor to the worldly. He manifests Himself to those who love Him and follow Him. Jesus said “If you love Me, you will keep – do – My commandments. And if you DO what I have said then both I and the Father will come and live with you.” Beloved, this is the days of Heaven upon the earth, to know that God is with you and loves you.
Deuteronomy 11:19 (KJV) And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
If God’s Word is in your life, then you will share His Word with your children and with those of your household. You will dwell on His Word not just occasionally, but all the time. When at home (when thou sittest in thine house), when at work or the market (when thou walkest by the way). You will heed God’s Word at the end of your day (when thou liest down) and at the daybreak (when thou risest up).
Deuteronomy 11:20 (KJV) And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
People who know you will be able to see that you are God’s Child whether at home (the door posts of thine house) or at work (and upon thy gates).
Deuteronomy 11:21 (KJV) That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
It is Heaven upon earth to follow the Lord. Will you join me? Will you repent, and turn to Jesus Christ believing? Will you seek the Father through His Son? Will you hear His Word and believe that He loves you? If so, you will have days of Heaven upon the earth.
May God touch your hearts with His Word!