Updated: Feb 6
Moses said: So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.
You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?
But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 17. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday September 2, 2018. It is important because Moses made sure the Israelites knew their Promised Land was contingent on the people following the laws set before them by God. Those laws were their direct link to God, which made them wise enough to maintain the laws, with God’s help.
Repeated in these verses are the words that state “great nation” (derived from the root words “goy gadol”). The implication of “you,” “yourselves,” and “your” means the collective sum of the people that learn to follow the statutes and ordinances passed down by God through Moses are what makes a nation great. A nation is not a system of law that is great. Greatness can only come from the people – all individuals being as of one mind – being living examples of the statutes and ordinances that distinguishes them as a nation. Greatness is possible because God is the one mind of all.
Singapore thinks it is pretty great; but their god has different laws, right?
Of course, the history of the nation that became Israel, after the Israelites were delivered into the land God promised them (in return for them observing His laws diligently), was they repeatedly forgot to live by the laws of Moses. They needed judges to rescue them and lead them temporarily; and they relied on prophets to be their liaison to God. Then they decided they would do very little, as far as following the laws, because they would leave it up to a king to start a continuous line of judges, whose commands would speak for God, to them, like Moses had, and like the judges and prophets had.
That application of righteousness onto a surrogate did not work out very well.
By blindly putting their souls in the hands of human beings, no one was maintaining the laws of God then and other nations began seeing the land of Israel and Judah as land they wanted to take. Without God watching over His diligently righteous priests that served Him by living by His Law, the Israelites and Jews were scattered like chaff in the wind. Their land and their nations were lost.
This history lesson means that there is absolutely no (zero, nada) nations on earth that shine “the wisdom and discernment” of diligent servants of God, to the people of other nations. There is no (zero, nada) one that will say about any nation of earth, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” Because of that lack, when Israel and Judah DIED as nations, there was no longer a land deal offered by God (Yahweh, the LORD) to any of the other nations or their peoples.
Looking to start a great nation here?
For some politician-businessman like Donald Trump, who campaigned for President of the United States of America with the slogan “Make America Great Again,” this plays into the beliefs that America is a “great nation.” Rather that seemingly endless natural resources and vast areas of productive lands of all types, the peoples of America have seen themselves as if it were a “great nation [that] has a god so near to it as the Lord our God” (“Yahweh elohenu”). Eisenhower’s officers and representatives thought that strongly enough to put “In God We Trust” on the money of that great nation. However, that belief is nothing more than political hype, because the United States of America is not a land governed by the statutes and ordinances of a theocracy, much less a land of people that give heed to the teachings of Moses.
The United States of America calls itself a “republic,” which means there is no official “king” (monarchy) that tells the peoples of America what statutes and ordinances must be followed … or else. Without a royal lineage, where children rise to assume the seat of power, when an old monarch passes away, a republic offers a system where the peoples vote for their leaders, officers and representatives.
China has a republic too.
America then incorporates a democratic voting system; all the peoples (meeting certain criteria) get to vote, so (theoretically) the government does what the people say. This means if the law of such a nation is based on the Laws of Moses (kinda), the peoples get to pick and choose how much of each law is applicable to the peoples. In other words, Americans routinely add and subtract from God’s Law, so it has been totally reduced to just another nation status.
The re-creation of a nation called Israel, which is generally a theocracy and also a democracy, still does not re-create the great nation the children of Israel were called to be – through service as priests of Yahweh. This reproduction today is far from being great again, meaning the peoples still make the same additions and subtractions to God’s Law. While some Palestinians and Christians have limited voting rights is modern Israel, the ruling body of Israel (the Knesset) is determined by limitations put on areas of the land, with restrictions as to who can run and who can vote. This is so there is no chance of the Jewish religion being overturned as the core of their democratic theocracy. Therefore, Israel is also on the other nation status list, as it has governmental laws that have nothing to do with God’s Law.
The fact that there has been no nation on earth that has been like the children of Israel, a group of peoples whom Moses freed from bondage to one of the “other nations” of the world and taught the Laws of their Covenant with Yahweh, does not mean that all hope is lost. God sent Jesus as the Savior of Israel, but not the great nation of peoples on one land. Jesus came to renew the Spirit that was set upon Jacob, when he was renamed a word that means “God Strives” or “God Persists” (“Israel“). It is a name that is passed down to all his children, which is applicable to all who raise up the Covenant between the LORD, as those who persist for God so God persists through them.
Jesus is the king of this kingdom that is not a nation set upon land, but a kingdom made up of individual subjects that maintain all the statutes and ordinances of God’s Law. Jesus said he did not come to change anything about that Law, as was God’s command. Jesus brought with him a new Covenant, where God would reside within each subject’s hearts. There, upon the walls of one love of God, would be written the Laws of God … not in the lobes of human brains, where the convolutions tend to bend the words of the Laws, and the gray matter makes some disappear and others mysteriously appear.
With the Laws of God written in one’s heart, one acts according to those laws from a love of God. Each individual of this nature is oneself a great nation, whom others will exclaim, “Surely this person is wise and discerning, and as righteous as a Saint.” Jesus Christ is the shared King of all such spiritual nations.
In my writings here, from time to time, I have mentioned the peoples of the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Centuries, called “Cathars,” a name given to them by those who came to know them. The name stems from the Greek word “katharoi,” meaning “Pure ones.” The Cathar peoples primarily flourished in the southern region of France known as Occitania. They had no leader or ruler and they claimed no land as theirs. They lived peacefully amongst peoples who were both French and Roman Catholics. They were true Christians, although the Church branded them Gnostics and heretics. They were asked to convert to Roman Catholicism and swear an oath to the pope. When they refused, a genocidal crusade was mounted that basically erased the Cathar people from the world’s consciousness (see Albigensian Crusade). However, to this day the region of Languedoc and Midi-Pyrénées, and especially the town of Carcassonne is considered “Cathar Country.”
This is an example of what God originally intended when He told Moses to instill the Laws within the Israelite peoples. God promised them land so that seed could have a womb in which to develop. God knew it was impossible for human beings to maintain holy statutes and ordinances alone, without divine guidance. It was known in advance that separating themselves from those peoples of other nations, while also welcoming the peoples of other nations to come see how great Israel’s peoples were – as a great nation, made up wholly of righteous priests to Yahweh – was impossible to not be influenced by those outsiders.
The original nation of Israel was like posting a speed limit on a road and then giving peoples vehicles that can easily exceed those limits. It is like putting cookies in a jar on a table and telling a toddler not to eat any, before walking away and leaving the toddler to contemplate that law. It is easier to break a law if it seems too strict … and nobody is looking.
When one is a true Christian, then one wants to live amongst others of like mind and like heart. That makes a great nation of Christians a true church, where all members have been reborn as Jesus Christ, filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This is how Jews tried to live in other nations (separate but equal), ever since they were dispersed from Israel and Judah. God wants His priests where they will be needed, amongst the Gentiles who need to witness righteous peoples first hand.
True Christians will influence those who seek to know the truth, while gathering together as the family of God to praise Him. This reading is then pertinent to today’s Christian world, as it says a child of God will “take care and watch [them]selves closely, so as neither to forget the things that [their] eyes have seen nor to let them slip from [their] mind all the days of [their lives]; [and they will] make them known to [their] children and [their] children’s children.”
As an optional Old Testament reading for the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one is adhering to the Laws of God that have been written on their heart’s walls – the message is to know that it is impossible to fulfill this promise without complete submission to God’s Will. The only way a “great nation” is fully committed to God is to be a Saint – ruled by the Spiritual King of one’s soul, Jesus Christ.
It is a huge mistake to read the Old Testament and ignore it, by writing it off as “just another example of how the Jews failed God.” Those failures are just as readily reflections of peoples today that think they are great because of God’s blessing them with greatness. Americans who boast of being a great nation under God need to slip that to a lower case “g” and see how they are bragging on being just another nation sworn to Mammon or Baal.
Our Supreme Court – a branch of governmental law – cannot even allow replicas of the Ten Commandments to be erected on public land (land stolen from Native Americans, by force, accompanied by lies and broken agreements), because we welcome citizens from ever religious theocracy in the world to come and subvert our legal system. We honor the killing of babies in the womb as a woman’s right; but then we deny the execution of those convicted of the most heinous crimes, because criminals have rights. Few in government will agree that babies in the womb or the ones suffering from heinous crimes committed against them have rights. We pretend to stand behind Mosaic Law, but then we add new laws that are contrary to it and amend old law to fit modern acceptances.
God, being the All-Knowing God that He is, knew when the peoples were doing the things that would be written into the book called Deuteronomy that they would fail miserable. He knows the fake religion that America and other nations claim to honor has nothing to do with the Laws He gave to Moses to install. God knew when John wrote the Book of Revelations (The Apocalypse) that the world would splinter into seven types of churches, none of which would be maintaining all the Law, with all needing to make some corrections or suffer the loss of eternal life.
I sure would not want to have God look at me and say, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelations 3:15-18)
That sounds an awful lot like America’s form of religious lukewarmness to me.