Awesome Hands – Part 139: “The Iron Furnace”

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Awesome Hands – Part 139

"The Iron Furnace"

August 12, 2018

With the Awesome hands series, we find ourselves in chapter 4 of Deuteronomy. In this chapter we find both the seriousness of the relationship we have with the Lord and what it means that the Lord will have us to be His children.

Being that this is a chapter with a lot of verses, let’s get right into it.

Deu 4:1  Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Deu 4:2  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

If you somewhat reverse the order of the things mentioned in these first two verses, you will find another succinct way of understanding how it is we can obey the Lord day to day.

“Keep my commandments by not adding to or diminishing my word so that you can possess the land by hearkening to the statues and judgments contained in my commandments.”

Adding to and taking away from the word of God is important. Moses is a perfect example of taking away or adding to the word of God in his actions of listening to the people instead of what the Lord has told Moses to do.

Moses was to speak to the rock to bring forth water, but he struck it instead. However, the Lord had also told Moses to strike the rock at one point to bring forth water. So, this proves that the Lord wants us to diligently listen to His commandments.

Just because we have read in the old testament to hate our enemies doesn’t mean we can hunt them down and kill them. The new testament tells us otherwise. Likewise, as we see with Moses, just because we have done something before and the Lord caused that to happen, does not mean we can continue to do that thing if the commandments of the Lord have changed on the matter. We will cover this in more detail throughout this study.

Deu 4:3  Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
Deu 4:4  But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.

Again, this is confirmation that obeying the Lord is the path to life. Serving other gods, namely serving ourselves, or giving others glory for what the Lord is doing in their lives, is a fast ticket to spiritual death.

Deu 4:5  Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Deu 4:6  Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
Deu 4:7  For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
Deu 4:8  And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

We all have people in our lives who seem to have it together. Some have those in our lives who have money, fame, wealth, many friends, etc. Others have those in their lives that we would want beside us no matter what “life” throws at us.

The statutes and judgments, which the Lord gives us to “keep and do” in the land, allow others – the nations -  to HEAR these statutes and attribute us as a “great nation who is wise and understanding”.

I don’t know about all of you, but I have yet to hear the nation of my “mom and dad” or friends to tell me how wise and understanding I am in the Lord. It seems just the opposite most times.

So, what is Moses telling us will happen when we keep the commandments of the Lord which He has taught to Israel?

Basically, when the going gets rough and trials happen upon those “nations” of family members, friends and loved ones around us, we are remembered to be the ones who seem to have it together no matter the trials placed in our lives. We become as the Rock because our faith is in the faithfulness of the Lord and His words.

Knowing this we are warned via Moses via the Lord using him in Deuteronomy to warn us from being forgetful hearers. We need to especially remember the “big” events that cause us to first hear and see the words of our first live. In the case of the Israelites, it is:

Deu 4:9  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
Deu 4:10  Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Deu 4:11  And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
Deu 4:12  And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
Deu 4:13  And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
Deu 4:14  And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
Deu 4:15  Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
Deu 4:16  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
Deu 4:17  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
Deu 4:18  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
Deu 4:19  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

Again, we are warned to listen to and diligently follow the commandments of the Lord for our benefit.

When we do not listen diligently, even when we have been able to act and think differently in the past with the Lord, we must do what we know to do, and we must do it now!

When we first were dragged to the Lord, our “list of rules” was certainly “easier” to follow and keep. When we are first babes in Christ, we are given few stripes because we are “expected” little due to being given little in our understanding.

Luk 12:47  And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
Luk 12:48  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Luk 12:49  I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Luk 12:50  But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

The Lord always wants us to remember our time in the fire. However, when we are first dragged to the Lord, we are in an “iron furnace” because that is the beginning of our walk with the Lord.

Deu 4:20  But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
Deu 4:21  Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:
Deu 4:22  But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
Deu 4:23  Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
Deu 4:24  For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

We are all familiar with Deu 4:24 since it used so much in our fellowship. Notice though that in five short verses we go from the “iron furnace” to a “consuming fire”.

The Lord takes us from slavery in Egypt and all the trials happening there, the iron furnace, to the consuming fire that is God, and the ONE caution we are given by Moses whom did not hearken diligently to the Lord concerning His commandment to SPEAK to the rock is:

Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.”

That is a very succinct way of telling us NOT to love ourselves or put ourselves above the first and greatest commandment nor the second which alike unto it.

Mat 22:35  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Mat 22:36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Mat 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38  This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

You might be thinking that it says no such thing and is only speaking about graven images, but where do graven images originate? They come from the hearts and minds of men, especially from our own corrupt carnal minds. With the mind of Christ we can avoid this pitfall.

Now seed is very important to the Lord. He tells us that LIFE comes through DEATH, and it is very important to realize this simple fact of life.

A corn of wheat must fall and die to bring forth “much fruit”, and much fruit is life in others, and this is what we are talking about in this chapter. Since God is a consuming fire, and the fire purges all, how does life come from death via fire?

Joh 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Joh 12:25  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

When we have seed/children, we need to teach His commandments to them. However, we are talking about spiritual children more so than physical, even though physical children are very much included in this group of children since they are under our care.

Deu 4:25  When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
Deu 4:26  I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
Deu 4:27  And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
Deu 4:28  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

Moses is confident that by going into the promised land and remaining there a long time, we WILL bare corrupt fruit of ourselves. Think on this and be forewarned. It is in our nature as humans to become complacent and lazy in our service to the Lord.

However, knowing this ahead of time also lets us know there is a way out of it, and it is the very first word of Jesus’ ministry; “repent” according to the gospel of Matthew.

Mat 4:16  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
Mat 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Repentance is the key to always knowing there is a way out of the darkness of falling from the Light of the Lord. There is always day after the night.

Deu 4:29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Deu 4:30  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Deu 4:31  (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Moses would have us to be encouraged to turn from our evil ways and ask the Lord for forgiveness so that we can continue moving on from it in our lives. In fact, Moses asks us to think about any time in history that “any god” has ever offered such a refuge.

Deu 4:32  For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
Deu 4:33  Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
Deu 4:34  Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Deu 4:35  Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
Deu 4:36  Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.

When you examine these verses from a spiritual standpoint, even Moses did not understand fully what he was being used to write and record for Christians today.

God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs and by wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes.


Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire

Moses, of course, is speaking about the times the Israelites “heard the voice of the Lord” or “saw Him” in a burning bush or in the thundering and lightnings on the mount, but these spiritual events have happened to us all.

We are literally called from all corners of the earth from every nation on this planet, but those things are much truer in the Spirit.

Deu 4:37  And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
Deu 4:38  To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
Deu 4:39  Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

We should consider in our hearts today and evermore that the Lord is working it all. He is working it all both in the heavens and in the earth below. So, whatever trial we are in, we are in it with the Lord.

After all, He is the VERY FIRE we are being burned up in so He is there with us the entire time we are being consumed. It’s not only that He is causing fire to burn us up, but He IS THAT FIRE.

We are TOUCHED by God.

Being in such an intimate relationship with the Lord requires us to listen to Him.

Deu 4:40  Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

See, when we keep the commandments of the Lord, our children, too, see this and benefit from it. Even when they themselves fall, they know how to get back up because we have taught them that process with our words and with our actions.

This allows us to PROLONG our days on the earth.

I use to think this meant we would be given more time on this earth as represented in MORE DAYS, but what we are really being told spiritually is that we are able to REDEEM THE DAY with this knowledge.

So, whatever the amount of days we are given, those days become much more valuable because we are using them to spend time in the fire with the Lord instead of wasting them with things which only go to the grave and no further.

Ultimately, we move from the iron furnace to the heavenly fiery furnace of the Lord.

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