STAY TRUE TO GOD
Don’t Play Games With God
Jerry A Collins
How should God’s past faithfulness motivate me?
What is it that God wants us to pursue?
What happens when we believe it is okay to sin?
Don’t play games with me! Webster
defines this as acting in a deceitful,
evasive, manipulative, or trifling manner in dealing with others. Like ‘don’t play games with me—I want to know
if you love me or not! We do not like being played games with. It is one of the
more irritating things I can think of having done to me. When being reviewed
for a possible contract renewal at the American church in London
I felt I was being trifled with. The personnel committee unknown to me until
several meetings into the process had already been meeting and discussing my
future with others in the church without any input or
questions or contact with me or knowledge by me at all. Not until I was
confidentially told of this and reading minutes of meetings was I even aware of
this. God does not want us playing games with Him. He told His people this
before they entered into the land. He claimed them as His people and the people
covenanted with God in agreement but they were sternly warned that God was not
to be presumed upon or trifled with as to the stipulations of this agreement.
This chapter serves to place this fact on the table for all to see.
1. GOD’S PRIOR FAITHFULNESS IS MOTIVATION TO OBEY NOW
The first verse explains that
Moses is now calling on his hearers to commit themselves to the Mosaic covenant
at Mt. Sinai.
It is time for the people to step up to the plate and be counted upon to
fulfill their obligations. In order to motivate them, Moses gathers all Israel
vs 2 and reminds them of four things they have seen.
These four things all express an aspect of God’s prior faithfulness to them as
God’s people. (1) They saw what God did in Egypt—at
least the older ones had vs 2-4. This historical
review included ‘the great trials’ vs 3 probably
their slavery, and they saw as well the ‘great signs and wonders’ probably
referring to the plagues. There had been plenty to see and all of it in the
context of God’s prior faithfulness and watch-care over His people. This
generation had first hand eyewitness and as such their agreement with God would
verify this reality and give preceding generations
verifiable testimony of this eyewitness record. (2) Their clothes did not wear
out these 40 years of wandering vs 5. They did not
turn into rags. (3) You have not eaten bread, drunk
wine or strong drink vs 6. The wilderness experience
was designed to produce both obedience and dependence upon God for their needs
and God did provide for them. (4) The recent conquest of Og and Sihon in the trans-Jordan
area 7-8. They had even settled some of the tribes there. God Had promised—God
had provided and here was the proof. They all knew it and now they must own it
as true. You can see it but you must also believe it.
To this day vs 4 The
new element Moses adds here is the people’s lack of understanding these acts of
deliverance by God. Even at this moment. God wanted them to have it but they
did not yet. They were only told to obey as a nation with the Law—even though
some individuals had more understanding than others. There were some who did
understand the character of God without the law such as Joseph not sleeping
with Potiphar’s wife. Ezekiel and Daniel made many
godly decisions which were not dictated by the Law. The disobedience and
rebellion of majority originated from mindset that could not fully understand
the implications of God’s works. The apostles asked Jesus why He spoke to them
in parables. Jesus said it was so that the others would not understand. The
disciples were to understand. The basis of obedience in the church—understanding—is
different than the basis of obedience in Israel—the
Law. One keeps order and the other develops maturity.
We can say more about what please God because we have Christ’s commands that
give us understanding not just obligation. So, for Israel
blessing comes with obedience to the covenant God made with them through Moses.
2. ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE CALLED TO MAKE MATURITY THE AIM
moment 10-15 So this is the moment of truth—‘today’ mentioned five times.
The stress is on the present committing themselves to
The scope 10-11 This covenant was for everyone, adults, children,
tribes, and aliens. The scope of the covenant embraced even future generations vs 15. So the obedience of this present generation can have
a great effect on those not yet born. So this arrangement is to be the aim of
all in the nation no matter who they are. God expects all of the people to
pursue obedience. No one in the nation will be let off of the hook and they
will be expected to keep one another in line so that the nation will not be in
The commitment 13 They were obligating themselves to be God’s
people in conduct and actions. They would put feet to their commitment. God
expects His people to commit, sacrifice, deny, take up their cross, submit,
comply, decide, follow. We have a responsibility. We have the HS but we also
must be filled by Him. God sees our needs but we must also pray for them. God
reveals His Word to us but we must determine to study and apply it.
3. WE ARE IN SPIRITUAL PERIL IF HAVE PEACE WHILE
Be vigilant 16-18 They have also seen idolatry in Egypt
16. They are not naďve about this. They also saw the idolatry of nations they
had passed through. Proximity to sin can entice you to participate. Israel
had already been guilty of participating. They also knew that just one person vs 18 could defile many people to turn their hearts away
too. Like poison it would spread from one heart to the next until many were
infected. (Abe Lincoln did the same prosecuting the civil war with sweeping
executive powers that curtailed civil liberties like stopping habeus corpus the
fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state
action." And arrests under military court authority to curtail spread of anti-war
sentiment.) The people
would need to be extremely vigilant against this sin when they entered the land
since idolatry there too. No one should believe they can sin with confidence.
Sinful peril 19- 28 The one who says they have peace tho
stubborn is in great peril 19-20. It is possible to have peace about disobeying
the Word of God. This will only bring a
calamity 22-28 that 1. destroys the one
introducing the idolatry 20-21 so that he and his posterity will never be
remembered again. 2. comes on the whole nation 22. You never sin in isolation.
3. It would be devastating to the nation 23. The land is unproductive, comprehensive
judgment from Assyria and Babylon. 4. They will experience the full fury of God’s wrath
against them 24-28. In response to the question the answer will be God’s wrath,
anger, judgment, fury against their idolatry. God will not be trifled with.
Future details vs 29 are not yet revealed but what
has been is motivation enough to get with it and follow the Word of God.
We are called to obedience accompanied with understanding unlike Israel. It is understanding Jesus
said that makes us reproducers. Israel called to obey but not reproduce. We called to
reproduce which requires both obedience and understanding.
God calls us to maturity not order. That call is for all of us not matter our
social, racial, or financial status.
Understand that some sinners sin with confidence being at peace with their sin.
It is God’s Word not peace of mind that determines what is good and what is
What God did to land of Israel
should be a warning to us—the consequences of disobedience,
immaturity and lacking understanding is being dry and barren.