A God-Governed Life

The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain”.

Deuteronomy 1:6


The sojourn of the Israelites, to Mount Horeb was a most vital one in their history, for it was there they received the law, which was an expression of Divine Grace. We are apt to regard law, when applicable to us as restraint, and as unfair. But as parents, most understand that we make laws, for our children for their growth and development.


But as adults we see law as restrain, and harsh when applicable to us.     In Genesis 2:15-17 we read

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”


Eliminate this passage and man is reduced to a robot of flesh and blood Divinely programmed to perform certain tasks void of any choice.  Absence of law nullifies the very nature of mankind, for adhering to God's law is our means of expressing our love to Him  

15If ye love me, you will keep my commandments..

John 14:15


Additionally, to the law Israel was also given a system of worship, a perpetual reminder of the distance they sustained from God by reason of their sins and transgressions. But there was the possibility of their approach to Him by way of sacrifice.  All this being accomplished, God uttered the words of Deuteronomy 1:6 . A reminder that they were a people God-governed.  The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain”.  They heard the Divine message, obeyed the command and marched through the great and terrible wilderness.


The remainder of the story as you know was one of failure and discipline as we read from the book of Numbers.   After forty years they are brought once again to Kadesh-barnea, and there Moses  their great leader, and God’s great servant, just prior his death, uttered all the discourses which have been preserved for us in the book of Deuteronomy.  The words of our text were the opening words of these discourses. 


 As Moses stood there charging and comforting these people he had been privileged to lead for these forty years through varied experiences, the  command of God to leave Mt. Horeb suggest to us, that for these Israelites, whom God had chosen, there were yet, other things ahead, and the time was fully come that they should be about those tasks.  These words suggests to us the “government  and the  authority ”  that God has in leading and guiding His people “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain:”


As we consider God’s Authority it would be well to remember His authority embraces all creation. We should remind ourselves often that no man can escape from the government and authority of God..  No part of the universe is beyond His Authority and Sovereignty.   Regarding these wilderness experiences the apostle Paul would later write: 1 Cor. 10:11-12

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”.      


It is also good that we be reminded both for our comfort and to be warned... that God has never vacated His throne neither has He handed over the affairs of the universe to another. It is perfectly true that men and nations may condition themselves against the government of God, nations may throw off the restraint and turn up their noses at God    But avoid God’s Sovereignty and authority they may not...  (Galatians  6:7-8) 

7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life.


The Psalmist declares:  Psalm 2:2:4

2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision”.   


And again in Proverbs 1:24-28

24Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;  They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.”


That is the wider aspect of truth concerning God, and His Sovereignty. We may choose not to serve the Lord in this life,  we may choose to live rebellious, showing no honor and revering not His Holy Name;  But escape His Sovereignty,  His Authority we may not.    No part of the universe is beyond His Lordship and Authority. That we may be warned, I would remind each of us of the words of Solomon    (Eccl 11:9-10)           

9Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.   (Eccl 12:1)    Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;    (Eccl 12:13-14)   13This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


Paul also reminds us .......  2 Cor. 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”   And so.... the government of God is absolute — and I need not linger to argue that absolute truth


But I think that we are a little in danger of treating God as though He were some infinite, marvelous attraction, seated afar in some distant heaven,  unacquainted with me and my actual experiences. That He has created me, but has taken a journey far away, and  will one day (some day)  come back to call us into account.


But I want to speak particularly at this time of the government of God, to those who recognize it, and yield themselves to it.  How does God govern such?  First consider that the government of God to His people  is a call to change.


Traveling  all the way back to the beginning of the people Israel ; how did this people come into being? The nation came into being as the result of one human life being called into CHANGE by God.   In Ur of Chaldees, a man heard the call of God, and through obedience to that call of change, was brought into a great and wonderful familiarity with God.  He was a man of substance, and position in Ur of the Chaldees.


To that man suddenly there came a voice, the account is recorded in Gen. 12:1-4

1Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing; 3and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 4So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him:”      


The Hebrew writer gives this account of Abraham's call: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:9)   Abraham was called into CHANGE —  The history of the people from the first movement until the very hour of our text Deut. 1:6 was a history of perpetual change and alteration of life. “Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went”


Presently there came an hour when his grandson Jacob and his posterity  were sent down to the land of Egypt. Centuries ran their course, and the seventy souls  who went down to Egypt multiplied into a great host.   Again Divine charge came, They were moved from Goshen in Egypt, finally called  from Egypt to come into the land flowing with milk and honey.


Finding themselves trapped by the sea and their enemy, God led them out of danger and across the highway of the dried sea, into the wilderness, encamped beneath the mountain of Sinai, a freed people resting at last amid the quietness and peace of this magnificent mountain. For a year and a month, they realized the peace and blessedness of God's Divine Government, and then came the voice.   

“Ye have dwelt long enough in this mountain”:


And immediately all previous engagements had to be cancelled, every tent packed for traveling. The next picture is that of a marching host, moving forward, leaving the place of rest and peace, trampling the weary wilderness,  with faces set toward the goal of God's purpose. They were a people of CHANGE from beginning to end.


It is ever true, to be governed by God is to be called into constant change, to have human arrangements interfered with.  Here is a man that yields to the government of God.  Obeys the gospel call, and is baptized for remission of sins. After a time of milk and of growth, he begins understands that he is called to minister  and to serve . God has called that man into change. —

“You have dwelt long enough at this mountain”.


God's government often calls us across the threshold of family ties,  Hear Christ words:  Luke 14:26-27 

26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.


We are called to change our devotion, no longer do I consider self, or even my earthly ties….. Words that ought to sting as we hear Jesus saying…   Matthew 22:37  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind 


In Luke chapter 9 is the account of some who would follow Jesus,  61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.


Jesus would have us know, that to serve Him is to put Him first, at times family must be bid farewell  to.   “Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God


A call into Christianity is a call into change.  It is a call to minister, a call to serve.   God's call  is one of  change,  ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain”  It is a change in Masters, a call to serve to minister.  Matt 20:27-28

27And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


 Why did God call them into this change?  I go back to the actual text, and I  read hear it again.  Beginning in verse 6

6Jehovah our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mountain: …... 8Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which Jehovah sware unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.


 The reading of the context seems to make a defense of the call to change. The place of silent solitude is to be left, and the way of the wilderness is to be trodden, but why? “That land which lies beyond may be possessed. ”    Change  is not necessarily pleasant. We all have our comfort zones, whether in our home lives or at work. We resent change. But God calls us to change that He may lead us to the land that lies before us.  Moses in looking back at that time stated: "We… went through all that great and terrible wilderness".   Why Moses? "That ye might go in and possess the land before you."


The message of the hour? “We have dwelt long enough in this mountain”:   God has called His people into change, and we here at Chestnut Mt. Church of Christ…  have been called into this change....  To change Masters, to deny self and to serve others ... There is much to be done . It won’t be done unless all recognize their call  to Christ is a call  to serve.  


If we can be of assistance to you contact:


Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658