Programming God

From Deuteronomy: Commentaries on the Pentateuch Vol V by R. J. Rushdoony.
Chapter 33, “Programming God?” commenting on (Deuteronomy 10:12-22)

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12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 

13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 

16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 

17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 

18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 

19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 

20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.

21 He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. 

22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

-- Deuteronomy 10:12-22, King James Version

This text has a familiar ring to it because it is so often quoted or echoed elsewhere in the Bible. For example, v. 12 is clearly the source of Micah 6:8. Psalm 115:16 has its source in v. 14, and v. 16 is cited by Jeremiah 4:4. Verse 17 is echoed in Joshua 22:22, Daniel 2:47 and 11:36, and
also in Revelation 17:14 and 19:16. Verses 18 and 19, with this requirement of charity towards widows, orphans, and aliens, repeats key laws, and these, as well as their formulation here, are often repeated. In v. 20, the fear of God is commanded, something often repeated, and the reference in v. 22 to the patriarchs and Egypt, as well as the promise to Abraham of great growth, is one common to the prophets and apostles.

The modernists are prompt to call this a “late” writing because their evolutionary views bar anything that they would call “advanced” as against “primitive” religion. Their rigid evolutionary framework is consistently destructive of meaning.

The words fear or revere, walk, love, serve, and keep are found repeatedly in Deuteronomy to describe what man’s religious responses should be. What Moses tells Israel is that God’s law-word does not call for a debate nor discussion but obedient action.

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Obedient action.

God using my hands, my mind, to build His Kingdom, obedient to His word.

As opposed to building the kingdom of self-serving Betters and Masters and Benefactors and Experts and Leaders of the People.

I like the way God thinks!

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Some of these peoples we must show a loving charity towards will be clearly unlovable, but we are to remember that God loves us, who were unlovable when not in His grace, and we are therefore to manifest His grace towards those who are unlovable in our eyes.

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Thankfully, loving charity isn’t about gooey feelings.

It’s about actual action: for example, treating people justly and graciously, when you know they would never deal with you in the same manner.

Also, it can be inaction, when given the opportunity to do evil. For example, refraining from slander when wicked gossip — “True or not, who cares?” — starts to flow.

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This fact is brought into sharp focus in v. 21:

He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.

If we would be asked what there is in us that can be praised, we would begin cataloging our assets and abilities. But Moses tells Israel, and he reminds us, that God is our praise. The word praise here means a hymn, a laudation. We should read it as a noun. God is our hymn as well as our God, i.e., He is our joy, hope, and strength, and He has demonstrated this by the great and marvellous things He has done. God is thus two things to us, according to Moses, among many other things: He is our song, and He is our God.

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A pure praise, better than we could sing.

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Verse 20 tells us that we should cleave to God, or keep very close to Him. In Genesis 2:24, the same word indicates the necessary relationship between a man and his wife in true marriage. We must have a great closeness to God in order to know and feel secure in His government and power.

In v. 22, God speaks bluntly on a very practical and pragmatic level:

Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

We forget that until recently, in all the world, and in much of it still, and perhaps again soon for most, survival has meant children and land. The very early marriages, for example, of the medieval nobility, often at puberty, were for intensely practical reasons. The nobility were the military class, and their death rate was high, and their life expectancy not long. Early marriages
marked this class because there had to be a continuity of government to maintain power. God tells Israel, to whom He is about to give the land of Canaan, that He has already given them a remarkable fertility. With the land and the fertility, they will have the essentials of survival and power from a humanistic perspective. They are to remember, however, that both fertility and land are God’s gifts to them.

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Our Betters avoid talking about their property and real estate holdings. They do like to talk about the need to for Commoners to diminish their population and reduce their birthrate, though.

I expect them to begin preaching about the moral and environmental superiority of renting within the net few years, if they haven’t already done so.

Naturally, they will be owning the property you will be renting.

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God is not only their hymn of praise and strength, He is also their sustainer and the One who gives them power to get wealth. Fertility and the land are alike God’s gifts, and it is God whom they must always remember with thanksgiving and praise.

This is why this passage begins, in v. 12, with a form of the great commandment of Deuteronomy 6:5:

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

This, of course, is cited by our LORD (Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).

The subject of this particular passage especially, but also of all Deuteronomy, is allegiance.
This is why Deuteronomy is so fitting a book for our time, and also why it is a very much resented book. God makes it clear that He requires of a covenant people a total allegiance
to Himself.
Loyalty to God means loyalty to His covenant law. Any lesser loyalties that minimize or impinge upon a people’s loyalty to the God of the covenant are thereby evil because they warp both man and society.

Israel’s loyalty became in time loyalty to itself, and Caiaphas, the high priest, could say, “it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50). A like judgment has been pronounced by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, and
the presidency, so that national allegiances all over the world and here have superseded allegiance to the triune God. This is why the warnings of Deuteronomy are so urgent: beware, and remember.

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We were not created by the Will of the Empire.

We need to make sure that we don’t die with it.

If we can help and protect others in the future, we should… after our own family and congregation is cared for.

But to reach that future goal, we need to start work on it today.

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In v. 17, we have a remarkable description of God as “a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” Our age is too hypocritical to understand these words readily. God says that He is so mighty and so terrible for men to accept readily because He has no respect for persons and status and cannot be bribed! Men want powers over them that can be influenced, manipulated, or bribed. For God to say that He is above and beyond these things leaves men uneasy and uncomfortable. They want only superior powers that can be used, manipulated, or placated, and God takes no bribes of any kind.

This verse is essentially related to predestination. It tells us that men want a God they can program and predestinate, whereas God declares that He creates and governs man. Man’s sin, his will to be his own god (Gen. 3:1-5), requires him to redefine God, if God is to be given any place, as one whom man can program, bribe, or predestine in terms of man’s will. It cannot be
done, and it is madness to think so.

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We live in a mad age.

But a mad age is a self-destructive age, a dying age, an age of an old evil, finally going to seed.

Humanism has reached the end of the road.

But we Christians must push through. We still have work to do for our Lord.

His dominion to extend, His kingdom to build, His Law to uphold, His word to live out and to teach to the future generations.

Those generations that escape (or miraculously survive) the saline solutions of the humanists.


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