Deuteronomy Lesson 23
Surviving the Toughest Test of All: The Prosperity Test
11 May 2010
© Charles A. Clough 2010
If you turn to chapter 8 we’ll move on through this book. If you look at the handout we’ve got to the 8th chapter, finally, of the book of Deuteronomy and hopefully we can keep moving through it. The first slide is on the handout, you’ll see the design, God’s design, and if you’ll look at that, that first slide, the bottom part, the bottom of the whole sequence is the heart attitude. And I can’t emphasize enough that in these sections from chapter 5-11, it’s basically the mental attitude battle. And Moses obviously, having lived through the first generation and its failure was trying his best before he died to make sure the second generation of people didn’t make the same mistake the first generation had, which was to ignore, apparently, the mental processes of faith, how to walk by faith.
So we come to the second area and that’s the battle in the mind and the heart. And so we want to look at that and remember that this whole event, this panorama of chapters, chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 7, all of it really is clustered on one great historical event and that’s the event of Sinai. And so whenever we think in terms of Sinai think in terms of that picture of God speaking and anchor that in your head as a historical event. So in connection with that we have the doctrine of revelation and remember that in that doctrine of revelation and in the doctrine of inspiration, those are the two key doctrines that are connected with this event. And I’d like to have you connect doctrines with events because it’s the event that loads the video into your mind. The doctrine can be stated in propositional form, but the problem with just stating it in propositional form is that it becomes abstract, and the event gives you something concrete and sort of like a video play.
On the handout do you see a slide of revelation and a slide of inspiration? I’ve got those two there because there are keys in those two doctrinal areas. And I want to review those because you can’t emphasize some of these points enough because in our day we have evangelicals, people within our own evangelical community that are going into mysticism, and they’re going into all kinds of substitute areas that are really a violation of these two doctrines. Whenever you go into mysticism you’re going away from the verbal into the feelings, into the non-verbal. And it’s the verbal that is intimate in both these doctrinal areas. And again, to run the videotape in your mind’s eye think of Sinai and think of God speaking. Yes, there was lightening and there was smoke and there was feelings and the earth shook and there was all kinds of feelings, but the core of it was that God spoke and He spoke in a language known to man that could be recorded.
Now in the doctrine of revelation, we’ve gone through this a number of times but one of the keys is that it is verbal. And you see where I’ve put the word “verbal” in that slide, it’s the information is transferred from God’s mind to man’s mind, and I word it that way very carefully because there’s no skirting around that. In other words, that is the test question—whether someone really has a biblical view of revelation because people will even use the word “revelation,” oh, I believe in divine revelation, but what they mean by divine revelation isn’t what orthodox Christianity means by it. What they mean is some sort of feeling, it becomes a mystical thing.
And the other point under the doctrine of revelation you also want to note is the historical side. We’ve seen that several times in this discourse where Moses keeps talking about remember, remember, remember. Now if revelation were not historical you wouldn’t have to remember because mysticism could bring it up at a moment’s notice; but you see, the revelation isn’t available that way. The revelation is available by remembering what happened in the past. So the historical point is very critical.
Then coming down to inspiration, people have the problem that God cannot work with human authors. They have this idea that God can’t work with individual personalities, so for example, when they see in vocabulary studies Paul uses certain words certain ways, and then John uses certain words other ways, then they’re arguing that those two personalities are so distinct God couldn’t have a coherent message through both those personalities. And so that’s why the first point under the doctrine of inspiration is dual authorship. And the way to answer that is to go forward in Biblical history to Jesus Christ and the incarnation. Was God able to use the humanity of Christ or was He not? And clearly He was, and Jesus was able to be a true man, a true human being, with all the features and attributes of a human being. And we’ll see that in this passage tonight because Jesus used the very passage we’re going to study tonight to deal with Satan. And then Jesus was undiminished deity united in one person. Well, if He can do that He certainly can do the lesser, which is to work through human personalities to enscripturate His revelation.
So that’s the point and once we assume that the revelation has occurred; then we’re dealing with the verbal thing, the thoughts and the battle in the mind. And just to again review a little bit, we had the other side, the structure of chapters 6 and 7 I wanted to just again put a passing review point about that is that in both chapter 6 and in chapter 7 it appears that Moses wants, on one hand to give people specific “how to’s”, this is what you do, this is how you do it. So in chapter 6 when he’s dealing with living in the Word, getting the Word into your heart, he says here’s how you do that. This is not an abstract command “get the Word into your heart.”
Well, the next questions is, how do I get it in my heart? And the answer, he says, is in the home, it’s the teaching moments during the day and during the night, it’s the teaching moments outdoors on the farm, in the field, in the business that they were in, it’s the discussions in the home that go on. The home, the family, is the key cultural transmitter of truth. And so he gives us that in both the first part, verses 1-9 and the last part, verses 20-25. Then sandwiched between that he has the areas, the five distractions to losing it as far as your personal relationship with the Lord is concerned.
So then we go to chapter 7 where we deal with Yahweh’s holy war, genocidal war, and lo and behold, we see the same structure. Verses 1-5, verses 17-26 are the “how to’s”, the operating doctrine, and in the handout I list those, there’s six of them. There’re some blanks there, finish the job is one of the specific things, the “how to’s”, don’t give up just because you have a few victories, you bring it to completion. And I thought as I reviewed this in my own mind and prepared the notes, of a very famous saying by a very famous American General, Douglas MacArthur, when he had to fight the United Nations in the Korean War. Because after World War II which was a declared war, we had the Korean War and for some reason our Congressmen and our President refused to declare war and the Constitution says if you’re going to commit troops you declare war. I mean, obviously, if you have soldiers you’re fighting a way, so why don’t we declare a war. Well, we didn’t declare a war and we had a mess.
And one day General Douglas MacArthur was walking through the hospital looking at the casualties and talking to the guys that were wounded and one of the pilots who had been wounded looked up at him because he had been flying one of our bombers and they were not allowed to fly in a certain way. In other words, what was happening was on the North Korean side they were getting supplies from China, across the Yalu River. In order to get across the Yalu River you had to have bridges, so the allies, the United States and others would fly missions against those bridges to bomb them and to take them out. The problem is that as they would fly, they could not fly on the Chinese side of the Yalu River because that was a privileged sanctuary. And so the bombers had to fly down the river to bomb the bridges and get fired at all the time they were flying down the river from the so-called privileged sanctuary. And so this pilot looked up at MacArthur and he said, “On whose side is the United Nations?”
And it was shortly after that that General Douglas MacArthur gave his famous speech where he was fired, ultimately, for saying this, but he said what we ought to do to solve the Korean War is to take radioactive sand and spread it all across North Korea and the Yalu River and no one will invade Korea for the next thousand years. And of course, this grabbed the attention of the press and the media and everybody else. But MacArthur’s theme is there is no substitute for victory in war. It’s a very simple statement; you have to have victory. And you see, this is the problem we’ve always had in the 20th century; we never finish our wars correctly. World War I was never settled correctly so we had to fight it again, called World War II. We went into Iraq once, and that left a messy end, so we wound up going in the second time. It seems like we never can finish the job.
What Moses is saying here is, finish the job. If you are in a war there is no substitute for victory. Then he said maintain family integrity because family integrity, if it isn’t maintained it dilutes the cultural power. When you intermarry and you bring in anti-biblical motives, habits, ways of orienting to life, you destroy the cultural power of the family. You’re simply diluting it and the family, God’s design, is the cultural transmitter. Three: eliminate every artistic expression of paganism. In our society it’s the reverse, anything that’s related to Jesus Christ is eliminated, whether it’s a cross on a California hillside or whether it’s Jesus in a bottle of urine, whatever it is—somebody would never put Mohammed, by the way, in a bottle of urine but we can put Jesus there and pay for it by taxpayer money. So this is the war that’s being waged on every artistic expression of the Christian faith.
Cope with fear by utilizing the faith-rest drill. Remember we went through that last time, and Moses said how to use the faith-rest drill. Remember, the first step is always pick up some truth from Scripture. And the art of doing that in the middle of a situation is to have the finesse of going back in your memory bank and pulling out an event that fits the situation that you’re facing. And the situation they were facing was a political battle, a war with the Canaanite kings. So the analog for their present situation was to go pull out of their memory bank the Exodus. And so Moses gives you the verses about how to do this, how to think about it, and that’s how you were to manage the fear, because everybody has fear, nobody has no fear, everyone has fear. So it’s not that you flake out, it’s just how do you manage that fear when it comes?
Understand that all times the victory over evil will be delayed, remember God said I will cast the enemy out slowly and you’re going to get irritated at the rate I cast them out with you, but let Me tell you, I’m doing that for your own benefit, and then God went on to explain why, because the beasts of the field will multiply against you. And I’ve made the application of that truth that oftentimes, even though we’re doing God’s will, it just seems so frustrating that it goes so slow and we don’t seem to see immediate victories. And that, even though we’re obeying the Lord, and that is probably do to the fact that God is doing other things in the background which we don’t know and He hasn’t revealed to us but He is at work, it’s just that we don’t see it and we get frustrated because we don’t see it and there’s not an obvious explanation. That’s why it appears to be delayed. And then, of course, the last one on the “how to’s” is the booty of holy war is Yahweh’s, not ours.
So that led us to the core of chapter 7, and I said in verses 6-16 that personal relationship the way the Bible conceives it is different than the way people today refer to it when they refer to “a relationship.” You remember reading the headline last week about the guy that banged his girlfriend’s head against the wall and killed her down at the University of Virginia, and then the reporter said oh, they had a relationship. Yeah, they sure did! But that’s the way the word “relationship” is used, so I want to separate that use of the word relationship from the way the Bible uses the word relationship.
And so we say that it’s contractually supported personal relationship with God. It’s not some random thing of how I felt yesterday at 3:30; it’s a contractual defined relationship that has substance, it’s long enduring. And it depends upon good and stable character. That’s why it’s contractual. See, it’s the contractual side of the relationship that is the measuring stick of the character. You can’t measure character without a standard so you have to have a standard, and the standard in the relationship is the contract that defines it. And any unbeliever intuitively knows this because anybody in business knows very well that they’re not going to do business unless there’s a contract. Well, why does the rankest unbeliever know this? Because in practice, when you get right down to it, we know that the relationship has to be anchored in something, it has to be defined; it has to be such that we can conduct our business. And yet today, when you come to the family, of all the places in our human society that we need stability and we need character it’s in marriage. And where is it that the contract is thrown out. We have promiscuous divorce, unbiblical grounds all over the place, we have people living together, fornicating together and calling it a relationship. And it’s a disaster waiting to happen because you have children born into these situations who have no parenting, they have no stability; you just are breeding a set of suffering people.
To show you how that works I found how that works, I’ve always been interested in Prison Fellowship, and the latest newsletter they had this story. And this is the kind of stuff that goes on, if you’ve ever been in a prison and you know what those people are in prison and their backgrounds, one of the things we don’t think about when we put people in prison is, what about the children? And I can remember Carol and I going down to the Baltimore Penitentiary and sitting in there and watching week after week these families walking in, momma bringing the little kids so they could see their daddy behind bars. Now this is one of the fallouts we don’t think about. Now think about what those kids get at school, “oh your daddy’s in jail,” makes some really good self-esteem for the kids.
Here’s a little interesting story. “He screamed, he jumped up and down, and then the eleven year old cried as he inserted the ear buds of his new MP3 player and heard his father’s voice. Tony had never visited his dad in the five years he had been locked away” in a certain institution, but now here was dad’s voice in his ear, reading him a story about Noah and the ark. Tony followed along in the accompanying book. Tony adores his father, but his father hurt him, says his grandmother, who cares for the child. Their relationship is better now. And that’s our goal, the Prison Fellowship director was saying.” What they’re doing is they’re going into classes of the inmates, getting the dads to agree to read into a recorder Bible stories that then are taken out to the kid so he at least can hear his dad, not his mother, but his father articulating Scripture to him. It’s having this relationship. “Local church members deliver the MP3 players and books to the children. It’s pretty strategic that we have the inmates do six recordings, said Elizabeth, because that gives the church several connections with the family. And Florida corrections officials have now agreed to expand the program to two more prisons, including one for women.” There’s an example of Christians thinking through how they can use the power of the family dynamic to start to ameliorate and help the damage that is done by this whole crime situation. Okay, that’s what we’re talking about as far as six and seven.
Now to eight, now we’re coming to a new chapter in the book of Deuteronomy and in this book we’re going to have some very interesting things about passing tests. And what Moses is doing here is to prepare the people for the most difficult test believers face, and that’s the test of prosperity. Adversity testing is usually easier to deal with than the prosperity test because statistically prosperity testing usually destroys the faith; it destroys countries. Of course, we are a good example of it. But let’s look at Deuteronomy 8:1 and we’ll work our way through the first ten verses and finish it next week. But the first part is a break in the text, between verse 10 and verse 11, the emphasis shifts, as we’ll see when we get there. So tonight I’m going to just confine our discussion to verses 1-10. So if you’ll follow me in your Bible I want to read the first two verses; this sets the pace.
“Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may lie and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your Fathers.  And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” That’s a key verse so we want to unpack this, there’s a lot packed into these words.
The first thing to notice in verse 1 is in most of your translations you’ll see it saying “every commandment which I command you,” which is a good translation. The Hebrews emphasizes it this way; it says: “All the commandment,” singular noun, not plural, singular noun with “all.” “All the commandment which I command you this day you will be careful to do,” and so forth and so on. So right away, when you hear Moses saying that, what goes through your mind? That “all the commandments that I’m telling you,” he wants the whole shebang, it’s a package deal, in other words. So there’s a unity. When he says “all the commandments,” there’s a unity to the whole book here, there’s a unity to all these imperative verbs. “…which I command you,” and of course, when you get to the verb “I command,” and he says that you will do it, you will do it as though God is talking to you, there’s an example of an inspiration of Scripture, because he, the human author, expects us to respond, or the second generation, to respond to that commandment as though God Himself was speaking.
See, that’s what inspiration looks like in Scripture, and if you grasp that… remember we said God spoke the Ten Words, and in the text, in chapter 5 it says, “And He stopped speaking,” “…stopped speaking!” Well, the direct revelation stopped there but the revelation to us now becomes indirect through a human, and then Moses speaks but Moses expects his very words to be what God would have spoken, had God spoken out loud. So that’s what inspiration looks like. In other words, inspiration guarantees that the authority of the Scriptures mediated by human beings, the human writers, is the same as though God Himself was speaking those same words.
So, “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe,” this little phrase, ‘be careful to observe,” you’ll see this repetitively in Moses thing, and there’s two verbs connected there. The word “to be careful” connotes an effort. In other words, it takes an effort on our part to focus on this situation. So the idea is you can’t do them without focusing on them and thinking about them. So he says it’s going to take effort “but you must be careful to observe these, that you may live and multiply, and go ion and possess the land.” And now you’ll notice he says, “go in and possess the land,” and then he has a whole clause there, notice the clause at the end of verse 1, […”the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers.”] and think, as you read that last clause in verse 1, what does that remind you of in the relationship between Israel and Yahweh? Look at the last clause. It’s the contract; there’s the contractual nature of the personal relationship, so it’s not like God is going to do something different and, you know, this is pretty cool. The point is that what is going to happen to the second generation is set within 600 years of history. This is a continual, down through the corridors of time, it’s stable, in other words, and you’re going to go into the land and it’s going to be the exact land, there’s no loosey-goosey interpretation of what constitutes the land; the land is specific. Okay, there’s the whole emphasis, the important part.
Now verse 2, verse 2 introduces this testing. Moses is going to go forward into the future beginning in verse 11, but the point is that until he gets a point across he’s not going to deal with the test for prosperity because they won’t have the equipment, the mental equipment to handle prosperity until they recall a lesson of the first generation of the testing in adversity. So he’s going to review, verses 2-9 their own history, the horrible suffering that they went through in the wilderness. And he says that was a learning experience, and you are not going to be equipped, you are not going to be prepared to handle prosperity, even though you think you are, you will not be prepared to handle prosperity and be victorious and successful in dealing and managing it unless you remember the test of adversity. So let’s look at verse 2 carefully.
“You will remember,” so here we are again, “remember” means go back in history, which means that you have history available to you. And see, history is the source of learning. And as we point out in the handout, paganism is always anti-history. And the reason that paganism is anti-history, it isn’t necessarily that it hates history, the problem is that in paganism it sees no purpose or meaning to history and so it’s not interesting. History is not interesting if you don’t see a purpose and a pattern in it. And so the only patterns or purposes that modern paganism in our academia—apart from some godly good historians, Paul Johnson or somebody in Europe like that, but you take the average person that’s teaching history—it’s more of a history becomes a tool for justifying race, class, distinctions and so on. So American history is broken down to the fact that all the founding fathers were wealthy white slave owners and so that becomes the model of American history and now we have the cultural racial differences that we have to deal with and so on. Of course, it’s a fabrication of the early American fathers; they were not all slave owners, some of them were abolitionists, by the way, but that little fact isn’t shown. And most of them were not wealthy either, and the ones who did have some money lost it all because they had to finance the Revolutionary War with their own personal finances; they didn’t have the Federal Reserve to bail them out.
The result is that history is interesting as a Christian and somebody who knows the Lord of history. And I always thinking of the spelling of the word “history,” it’s His story. In the military one of the training things that officers go through and a certain degree of enlisted people, particularly in the Marines the enlisted people do this, and that is to review their history. You ask any Marine and he can trace his history all the way back to Tripoli and the great Thomas Jefferson, when, by the way, he had pirates and terrorists on the high seas, and they started shooting and getting our sailors as they sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and Britain was paying the terrorists bribe money and so was France and so was Spain, and it was little America, this little upstart country with Jefferson as President that said we are not going to pay any ransom to any terrorists. And so they said okay, we’re going to start taking your ships. So they did. Jefferson said okay, we’re going to visit Tripoli and they sent the Marines in, first engagement. And you know what? They didn’t bother American ships after that. In other words, instead of giving them money he gave them bullets, and that’s the kind of language they understood and that clarified the whole discussion. So that’s a moment of history, and the Marines are proud of that and rightfully so.
The reason why in military areas of training they always emphasize history is because in the small career of a military office you don’t get exposed, personally you don’t experience that much. I mean, if you were an officer during the cold war like I was, what do you know? You know the story a mutual assured destruction, and so forth, and so that’s your concept. And then you have to come to something like Iraq, and then all the training that you had from your own experience doesn’t work with that, so it’s a whole new game. So now you have to go back through and start learning well, wait a minute, how did the Americans deal with the British? How did the British, when the British started marching into our countries, who was it that staged the ambushes? It was the Americans; we were the insurgents at that time. So why don’t we learn a little bit about how the Colonials fought the British Army. So you get the lessons because you learn the history; history becomes very, very important because it expands your experience.
And of course, it works the other way, as I say, natural history is a fantastic and powerful tool to attack creationism. All of us have been educated in a system where natural history has always been explained in evolutionary vocabulary, evolutionary concepts. And this has had a tremendous effect in weakening the gospel and weakening faith and Scripture. So it’s a tool that works both ways.
Well now, Moses says  “You will remember how the LORD led you all the way these forty years.” So he’s summarizing forty years of a test period. Remember we studied that in chapters 1, 2 and 3, where they had… eleven days was all it took to go from Sinai to Canaan; eleven days travel and it took them forty years and that was because of wandering around and they could not get the faith-rest drill straight and they bailed; when it came to pressure they collapsed, they caved in. And so God said sorry, but you’re going to learn that lesson, Israel, I’ve got a mission for you out there and until you learn the lesson you’re not going to get there. So we just sit here and we’ll just turn the cycle around until you do get the point. And the lesson for us is that when we fail a test we’ll often see in our Christian experience God will stick us right back in a situation and He’s going to it again, and if we fail that He’s going to do it again, and we pick ourselves up off the floor three or four times and we realize oh, I guess this is what he wants to teach me. And that’s the way we all are, that’s the way I am. So, all the way that Yahweh has led you.
Now it says, “to humble you and test you, to know what is in your heart,” three parts to that clause: “to humble you, to test you, to know what is in your heart.” To “humble you,” it’s the Hebrew word to afflict. Now let’s think about what the affliction was out in the wilderness. He says I afflict you, and He’s going to list the ways He’s going to afflict. He’s going to take away food, He’s going to take away water, He’s going to take away clothing. He takes away all of the details of life, the usual logistical details. That’s what the affliction is.
Now it says, “test” which comes from the same word, Massah, which is used back in chapter 6 for that place where they decided they were going to test God. Remember, there’s no water here, where’s the water? And the idea there was that they were saying God, are You really with us or not, and they were trying to force a test. Well now here it’s the reverse, God is forcing a test. It says, “to know what is in your heart.” Now that doesn’t mean that God denied His omniscience. The last ten years or fifteen years there’s been a splinter group of evangelicals that have promoted what is called “open theology.” In open theology they’ve tried to say in order to justify passages like this one where it does say that God is learning from history, that they said how can God learn from history when He’s omniscient? And so they say if you’re going to honor these texts you’re going to have to deny that God is omniscient, and that’s open theology. God doesn’t really know the future, in other words, He’s waiting there to see what we’re going to do. Well, obviously that’s not the God of the Scripture.
So how do you reconcile passages like, He’s going to test you to find out what is in your heart? The answer goes back to the Exodus thing where I talked about the doctrine of condescension; that God condescends to go from the Creator level to the creature. The fact of the very idea of His creating itself is a condescendatory act because He didn’t have to do it. So He decided He was going to create the universe, and when He comes down, like when He came down at the tower of Babel, it specifically says, let’s go down and see what they’re doing. Why does it say they’re going down and see? Doesn’t He know what they’re doing from in heaven? It’s the idea that He’s coming down into history like a person and walking about. You see, the doctrine of condescension is actually a preview of the doctrine of incarnation because it sets up that God condescends, He comes down. And in the New Testament He really does come down fully as a man, but in the Old Testament He doesn’t come down that much; He comes down to have a personal relationship but He doesn’t become a man.
So He’s afflicting you to test you what’s in your heart. Now the word “heart” occurs several times in this section and I want to go into something here, you see most of it in the handout, to deal with the heart. There’s a tendency and always has been in theology, whenever they see the word “heart” in Scripture to say well, that’s just kind of a term for the inner man, it’s just sort of a theological conception of the inner person. I beg to differ with that. “Heart” isn’t the only body organ that the Scriptures keep talking about. For example, in 1 John [3:17] he says if you see a brother lacking, in need, and it says you shut your bowels from him, how dwells the love of God in you.” Now what’s he talking about his “bowels.” He’s talking about the seat of emotions; they refer to the organs where the emotion manifests itself. And your GI tract if a place that is affected by your emotions. I mean, after all, this is not new news here. And it’s the same with the heart; think of our vocabulary: “Know by heart.” We use that expression all the time, we use the expression “heart-warming.” Now where did the expression “heart-warming” ever come from? Because there’s a feeling, actually, in your chest of warmth under certain conditions, so naturally the people said that’s the heart. Or we say somebody is terribly depressed, they had a shock in their life and their heart was broken. We use that expression, what do we mean? Because the heart is affected this way.
Now there’s a whole new area in the last 20 years that’s developed that I was reading about, it’s called neurocardiology, and it’s a study of the heart in a new way. One of the features of the heart when it’s measured, and everybody has EKGs and so on, we know that, we can see the heart wave, the heart has electrical rhythm to it. Heart cells are amazing because they pulsate, all by themselves; the brain does not tell the heart to beat, the heat initiates the beating itself. The heart cells don’t need brain cells to tell them what to do. The heart has this power to it. And what’s amazing is they’ve measured it is that the heart energy permeates every cell in our bodies. Every cell is within the electrical field of the heart. The heart’s electrical field if fifty times more powerful than the brain, and that’s amazing because we often think of the brain as the processing organ of our bodies, and it is, with all the neurons clustered together in the brain waves, and they are detectable. The thing of it is that the amplitude of the wave of the energy out of the heart is 50 times that of the brain, and it can be detected 8 feet away from you. You can have instrumentation as far as 8 feet away from the human body and it will pick up that. And people have speculated as to whether when we are close to someone and sometimes we sense whether they’re depressed, whether they’re happy, and it’s not just the facial expression, it may be, they can’t prove this yet, it may be that our hearts are resonating; they’re picking up the field because the fields are that close. So there’s a lot more to this and I’m mentioning all this to just intrigue you to think of God’s design. It’s not casual, there’s intriguing discoveries yet to be made; there’s an exciting world out there, you don’t have to be bored as a creature living inside the creation; there’s so many neat truths out there.
And the other thing they’ve learned more and more as they’ve studied this in neurocardiology is that there’s a system, the heart and the brain talk to each other. The rest of our bodies use hormone levels and so on, and you can measure the effect of one organ on another with the chemicals and the chemical levels and the concentration, blood sugar goes up and down, the sex hormones go up and down, and all kinds of endocrine things go up and down. But that’s not the way the heart and the brain seem to talk to each other. The heart and the brain have a sophisticated coding system and it’s based on frequency. Just like light is based on frequency; this is the electrical nature of it. And the communication isn’t gradations, it’s the sequence of pulse, and it’s also interference. You know, you take a sine wave and you can shorten the frequency of it, you can add a wave to another wave and they come on top of each other and they have coherence or they have incoherence when the waves fight each other; that’s a whole thing going on. The heart has a sum total of over 40,000 neurons that are linked up in a network. Watch these quote:
“The heart as the most powerful generator of rhythmic information patterns in the body, aces effectively as the global conductor in the body’s symphony to bind and synchronize the entire system. The consistent and pervasive influence of the heart’s rhythmic patterns on the brain and body not only affects our physical health, but also significantly, and this the key why I’m bringing this up in connection with verse 2, “but also significantly influences perceptual processing, emotional experience, and intentional behavior.” [The Coherent Heart, McCarty et al., P. 3]
“The heart is the most consistent and dynamic generator of rhythmic information patterns in the body; its intrinsic nervous system is a sophisticated information encoding and processing center that operates independently of the brain. Of all the bodily organs, the heart possesses by fare the most extensive communication network with the brain.” [P.6] And in their measurements they found that the heart sends more messages up to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.
The next quote, “Afferent,” that’s the output from the heart up to the brain, “Afferent input from the heart not only affects the homeostatic regulatory centers in the brain, but also,” key point, “influences the activity of higher brain centers involved in perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processing, this in turn affecting many and diverse aspect of our experience and behavior. [P. 6]
“Groundbreaking research in the relatively new field of neurocardiology has demonstrated that the heart has an extensive intrinsic nervous system that is sufficiently sophisticated to quality as a ‘little brain’ in its own right. [P. 7]
“In addition to modulating the activity of the nervous and endocrine systems,” look at this, “input from the heart influences the activity of the digestive tract, urinary bladder, spleen, respiratory and lymph systems, and skeletal muscles. . . . Spinal cord excitability varies directly with the cardiac pulse.” [P. 47]
So all this to say is that God has designed our bodies with the heart very, very central. It’s not just a theological abstraction, and the reason, I think, the Holy Spirit has chosen to talk this way, as He does to us in verse 2, “to know what was in your heart,” clearly the context was indicating what was deep in their mind and perception of history, “to know” this, what is the driving force in the motivation? And so part of the neurocardiology is measuring what they call the heart-rate variability. This was first discovered during childbirth, they would monitor the fetal, I guess they still do, they’d monitor the fetus to see what stress is on the little fetus during the birth process. Well, that tool, heart rate variability, turns out to be an interesting little research tool because in studying that heart rate variability, what heart rate variability is is how from beat to beat our heart is changing its frequency. It speeds up, it slows down, speeds up and slows down, but it does this very fast.
And the two traces I’ve given you there in the last slide is an actual trace of a person who they put in a laboratory and they frustrated them and then measured the heart rate variability. And then they had a person in there that was happy. We’re not talking somebody that was a zombie here, the lower graph is somebody who is alive and well and thinking but is basically happy, basically is appreciative. Theologically we would say that he’s given thanks, “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Look at the difference in the heart rate variability and consider the fact that the heart is beating and it’s transmitting this information to every part of the body. So clearly affecting the heart affects the entire body and all the subsystems.
So this is why the heart condition is related to perception particularly. For example, in the frustration thing what’s happening there, if you look at the wavy lines it’s the heart rate, the Y axis in the chart is the heart rate, and you can see it’s going up down, up down, up down, and the idea there is that the sympathetic nervous systems wants to accelerate, and the parasympathetic system wants to relax. It’s a battle, I mean, look at the frustration, it’s jerking up down, up down, up down, wait a minute, how much am I supposed to be here, fast slow, fast slow, fast slow, whereas it’s much more rhythmic in the bottom graph. And there’s an interesting case how you can actually measure this effect. I don’t have the other graphs but there are graphs about the ability to perceive. The ability to think through quickly gets jammed when the heart is frustrated, because what the heart does, it shuts down parts of the brain so you can’t conceive things fast. So there are all kinds of things here, not that this is the final word, I’m just throwing this out as just a frontier work that’s being discovered now that maybe we’ve taken this heart organ, thought of it as a pump only and not realized it’s a whole electrical coordination system. It’s not just a pump.
So how does this match with verse 2, “to know what is in your heart.” Well, the test is to know what thought system, perception and viewpoint is so deeply embedded that it emerges under stress. So what Moses is saying, God wants to know what’s in our heart, He wants to know how deep the Word of God has settled, so that in decision making systems we can think through what’s happening scripturally that’s related to this heart, to know what is in the heart.
So now here’s the test, verses 3-7, he’s going to go through the details, the adversity test. So look at verse 3 and you’ll see, count the number of tests, sub tests that you see as part of this adversity testing package, because each one of these was the props of everyday life and God takes this prop out, prop #1, prop #2, prop #3, He takes it away. Why does He do that? Verse 3, “So He humbled you,” and here’s how He did it, He “allowed you to hunger,” so He took away the food supply, out in the desert there’s nothing to eat and we know He also took away the water with it, “He fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but by every utterance that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Now we won’t have time tonight to go into this but manna, m-a-n-n-a comes from the Hebrew MAN which is what, and WHO is? So is the deal was that God said I’m going to feed you. And they woke up in the morning and instead of having frost on the surface of the ground they had this other stuff, and we don’t know what this stuff was, but whatever it was it coated the ground in the morning. And so the people went out and they said “MANNAH,” and that’s the word, “manna,” so it means what is it? And nobody knows what it is, but look at the play on the word. I bring that up so you can kind of see the humor in the verse here. So He humbled you, He allowed you to hunger, and fed you with what is it, which you did not know,” see, “nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone.
See, know, know, know what is it? The first “know” is you did not know, your fathers didn’t “know.” So what God did there was He had a genuine need which is usually supplied by bread and so bread is the basic word for food, food that they normally would cook and so on, and so that’s supported. So here’s our need for food and its supported this way. So God comes along an adversity test and He knocks it out, and you say whoa, where is my food going to come from. And then He deliberately creates a food that had never been seen before and according to Joshua never was seen again. That’s why I don’t think it’s some natural substance, because it supernaturally occurred every morning, except on the seventh day, and then it ended in Joshua’s day. So this is some strange thing. And mythology has this thing you’ll see in the ancient myths of the gods and the goddesses ate ambrosia, I think that that myth is a memory of this event that was spread through the ancient world and it became a myth.
So what God is doing here is He’s saying “that He might make you to know that man shall not live by bread alone.” Now the key word there is “alone,” not bread because if you read it that way, the way people read this sometimes is they say well, “that man should not live by bread,” meaning that… the spiritual things and so on. Yeah, that’s true but that’s not the emphasis here. The emphasis of what God is saying is that understand when you’re eating bread, when you’re eating food, I’M the ONE who is supplying it, even though it looks like you’re doing it. So the idea is acting as a creature, remembering the fact that we are not gods, we are not goddesses. When we engage in normal activities of life the proper way and the disciplined way of thinking is that no matter how it looks on the surface, God is the one behind that supply, so that, if that normal process were to be stopped the underpinnings would still be there. You see what he’s saying; that’s what he wants… he wants security, he wants stability in our relationships, so he says if you’ll just see that that’s the basis for giving thanks in everything; you can’t give thanks if you think it’s just a natural process. But we get so used to the natural process day after day after day after day, all the days of our life that what Moses wants, wait a minute, when you get into the prosperity test that’s exactly the erroneous picture you’re going to get. So you want to go back in time to the adversity test, when God knocked the prop out and you saw very clearly that He provided for you but He did so in a way that was totally supernatural so you would understand that yes, you eat bread but it’s not just the bread, there’s another shadow underneath: God’s logistical grace.
He continues, “by every word that proceeds.” You notice the word “word” is italicized in your translations, and the idea there is every act of his mouth, literally, and this isn’t just the Word of God spoken, this is also God acting in history. Remember when God speaks things happen. When Jesus said to the storm on the Sea of Galilee, quiet, the wind stopped. So by every utterance of the mouth of Yahweh isn’t just His conversation; it’s also His acts in our learning.
“Your garments,” now look at this in verse 4, “Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years,” forty years this went on. So there was another problem. Imagine wearing the same clothing day after day after day, and it didn’t stink, and apparently it didn’t wear out either. So what was going on with the clothing deal here? Nobody’s figured this out. Your foot didn’t swell, I mean, this was hot sand they were walking across. What’s going on with the cells and the skin on the bottom of their feet? Something is going on here in this adversity test to show them that God is God.
And then it says, summarizing,  “That you should know,” again, see, “in your heart,” meaning at the core communication system where your mind is locked into your little computer in your heart, and so this is all ingrained deeply and it’s affecting your whole body and whole being, “so you will know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so Yahweh your God chastens you.” The idea there is that the father hast to be the daddy, and it gives you…. by the way, verse 3 and 4 give you an idea of the fact that in this adversity test it’s a training situation; the word “chasten” doesn’t mean just beat, it’s not beating on somebody, the idea there is you’re training, training a child, training a son.
 “Therefore,” then he summarizes in verse 6-10, “Therefore,” in the light of the adversity test, “you will keep the commandments of the LORD, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.  For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land,” now he gives you a sort of an abbreviation here now of what this prosperity test is going to look like, except he’s not going to go into the prosperity test per se, he’s just giving the list of prosperous things that are going to happen to them, and then he’s going to conclude in verse 10 with a mental attitude. So here’s the mental attitude he wants to get at during this prosperity. “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs,” see, they were water deprived out in the wilderness, so this thing… I mean, you can just see these people, oh man, it’s going to be so good, “that flow out of the valleys and hills.” They didn’t see any valleys and hills with water flowing in the Sinai Peninsula.
 “A land of wheat and barley,” so here’s their business, agribusiness, “of fines and fig trees,” more business, economics, “pomegranates,” economic business, “a land of olive oil,” business “and honey,” business. All these are agribusiness. This is how they earn their money; this is how their economy is going to go. There’s a little phrase coming up, I’m emphasizing economy here just to set you up because there’s coming a clause in here that you really want to see.
 “A land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing,” now if you stopped there you would think that well, gee, this is great, we’re just going to be on the receiving end, we don’t have to do any work, it’s all going to be fed to us. Next clause, “a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you shall dig copper.” The idea there being you will labor. This is not a socialist paradise, this is not bale out some handouts, God is going to provide this but He expects them to do the labor. The labor is still there because labor is not a result of the fall. Frustrating labor, hard labor because of the adversity of the fall, yes; that’s the effect of the fall. But labor itself is not the fall, because God Himself labored for six days and it was good.
 “When you have eaten,” now here’s a summary text, so that, this is what he wants to get at; he’s warning them, here comes prosperity, now “when you have eaten and you are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.” See what He wants? He wants them to become conscious of who’s the ultimate blessor and don’t get your eyes on… we know this all the time, you know we get our eyes on the blessing and on the blessor. Well, that’s just a summary way of summarizing this passage. The mental attitude has to be on where the blessing is coming from, and the best way of learning that is not in prosperity. The best way of learning it is under the adversity situation because in the adversity situation what is stripped away? That intermediate cause/effect that kind of hides and masks from sight the providential logistical grace of God. And so that’s why Moses is going back to remember your history: first generation test of adversity.