Study 1 ALL THIS, AND HEAVEN TOO!
DAYS OF HEAVEN UPON EARTH
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Deuteronomy 11:7-25 KJV)
The theme of this new series is a thrilling one! Each of the ten studies emphasises a different aspect of the Christian’s walk, work, warfare and witness, and unfolds God’s provision for every one of His children to experience ’days of Heaven upon earth’. But, is it possible for us to experience these days now? Deuteronomy 11:18-21 assures us that such an experience is possible for all who are willing to meet the simple conditions which God lays down.
The Lord has a two-fold purpose for all His children: First, His plan is that after we have spent a little time down here in the world (John 16:33), and proved the sufficiency of His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9), and the unfolding of His will (Romans 8:28), we shall go to live for ever with Him in Heaven (John 14:2). But second, His plan is that we should experience here and now ‘days of Heaven upon earth’. Compare the following characteristics of Heaven and notice that they are the very blessings that God promises to us here and now. When we get to Heaven we shall have these blessings in full, but here and now we may have a foretaste. For example:
- Perfect peace – In Heaven: Revelation 21:4 – On Earth: Isaiah 26:3
- Fullness of joy – In Heaven: Psalm 16:11 – On Earth: John 15:11
- Deliverance from sin – In Heaven: Revelation 21:27 – On Earth: Romans 6:14
- Freedom from fear – In Heaven: Revelation 22:3-4 – On Earth: 1 John 4:18
- The presence of Christ – In Heaven: 1 Thessalonians 4:17 – On Earth: Matthew 28:20
- The privilege of service – In Heaven: Revelation 22:3 – On Earth: John 15:16
- Perfect love – In Heaven: Ephesians 3:14-15 – On Earth: 1 John 2:5
We see that God promises to us not only Heaven in the future, but Heaven upon earth; or, to put it in the context of the title of this study, He promises - ‘All this, and Heaven too!’ How can we have such days? On what does this experience depend?
It depends upon our attitude towards, and our right use of, the Word of God.
In Deuteronomy 11:18-21 we are told five things to do with the Word of God, the Bible, and if we will faithfully do these things we shall experience ‘days of Heaven upon earth’.
1. WE ARE TO LAY UP GOD’S WORD IN OUR HEART (VERSE 18).
This means that we are to store the Word in our heart and not merely in our head - look up Psalm 119:11; and we are to hear the Word, believe it, receive it, apply it and translate it into daily living - look up and compare Hebrews 4:2; James 1:22. Are we allowing the Word to govern our lives? By what do you live? To live by God’s standard we must lay up His Word in our heart - look up Colossians 3:16.
2. WE ARE TO KEEP GOD’S WORD ALWAYS BEFORE US (VERSE 18).
The reference here is to the Jewish custom of wearing phylacteries, or little boxes containing portions of the scriptures, which were worn on the arm and the forehead. Thus, we see that our eyes and hands are to be governed by the Word; what we see and what we do are to be in line with God’s truth. There are a thousand-and-one problems relating to Christian conduct that arise in the life of every Christian: is it right to go here? Or do this? The Bible has the answer, and we are to keep the Word always before us so that we see and do everything in the light of God’s Word.
3. WE ARE TO TEACH GOD’S WORD TO OUR CHILDREN (VERSE 19).
Look up Proverbs 22:6. On every hand today our young people are very ignorant of the truths of God’s Word. Comparatively few of them have the privilege that young Timothy had (2 Timothy 3:14-15), but in giving His prescription for happy family life, God exhorts all parents to bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
4. WE ARE TO SPEAK GOD’S WORD ALL DAY LONG (VERSE 19).
When we sit, walk, lie down or get up we are to speak - compare 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
- When we sit. Do you ever speak of Christ when you entertain friends? There is no more honouring theme, and certainly none so satisfying!
- When we are out walking. Look up Luke 24:13-35. What health-giving benefit there is in taking a walk and meditating upon the Word and holding communion with the Living Word (John 1:1)!
- When we get up. Happy is the Christian who begins the day alone with God, seeking Him in His Word, and yielding afresh to His claims! Is this your habit?
- When we go to bed. Yes, and happy is the Christian who ends the day by reading again from the pages of the Word! Is this your habit?
5. WE ARE TO DISPLAY GOD’S WORD IN THE HOME (VERSE 20).
What does this mean? Surely, it means that we are to honour God’s Word in the home so that all who come and go can see whose we are and whom we serve. Notice the question in 2 Kings 20:15. What is your answer to it? Do your visitors know at once that your home is a Christian home? Have you made Joshua’s vow (Joshua 24:15)?
These are the simple conditions that must be fulfilled if we are to experience ’days of Heaven upon earth’. But notice, in conclusion, that as we give the written Word its rightful place in our lives, the Living Word will take His rightful place in our lives. The two Words are inseparable, and if we would have much of Him, who is the Word incarnate, it can only be as we give His written Word the rightful place in our lives.