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Deuteronomy 10

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 1 [Moses speaking]. "At that time the LORD said to me, 'Cut two tables of stone made like the first stone tables, and come up to me into the mount; and make yourself an ark [container] of wood.

 2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which you broke, and you shall put them in the ark.'

 3 And I made an ark of shittim wood1, and hewed two tables of stone like to the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in my hand.

 4 And He [the Lord] wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spoke to you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me.

 5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they are, as the LORD commanded me.

 6 And the children of Israel took their journey from the wells of the sons of Jaakan to Mosera. Aaron died and was buried there, and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his place.

 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters.

 8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to him, and to bless in his name, to this day.

 9 Therefore Levi has no part or inheritance with his brothers; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD your God promised him.

 10 And I stayed in the mount, the same as the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD listened to me that time also, so that the LORD decided not destroy you.

 11 And the LORD said to me, 'Arise, take your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give to them.'

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

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

 14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's your God, the earth also, with all that in it is.

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

 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart,2 and do not be stiff necked [stubbornly self-willed] any longer.

 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty God, and an awesome God, who shows no partiality to persons, nor does he take rewards.

 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and he shows his love for the stranger [or alien] by giving him food and clothing.

 19 Therefore love the stranger [alien] for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.

 20 You shall fear the LORD your God, and you shall serve him; and you shall cleave [adhere, unite] to him and swear by his name.

 21 He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which your eyes have seen.

 22 Your fathers went down into Egypt with seventy persons; and now the LORD your God has made you a multitude as many as the stars of heaven."

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1 Shittim wood was what Moses used to build the ark , the container of the stone tables with the commandments written on them by the Lord. The ark was the first built piece of furniture for the Tabernacle and was about 3.75 feet long. Shittim wood, from which it was made, is a beautiful orange-colored wood, quite heavy and close grained. As it ages, this wood will darken. It is quite insect-resistant. It comes from the acacia tree, (evidently not related to the California acacia tree, which does not have a black bark), growing as a torrent tree, which thrives in the wadies of Sinai and the Dead Sea, but is not found in upper Palestine. A remarkable wood, as described by a modern wood worker:

The coloring, with its reds, browns, and blondes was incredible. This wood has a three-dimensional quality (called chatoyance), where it is as though you can see deep inside the wood. This characteristic doesn't become apparent until you sand up through about 1,500 grit, and by the time you get to 12,000 grit it's pronounced.

2 circumcise the foreskin of your heart, And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. Deu 30:6. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest my fury come forth like fire and burn so that none can quench it because of the evil of your doings. Jer 4:4. Obviously you cannot circumcise your heart; but the Holy Spirit can, and is eager to do so, making you a spiritual Jew: For he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Romans 2:28-29.


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