Friday, August 17, 2012

Introduction to Deuteronomy

Lest we forget. There are stories that need to be told because forgetting them would be harmful and remembering them is fruitful. Sit down and hear the story again. Deuteronomy says that the Triune God wants your heart. The God who is one in the plural has affection for you. He carried his people, even though they were hard hearted, like a father carries a son. He is for his people. He is kind. He is overflowing and he will gather his people to himself.

Deuteronomy wraps up the Pentateuch in the form of sermons by Moses to the people just before his death, before their new Saviour Joshua (same name as Jesus... Trying read The Book of Joshua with but calling it The Book of Jesus!) takes up the mantle and .

It's a book of transition that looks back and says again what has happened. It's often referred to as the second law (which is what its title means) or called Words in Hebrew, after its opening line 'These are the words..'

There are sections that retell the story of the people from the Exodus, and also their future - up to and beyond exile from the land they're about to enter. This makes some put a late date on the book (suggesting it comes from the reigns of King Hezekiah or Josiah) but this simply isn't necessary. The middle of the book is roughly shaped around an opening up of the 10 commandments thematically.

Chapters 13-17 speak of priests and prophets and a king but this doesn't seem to describe a king like 2 Samuel 7, this is a king who is a brother, one of the people - and of a people who are the LORD's assembled people, served by a king. Prophets don't stand over the people, but again serve them and are accountable to the people under God.

Chapter 30 points the people beyond exile to a return to the land with new hearts. And the famous section on blessings and curses, life and death seems to be less a fork in the road and more of a necessary path... they will pass through curse to life, as is the way of the gospel. They will be scattered, then gathered and their hearts will be circumcised. A people born as light triumphed over darkness, through going down into water and rising up will pass through curse to blessing - for that is the way of the True Israelite.

"The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God..." (Deuteronomy 1:30-32 ESV)

Their story is ours, their God ours:

 “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. (Deuteronomy 26:5-11 ESV)

This our God, and it is he who raised Jesus from the dead. Read Deuteronomy, in three days, and have your heart refreshed by the God who carries, who wants your heart, and who though he sentence you to death in Christ will gather you to himself in resurrection.

No comments:

Post a Comment