Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
Then He said to me, “Get up, set out leading the people so they may go and possess the land I promised to give to their ancestors.” Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to revere him, to obey all his commandments, to love him, to serve him with all your mind and being, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and statutes that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10.11-13
Deuteronomy is a call to remember. Moses gives the Israelites his final words to encourage them to remain faithful. He is recalling here in the previous verses how he had spent another forty days and nights on the mountain in essence redoing the stone tablets with the ten commandments written on them. Do you remember why they had to be redone? Because the Israelites had sinned by making a graven image while Moses was on the mountain the first time. In his anger, Moses had broken the first tablets. In less than forty days the Israelites had forgotten the importance of who God is and what he wants of us. As humans, our memories are so short. We forget so easily. We need constant reminders. I sometimes enter a room and have already forgotten what it was I went in for in the first place. Reminders are important. Focus is important. Moses tells the people where their focus needs to be. What it boils down to is loving and obeying God. You would think we would not need reminders for that. But, like the Israelites, without the reminders we, also, forget. We allow the enemy to get too close. Some are swallowed up without ever realizing what has happened until it is too late and the way back seems too long. The daily reading of God’s word helps me to keep my focus. Participating in the Lord’s Supper every Sunday helps me to keep my focus. Prayer helps me to keep my focus. These things today help me to love God and to obey him.
#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #memory
“And when he sent you from Kadesh-Barnea and told you, ‘Go up and possess the land I have given you,’ you rebelled against the Lord your God and would neither believe nor obey him.”
Moses cited several examples of Israel’s rebelliousness. This was but one of many. What God gives must often be fought for. His gifts require faith and obedience.
What is the nature of the rebellious spirit? Are there areas where I demonstrate such a spirit? How willing am I to fight for what God wants to give me?
#votd #Deuteronomy #rebelliousness
“Look, he has placed the land in front of you! Go up, take possession of it, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, said to do. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”
God gave the land of Canaan to Israel. But the people still had to take possession of it and drive out the pagan inhabitants. The first time Israel quailed from the task.
Salvation is given to man through the sacrifice of Christ. This free gift must be possessed by obedience and perseverance. Shall I shrink from developing it fully?
#votd #Deuteronomy #effort
“You must not worship the Lord your God the way they worship.”
After Israel reached the Jordan River and Moses takes leave of the people, he reviews their history and teaches important lessons. One of these is not to worship like the pagans.
The principle still applies. Saints sometimes want to worship God as do those outside of Christ. They are ensnared by their interest in false worship, v. 30.
#votd #Deuteronomy #worship
“with the harvest produced by the daylight and by the moonlight;”
In the blessing that Moses gave to Israel before he died, he saw abundance of harvest for Joseph. God gave the sun and moon for man. The universe exists for God and his most important creature.
The heavenly lights were made as “signs to indicate seasons and days and years” Genesis 1.14. They function for the good of man. Let creation lead us to thank and praise God.
#votd #creation #Deuteronomy
Remembering what Deuteronomy means is easier to me than remembering how to spell it. It’s that tricky placement of the e and the u at the beginning that gets me every time.
The word Deuteronomy, interestingly enough, does not come from the original Hebrew “title” of the letter (which is basically the beginning of Deuteronomy 1:1 that says “These are the words…“). It actually has Latin (Deuteronomium) and Greek (Deuteronomion) origins. Each of these origins roughly translates to a meaning of “second law”.
Although it is a good literal translation, “second law” isn’t “necessarily” the best way to view the point of the word Deuteronomy, or the letter itself. It’s not a second law insomuch as it is a repeating of the law. A very good way to think about it is found in Deuteronomy 17:18 where you will find the Hebrew word “Mishneh” which means, in the context, “double, copy or repetition“. In other words, “Deuteronomy” is a repeating (Deuteros, or second) of the principals and points (Nomos, or law) that can elsewhere be found in was then the existing foundation of the Law.
In the Deuteronomy letter, Moses is very much concerned with the task of making sure the present generation understands what it is about to gain and why the previous generation did not possess it! He accomplishes this through quick history lessons and by placing an emphasis on the love and loyalty and obedience, as well as the warnings that are given about the lack of such, that God requires through the covenant he is making with them (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
The above points are still pertinent today. Especially when you consider how the Hebrew writer emphasized a “deuteronomy” of these things in Hebrews 3, 4 amongst several other passages too.
“From Aroer on the edge of the Wadi Arnon (including the town that is in the wadi itself) as far as Gilead, there was no citadel too high for us. The Lord our God gave everything to us.”
Deuteronomy 2.36 NRSV
Before the Israelites entered Canaan, Moses recounted how God gave them victory over all their enemies. No human power or resource could withstand the Lord.
Christ’s followers encounter many sufferings, but no trial can hold them back from going forward in God’s will.
#votd #Deuteronomy #power-of-God
“Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying,”
Deuteronomy 1.5 ESV
With his last words, Moses was anxious to remind the people of what God had done for them and urge them to obey his laws. So he undertook or “resolved” (JUB) to declare God’s law to them.
The verb “undertake” means to decide to begin something. Moses saw this as what he ought to do in his final days. What ought to be my decision at this juncture in my life?
#votd #decisions #Deuteronomy
In the chapter we learn some particulars:
- The words are addressed to Israel (5:1)
- A covenant was made with Israel on Mt Horeb (5:2)
- This covenant was not made “with our fathers” (5:3). The meaning of this phrase is understood variously. First, the generation to whom the words were given initially (Exodus 12-24) died in the wilderness. Thus, to them it was not given, but to this current generation on the east side of the Jordan, preparing to go into the promised land. Second, based on 5:4, the words are understood to refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The latter seems to be the better interpretation.
- The Lord’s base “command” (not a command at all, though the rabbis believe it to be such) is the declaration that His following words are directly connected to their origin (5:6), that is, that He brought them up out of Egypt.
- The Sabbath command is directly related to their time of bondage in Egypt (5:15).
- To the “Ten Words” “He added no more” (5:22). This is the reading in the NKJV, ASV, Brenton (LXX translation), ESV, KJV, and NIV. Thus, these commands of the Lord are distinct from that which the Lord gave Moses otherwise. The NET gives a rendering that essentially says the same, but it does not have the same “pop” (if you will): “and that was all he said.” The Jewish Publication Society (JPS) reads “and it went on no more.”
- These commands were written on two stone tablets.
- The occasion at the mountain was not only the commands given, but the experience of hearing the Lord speak (5:23-27).
- The Lord laments that the experience and the commands adhered to will not last long (5:28-29).
- Moses gives some exhortations and warnings (5:31-33).