As for the Rock

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright. Deuteronomy 32.4

This verse is found in a song that Moses recited to the whole assemble of Israel shortly before his death. His description of God is faithfulness.

He referred to God as the Rock. A rock is solid and firm. It was the foundation sometimes used in construction. It is steadfast. In 1 Samuel 2.2, Hannah prayed, “No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one other than you! There is no rock like our God!”

God is perfect. He is complete. All his work is perfect. On the sixth day of the creation, Genesis 1.31, God saw all that he had made and it was very good!

Moses stated that God is reliable, fair and does what is right. It is very reassuring to have someone reliable on our side. We know that as long as we are faithful to him, we can count on his care for us.

It is comforting, in these times of uncertainty and corruptness, to know that God is just and that he is good to his people.

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #God

Pursue justice alone

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

You must not pervert justice or show favor. Do not take a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and distort the words of the righteous. You must pursue justice alone so that you may live and inherit the land the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 16.19-20

Moses was nearing the end of his life. He would not enter the promised land. There had been elders from each tribe chosen that had received part of the spirit that God had given to Moses to help him in dealing with the people, Numbers 11.16-17. However, up to this point, Moses had been the final word if a difficult matter had to be judged.

A different system would need to be enacted after the Israelites entered the promised land. Each tribe would be given their own land with different cities. They would no longer be in one place altogether.

Moses left the instructions to appoint judges and civil servants in each tribe in all of their villages, 16.18. These men were to judge the people fairly. They were not to show partiality nor take a bribe, but to pursue justice alone. This was one of the conditions that was given to be able to live and inherit the land that God was giving to them. As we know from reading further, due to the injustice practiced later, Israel was carried away to exile.

What does this mean for us today? God has not changed. He is the same. He still expects us to live justly in the world and to treat all men impartially. James wrote to Christians that we should not show prejudice, 2.1. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, James 2.8.

The world is a better place when we practice justice.

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #justice

Descriptions of God

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, who justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10.17-18

In Deuteronomy, Moses was repeating the law for the Israelites. They were getting ready to enter the promised land. Moses would not go with them. He had sinned against God and as a result he would not be allowed to enter the promised land. Moses knew firsthand the consequences of sin.

Moses gives several descriptions of God. In 10.14, he states that the heavens, the earth, and everything in it belong to God. He is great, mighty and awesome. He is no respecter of persons and cannot be bribed. He takes care of the widows and orphans, people who were considered to be the most helpless of their day. He loves the resident foreigner, taking care of his basic needs.

God is so majestic, how can one not worship him? When Israel went to Egypt, they numbered around 70 people. He blessed them through the years taking them for his own people and Israel grew to be a great nation, which he rescued from Egypt.

Moses encouraged the Israelites to revere God, to serve him, and be loyal to him. They had seen the mighty works that he had done to bring them out of Egypt and care for them in the desert. He was the one they should praise.

Today is no different. God is the one we should praise!

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #God

Remain in this refuge

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms; he has driven out enemies before you, and has said, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33.27

Deuteronomy is Moses’ repetition of the law. The Israelites are on the verge of entering the land that God promised to Abraham. Moses will not enter the land. Joshua will lead the people. The words above are some of the last words that Moses will speak to the people. He wants them to remember this as they go in to conquer the land. God is everlasting. He is always there and he will not leave. He is a refuge, a safe place where we can abide without fear. We are held in his eternal arms where nothing can harm us. He will protect us. The same holds true today. As long as we are walking in the light in obedience to his word found in the Bible, God is our refuge and strength. Let us be careful to remain in this refuge. For just as the Israelites sinned and were eventually sent into captivity, I can remove myself from God’s love and grace. The joy of having God as my refuge compels me to move forward sharing this news with others.

#risingjoy #Deuteronomy #God

A call to remember

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

Neither believe nor obey, Deuteronomy 9.23

“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.”

Deuteronomy 9.23

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

Take possession of it, Deuteronomy 1.21

“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!”

Deuteronomy 1.21

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

The way they worship: Deuteronomy 12.4

“You must not worship the Lord your God the way they worship.”

Deuteronomy 12.4

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

By the daylight and by the moonlight: Deuteronomy 33.14

“with the harvest produced by the daylight and by the moonlight;”

Deuteronomy 33.14

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

What does the word Deuteronomy mean?

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.

#deuteronomy, #word-meanings, #word-study

No citadel too high for us

“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

Moses undertook to explain: Deuteronomy 1.5

“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

Particulars in the Decalogue (Deuteronomy 5)

In the chapter we learn some particulars:

  1. The words are addressed to Israel (5:1)
  2. A covenant was made with Israel on Mt Horeb (5:2)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The Sabbath command is directly related to their time of bondage in Egypt (5:15).
  6. 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.”
  7. These commands were written on two stone tablets.
  8. The occasion at the mountain was not only the commands given, but the experience of hearing the Lord speak (5:23-27).
  9. The Lord laments that the experience and the commands adhered to will not last long (5:28-29).
  10. Moses gives some exhortations and warnings (5:31-33).

#deuteronomy, #sabbath, #ten-commandments