Exploring Deuteronomy Week 1: Intro
Pastor Dan started his series on Deuteronomy yesterday! If you missed it or just want to hear it again, make sure to check it out online.
I am actually so excited for Pastor Dan’s focus on Deuteronomy over the next number of months. I love the Old Testament. In fact, I love it so much that I got my Master’s in Old Testament Biblical Studies (weird, I know). Although seminary was a painful process at times (so many Hebrew translations!), it was such a good way for me to dig deeper into God’s word. And the Old Testament (OT) is such a crucial part of understanding God’s big story — it is His drama of redemption and grace!
Because I love the OT so much, I am hoping to blog about Deuteronomy each week as Pastor Dan leads us in our study on Sundays. I think it will be a great chance for us to dig into the book and share our thoughts as we process together!
I loved Pastor Dan’s sermon — such an excellent reminder of God’s love for each of us! As he mentioned yesterday, Deuteronomy takes place as the Israelites are about to enter in to their new Promised Land. After wandering in the desert for 40 years, Moses speaks to the people through four final sermons before he passes leadership on to a man named Joshua.
Pastor Dan talked about how Deuteronomy is separated into four topics: remembering, law, renewal, and blessing. I’m excited for us to hear more about each of these topics, because when we truly understand what God is doing in these passages, we can see how beautiful, intricate and full-of-grace the story of Deuteronomy is.
One thing that stood out to me yesterday in Pastor Dan’s sermon was the importance of understanding that Deuteronomy is a renewal of the covenant the Israelites and God had made. Forty years previous, God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Because of God’s saving action, the Israelites decided they wanted to follow Him. So God and the Israelites made a covenant. We see this covenant ceremony in Exodus 19 as the Israelites prepare themselves to meet with the Lord and then He descends on Mt. Sinai in smoke and fire. In Exodus 20, we begin to see the terms of the covenant laid out as God gives the 10 Commandments. In Exodus 24, the covenant is confirmed — “When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.’“
Pastor Dan mentioned this yesterday, and it’s worth repeating. The covenant process we see in Exodus was very common in the Ancient Near East (ANE). This process was something the Israelites would have understood culturally. God stepped in and saved them from slavery. Because of God’s saving action, the Israelites were ready and willing to take on the terms of the covenant (the 10 Commandments and the rest of the law) because of what He had done. They were not forced into following the law. They chose to as a grateful response for what God had done for them! The law — the terms of this covenant — was the way they would follow God and represent His character to the nations around them.
So as we start out Deuteronomy, we see that Moses and the Israelites are renewing their covenant with God. The way the book of Deuteronomy is laid out is extremely similar to other covenant renewal contracts of that time. Moses reminds the Israelites of all that God has done — he asks them to remember God’s amazing acts in their lives. He then reminds them of the terms of the covenant — the law God gave them. They then renew the covenant and end with Moses’ blessings on the tribes. The Israelites would have understood this process because the nations around them would have done similar things with their rulers. The difference — which we’ll see over time — is that God’s covenant is initiated out of love and grace, and His law is completely counter-cultural in really stunning ways.
Deuteronomy is an amazing book! It shows us God’s grace, His intimate care for His people, and His law, which is actually a beautiful representation of His character and the type of people He has called us to be.
* So, what stood out to you most in Pastor Dan’s sermon?
* What topic are you most curious about — remembering, law, renewal, or blessing?
* When you hear the word “covenant” as the main topic of Deuteronomy, what comes to your mind?
Leave a comment and get the discussion going. Can’t wait to explore this book together!