Exploring Deuteronomy Weeks 15 and 16: Blessing and Legacy
Over the last couple of weeks we have explored the last few chapters in Deuteronomy. We looked at Moses’ blessing to the tribes in Deuteronomy 33. God puts His name on His people — their identity is found in Him alone. What a good reminder for us — who we are is all related to Him and His grace.
We ended Deuteronomy by talking about the life of Moses — the servant of the LORD. Deuteronomy 34:10 says that since then there has been no prophet like Moses — “no one has ever shown the mighty power of performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” Moses knew God face-to-face, something amazing and unheard of.
Moses was Israel’s greatest prophet. He led the people through the Israelites’ salvation event — the Exodus. All of the Israelites would have known of Moses, and would have remembered his amazing leadership through the defining moments of this nation’s life and salvation. This is why it is really interesting to see how Matthew relays the events of Jesus’ life in his Gospel. The book of Matthew was written to Jewish audiences to tell them the story of Jesus, their Messiah. In order to show that Jesus was the one they had been waiting for, Matthew makes it clear that Jesus is the new Moses. He is the one who will represent Israel, and He is the one who has come to bring about a salvation event that will parallel and surpass the Exodus — He, you see, has come to save His people from their sins. So, in Matthew’s Gospel, we see that Jesus goes to Egypt, just like the Israelites did (Matthew 2). He then comes back from Egypt and He gets baptized in the Jordan River (Matthew 3). In Exodus, the Israelites come out of Egypt and eventually cross the Jordan into their Promised Land. Jesus goes to the desert where He spends 40 days (Matthew 4) — a parallel to the Israelites spending 40 years in the desert. And perhaps most significant, Jesus gives what we call the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Moses received the Law from God and relayed it to the people. Now Jesus, the new and better Moses, reinterprets the Law — expanding it, explaining it correctly, and showing what it looks like to fulfill it.
A Jewish person reading the Gospel of Matthew would have understood that Matthew is proclaiming Jesus as the new Moses — He is now the one who will do even greater deeds in the sight of all Israel. Where Moses was honoured as one who had been face-to-face with God, we are now introduced to Jesus, the one who is God. What amazing depth we can find in the Bible! God is telling such a beautiful story, and He cares about all the details of it.
I have loved this series in Deuteronomy. It has been so good to go over God’s instructions for His people, to understand His compassion and mercy, and to recognize the importance of blessing and remembering. It was special to see all the grandparents on stage on Sunday — a reminder that we are to pass on the truth about Jesus to those around us. I was also hit by the reminder that Moses was 80 when God spoke to him — we never know what new things God has for us, no matter what stage of life we’re in.
Deuteronomy is a fascinating book. It looks back on what has happened in Israel’s history — the Exodus, the desert wandering, the giving of the law. And it looks forward to what is to come — the entrance into a new land that God has prepared for them. This, I think, is a good way to think about life. We should always be looking back and remembering what God has done, how He has rescued us, shown up, provided and cared for us. We must always remember and not forget, as Deuteronomy tells us. And, as we talked about in the sermon, we can always be looking forward and asking God what He has for us next. Whether that’s career, family, our prayer life, the way we serve — there are so many things God has for us in His kingdom!
Thanks for exploring Deuteronomy with us these last few months. We hope that God has spoken to all of us through His Word and shown us how to live out what we’re learning each day by better loving Him and better loving our neighbour!
See you next week when we start our new series in John, “No Other Name”!