Read Deuteronomy 12-15
Moses is going into great detail about how to stay close to God, and how to treat one another. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves. Hebrews 10:1
We are reading the shadow. However, the bottomline of the law Deut. 10:12 is given by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I’ve just been going through Deuteronomy, asking myself the question — what does this then show me about the character of God? Keeping in mind, Jesus is the perfect representation of God.
So from the shadow of the law I see how Israel was to obtain a quality of life, that was supremely blessed. The law exhorts us to live open handed to the poor and the to priest, to release people from their debts, and provides a structured society that doesn’t hold down the poor.
Moses instructions hint to the character of God. God’s love protects. (1 Cor 13:7) The gift of this book will be very useful for the split kingdom of Israel and Judah.
We don’t worship God in cultic places. We worship according to God’s instructions.
Worship is to honor God, not self. It’s not directed by whims, preferences, and locations. I can’t just recycle some secular activity and say it’s for God. This is why we don’t turn from Tarot Cards to Angel Cards. The Israelites couldn’t just take a building used for idols and worship God there! This is what Jesus instructs when he meets the woman at the well. Jesus tells her in John 4:24, God is looking for worshippers who will worship him in spirit and in truth. In the New Covenant it’s not a location, it’s worshipping the Messiah, Jesus who is the truth. (John 14:6) Jesus and only Jesus.
The love we have from God bolsters us to say NO to the sway of the world. No, I don’t need a palm reading. No, I don’t need man’s approval. No I don’t need________ fill in the blank. There are not many roads to God. His blessings are secured in a much different way than the world. When I study the law I see that it’s all together different. In Christ I see exactly how different.
The warnings in the law of God from Deuteronomy are an act of love. God wants them to be blessed. Jesus pronounces blessing in the same way when he preaches an elevated righteousness. Read the sermon on the mount, consider the statement by Jesus, ‘Unless your righteousness exceeds‘ Matt. 5:20. Righteousness must exceed the way the Pharisee’s had lived out the law. Bluntly he calls out adultery as beginning way before the act of adultery, ‘whoever looks at a woman lustfully’.
Jesus is better than Moses, he not only shows us the standard but HE fulfills it and then gives us the grace needed to be righteous. Can you believe this? When you do it changes everything. You won’t strive or work for it. It’s a gift!
As we read Deuteronomy consider the Israelites are about to go from dependence on God for their daily bread, literally manna to stewardship of land, provision, and fields. Moses is directing them away from the pitfalls of debt and the misuse of their blessings. When we suddenly come into abundance we can need some serious wisdom! Fun fact 70% of people who win a lottery or get a big windfall end up broke in a few years (a study by National Endowment for Financial Education).
Moses is warding off future failure by exhorting and encouraging them to be compassionate, to rely on God and NOT sacrifice their children to other gods like surrounding Moabites. God was clear, this is not to be done.
Later in 2 Kings 3:27 Mesha a Moabite king does the unthinkable when he can not win the battle he will kill his son as a sacrifice. He does this to appease a false god, a last ditch effort to manipulate the apparent defeat. The warning of Moses is still relevant for the kings during the days of Elisha.
God through Moses prepared Israel to resist the pull of the surrounding people and customs. How often do we need a reminder we don’t have to follow the trend of culture?
Josiah in 640–609 BCE, during the 18th year of his reign will discover the book of the law, many believe it to be Deuteronomy. The kingdom of Israel is split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Josiah walks in the ways of David and leads Judah out of idolatry and ignorance. (2 Kings 22:8)