November 4, 2012

Scripture and Commentary, Monday after the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity


Lectionary

Morning -  Ps. 18:21-36, 2 Kings 17:6-18, Titus 1
Evening - Ps. 20, 24, Deuteronomy 4:1-9, Matthew 24:15-28

Commentary, Deuteronomy 4:1-9

The fourth chapter of Deuteronomy opens in a way reminiscent of St. Paul's use of the word, "therefore."  The King James version even translates it, "therefore," which perfectly shows the intent of Moses.  He is about to draw practical conclusions based on what he has said in the previous three chapters.  Moses has been reiterating the providence of God in bringing Israel to her present position.  At this point Israel has completed the wilderness wanderings and is encamped on the eastern side of the Jordan River, preparing to enter the Promised Land.

Moses has been their human leader throughout the journey.  Reluctantly sent back to Egypt from his idyllic life in the land of Midian, it was Moses who put the idea of freedom into the minds of the Hebrew slaves.  It was Moses who pronounced the judgments of God upon the Egyptians, led the Hebrews out of bondage, took them through the water, received the Law of God on their behalf, and led and interceded for them in the desert.  Outside of the Lord Jesus Christ, no person in history has had the breadth and depth of influence on mankind as Moses.

But Moses  will not lead Israel into the Promised Land.  Referring to Numbers 20:1-13, he writes to Israel in Dt. 3:26, "But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes."  Therefore the Lord said to Moses, "behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan."  So, in chapter 4 Joshua has been anointed as the new leader, and Moses is addressing the people of Israel to encourage faithfulness in the future,

"Now, therefore," hearken...  unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in, and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.  Baal-peor (vs. 3) refers to the idolatry of Israel in Numbers 25.

The future obedience and faith of Israel is based on the faithfulness of God in the past, and on the promises of God for the future.  The same is true for Christians today.  God became a man and died on the cross to forgive our sins and restore us to fellowship and love for Him.  He called us to faith by His grace, and enabled us to believe in Christ and receive His blessings.  He has done great things for us in the past.  He also makes tremendous promises for the future; the resurrection of our bodies, an eternal home in His presence, freedom from all the cares and worries of earth, the enjoyment of Him and all His blessings forever.  Such things are greater than anything we could ask or think, and they belong to us through His grace.  "Now therefore," let us, the New Israel harken to the statutes and judgments of God, that we may live, and go in and possess the "land" which the Lord God giveth us.

2 comments:

  1. Yes,
    I love the way the words, spoken so long ago to God's people of that day, are alive in Jesus and able to speak to God's people of today ( the 'church', or congregation of believers in Jesus).

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  2. Mrs. Brenda,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. As you wrote the word is alive and speaks today. The Bible takes us into God.

    Blessings.

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