November 14, 2012

Scripture and Commentary, Thursday after the Twenty-third Sunday in Trinity


Lectionary

Morning - Ps.52, 53, Jeremiah 36:1-19, Col 2:20-3:11
Evening - Ps. 49, Dt. 8:1-10, Mt. 26:47-56

Commentary, Deuteronomy 8:1-10

Chapter 8 appears to have a three-fold purpose.  First it recounts  "the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years" 8:2).  Second in verse 7, it reminds Israel that, "the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land."  Israel did not win her own freedom from Egypt, sustain herself in the wilderness, or gain the Promised Land by her own might.  The Lord has done all of this for her.  Third, "thou shalt remember the Lord thy God" (8:18), or, as it is stated in a verse in tonight's reading, "Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God" (8:11).

It may seem like Moses is stuck on the one point of remembering God, or, keeping His commandments.  We are less than one-third of the way through Deuteronomy, and he has repeated it several times.  He will continue to say it throughout the book, and it could be said that it is the theme and point of the entire book.  Everything else in the book seems to have been included for the purpose of emphasising and clarifying the main point, and driving it into the heart of Israel like the sword of the Lord.  It is probably stated best in Deuteronomy 6:4-5; "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."  Considering the difficulty Israel had remembering and loving God, we might wish Moses had repeated his point many more times.
                        
One of the great passages in all of Scripture is found in verses 2 and 3 of this chapter.  They teach that God works things to humble His people.  That means He brings things, especially adversity, into our lives to teach us to be aware of our need for Him.  We have a tendency to focus too much on the things of world and the needs of the flesh.  But God is working to show us "man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."  Israel learned the truth of this in the wilderness, for there God provided for her in a desert land that could not be expected to support  her (8:4).  If He provided for her in the desert, He could certainly be counted on to provide for her in Canaan.  The danger in Canaan was not hunger or thirst as in the wilderness.  It was worldly satisfaction.  It was looking to wealth and overlooking God.  Tonight's reading forewarns Israel, "Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God."  Surely the same problem exists today, as do the same promises and warnings.