Day 58: Deuteronomy 24-27; Keep the Whole Commandment! "Amen!"

Again we encounter a great deal of “miscellaneous laws” that deal with holy living for Israel.  However, these are followed by a very important section of the reading of these laws as they draw to a close.  Moses says to the people from Mount Ebal, “Keep the whole commandment I am giving you today.”  The Hebrew word present here represents the deepest meaning of totality.  Moses is impressing on the people of Israel the necessity of the whole commandment being kept.  He isn’t saying that they can pick and choose, or accept what they like and reject what doesn’t suit them.  I think this is a very important point that is sometimes lost on us as Christians in America, the “western church.”  We tend to avoid a lot of the Scripture that we don’t necessarily like.  These last 2 or 3 books of the Bible is an example of that.  We set them aside, struggle through them, and even sometimes deny their validity all together because we don’t want to read them, or don’t like to hear them.  Yet they are there for a reason, and as the Word of God, they are alive and active in our hearts through the revelation and work of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that you have found these books a little more palatable this time around.  Honestly, as we come to the end of Deuteronomy, I can say that this is one of two times I have honestly read the whole of these books.  I have been struck very deeply by the incredible depth and breadth of information and meaning that are contained here, and how these things really set the stage for the rest of God’s story.

The other interesting thing that I found in this passage was the continual repetition of the word “Amen.”  This word comes from the Hebrew word “אָמֵֽן” which is literally pronounced “amen.”  The meaning is deep and the impact of the word is equally as deep.  When we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer, sermon, or reading of the Word of God, we aren’t simply sticking a Christian word there as a way of some sort of Christian punctuation, we are echoing the words of the Hebrew people saying “we believe it!” or “we believe it will take place.”  It also means: verily, truly, so be it.  It is a testament, a confession that we are not simply just saying these things, but that they matter and we know that God will act.  At the end of our worship services, Pastor Scott gives a benediction or blessing.  Usually he says, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you… Amen.”  Traditionally, the congregation would either say “amen” with him, or respond by saying “amen.”  It is a way for us to say, “Yes!  We truly believe that the grace of Jesus Christ is with us!”    The same goes for us ending a prayer with the word “amen.”  Conversely, as the people are saying the word “amen” here in this passage, they are acknowledging that if they do the things that they are told not to do, the curse of God will be on them.  For them, they are saying “truly God will make this happen.” A startling acknowledgement?  Perhaps for us.  But from a people so shaped by the presence of God in their everyday life, it seems to be the only logical response.

The next time you say “amen,” keep in mind the confession you are making by using this abundantly common Christian word.

May the Word of God dwell in you richly, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the fellowship and power of the Holy Spirit be with you, now and always.  Amen!  Amen!

One Response to “Day 58: Deuteronomy 24-27; Keep the Whole Commandment! "Amen!"”

  1. […] Deuteronomy 27:26 – “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”  Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” […]

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