Day 61: Deuteronomy 32-34; It is No Empty Word for You…

When we read the song of Chapter 32, we are tempted to think of all the things that we know about Israel, all the things that they will do and all the disobedience that is to come in their story.  Upon their hearing this though, none of that (except for the wilderness happenings) would have taken place yet.  They didn’t know how bad they were going to be, but God was giving them this song to remember as a way so saying “I know you have sinned, I know you have done evil, but I am faithful and will forgive if you will turn from your wickedness and love me once again.”  Like much of the music that we sing in worship today, this song gains meaning based on the amount of sin they had committed.  Some days I can sing songs like “Amazing Grace” and have little reaction to it… but there are others, when I know I have had a bad week that I cannot help be stand in awe at God’s marvelous grace.  I imagine many in Israel would have had a similar reaction in hearing this song.

Some of my favorite words in the entirety of the Old Testament appear at the end of the book of Deuteronomy.  As we talked about yesterday, it is abundantly clear that these words are inextricably linked to the reading of the Law, and specifically the Shema of Deuteronomy 6.  The end of Deuteronomy makes so little sense without the beginning.  Moses is, in his final words to Israel, impressing on them how important these words are.  They are not just empty, they are the very lifeblood of the Children of God.  These are the words that find fulfillment in this command:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Neither are these words empty for us.  The word of God is our very life, that which roots us to God and teaches us how to love Him.  The people of Israel couldn’t take these words lightly, neither can we take these words lightly.  They are the lifeblood of our faith:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Finally, we see again an example of the significance of blessings.  Moses has called Joshua forward and laid his hands on him.  Moses gave Joshua a blessing and we read at the end of Deuteronomy that Joshua is filled with “the spirit of wisdom” and also has the ability to lead the people.  This is, in essence, what it meant to receive a blessing to the Hebrew people; power transferred from one to another.  I wonder what it would be like if we began to bless one another, or viewed the final blessing of a worship service in this manner?  I wonder what would happen if we truly believed that we were being sent out in the power of God given to us in the Holy Spirit to live and to love as God has called us to?  Would we be changed?  I hope so!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen!

One Response to “Day 61: Deuteronomy 32-34; It is No Empty Word for You…”

  1. […] to the simple questions?  Can we back them up with Scripture?  Are these words truly our life, as Moses says to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy, or are they just idle words that pass in and out of our ears.  We need to recover the Word of God […]

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