Love and Loyalty
It is the end of the fortieth year since the Israelites left Egypt.
The people camp to the east of the river Jordan.
The people are at decisive point in their relationship with God.
Will they also fail at the challenges before them?
Or through faith in the Lord, will they cross the Jordan and possess the promised land?
At the heart of Deuteronomy is the future of the relationship with God.
Only in Deuteronomy, Moses addresses the people at length speaking on his own behalf.
The book reads like a long sermon.
Important also is the fact, that Moses is presented as speaking shortly before his death (Deut 34:1-12).
So, they are the final words on their leader, father, encouraging them to proceed in the right direction for the future.
Two main speeches:
1. Deut 1:6-4:40 - survey of the past experience and a call to obey God in the future;
2. Deut 5:1-26:19 - very long, it is seen as the “torah” that “Moses set before the Israelites” (Deut 4:44).
The book should be inscribed on stones coated with plaster (Deut 27:2-8), and after written (Deut 31:24) it should be put beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord (Deut 31:26).
It should also be read to the people every seventh year (Deut 31:9-13).
Short speeches at the end of the book (not all by Moses).
1. Inscribing the book of Torah on plaster-coated stones after entering the Promised Land (Deut 27:1-8)
2. The pronouncement of blessings from Mount Gerizim and curses from Mount Ebal (Deut 27:11-13; cf Deut 11:26-32)
3. The list of curses recited by the Levites (Deut 27:14-26)
4. Encouraging people to obey the Lord (Deut 28:1-68).
Blessings as the consequence of obedience (Deut 28:2-14);
Curses are the outcome of disobedience (Deut 28:15-68).
5. Keeping the covenant is a choice between life and death (Deut 29:2-30:20).
6. Joshua is appointed as Moses’ succesor (Deut 31:1-8)
7. Read the torah every seven years (Deut 31:9-13)
8. The Lord predicts that Israel will forsake Him and break the covenant (Deut 31:16-18).
9. The song as witness against Israel (Deut 31:19-22 - the song in Deut 32:1-43).
10. The book of Torah should also witness to the waywardness of the people (Deut 31:24-29).
11. The prediction of the death of Moses (Deut 32:48-52)
12. Moses’ blessing (Deut 33:1-29).
13. The death of Moses a an epitaph to him (Deut 34:1-12).
Love the Lord
The relationship between the Lord and his people to be based on love and loyalty.
Like a husband and a wife - marriage is sustained by mutual love and loyalty.
Deut 6:6; 11:13; 13:3; 30:6.
People love might fail but God’s faithfulness is lasting (Deut 4:37; 5:10; 7:8-9; 10:15).
Because of His love, God did not allow Balaam to curse them (Deut 23:5).
But, although God’s faithfulness is lasting, it does not mean that people will not suffer the consequence of their sins - that is why the list of curses is so long.
Love in Deuteronomy is not a matter of feelings.
Loving God has very practical implications for the people.
They must fulfil the obligation placed on them by the covenant.
True love will demonstrate itself in perfect obedience (Deut 11:1; cf. Deut 5:10; 7:9; 10:12; 11:13, 22; 19:9; 30:16);
Disobedience indicates a failure to love God (Deut 13:3)
So, if you love me, you will obey me.
This obedience is demonstrated is obedience to the torah (Deut 6:6-9; 4:4; 11:18-21; 31:9-13).
Blessings and curses
1. Fruitfulness and prosperity - versus - disease;
2. Security from their enemies - versus - defeated by their enemies.
Be loyal to the Lord
In loyalty to God there is no place for idolatry - other gods (Deut 5:7; Ex 20:3).
They cannot also worship anything that God has created (Deut 4:19; 17:3).
They cannot accept the religious beliefs of the nations living in Canaan (Deut 16:21-22; 18:14).
They cannot make idols (Deut 4:15-31; especially Deut 4:15-18).
Anyone who commits idolatry should be put to death (Deut 6:14-15) and also the one who entices others to worship foreign gods (Deut 13:1-5; cf. Deut 18:20).
For the entire nation, the punishment for idolatry is destruction and exile (Deut 4:26-28; 13:12-16; 29:24-28).
New Testament Connections
Deuteronomy is one of the most quoted books in NT (around 83 times - because of parallel quotes in the Synoptic Gospels).
Mt 5:31,38; 15:4;18:16;19:18-19;
Mk 7:10; 10:19;
1 Cor 5:13; 9:9;
see 2 Cor 13:1;
1 Tim 5:18.
Mt 22:35-37 - in response Jesus quotes Deut 6:5;
Mt 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13 - all reply of Jesus is from Deut 8:3; 6:16; 6:13.
Gal 3:10 quotes Deut 27:26.
Since no-one can keep the law fully, all are cursed.
So, Jesus came with a solution
Gal 3:13 quotes Deut 21:23.