Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 22/Chapter 22

Chapter 22 observations

(22:1-12) Half of this chapter deals with various laws that are mostly related to interaction with others. Examples are helping your neighbor with his lost things (e.g., ox, sheep, cloak, donkey). God puts a priority on returning what is lost to its rightful owner. God does not want men and women switching wardrobes (v.5). Why? My presupposition is that it has something to do with role confusion and God wanting each person He has created to be the person He has created them to be. What do you think?

(22:13-30) This half of chapter 22 deals with various marriage problems of the day. Verses 13-19 deal with what to do in case a man lies against his wife by telling everyone she was never a virgin when they married. This is somewhat of a gruesome section in how it asks the parents to confirm the man as a liar (v.17). If the woman is lying she is to be stoned in front of her parents. If a man has an affair with a married woman, both individuals are to be put to death. Verses 25-29 talk about what to do in different rape situations. If a man rapes a girl pledged to be married he is to be put to death. If the girl is not pledged to be married and is raped the rapist is required to pay the father fifty shekels of silver and marry the woman and never divorce her (v.29). The no-brainer verse of the day is verse 30, “A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonor his father’s bed.”

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 21/Chapter 21

I started this journey with good intentions (I was hoping to finish this before or by Palm Sunday) but have found it harder and harder to keep up. Why is that?

Chapter 21 observations
- Verse 1-9 gives the Israelites what to do in case an unsolved murder happens. A "young cow" (v.3, NLT) is to be offered as a sacrifice to God. In a remote area away from everyone, its neck is to be broken.
- Verses 10-14 deals with the Israelites marrying captives they take in times of war. If the Israelites want to marry a beautiful foreign woman they can, but she must come to their home and live, shave her head, cut her nails, and be allowed to mourn the loss of her folks for a month. If the Israelite man decides to divorce her, he must let her go free.
- Verses 15-17 deals with the rights of the firstborn. Even if the Israelite doesn’t like the wife who gave him the firstborn, he must still keep his commitment to her and the firstborn. Firstborn sons have special rights.
- Verse 18-21 is section all children need to listen to. If an Israelite had a rebellious son, he was taken to the elders and then stoned. I’m glad I wasn’t an Israelite back then!
- Verses 22-23 are interesting in light of what we will be celebrating in a couple of weeks. Jesus was hung on a tree you could say when He was crucified. According to these verses in Deuteronomy the person who is “hung on a tree” (NLT) is “cursed in the sight of God.” Listen to Paul’s words in Galatians,

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 20/Chapter 20

This chapter was very interesting. I’ve never witnessed any great wars like World War I, II, Vietnam, but, I have been around long enough to see Desert Storm (90’s), the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems war is just as much a part of our realities as it was then (maybe it’s not quite as regular). Again, the Israelites are conquering a land God promised them. The only way for them to truly take this land is to engage in war. War is the language of the time for the Israelites and God has chosen them as His firstborn. Of course God isn’t for war, but it was the way of the culture. That is important to keep in mind while reading the entire Old Testament.

Chapter 20 observations
- Chapter 20 is appropriately titled “Going to War” in the NIV headings. This chapter deals exclusively with how the Israelites are to act in war.
- Verses 1-9 could be called “Preparing for war,” vv.10-18 could be “Rules of engagement,” and vv.19-20 “Save the trees,”
- The Israelites are to not fear when they go to war. God is fighting their fights (v.4). Apparently they are going to be going up against some fierce enemies and they are not to be intimidated.
- Before they fight they are to hear the words of the priest. He will encourage them to stand strong and not be afraid.
- Apparently the official will give specific individuals opportunities to not go to war (vv.5-8).
- God would rather have used peaceful methods if possible (v.10).
- Again, God wants the Israelites to completely destroy anything that might lead them to worship other gods.
- We even see a little creation care in the last section of this chapter (vv.19-20).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 19/Chapter 19

Chapter 19 observations
- Verses 1-13 describes the cities of refuge the LORD wants the Israelites to build as safe places for anyone who unintentionally kills someone. This is a place they can find safety from an accident.
- Verse 5 gives us a case study of an unintentional killing.
- There is a big distinction made between an unintentional killing and murder. Here, murder is preconceived. The murderer “lies in wait” according to the NRSV.
- When it comes to convicting a person one person’s witness will not do. There must be at least two (v.15).
- If the witness is lying, or proved to be a false witness, the people are to do to him what he intended to do to the one he was accusing (v.19).
- God is setting up this justice system among the Israelites to help “purge” them and make them a pure people (v.13, 19).
- There seems to be evenness to this justice system. You are treated as you treat others (v.21).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 18/Chapter 18

We continue the journey of exploring Deuteronomy. You can see that God is forming a people who are different and distinct from every other nation around them. He is trying to do something special with Israel. Here are some observations over chapter 18.

Chapter 18 observations
(1-8) This section focuses on the Levites, also known as God’s ministers. God has given this group, this whole tribe, no inheritance in Israel (I’m thinking that is referring to land?). God is their inheritance (v.2). They have to rely upon others completely. They eat of the offerings of the people. The offerings the Israelites bring to the place where God dwells (Tabernacle/Temple) are shared with them.

(9-13) God again informs the Israelites of how He does not want them to copy the “detestable” practices of the other nations. They are called to be different and set apart. God wants His people to be blameless. What are the other nations doing that is so bad? They are practicing magic, sacrificing their children in fire, casting spells, and talking to the dead (vv.10-11). These things take the Israelites focus off God.

(14-22) In this section we talk a little about prophets. Apparently the Israelites wanted a man to speak God’s message to them instead of God Himself (v.16). We have one of the marks of a true prophet given here; what he speaks must take place in order for him to be a true prophet of God. Obviously, there would have to be more to the test than this. You have to take into account the warnings given in chapter 13 about prophets.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 17/Chapter 17

I’ve reached the halfway point in my 34 days with the book of Deuteronomy. It has been a lot more interesting than I expected. I love watching and seeing how God provides and forms His people. He is trying so hard to create a people who love him with all their heart, soul, and strength (6:5).

Chapter 17 observations
(17:1-7) Chapter 17 continues that theme. God is working to keep His people’s focus on Him. He’s helping them be kingdom seekers. He doesn’t want them drifting away to worship other idols or be led astray. If anyone leads an Israelite astray, they are to investigate the matter thoroughly, have 2-3 witnesses, and stone the person to death. Why? God wants them to purge the evil from among them. This is how He had to work in this culture.

(17:8-13) We also learn that the Levites (the priests) can act in accordance with the appointed judge in cases that are too hard to handle. If contempt is shown towards the priest or judge the person is to be stoned.

(17:14-20) God obviously knows the Israelites will want to be like the other nations around them and be led by a king. So, in this section God gives them advice on picking a king. Choose only the king God selects. Sounds like some good advice! Then God shares what He wants the king to do. He wants the king to be very familiar with the law/His Word. He indicates that he wants the king to write the law and read it (vv.18-19). The promise, if the king does this, is that the king and his descendants will have a long and happy rule.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 16/Chapter 16

Chapter 16 observations
- This chapter divided up into six sections: vv.1-8, 9-12, 13-15, 16-17, 18-20, 21-22. There is a progression within each section; vv.1-17 deal with remembering what God has done, vv.18-20 deal with community relations, and vv.21-22 (this also includes 17:1) deal with the individual.
- Unleavened bread is called “the bread of affliction” in the fist section because it represents Israel’s time in Egypt and when God delivered them.
- The Israelites are to leave no leftovers in the morning when the sacrifice for Passover (v.4).
- Three times the people (the men) of Israel are to appear before God, the feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), Feast of Weeks (I think this is Pentecost), and Feast of Tabernacles.
- Judges and officials (v.18) are used in each of the Israel’s towns to help keep peace and bring justice to those who need it.
- In the last section (vv.21-22) God warns the people of turning to pagan practices (e.g., Asherah poles and sacred stones).

God, as we have seen already, is all about remembering. Here He establishes three big feasts/or parties. These times of celebration are a time for the community to come together and remember together what God has done. There is something powerful when people gather together with God as their reason for it. I can’t help but think of the church. We gather and remember what Christ has done and is still doing for us. We remember together, especially this time of year (Lent), the actions Jesus performed to deliver us from slavery to sin. As the hymn sings,
At the cross, at the cross where I fist saw the light
and the burden of my soul rolled away.
It was there by faith, I received my sight,
and now I am happy all the day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 15/ Chapter 15

Chapter 15 observations
- Chapter 15 has three parts to it: 1. Debt every seven years/taking care of the poor among you (vv.1-11), 2. Servants every seven years (vv.12-18), 3. How to sacrifice the firstborn of your flock (vv.19-23).
- At the end of every seven years the Israelites were to forget about their debts with their fellow brothers. This seems to be limited to just within the Israelites (v.3).
- God wants there to be no poor among them. He wants every person taken care of.
- God says the Israelites, “will lend to many nations but borrow from none.” America should try that. Apparently God doesn’t want His people in debt to other nations (it might put them under another nation), but He does want them giving.
- God wants His people to be open to helping a poor brother or sister around them. He doesn’t want them to be penny-pinchers with their money, but generous. He wants them helping others.
- When someone becomes the Israelites servant/slave they are to allow that person (man/woman) the opportunity to go free in the seventh year. God asks them to go even one step further in that they are to supply this former servant with all kinds of supplies and send him off like Egypt sent off the Israelites (vv.14-15).
- It was important in setting aside animals from the flock for sacrifice that the animal be absolutely perfect. God want the absolute best set apart for Him.

God has a radical way of dealing with debt. What was He up to in regards to these commands? God was building Himself into their calendars for the long haul. What was God’s plan in all this? Freedom and forgiveness. You can see obvious parallels to what Jesus offers. Jesus came to cancel debts, but He also comes to proclaim freedom in the kingdom of God. He cancels our debt and frees us from slavery so we can choose to live life with Him. Are you ready to have your ear lobe pierced?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 14/Chapter 14

Chapter 14 observations
This next section of Deuteronomy is an interesting one. It falls into the additional requirements for the people of Israel. First and foremost they were to be God’s people and obey Him. I believe you could sum up the first section of Deuteronomy (chapters 4-11) with Jesus’ words in the Gospels. “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” That is the essence and message of God’s main requirement in Deuteronomy. This next section moves into the extra things to help the people love Him and their neighbors.

If I were to give a sermon over this section it would cover things like:
- Reasons to avoid copying pagan practices (i.e., what to think about the dead, how to memorialize them without idolizing them, what to eat, what not to eat).

- How to give and tithe to God. They were to give a tenth to the LORD and eat this tenth in His presence (the Tabernacle/Temple). Every three years they were to store up their tithes in a storehouse for the Levites (Priests), the alien, fatherless, and widows. So, you see a sense of helping and taking responsibility while giving. Giving was God’s way to teach His people to rely on Him and be thankful.
I guess you could argue that they were not tithing money and so I do not need to tithe money, but their culture and context was different than ours. Money for them would have been what their fields produced, the grain, the wine, the oil, along with the herding type animals they raised (i.e., sheep, goats, cows, etc.). If you don’t believe me that these things were just as good as money look at verse 25. It says they can exchange their tithe (their grains, cattle, oil) for silver (that’s money!). To give a tenth of these was to tithe their income. God wanted them doing this. He says in verse 23 that this will help them, “revere the LORD your God always.”

- I think I would then explore how we give and why. What is our purpose in giving? Why do we do it? Do we think of it as a learning experience? Do we think that tithing can teach us to trust God?

Think that would work as a sermon?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 13/Chapter 13

I’m finding it hard to be consistent in this endeavor to spend time with Deuteronomy. I’m finding every reason not to have time to read. Sound familiar? I'm finding it even harder to write about it. Maybe that is because my writing skills are way above par and I can't put into words what I'm thinking. That is frustrating. You could probably reverse that too and find some truth! One thing I have discovered is that anything we set out to do on a consistent basis takes commitment and sacrifice. Give me persistence God!

Chapter 13 observations
- Verses 1 through 5 deals with how to handle a false prophet who would entice you to worship other gods.
- Verses 6 through 11 deals with how to handle family/friends who would lead you astray.
- According to verse 10, you are to stone any individual who would try and get you to worship another god.
- Verses 12 through 18 deal with how to handle a town’s/city’s rebellion. According to these verses they are to burn the city and everything in it and never rebuild it.

This chapter sheds some light on the reasons Jesus’ antagonists wanted to stone Him. They were just following the words in Deuteronomy. Jesus’ presented such a radical picture of God that they thought He was “enticing them to serve other gods.” However, I think if they would have inquired, probed and investigated (v.14) Jesus’ words they would have discovered Truth in what He was saying. I believe there is consistency and logic in Jesus’ teachings about God. It’s just a matter of sitting down and “reasoning together”, as the prophet Isaiah would say, over His words.

Why do so many people just walk away from Him or not even consider Him in the first place? I just heard that more and more people in America are becoming “unreligious” and walking away from religion. Why? Maybe we need a fresh picture of God. A picture so radical that we would fall on our knees and repent and cry. So many individuals throughout the Gospels (e.g., lepers, sick, mistreated, sinners) were given a fresh perspective when they encountered the Person of Jesus Christ. I pray that you (myself included) would encounter His Person today.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 12/Chapter 12

Chapter 12 observations
- This chapter is about worship. About how to worship and how not to worship.
- God has specific instructions for how He wants the Israelites to worship. He does not want them to worship in the way the other nations do (v.4). As a matter of fact He wants everything related to their worship (e.g., altars, sacred stones, Asherah poles, idols) completely destroyed.
- Worship of God will take place in a place of God’s choosing.
- The “Name”, or God Himself, will dwell in that place (v.5).
- The rest of the chapter give some specific instructions related to worship.
Space can be sacred. It is to God. What makes a space sacred or special? In Deuteronomy 12 God is the one who sets apart space and makes it sacred. But, the Israelites are to do the same thing. They are to live in the reality of this sacred space. This is the message of verse 7, “There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.”

Monday, March 09, 2009

Day 11/Chapter 11

Took a break yesterday. Losing that hour to DLST has messed me up a little.

Chapter 11 observations
- We have more repetition and reminders of where the Israelites have been and where they are going.
- God wants the Israelites to love Him with everything they got and serve Him.
- Obedience to Him is so important because this group’s children were not witnesses to what God did in Egypt (v.2). So, they could easily forget about the LORD and serve other gods. Maybe this is why there is so much emphasis on remembering the past?
- This going in and taking the land God is going to give them requires strength from above through obedience to His commands (v.8).
- Verse 19 reminds us again of how important a role the family plays in Christian education. Parents are to take advantage of every opportunity to teach their children God’s commands.
- You have the way of the blessing and the way of the curse mentioned in verses 26-29. They are to proclaim the curse from Mount Ebal and the blessing from Mount Gerizim.

God is thinking ahead in these verses. He is thinking about Israel’s children. He knows firsthand how easily the people of Egypt forget about Him and move towards worshipping other gods. If it is that easy for them, imagine how easy it would be for Israelites born after the exodus from Egypt? God is worried, I think, about second-generation Israelites. Why? Because of their parents. Their parents struggled (read Exodus and you’ll see how much they struggled) to love God and obey Him fully. So, should it be any surprise that their children will do the exact same thing? God wants us to have a strong and vibrant faith because it sets the example for our children. God wants us to be teaching our children by example. Children learn by imitating, but they need an example of what to imitate. If we have nothing to put out as an example for them, then we shouldn’t expect a vibrant and strong faith from them.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Day 10/Chapter 10

I thought there was a great picture of God’s heart and love in this chapter.

Chapter 10 observations
- The opening part of this chapter is God’s response to Moses’ prayer in chapter 9. He doesn’t destroy the Israelites like He wanted to do. Instead he has Moses cut two tablets out of rock and gives him the 10 Commandments again.
- What is with this whole notion of God wanting to destroy the Israelites, but changing His mind? Did He really want to destroy them or was this idea purely from Moses’ point of view? Can a man/woman change the mind of God? Was this just God “venting” to Moses about his frustrations with the Israelites and Moses took it the wrong way?
- The tribe of Levi is set apart to tend to the ark, pronounces blessings, and minister before the Lord (v.8). You find out when that happened here.
- Verses 12-22 is a beautiful passage. You have what God wants from the Israelites (e.g., respect Him, love Him whole-heartedly, love their neighbor).
- “To fear him,” is to respect and know He is God and King (v.12).
- “To walk in his ways,” is to live life in Him. “Walk” is used in Hebrew as an expression for “to live,” or “one’s life” (v.12).
- “To love him,” means to put God first and cherish Him (v.12). They are to try their best at this. Obviously their love will be qualitatively different from God’s love, but they are to love him in the best way they can.
- “To serve Him,” is to put love for Him into action (v.12).
- “To obey his commands,” is to show love for Him that is from the heart (v.13).
- This chapter ends with a section I titled “Why you should love God” (verses 14-22).

Friday, March 06, 2009

Day 9/Chapter 9

This thirty-four day journey has been interesting. I didn’t think a book like Deuteronomy would speak to me as much, as say, the Gospel of John or James. I was wrong. You would be surprised at how relevant and interesting this book is.

Chapter 9 observations
- We are about ready to leave the desert and cross the Jordan River (v.1).
- The people on the other side are going to create some problems for the Israelites. However, if they will obey God and listen to Him, He will aid them in defeating their enemies.
- I always wondered why this land as the Promised Land? What was it about this land?
- A subtle reminder is given in verse 4 that God is not driving out these other nations because the Israelites are better than them (more righteous), it is because the other nations are so “wicked”. In other words, God doesn’t the Israelites to start thinking they are better because they are Israelites. The people favored by God. God actually refers to the Israelites as “stiff-necked people” throughout this chapter. Very similar to what Stephen said in Acts 7.
- I was unaware Moses did two 40 day fast without bread or water (v.9, v.18).
- Moses’ prayer for the stubborn Israelites can be found in verses 26-29. This is a prayer well worth studying. How does God respond to Moses’ prayer? That is in chapter 10.
- This is a good chapter for those interested in intercessory prayer. Moses talks about how he interceded on Aaron’s behalf and the Israelites behalf (vv.19-20).

Again we are recapping Israel’s history as we slowly move towards the Promise Land. There has been so much looking back and remembering in these first nine chapters. This somewhat flies in the face of what we teach and preach. We say look forward and forget the past. God says look forward while remembering the past. Apparently God and Moses, working together of course, feel the need to remind Israel of its history and where she has come from through the writing of Deuteronomy. This journey to the Promise Land has shaped and molded her. She has had the opportunity to draw near to God and see that He is all that He says He is.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Day 8/Chapter 8

Chapter 8 observations
- The LORD does not want the Israelites to forget what He has done. Remembering Egypt is another central theme in this book.
- The time in the desert (the 40 yrs) was a period of testing for the Israelites. God wanted to see what was in their heart. In hard times our heart is revealed.
- Their time in the desert was a time of reliance upon God. They became hungry and had nothing to eat, so God fed them. Remember the manna and quail?
- The rest of the chapter encourages and warns the Israelites to not forget about God when things are going well. When their riches are increasing and they have food of their own, they better not forget about what God has done for them.

How important is remembering to our salvation journey? We each have a particular point or a particular time we received Jesus into our lives. From that time on things were different. We were awakened. We were led out of captivity. God did a wonderful work in us. I can’t help but see parallels between our stories and Israel’s story. If you think about it long enough, Israel’s story is our story too, because we have been grafted into the family of God. God has chosen us too. Our heritage, our story to remember, is the story of Israel.
What do you think about that

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Day 7/Chapter 7

I keep pressing on towards the goal. I’m on my seventh day of reading and reflecting on Deuteronomy. It has been a blessing. So far, reading these seven chapters of Deuteronomy has been kind of like a re-cap of the book of Exodus. You get this feeling God is sitting down in a chair telling this story to a new generation of followers. There has been a lot more excitement to this book than anticipated.

Chapter 7 observations
- The conquering of the Promise Land is going to be some work. They must completely destroy the groups of people totally. These different groups of people must be completely given over to the LORD.
- The Israelites are a treasured possession to God (v.6).
- Establishing Israel in the Promise Land is going to be a process. It is going to happen little by little. Would I have the patience for this?
- God’s plan for them is very smart and thought out. He isn’t driving all of the different groups out because wild animals would move in and take over parts of the Promise Land if He did (v.22).
- You see towards the end of this chapter that things can be “set apart” for destruction as much as they can for God. We talk of holiness as a person being “set apart” for God, but here you see and hear something a little different. Here the talk is of idols and what those idols will do if the Israelites do not completely destroy them.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Day 6/Chapter 6

Chapter 6 notes
- Why did Moses have to be the one who taught the Israelites God’s decrees and commands? Verse 1 tells us He was directed by the LORD God to do so.
- The shema (means “hear” in Hebrew) is found in vv.4-9.
- There is to be a constant talking about God’s commands and laws according to vv.7-9. Whether the language is literal or figurative the point is that we are always to be aware of and teaching them to others (e.g. our children).
- If the Israelites are asked by their children why they have such laws and decrees they are to tell them the story of their time in Egypt.
- Verse 25 caught my attention for a couple of reasons. In the New Testament, Jesus taught a righteousness that comes from God that was way above our human attempts to be righteous. Here it is implied that by following the laws of the LORD one can possess righteousness. Is that a right standing before God? Is that in regards to the relationship one has with God?

Again you see the important role teaching and educating one’s children plays. Over and over the Bible places an emphasis on the parents/leader of the household as being the primary Christian educator. I think families today put too much weight in the church to do this. We expect, and rightfully so, our children to go and learn about God at the church, but it cannot stop there. It must come home! We have to be striving to teach our children to obey God’s commands. How does that happen? It starts with us. We have to be following God and obeying. Maybe this is why so many parents today don’t want to teach their children. Maybe this is why parents expect the church to do something and educate their children. So, what role does the church play in all of this? The church is there to equip parents and resource them in teaching their children. Maybe some of you pastors out there could share with us how you equip parents through the church to teach their children God's Word?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Day 5/Chapter 5

I’m up a little later than usual, but I’m up. It has been energizing to start each day with God’s Word. I can’t think of any better way to be “transformed by the renewing of your minds” than this. I’m now sitting down and preparing for the meat and potatoes of Deuteronomy. This should be interesting and good stuff.

Chapter 5 observations
- There continues to be a constant call from God to remember Egypt. Why is that? That was a bad experience for the Israelites. Why would they want to remember?
- We begin with a rehashing of the 10 Commandments (vv.7-21) that are found in Exodus chapter 20.
- The Commandments can be divided up into two categories: Those dealing with God (vv.7-15) and those dealing with neighbor (vv.16-21). Seeing them like this helps us understand how Jesus was able to sum them up when He said, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.”
- The following verses give more detail in regards to how Moses received the Commandments and the people’s initial response. Things started well (v.27).
- “That there hearts would be inclined,” (v.29) is an interesting statement. The 10 Commandments weren’t just a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” to be followed outwardly, but obedience to them was to come from the heart. The heart being the will/spirit of a person.
- “Walk” (v.33) is used in Hebrew as an idiom for one’s way of life. It’s very similar to what John says in 1 John 1:7. In Deuteronomy the Israelites are encouraged to live life with God.

I’ve been thinking on the importance of the Israelites remembering Egypt. Why did God want them, and remind them so many times, to not forget about their time in Egypt? When we have bad experiences we want to put them behind us and move on. We don’t want to be reminded of them. That’s an individual thing though, this is a whole nation. God asks a whole nation to not forget their slavery and oppression in Egypt. What is God up to? Why the constant reminders? Do they have to look back to move ahead? Can’t they just forget about those painful memories and move on? Is there something more to this?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Day 4/Chapter 4

Chapter 4 observations
- Here we are introduced to the introduction of the laws and decrees of the Lord.
- Other nations will consider Israel wise and understanding if they keep the laws and decrees (v.6).
- There is a nearness to God that the Israelites have, the rest of the chapter reinforces that through reminders, which other nations do not.
- These laws and decrees are going to be respected among others (v.8).
- Moses asks the Israelites to teach these laws to their children and grandchildren.
- There is a constant reminder to remember the past. To remember the “iron smelting furnace” the Lord delivered His people from (v.20).
- There is also a constant call away from idolatry in verse 14-31.
- Moses asks the Israelites to make the decision with their hearts who they will follow. Will it be God or some idol made from human hands?
- If for some reason the Israelites fall into idolatry they can seek the Lord with all their heart and soul and find Him (v.29).
- God is mentioned as being merciful (v.31) and loving (v.37).
- The Israelites are to “take to heart” all that God has done for them (v.39).
- Keeping the laws and decrees is a must. Our theme of obedience continues in this chapter.
- It’s interesting that Moses is God’s go-to-man in bringing the law and decrees to the Israelites. Moses had to know God pretty well to understand why these laws and decrees were needed. You even get a sense that Moses was following these laws and decrees before them (v.5).
- This chapter concludes with Moses establishing several cities of refuge (vv.41-43) and some closing remarks regarding the context for the giving of the law (vv.44-49).

Attention parents! Parents don’t underestimate the role you play in your child’s faith development. It is huge! In fact, I would say the primary Christian educator for children is their parent(s). I think Moses would agree with that (v.9). Do we really follow and believe this today? Don’t we naturally lean towards the notion that we will just let the church do it? Sunday School is great, but if that is the only time your child is learning about God, I feel sorry for them. That’s a measly 1 hour a week. To put that in better perspective there are a 168 hours in a week and your child is spending 1 hour a week intentionally learning about God. That just doesn’t cut it. No wonder so many people are Biblically illiterate. It’s time to take responsibility for what God has given us.

So, how do we take back our role as the primary Christian educator in our households? This is something I’ll be thinking of as I read Deuteronomy.