Daily reading assignment – Deuteronomy 5-7
Moses summoned the people, and he began to rehearse the covenant the LORD had established with the nation and their corporate obligation to “hear…learn…keep, and do” all He had commanded them (5:1).
After reviewing the Ten Commandments (5:6-21), Moses reminded the people that the LORD Himself “wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me” (5:22). He promised He would bless the nation; however, His promises were conditioned on their fearing Him and keeping His commandments (5:29).
Knowing the future of the nation was dependent on the people’s fearing and revering the LORD (6:3),each generation was to communicate the statutes and laws of the LORD to their sons and daughters (Deuteronomy 6:1-2).
When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the greatest (Matthew 22:36-37), He quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 as the sum of the Law: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
After rehearsing the past providences and promises of the LORD (6:20-25), Moses challenged the people to be confident in Him. The God who delivered them out of Egypt would drive the heathen nations out of their land (Deuteronomy 7:1). They were to be intolerant of the heathen: “smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them” (7:2).
Antagonists of Christianity take the commands given to Israel in Deuteronomy 7 out of historical context and foolishly equate them to our day. Some deride the Bible as a violent book and intimate Christianity is as evil as militant Islam. Those who assert such are either disingenuous or ignorant.
It is true the LORD commanded Israel to not covenant with other nations or tolerate intermarriage of their children with heathens (7:3-4), as was the custom of enemies who sought peace through marrying and giving in marriage their sons and daughters. However, the LORD is jealous of His people, and He knew well the influence idol worshippers would have on their hearts (7:4).
We find the New Testament equivalent of amazing grace in Deuteronomy 7:6-8. The LORD had chosen Israel and commanded them to be a “holy people” (7:6); however, it was not because they were deserving of His favor. Israel was chosen because “the LORD loved” them (7:8), and because He loved them, He promised to bless them “above all people” (7:7-14)!
God’s love for Israel was unconditional; however, His promise of blessings was conditioned on Israel’s trusting Him and purging the land of its idols and those who worshipped them (7:15-26).
I close with two spiritual lessons from today’s study.
1) Moses challenged Israel to remember the LORD’S promises and providences, and we should do the same. We need to remember and never forget how the LORD saved us from the curse and bondage of sin through Christ’s sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 3:23-28).
2) The second lesson is, obedience bears the promise of God’s blessing. Moses challenged Israel to obey the LORD’s instructions, assuring the people their God was intimately invested in the “good [of Israel] always” and their preservation as His chosen people (6:24). It is that same assurance Paul gives believers when he writes,
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith