In the Christian life we are called to remember that regardless of how forsaken things might seem to the eyes, the heart knows different. We know that whether we are high or low, safe or in prison, to give glory to the Lord.
Christopher J.H. Wright has described the book of Deuteronomy as the heartbeat of the Old Testament. Along with Isaiah and the Psalms it is the most quoted book by Jesus and the Apostles. It is filled with electric passages that describe the love of Jehovah for His covenant people. There is so much gospel flowing from the fingers of God’s prophet as he writes that the book would not be out of place in the least in the New Testament. Just as Christ has His Beatitudes so too does Moses. With this it also has in its scope a number of warnings from God to the Israelites concerning how they are to behave and believe once they cross the Jordan and go to conquer the Promised Land. Over the next several months we are going to be spending time meditating on what we at Bethany can learn from this portion of Holy Scripture. In the Hebrew the title is literally “These Are the Words”. Our English name comes from the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. There the authors call it, “deuteronomion”, which means the second law. It gets that from the fact that a good portion of it is a retelling of the book of the covenant in Exodus 21-23. There are some added thoughts from Moses to help the generation which had come of age in the Wilderness understand with clearer minds the requirements God provides His people to follow. As we walk through each of the sections every Lord’s Day the goal of the sermon series will be to grow our appreciation for the beauty of God’s law, His wisdom, and how He cares for His Church. Our LORD is as interested in preparing us for our entrance into the Heavens as He was the Israelites to cross the Jordan.
In our first sermon from Deuteronomy we are going to hear a call from Moses to give to the LORD in act of worship the first fruits of the harvests that come from the initial crop which will be produced after the Canaanites, Amalekites, and others are defeated by Joshua and God’s army. As part of his testimony to the Israelites Moses majors on helping the people understand that everything that they now have is a gift of Jehovah. Everything they do in the present and in the future is to be informed by the fact that He has brought their current wealth out of His good will and love for them. There is one particular part of the ceremony of the feast that is worth noting in this morning’s worship and prayer help.