In my journey of chronological Bible reading, lately I’ve been walking through Deuteronomy.
The Israelites’ preparation to cross the Jordan River, the defeat of kings, the miracles of God, challenges to leaders, a renewed covenant (chapter 5). I read about festivals and feasts, stubbornness and tithing. It makes me sad to think when Christians don’t think a book like Deuteronomy has any real relevance in their today.
Deuteronomy 8 might be among my favorite chapters in the Bible. Remember and obey.
And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. v. 2-3
Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. v. 17-18
How quickly I forgot God’s faithfulness. How swiftly I lean into my own understanding because I have forgotten a promise in the Bible.
In Deuteronomy there are many instances where Moses, and God, are challenging the Israelites to remember and obey. Remember how faithful and good God has been, remember how difficult and horrible life was in Egypt. Remember how God fed and clothed you, how he helped you win battles and defeat foes. Remember how he loves you.
I am an Israelite. I sometimes forget the weight of my calling, I forget His way, resulting in idolatry, selfishness, fear, and discouragement.
The people are told to be diligent in staying close to God’s commandments, to do them. Deuteronomy 4:6 says, ‘Be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surly this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
They are instructed continually to remember how God personally intervened in their suffering, in their mega-humanness.
He wants us to obey Him because His way of life is truly the best way of life.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul.” (10:12)
His commandments were (and are still today) given to protect and provide for us, not punish us. And when we obey Him with our hearts all in, His loyalty is steadfast and strong. “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.” (7:12)