"These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. ...Across the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law, saying:" (Deuteronomy 1:1, 5 HCSB)
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to tell your children something one time and they would always do it? But, that isn't the reality. Parents often find themselves repeating, "Brush your teeth. Get in the bed. Have you done your homework?" If I had a dollar for every time I have had to say the same things, I would be a rich man!
So, it should not surprise us that as we read the Scriptures we don't find that many different things, just the same things over and over. Our Father in heaven has some strong-willed, thick-skulled children who just don't get it!
A new pastor came to a troubled congregation where strife was synonymous with the church's name. The first Sunday, he took his text from 1 John 4:7, "Beloved, let us love one another..." and preached a powerful message. When the people came back the next Sunday, he did the same. After a month of this, the deacons had a meeting and asked him, "When are you going to stop preaching, 'Love one another' ?" His answer was, "When you, 'Love one another!' "
That is what you have when you get to Deuteronomy. In fact, the title of the book means, "second law." It isn't a second law that was different and distinct from the first, but a second giving of the same! Israel heard the same thing again because they didn't obey it the first time. We are no different.
There is another reason why Moses found it essential to share these words once more. During the forty years that Israel had wandered in the desert, the entire adult populace had died out as God's judgment for their refusal to enter the land. Even Moses was soon to die and leave it to Joshua--who along with Caleb would be the sole survivors who left Egypt as adults--to lead them into Canaan. That new generation had to be grounded in the Word, lest they follow the same fate as their unbelieving parents. The cycle of unbelief needed to be broken and the Word of God will do that, as promised, "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ." (Romans 10:17 HCSB).
Every generation that comes along needs to hear the truth. It is our responsibility and privilege to share it with them. Moses would be faithful to do so. Will we?
Our study of Deuteronomy will conclude the Pentateuch--the five books of Moses. We began with God's creation of humanity and his covenant with a chosen people he would form from Abraham's family as related in Genesis. Exodus took us into Egypt where the Hebrews had indeed become many, but were enslaved and we saw them redeemed by the blood of the lamb and delivered by God's mighty power. Leviticus focused on our worship of God. God had sought out a people to worship Him in spirit and truth. The instruction manual for such worship was given. From our worship of God in Leviticus, we came to our walk with God in Numbers. We have seen how we are pilgrims passing through the wilderness of this world. Now, we study our word from God. Not a new word, but a repeating of the same word. God is so patient in giving it because we are so persistent in not getting it!
We need to get it--these are the words of life!
Now, you'll have to excuse me--I've got to go and tell a kid to get up and get ready for school. How many times have I done that? If today is the same as most days, I will repeat it to the same boy, use the same words and with increasing intensity. There my even be a threat that comes if my command is ignored.
That's what fathers do. It's what our Heavenly Father does. We better get up and get with it!