January 01, 2008

I'm Telling You Again

Deuteronomy 1:1-5

Moses began to expound this law ...
Deuteronomy 1:5


How many times have you reminded your children not to touch a hot stove or say a bad word? It seems that some things just have to be repeated again and again, from one generation to the next.

As we read through Deuteronomy this month, you may think to yourself, "I've read this before." And you probably have-in Exodus, Leviticus, or Numbers.

So why the repetition? In those books Moses was speaking to one generation of the children of Israel. But that generation died in the desert, so in Deuteronomy Moses speaks to the next generation also. Moses repeats God's instructions from Mount Sinai and retraces Israel's travels in the desert so that this new generation will know how to obey God as they enter the promised land.

Deuteronomy calls this combination of history and instruction "this law." Like the constitution of your country, "this law" describes how Israel will live among other nations. "This law" is not just a code. It is God's voice-his Sinai speech repeated by the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. When Moses spoke "this law," Israel heard God's voice.

Moses repeated these instructions so that all generations of God's people could live safely in God's presence. Later God also spoke through the greatest prophet of all: Jesus Christ. Let us hear God's words and live.

Thank you, Lord, for speaking the wonderful words of life. We need to hear them again and again. As we begin a new year, help us also to live by them. In Christ's name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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