Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quoting Deuteronomy to the Devil

Temptation of Christ, by  Immenraet. 1663. Public domain. Via Wikimedia Commons.  
It's pretty well-known that when the Devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus answered him by quoting exclusively out of the book of Deuteronomy.

Which was my heads-up that I ought to start paying more attention to Deuteronomy.

So, when Deuteronomy came around in the readings again this year, just before Lent, I tried to pay attention. I listened to Deuteronomy on audiobook, with my browser open to Bible Gateway, so I could quickly look up any passages that caught my attention, keeping them tabbed for later study.

Here are a couple of passages that did catch - and hold - my attention:

A prophet from among your brethren:
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command." - Deuteronomy 18:15-18
This, of course, is Moses, speaking to the people of Israel, reminding them of the time that they begged the Lord not to speak with them. Sounds weird to our ears, right? Begging not to hear from the Lord?

But: "They have spoken well," says the Lord. What? Sounds so strange to me. But look at what follows, "I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put my words in his mouth . . ."

This is why it sounds strange. Because we live in these latter days, after the incarnation of Christ, in the days when we may approach God, may truly call him Father. Jesus, a prophet from among us. Jesus, God become man.

God made a way for us to be able to bear to hear Him.

Pure mercy and grace.

Rejoice in all that you put your hand unto:
There also you and your households shall eat before the Lord your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.  -Deuteronomy 12:7 
I have nothing profound to say here. It just struck me as beautiful and kind that part of the prescribed worship for God's people was to spend some time feasting before Him and rejoicing in the good work He'd given them to do, and the richness that had come out of that work, because of God's blessing it.

He shall read therein all the days of his life:
“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel." -Deuteronomy 17:18-20
Here is a mandate for daily devotions if I have ever heard one. If the king of Israel was supposed to keep the Law by him and read it every day that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, shouldn't we, who are so blessed as to have copy after copy in our homes? Rich as kings, we are. We ought to act like kings, too, and study that we not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left.

So that's what I found on my read-through this time. What's your favorite part of Deuteronomy?

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

p.s. I stole the title for this post from Rich Mullins.


jen said...

I loved Rich Mullins. A few years ago, I found YouTube videos of him performing at Wheaton and linked them on my blog.

I'm a fan of the Shema from Deuteronomy 6.

Jessica Snell said...

Yeah . . . it's hard to beat the Shema. :D

I love Rich Mullins, too. I think, in a real way, becoming familiar with his music in my teenage years really formed my devotional life - in a good way. I'd be a different person without his work. He's really one of the saints I thank God for.

Anonymous said...

I read Deut. 28 yesterday and verse 47 really spoke to me. We should serve The Lord with joy and gladness of heart--or we are in danger of being subject to our ebemies. And some of the consequences of disobedience in those chapters are dread, frustration and confusion.

I love the Biola Lent Project and greatly appreciated the devotional today!