This week at CCIW, we start a series in the big, bold, brassy book of Deuteronomy, 3000+ years old, and as relevant today as it was then. Moses’ first speech (roughly Chs 1-4) reaches a crescendo where he invites an examination of all that has taken place across time and space and see if any other god has been there or done what the Lord has done. It’s stirring stuff!
Here is my attempt to bridge the time horizon:
Each of the speeches tells essentially the same story – Israel is poised on the edge of the land of Canaan, on the cusp of the promise. Behind her is an incredible journey, one that could have taken 3 weeks, but which has instead taken 40 years. In front of her is the land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, the land which drips with peace, shalom, rest in the presence of God, life in all its fulness. And Deuteronomy tells its story from the perspective of the pause, the precise moment in the eye of the storm, when the wind dies down, and the sounds of silence reign, with the Exodus behind and the land in front, and it’s decision time. It’s decision time for one simple reason – the promise is entered into by faith, active, living, risk taking, sometimes seemingly nutty faith, and the question is, will Israel decide for or against faith? Will she live in trusting obedience to God and so inherit the promise, or fail again?
It’s this aspect of Deuteronomy, the fact that it is set in the pause, that fact that it is set in the moment of decision, that makes it so powerful for us too. You see, in a very real sense, we too are situated with an exodus behind, the exodus of Jesus from the tomb of death; and with the promise ahead of us, the promise of the end of sin and death and corruption and violence and grief, all of them utterly eradicated from the glory ready to be revealed to us, the glory of the age to come. And so the word of God calls us also to decision – as long as it is called ‘today’, do not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, don’t fail to see, don’t be tricked into missing the fact that the path you walk, the life you construct by the decisions you make, that will determine your destiny, just like it determined the destiny of Israel.
What do you think of the Biblical theological method here?