The Lord desires for His people to know His story, pass it on to others, and to walk in obedience as His image bearers. Moses says to Israel, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Today we see three truths regarding elevating God’s word, obeying His word, and remembering Him.
- Know His story and pass it down – “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates… When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. Then He brought us out from there.’”
- Be holy and set apart – Moses tells the Israelites not to make covenants with the people around them, not to intermarry with the people around them, and not to worship their false gods. “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt… Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments… Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.”
- Remember the faithful God and His word – “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Then God warns his people to be careful when they enter the new land and get all fat and happy that they don’t forget Him. God knows how we tend to neglect Him when things are going well for us. This is why He says to Israel, “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
There is nothing that Israel did to deserve this land. The conquest of the promised land will solely be an act of the Lord on behalf of His chosen people and a punishment to the wicked ones walking outside of the presence of the Lord and His commandments – “It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.” It is by God’s grace that the Israelites are going to receive the promised land.
We end the reading with Moses recalling the epic fail with the golden calf in the wilderness. Have the children of Israel learned from their past mistakes? Will pride come with battle success and the new land? Will they forget the Lord? Keep reading to find out. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9:29)