Words of Life
When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” -Deuteronomy 32:45-47
The books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy record the 40 years the people of Israel spent in the wilderness and Moses’ last teaching to the people as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Numbers records the list of names of the tribes who left Egypt (the first list) and the names within the tribes of Israel of those who entered into the Promised Land (the last list). The middle portion is basically “Exodus, part 2”, recounting the events and stories of the people for 40 years in the wilderness. The people disobeyed, disbelieved, and disagreed with God… but God was still faithful.
Deuteronomy is essentially Moses’ last sermon to the people. He wants to compel them to remember God’s faithfulness when they enter the Promised Land. It would be easy for them to forget God when things seem to be going well. Don’t we often return back to God when things are going wrong? However, when things are ok, we tend to forget how God has blessed us and been faithful in providing for our needs. Moses wanted to remind the people that even when he wasn’t there to help them stay close to God, that God was always there for them. “These words…. are your life.”
Your law is perfect, oh LORD, but we are not. Rather than understanding the ways your will for us would revive us, make us wise and bring us joy, we bristle at the thought of submission. We pretend that we know better, that our desires and motives are pure. In our pride, we lose our awe, our fear of your majesty and power. Give us hearts that know the value of keeping your commandments and minds that desire understanding of your will more than the purest gold or the sweetest honey. Grant us humility; clear us from our hidden faults. Help us to be the people you made each of us to be, so that together we might be the body you call us to be. Amen