In our reading this week, we’ll be taking a deeper look at Deuteronomy 6. Today we’ll be looking at the world behind the text of this great passage. If you’d like a refresher of the three “worlds” of the text, you can click here to read last week’s explanation.
Today’s let’s look at Deuteronomy. Did you know that the Ten Commandments are given twice in the Old Testament? They are found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Why is this? Is it like the Gospels that tell the story of Jesus from different perspectives? No, not exactly. Deuteronomy means “the second giving.” Exodus is the first giving of the Law. This happens not long after the Exodus from Egypt. Moses goes up on the mountain and is given the Law. The people, however, rebel against God. God shows mercy, but eventually, after their refusal to go into the Promised Land because they are afraid, God tells them that the generation that left Eghpy will not enter into the Promised Land. They will die in the wilderness. It will be their children that will inherit the promise.
This was the first giving fo the Law to the parent.
Deuteronomy is the second giving. This is the giving fo the Law to their children before they enter into the Promised Land. Now, the law that was given to the parents must be given again to the children. Faith is something that is taught and modeled by the previous generation, but it must be accepted by the next generation. That is why the law is given again. This is for them.
Exodus and Leviticus are that first giving of the law and are hopeful, in spite of failings. Numbers is sad because the people refuse to enter the Promised Land and punished. Deuteronomy is hopeful because now the children will succeed where their parents failed.
Now a quick note about the Law. The Law is used to mark the people as different from their neighbors. They are set apart. They are different. They eat different. They worship different. They love different. They are different. They are holy. They are marked, through circumcision, and their morality and their lifestyles are different from their world. While we don’t follow the purity laws of the Old Testament (see Acts), we do follow that moral code, and we follow that example. We are different. We are marked (baptism), and we worship different, we follow different, and we love different. The law marked the people as different from their culture just as Jesus and His law makes us different.
Tomorrow, we will look at the world of the text.
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