Deuteronomy is possibly the longest sermon ever given, preached by Moses as Israel is about to enter the Promised Land. As Moses exhorts Israel to live faithfully, we discover rich and practical insights about what the God we serve is like, what it means to live his way, the nature of worship, and God's view on leadership. Most importantly, Paul Barker points us to the difference that Jesus has made, enabling Christians to respond to God more faithfully than Israel did.
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Many Christians have a bit of an aversion to the Old Testament. We know the classic Sunday School stories and some of the comforting Psalms, but otherwise we can be reluctant to delve into the first three-quarters of the Bible. Perhaps this is because we fear the unknown. Or perhaps our understanding of the fact that we belong to the new covenant leads us to mistakenly disregard the old one.
But the Old Testament will inspire, challenge and deepen your Christian faith every bit as much as the New Testament, and Deuteronomy is a great place to start. This book records the final, stirring sermon of Moses, as the Israelites overlook the Promised Land and the leadership baton is passed to Joshua.
Deuteronomy keeps bringing us back to the one living God. In contrast to the pagan gods and idols, there is no other. He alone is the God who has spoken (to Israel at Mount Sinai), and he alone is the God who has rescued a people from slavery (rescuing Israel from Egypt).
Holy, merciful, and unfailingly faithful to his promises to Abraham, this God persists in loving this wayward people. And this one God calls his people Israel to love him with everything, in response to his actions of redemption and provision. Every area of life is to be devoted to this God: one life under the one God. Yes, many of the laws in this book appear peculiar to us—yet many continue to make good sense and to reflect the just and caring standards of God himself. And though it is not always obvious, this great Old Testament book keeps directing and driving us to the one who is greater than Moses: Jesus himself. On resurrection day, the two men walking to Emmaus hear their companion (who turns out to be Jesus) speak of how the Scriptures were fulfilled in himself: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Jesus is the one who rescues his people not from slavery to a nation, but from slavery to sin; who speaks with even greater authority than Moses; who finally removes the curse of the law.
So welcome to Deuteronomy, the climactic final book in the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses). I pray that you will live your one life under the one living God, as Deuteronomy so persuasively urges its readers to do.
— Paul Barker, July 2011