It All Belongs Together
Almighty God, my strength and my defender, today I remember those who bought the freedoms of our nation with a dear price.
Read Deuteronomy 4:1-14,32-40
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Nothing whatsoever compares with Yahweh, or stands in the same category as he does.. . . Yahweh alone is ‘the God’” (Christopher Wright).
Analytical thought purposes to separate concepts and themes, putting facts into boxes and filing under keywords. Seeing the comparative interrelatedness of the whole is another matter. Today’s reading (like much in the Bible) bundles together many events, experiences and responsibilities, past, present and future.
An exhortation opens our reading, to follow “decrees and laws.” Immediately linked is the place where these are to be lived out, “the land” that the Lord “is giving you,” with long continuity of relationship affirmed by “the God of your ancestors” (1,2). Following a brief reminder of recent consequences of alternative responses (3-4; Num. 25; Josh. 22:17; Psa. 106:28), the appeal is mainly positive. The people must not forget the law’s origin at Horeb in God’s unique awe-inspiring presence and speaking (10-15,32,33,35,36). In turn the Horeb revelation belongs with the powerful deliverance from Egypt, a people-forming step before entering the land (20,34,37,38). The writer to Hebrews speaks of an even greater deliverance and revelation that is treated lightly at our peril (Heb. 12:18-29).
Furthermore, God’s unique presence and the practical wisdom behind the laws are to be so evident in the corporate life of the people in the land that “the nations” will be attracted (5-8). We see a similar purpose in Jesus’ words that people “may see your good deeds” (the image of “city” points to corporate witness; see Matt. 5:14,16), using a word that is sometimes translated “beautiful” (Matt. 26:10). Then and now, deliverance, God’s revelatory and guiding presence, worship and obeying his commands for life, and mission belong together. Obedience is sustained as we do not forget (9). The story of Exodus, Horeb/Sinai, land, leading on to Christ and the people of God embracing all nations, is the drama in which we are to live our lives of obedience to the one God, beside whom “there is no other” (35).
Reflect on your experiences of deliverance, God’s presence, worship, obedience in all of life and mission belonging together.
Father, You have done so much for me. Your grace gives me no choice but to share that love with others.
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