The God of Deuteronomy is a Honest God. He is fully aware of human weakness, and is honest and forthright about the consequences, and His mercy.
Deuteronomy, the final book of the Torah, is full of so many messages from God. Reading it was so inspiring, and I couldn’t resist writing about a particular lesson earlier, when I was in the middle of reading it.
Today I’m going to keep it short and sweet and drill in on a small aspect, one that really spoke to me: God is Honest. If you are interested in another angle, I recommend The Bible Project’s succinct summary and short clip.
While being realistic, God also has high standards. This is not something to forget. While He knows humans will sin, it doesn’t make Him happy. He wants more from us, and He wants more for us.
God warns the people that if current or future generations turned to idolatry, they would lose the promised land and He would scatter them. But:
“… He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your father which He swore to them.” — Deuteronomy 4:31
When God made the covenant with Israel, He know they couldn’t keep up their end of the bargain (Deut 31:21). And He accepted that. And while they would face the consequences for breaking their end of the bargain, God would always uphold His end.
God’s Promise To Us
It can be hard sometimes, reading the Old Testament and wondering how anything still relates. The promised land is a thing of the past; some scholars considering heaven as the new promised land. But some things overlap.
“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord your God redeemed you; therefor I command you this thing today.” — Deuteronomy 15:15
This verse reminds me of how God has redeemed us, once salves to sin. The context of this verse is about setting other slaves free. Again, there are parallels. God has forgiven us, and expects us to do the same to others.
Certainly not everything the Jews experienced is relevant to us today. But one thing is a constant. God. Which is the very reason for this “God Of” Challenge.
God’s Unique Standards
God’s standards are high, but not in the same way as human standards. This is important to remember. Sometimes in striving for high standards, we follow our own ideas instead of God’s.
“The Lord did not set His love on you nor chose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least;” — Deuteronomy 7:6
Regardless of your human power, God is open to you. And, as you can continue to read in chapter 7 verse 7, from the start He was the first one to step forward. He promised to rescue Israel from Egypt, and did so before asking anything from His chosen people.
God gives Israel a lot of rules. In Christ we are free from the law, but as Paul explains in Romans chapter 7, we shouldn’t ignore it all together. Why? Well, we are told all the way back in Deuteronomy:
“… keep the commandments of the Lord and his Statues which I have commanded you today for your good” — Deuteronomy 10:13
The laws exist for our own good. So many of the laws are proven healthy in today’s society: it is important to watch what you eat, be cautious with illnesses, and care for each other’s welfare. Our society proves the last one by not adhering to it. If we all followed God’s laws, poverty wouldn’t be an issue!
We can see proof all around us that God really did intend His laws for our benefit. So you can trust Him when He says something. He is an honest God.
Jesus is foreshadowed many times (Deut 18:15 – 22), thousands of years before His coming. Interestingly though, many of Jesus’ great words of wisdom are simply Old Testament scripture quotes. Meaning He came to save us and not teach, but point out God’s word that had already been revealed.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” — Deuteronomy 6:5
Remember the time Jesus said this in Matthew 22:27 and Mark 12:30? Did you realise it was first said by Moses in Deuteronomy? I certainly didn’t.
Jesus calls this the greatest commandment. And here is proof that God revealed this commandment right from the start. God doesn’t withhold information. He is forthright in his honesty.
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it too far off. … But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” — Deuteronomy 30:11, 14
So we’ve reached the end of the Torah, which comprises of the first five books of the Old Testament. Personally Leviticus has been the most inspiring to read, particularly because I had such low expectations. Well, I won’t be selling God or His word short again!
For those of you who have followed these posts, or have been on a similar journey, which book of the Torah speaks to you the most, and why?