It’s All About God — Deuteronomy Edition

February 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Devotional thoughts, It's All About God | Leave a comment

The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ last instructions before the Israelites entered the Promised Land after wandering forty years in the desert.  Moses seems to remind them, and us too, that it’s all about God.  God is cause and agent of everything good that happened to the Israelites.

First, the Israelites are God’s people.  Moses uses the title “the LORD our God” 23 times and “the LORD your God” 263 times!  They are God’s people because he chose them – something he tells them at least five times.  For example 7:6 says “The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (NIV)  However, he chose them not because they were good or special, but because of his love; he reminds them that they are stiff necked.  Chapter nine is especially strong on this matter.  Verse six summarizes the verses before it with these words; “Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.”  He not only calls them stiff necked, he also uses the term rebellious a few times; he says they tested the LORD, they aroused his anger, and they provoked him to anger.  That’s pretty strong language.  So why did God make them his people?  “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.    But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers.” (7:7-8)

Besides making them his people, God also is giving them the land he promised.  Eighty times the words land and either give or giving are found together in Deuteronomy.  God constantly reminds them that what they will inherit is a gift from him.  One example of this is found in 9:6 quoted above.  An example of another common reminder is 11:9; Moses says obey the LORD, “so that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your forefathers to give to them and their descendants.”

These things are not just in the earlier chapters I quote from here but run through the entirety of the book.  It is a constant stream of reminders echoing over and over, “You are my people and I am your God.”  Then at the end, God tells Moses to teach a song to the people as a witness for Him (31:19).  This song, found in chapter 32, is all about what God does and how the people forget God and abandon him in spite of his goodness.

God’s choice of Israel, just like his choice of us, is not based on our goodness, but on his grace.  We too are people who tend to forget and abandon him, but he always comes to us in grace.  It’s his doing and his work.  He gets all the glory.

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