March 4, 2023
“Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am proclaiming as you hear them today. Learn and follow them carefully.”
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“Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am proclaiming as you hear them today. Learn and follow them carefully. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. He did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face from the fire on the mountain. At that time I was standing between the Lord and you to report the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up to the mountain.” Deuteronomy 5:1-5a (HCSB)
I encourage people to read the Bible a chapter a day because most people who call themselves “believers” don’t even consistently read the Bible. Consequently, they don’t share their faith. As a matter of fact, only 11% of all Christians in America have read the Bible cover to cover, and only 9% have read it more than once! Because of this, a very small percentage of Christians do all the kingdom-building.
Kingdom-building takes a significant amount of faith. The Bible teaches that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” To have the maximum impact on our generation, we must ALL become Biblically literate. This is not just because we need Biblical content to share with others. It is also because the FAITH we need to draw from, which emboldens us to evangelize (and to do so from a proper Biblical contextual understanding and application), comes exclusively from God’s Word.
In today’s passage, Moses instructs Israel concerning God’s commands and exhorts them to listen and learn. His words are similar to our “read the Bible every day” challenge.
With the giving of God’s Commandments, Israel’s covenant with God enters into a new stage. Previously, the covenants between God and the patriarchs had simply been a covenant of “righteousness by faith.” Here, the covenant has become “codified.” There is now a written standard from which “faith” will be measured.
While it is a “new” covenant, it is actually a continuance, a “God v 2.0”, as it were. It’s not that it was new in that it replaced the former covenant. It simply explained, in further detail, what God’s heart and intentions for His people had always been. This new covenant improved general faith in God, but it was never intended to supply salvation. It exposed (to a greater extent) man’s inability to meet God’s standard.
On a soul level, Israel already knew they were inadequate to personally commune with God. They preferred for Moses to “stand in the gap” and mediate between them and God.
The “New Testament” is actually the “New Covenant” (B’rit HaDashah in Hebrew). (Jeremiah 31:31) The New Testament is the narrative and exhortations concerning salvation by grace through faith in Messiah Jesus alone. It expands Abraham’s faith beyond Moses’ Commandments and adds “atonement for sin” through belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah.
©Steve Wiggins 2021