An instructive and stirring string of verses, this passage from the Bible holds great relevance not only for the Ancient Israelites to whom it was spoken, but also acts as a herald to Christians today. This passage forms part of Moses great oration; his instructive teaching, advice and counsel narrated to the second generation of Israelites who required redirection before moving forward into what God had for them. Similarly, it is also relevant for all Christians as we remember what our faithful, loving and powerful God has done in the past, and what he requires of us to move forward.
The book of Deuteronomy was set in a time when God’s chosen people; the Israelites, were camped on the plains of Moab. These were the sermons of Moses, their leader, in the final weeks east of the Jordon prior to the taking of the Promised Land. Deuteronomy has a date of origin suggested to be 1400-1200 BC and is seen as a transition book in the bible between the four books prior and after, with key themes of love and obedience.
Deuteronomy cannot be reduced to a singular literary structure , however it is often likened to an Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) Suzerain Vassal Treaty in the patterns of its structure, something the people of this time would have fully understood with its instructive and didactic tone. Often we also see the Old Testament written in a poetic and impacting way so that it was easily remembered and passed on in the absence of formal schooling.
These verses are significant to them because it reminds them God has released them from bondage, they are to worship him only, and it reinforces how they are to live as his chosen people.
Like the book of Deuteronomy , the verses are a reaffirmation and restate...
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... and rising up. Just as it did then, this teaching was to be a demonstration of a lifestyle woven into the tapestry of everyday life.
This passage from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament is a beautiful command from Moses to the Ancient Israelite people reminding them that they are a chosen people of God, emphasising how they are to live as God’s chosen people and that they are called to honour and love the one and only true God. Just as the Ancient Israelites were not yet “home”, that is, were not yet in the Promised Land, and needed reminding of what was required, we also are not yet “home”. For us because of Christ, this “home” is in eternity in Heaven, and so for us this verse is as relevant as it was for the Ancient Israelites in emphasising the universal sovereignty, and the sacrificial covenant love between a suzerain God and his people.
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