February 11, 2023 - Deuteronomy 1-4
“Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the Lord had given him in commandment to them . . . Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law” (1:2,5). God gave to Israel, and he has given to us, his Word. But he has also always provided preachers and prophets and apostles whom he has called to explain and apply that Word. To Israel, God also gave commanders of troops and judges who ruled in disputes between the people and were to judge righteously (1:16).
In the first chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses is reviewing Israel's history, particularly how she had so often stubbornly and sinfully rejected God's instruction. And yet, here is God, again, demonstrating such patience and grace to the people in providing leaders and in defeating her enemies before her.
And now, while the people are camped east of the Jordan, Moses says to the people, “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord God, the God of your fathers, is giving you” (4:1). Holy God, sinful Israel. Patient God, stubborn Israel. Gracious God, ungrateful Israel. Sounds like a broken record or skipping CD. Over and over again, the same story and the same tune is played. Likewise, so often, with us. How gracious and forgiving and faithful is our God!
Guide me, O my great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.
Open now the crystal fountain,
where the healing waters flow.
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
ever be my strength and shield,
ever be my strength and shield. –William Williams (1745)