February 18, 2023 - Deuteronomy 27-32
When the people crossed over the Jordan River, they were to set up large stones, plaster them with plaster, and write the words of the law on them very plainly as a reminder of how they were to live. And then there was that back and forth thing in which half the people stood on Mt. Gerizim and the other half on Mt. Ebal, and they shouted and affirmed the law to one another. What a sight that must have been.
And, again, Moses rehearses Israel’s history and all that God has done for her. And he explains, once again, that they will be blessed if they obey, but cursed if they disobey. Over and over again, these scenes are repeated. The people must be grounded solidly and rooted deeply in the instructions of God before they cross over. And not only now, but every seven years, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel was gathered, the entire law was to be read. Also, Moses summarized all this history and teaching in a song as a reminder to the people. And just before he died, Moses reminded the people again! As important as were food and raiment for their bodies and swords and knives for their fighting men, even more importantly, they must obey their God who fights for them if they are to be blessed and to see victory. Isn't it the same for us?
Great God, we sing that mighty hand
by which supported still we stand;
the opening year thy mercy shows;
that mercy crowns it till it close.
By day, by night, at home, abroad,
still are we guarded by our God;
by his incessant bounty fed,
by his unerring counsel led. -- Philip Doddridge (1789)