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February 22, 2024 - Deuteronomy 31-34

Soon, the people will cross over the Jordan River and they will 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.  But here’s the thing – the people are to remember.  They are to remember all God has done for them.  They are to remember God’s commandments.  And, all along the way, Moses explains 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 through the ceremonies and feasts the people will celebrate in the future.  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?

 

As, when the weary traveler gains

The height of some commanding hill,

His heart revives, if o’er the plains,

He sees his home, tho’ distant still.

 

The thought of heav’n his spirit cheers,

No more he grieves for troubles past;

Nor any future trial fears

So he may safe arrive at last.   –John Newton (1789)

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