Moses has warned the people against false prophets and those who would lead the people away from God. Now, there are warnings against certain ceremonies for the dead and instructions about what the people are, and are not, to eat. Also, instructions about the tithe, the sabbatical year, how to care for the poor, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Booths, judges and the meting out of justice, and strong warnings against idolatry. In chapter 17, Moses looks ahead to the time when the nation will have kings to rule over the people, and he gives instructions about how they are to rule. He also gives direction to the priests and Levites.
In short, the Lord says to Israel: “You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners” (18:13,14). It’s not difficult to glean from all this the import for us today. Like Israel, we live among those who do not know God, who do not serve him, and who consciously and deliberately refuse to follow him. It is so easy to get caught up in the ways of those around us and to walk away from God. Moses knew that Israel must be diligent and deliberate in walking with the Lord and pleasing him. Only that sort of daily commitment will keep us walking with God. It’s not always easy, and we often stumble. But we must continually come back to the Lord and trust him and live for him.
O for a closer walk with God,
a calm and heav’nly frame,
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb! --William Cowper (1772)