What do you know about the book of Deuteronomy? When was the last time you studied it? We’ve been looking at the book for the last couple of weeks as part of the Equip Training Year, and I’ve been reminded why it is such a good book for us. 

Deuteronomy (its Greek name) means ‘Second law’. It’s not an additional law, but the law (famously given by God to Moses in the book of Exodus at Mt Sinai) being repeated just as God’s people, Israel, are about to enter the Promised Land. 

Most of the book is taken up with what is essentially three sermons of Moses, addressed to the people before they go into the land. Moses himself won’t enter the land – once the sermons are done, he goes up Mt Nebo (not the one in Figtree, but its namesake in Jordan) to die. The work God had given him to do was complete, and Joshua would lead the people into the land. 

So what does he say in his final sermons? How does he want to leave the people he has led for 40 years, as they embark on such a significant new chapter in their history? 

God’s prophet reminds God’s people of God’s mercy. 

None of the people Moses addresses were alive at the time of the great rescue of the Exodus, 40 years before. But they have all heard the story over and over, many times. None of them was there at the giving of the law, but he speaks of it as if they were because the telling of it was so familiar to them. Moses’ plea to the people is for them to remember the Lord; to remember that He is faithful and keeps His promises; and to remember all that He has told them to do. They are to live as God’s people, as the holy people and kingdom of priests that He has declared them to be, as they live in the land He has promised to give them.  

They are to remember who they are. 

As Easter approaches, we will remember God’s great rescue of us – the death of the lamb and the freedom from slavery that the Passover and Exodus point towards. Many of us have heard the story, over and over, many times. But we too, need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness to us, and His keeping of His promises. We need to live as His people, His children, wherever He has placed us.

We, too, need to remember who we are. 

We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession; that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

The Hebrew name for the book of Deuteronomy means ‘Words’. I like that name better than ‘Second law’. These are the words that Moses spoke to remind God’s people what He has done, and who they are. He had been faithful, and so they could trust Him. 

We, too, have God’s words – to remind us what He has done, and who we are. He has been faithful, and so we can trust him. 

Stacey Chapman
Assistant Minister | 8am, 9:45am & 7pm