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25th February

Deuteronomy 10-12, Psalm 56

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
25th February

Deuteronomy 10-12, Psalm 56

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Deuteronomy, we’ve read through the beginning of Moses’ sermons to the new generation of Israelites. We noted how the perspective shifts, so now it seems like the narrator is looking back at this time in Israel’s history from their future and from the other side of the river.

We read as Moses recapped how the Israelites got here from Egypt. In particular, we zoomed in on how this retelling showed us that the collective term of descendants of nephilim was Rephaim. Moses pointed out that everywhere their neighbouring nations had settled, they had first driven out and killed all the Rephaim there.

Then we read as Moses challenged the Israelites to avoid idolatry, and to follow the Lord's command. We saw how Moses repeatedly used the call to hear the Lord's commandments.

He reminded the people that they are a chosen people, set apart and called to be loyal to him. They weren't to mix with the other nations, or take on their wicked practises.

Moses then warned them that when God does give them the land and his blessings, they did not earn them with their own might, or because they were righteous. Quite the opposite. They are a small nation who continuously rebelled against God. Instead, the blessing comes because of God's faithfulness.

Deuteronomy 10-12

Carrying on from yesterday where Moses had been reminding the people of the time they had turn from God and worshipped a Golden Calf, he now reminds them how God was faithful and chose to renew his covenant with them.

Then he encourages them, in light of their previous disobedience and God's faithfulness 'circumcise your hearts' and be obedient. Moses recognises that it's the people's hearts that are stopping them from being obedient. Their hearts are not right before God. If they're going to be obedient going forward they need to address their hearts.

Right hearts look like people shaped by love. A people who pursue justice, protecting those who can’t protect themselves. And a people who fear God, remembering all that he has done and holding to it.

It involves letting all that God has taught them sink deep into the heart. It should be a lense they see through and it should be taught to their children so they can also get it into their hearts.

And Moses reminds them why obedience is important. When they have been obedient in the pass God has blessed them. All they have done has been successful and they've prospered.

But when they have been disobedient he has cursed them. There was disease in their camps and they have failed at whatever they tried to do.

In this sense Israel had a unique relationship with God. When we are disobedient today God doesn't curse us or send disease our way. He does however let us face the consequences of our actions, which can often times be just as bad.

Having reminded Israel of the importance of following the law, Moses now begins to actually recap the law. From Deuteronomy 12-26 that's what we're going to get. This is Deuteronomy gets its name from. It means second law. But as mentioned before, this second law is subtly changed and updated to fit the next context they will find themselves in the land.

He starts off with telling the Israelites that they must destroy any of the foreign places of worship they come across when they enter the land promised to them. They are to remove anything and everything that would tempt them to worship other gods.

Once these places of worship to other gods are destroyed the people are to establish the one place of God's worship, where he will show them. This is the only place that they are to bring offerings and sacrifices.

He goes on to say that it's okay to kill animals elsewhere, as long as those animals aren't for sacrifice, they are for eating. This is different to the instructions in Leviticus 17:1-7, which previously said that all animals must be sacrificed at the tabernacle first, before they could be cooked and eaten.

If you remember, this was because there were lots of people sacrificing animals outside the camp to goat demons, in the hope that those demons would leave them alone as they travelled through the wilderness. This isn’t a concern when the people enter the land, and so the people are once again free to kill their own animals in their own towns.

In this we see that even within the space of the Torah we got some instructions introduced, that by the end of the Torah are no longer relevant. This is why we need to look at these laws as communicating theological ideas and principles which we are to hold onto, rather than the exact wording of the law itself.

Back to the passage, we see another warning against idolatry. As always, the most important thing to grasp is the correct way to worship God as that is the beginning and centre of our relationship with him.

Psalm 56

This psalm is attributed to king David when he was in Gath, fleeing Saul (1 Samuel 21:10–15). It falls into the category of lament psalm.

Psalm 56:1-2 - The complaints

Psalm 56:3-4 - A declaration of trust

Psalm 56:5-6 - The complaint

Psalm 56:7 - The request

Psalm 56:8-13 - A declaration of trust

The psalmist opens with a quick request that God be gracious to them, and then launches into the complaint. They feel trampled by their enemies. They feel constantly oppressed by attacks.

But then the psalmist pulls themselves and reminds themselves of the confidence they can have in God. They trust in God and he will guard them. What can humans, flesh and bone, do them when they’re trust is in God?

But then they slip back into the complaint. Their enemies are determined to beat them. They stir up strife and cause problems.

This leads the psalmist to make a simple request. Cast them down God. Stop them in their tracks.

Having shared his complaint and made his request the psalmist turns back to trust. God knows them. He sees and keeps track of everything they’re going through. There will come a time when God will intervene and the psalmist’s enemies will turn back.

Once again the psalmist points out, if they trust in God what can humans do to them? And so the psalmist looks forward to their response when God eventually restores them. They will perform their vows and offer thanks to God. All because God protected and sustained them.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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