Dear Deuteronomy, I’m sorry.
by Jonathan Hamilton
April 4, 2014
I am writing to apologize for the last 30 years. Though I’ve only been able to read for 25 or so of those years, we may as well just round off.
I have not appreciated you. Oh, I’ve read you. I’ve read you several times. But until recently, I couldn’t have relayed a meaningful thing about you.
This latest time passing through your borders, not much changed through the first three chapters. But then I hit Chapter Four, and something started to stir in my heart. The Lord used you to grab my attention and caused me to begin to see wonderful things out of your Law. I’ve been challenged recently by a fantastic study called Behold Your God to look for God Himself in the Scriptures. Not just His acts, but His nature. His character. It shows up in full color within your fields, Deuteronomy.
4:5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 6 So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? 8 Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?
9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. (NASB, emphasis mine)
Later in Chapter Four, I found myself highlighting large chunks, like verses 29-40. In Chapter Five, verse 29 reveals the heart of a compassionate and loving God Who desires the hearts of His people:
Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!
Awesome. What a view of the character of God. Who is He? You paint a beautiful portrait for us, Deuteronomy. And of course, who could forget Chapter 6, home of the great Shema, the heart of the Law that Jesus appealed to when asked what was the greatest commandment of all.
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Verses 20-25 are crucial also.
Jump ahead to Chapter Eight, and God continues the great pattern of imploring His people to remember. Remember Me. Remember My mighty works. Remember from where I brought you. Remember what I did for you. Beware lest you forget. Do not attribute My blessing to your own righteousness. You provoked Me, yet I have proven merciful to you.
Deuteronomy, I can’t wait to explore the next 25 chapters of your bountiful land. Like God’s good and physically sustaining creations in the Garden, the spiritual nourishment that you provide is not just pleasing to the eye, it is life and strength. It is a buttress for the soul. And it’s all because you reveal God to my heart. There is no higher end.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.