Sunday, March 02, 2014

Deuteronomy 8-10 Treat others as the LORD has treated you

From Deuteronomy 8-10

You might have heard of the principle, treat others as you would have them treat you. The LORD instructs us to go further.

Dt 8.1-10 Story; Moses reminds Israel of their journey thus far, the LORD’s faithfulness to them and instructs them to keep the commandments of the LORD
Dt 8.11-20 Story; Warnings against apostasy through giving a series of examples from Israel’s past.
Dt 9.1-5 Story; When they successfully enter the promised land, Israel is not to think it is because of their righteousness.
Dt 9.6-12 Story-Sin; Moses recounts several times when they abandoned the LORD and acted corruptly
Dt 9.13-21 Story-Sin; Moses recounts the golden calf incident and how the LORD almost destroyed Aaron and Israel
Dt 9.22-29 Story-Sin; Moses recounts their rebellion at Massah and Kibroth-hattaavah and his intercession for them
Dt 10.1-5 Story; Moses recounts how he remade two new tablets for the Ten Commandments and the Ark of the Covenant
Dt 10.6-11 Story; Moses recounts how Levi’s tribe is to carry the Ark and his continued intercession for Israel
Dt 10.12-22 Story; Moses recounts the instructions the LORD gave the stubborn people. To circumcise their hearts.

Passage and Comments
Moses in these chapters does a lot of recalling the events that led them thus this far. In particular in anticipation of entering the promised land he recalls Israel’s sins. They are serious and numerous. But the chapters end with these exhortations;
12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? (Dt 10.12-13)
Moses echoes the Jewish Shema (Dt 6.4-5) saying love the LORD with all your heart and soul. There is continued emphasis on obedience to the commandments thus revealed. So far only the Ten Commandments and the Shema have been mentioned.
14 Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. (Dt 10.14-16)
This I think is the first time circumcision refers to something other than the physical act. Circumcising the heart means cutting of the sinful part of your heart. Clearly this fits the context of Moses recounting all Israel’s sins to this point.
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Dt 10.17-19)
Moses describes the LORD in majestic terms. The LORD is particularly interested in looking after the weak and the sojourners. Once Israel were like this also, in remembrance of how the LORD treated them, Israel to treat the weak and sojourners as the LORD did them.
20 You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. 21 He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven. (Dt 10.20-22)
We finish off with Moses recounting the LORD’s faithfulness to his promise to Abraham for offspring. They went down to Egypt seventy persons. Now they number approximately half a million people. God is faithful to his promises.

Story of Jesus
On reading the LORD’s instruction to Israel to care for the sojourners. Just as the LORD cared for them as sojourners, so are they to care for sojourners in remembrance of how the LORD treated them. I was reminded of the LORD’s prayer in which Jesus prays,
‘forgive us our sins and we forgive those who sin against us.’  (Mt 6.12)
Paul in Romans says something similar;
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Rom 15:7)
It seems a few times we are meant to reflect on the LORD’s treatment of us and treat others in the same way.