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Monday, June 13, 2011

6/13/11 Deuteronomy 5:1-2 Preface to the Commandments

1 Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.  2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.

(Moses Michelangelo San Pietro Vincoli, Rome 1515)

Thoughts: Deuteronomy 5 is the second rendering of the Ten Commandments (also found in Exodus 20).  The Ten Commands were not only written in stone to show their importance, but they were repeated for emphasis.  The very word "Deuteronomy" means "second law."  It was not a different law, but Moses was reiterating the same law before his own death and before they entered the promised land to form their own country and people and faith.  The Law was not (as many secularists- like George Carlin tell us) just something given to control us.  Moses was about to die and would gain nothing by controlling the people.  Moses believes and is interested in the people keeping the faith and reaffirming their covenant with God and with each other as God's people. 
One of the great purposes of the Law is to give legs to what we believe, but also to differentiate those who believe from those who do not.  The word "holiness' means "other" and the word "church" means "called out."  Believers are called out of the world to be a holy people for God.  The keeping of the Law, while kept imperfectly is at least our goal.  Others who do not have the Law do not care and are not as highly motivated to keep these laws.  So the people of God here- and us now- are called to "learn them and be sure to follow them." 
Prayer: Lord, you made a covenant with our ancestors and with us.  You are a holy God and we seek to be your holy people.  Give us grace to hear, learn, and follow your way.
John Calvin Abridged: Moses tells the people here to pay attention to the judgments and statutes.  But his goal is not just that they just learn and talk about them, but that they would keep them and do them.  This is not just empty speculation to be studied, but a rule for the ordering of their lives.  So these deserve our serious attention. In verse 2 he commends the law as a peculiar blessing of the covenant.  The more bountifully God deals with us, the more heinous is our ingratitude-- unless we willingly come when He calls to us and submit ourselves to His instruction.

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