Thy Will Be Done – Deuteronomy 31-34

It is the end of Moses’ life, and the mantle of leadership is about to pass to Joshua. It is here that we witness one of God’s greatest servants die. Moses did not avoid his passing; he had prepared for this time (28-32). At 120 years of age, he had obeyed God’s will for his lifetime.

I am reminded of how one of the first deacons, Stephen, described another of God’s great servants: “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers …” (Acts 13:36). One of our aims in life is simply to serve God’s purpose for our generation, and then fall asleep into the arms of God.

Repeating Yourself – Deuteronomy 11-12

Read Deuteronomy 11-12

As we enter the second part of Deuteronomy, Moses continues to challenge this new generation to be different than their parents. He calls on them to respond to God’s grace by loving and obeying God. Right here, in the middle of the book, you will encounter many laws that you are already familiar with from your reading of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. This is where Deuteronomy gets its name meaning, “second law.”

I often hear from people reading Deuteronomy that the book keeps repeating itself. You will especially hear this complaint from people who are studying the book together as a group. Usually, someone asks, “Why does this book keep repeating the same thing? I get it already.” But we must remember, Deuteronomy is the sermon of Moses. When a sermon is preached, it is powerfully important for the basic themes to be repeated again and again. Someone has said that a speech should follow three simple rules: 1) Preview what you are going to say; 2) Actually tell them what you intend to say; 3) Tell them what you just told them. Effective speaking is about repetition and Moses effectively repeats his main points for the people he so greatly loved.

But more than an effective method for communication, Deuteronomy repeats many of the same points for you. You need to be reminded of God’s rich grace in all that He has done for you. You need to be reminded of the importance of wholehearted love and obedience in response to His goodness. Lastly, you need to be reminded of the significance of living entirely different than those who do not have God as their own. You need the reminders because of they are vitally essential to your life.

Thinking About Intermarriage – Deuteronomy 7-8

Read Deuteronomy 7-8

The Bible offers a negative view on intermarriage. Yet, the intermarriage in Scripture is not the intermarriage that Americans picture. Let me explain.

When Americans hear “intermarriage”, most incorrectly assume we are referencing “interracial” marriage. Until 1967, when the Supreme Court banned such laws, there were sixteen states within our nation that had laws prohibiting black-white interracial marriages. But the issue in today’s reading (7:3-4) is not about interracial marriage, but rather marriage between believers and unbelievers.

In Numbers 12:1-6, Moses’ siblings (Miriam and Aaron), opposed him for marrying a woman from Cush. Without question, this woman from Cush was a black woman; Cush was an area south of Egypt (see Jeremiah 13:23). When they married, Miriam and Aaron spoke against this because she was a black African woman. But God’s anger burned against these two (Numbers 12:9), and God changed Miriam’s skin to temporarily humble her. God made His will known that He is okay with interracial marriage. As we move into the New Testament, we learn that among those who are found in Christ, racial distinctions are insignificant because we have Christ in common (Colossians 3:9-11).

When we arrive in Deuteronomy, we have God’s word against intermarriage, marriage between believers and unbelievers. God commanded the Israelites to drive out and destroy the current inhabitants of the land. The Hebrew people were not to marry anyone who currently lived in the Promised Land, “for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.” (Deuteronomy 7:4)

Later, in 21:10-14, God permits the Hebrews to make peace and to marry people from outside the Promised Land. So, these limits on marriage only applied to the evil people in the land that Israel was about to own. The limit had nothing to do with race. God wanted His people to stay true to Him, and He knew that marrying a nonbeliever would change their loyalty.