If ever promises, threats and warnings could make a difference in people’s lives, surely those found in Deuteronomy would do it.
In our daily Bible reading many of us have just finished Deuteronomy, where Moses goes over the laws a second time before the Israelites enter the Promised Land. And the promises found in the Law were truly amazing. God promised to establish the Israelites as a holy people, and to bless them in every way possible if they would just obey Him. And after they had seen Him free them from bondage and miraculously care for them for forty years in the wilderness, you’d think that would have been enough.
But then He also warned them what would happen if they didn’t obey Him. He even listed a host of specific horrible curses He would send upon them if they turned away from Him. And Moses told the people to take to heart all the words of warning and to teach their children to carefully observe the Law, because their life depended on it.
The people swore they would, but Moses knew they wouldn’t. He even told them he knew they would turn away from God and do evil after his death.
The Law had been carved on stone, God’s promises were put to song, and the warnings would be shouted from Mt. Ebal after defeat in battle due to disobedience. But hearts couldn’t be changed by the Law. God knew it would take something more, and we even find hints of what it would be in Deuteronomy itself.
Moses told the people that God would raise up another prophet like himself, and the Law ordained that a man hanged on a tree is accursed of God. Whether these were specific prophecies concerning the Messiah or not has been debated for centuries, but we do know that Philip told Nathanael that they had found Him of whom Moses in the Law wrote. And after quoting what Moses said about the Lord raising up a prophet like him, Peter said that God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless us. And Paul said Christ was able to redeem us from the curse of the Law because cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.
Indeed, what the Law couldn’t do, Christ did. He took away our sin, and gave us a grateful heart that changes everything.
God Bless, Rick