This week I’m looking at the Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy. Here the people of Israel are gathered together to once again hear the Torah, the Law (nomos in Greek, which is where the name of the book comes from – Deutero – 2nd and nomos – Law – the second giving of the Law).
Remember the people had been wandering in the wilderness for an entire generation, 40 years. Lest they forget God’s Word, they are now brought together to hear it once again. God lays before them His commandments: To love Yahweh (the LORD) your God and to love your neighbor, including the sojourner in their land.
This text reminds the people of their need to repentance in vs. 16 – that a circumcision of their hearts is needed. After all, God is God, a just, mighty and Holy God… and we are not. He is also a merciful God, as He showed His love on their forefathers, choosing them and their offspring to be His people.
There is a great tie here to the liturgy as well. For after we hear the exposition of God’s Word in the sermon, the very next thing we do is to pray and sing “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” These are the words of David’s repentance, and they also become our own as we turn in repentance toward our merciful Lord. Then as cleansed people, we receive Christ’s Holy Body and Blood in the Lord Supper, and partake in the very Holiness of God. This promise if fully realized when Christ Himself becomes the Holy of Holies on the Cross and makes even the sojourner His own people through faith.
Another great aspect of this text is the wonderful chaism (a Hebrew form of comparison): the heavens and the earth (that is ALL of creation) belong to Yahweh… yet He has chosen YOU. This is the wonderful good news of mercy that cannot be separated from God’s election, His choosing, of those whom He will save. It isn’t earned, He won’t take a bribe, it is pure, unblemished gift. A gift that He gives and leaves no question as He delivers it through His Word: spoken and wrapped up in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
I’m still muddling through the Hebrew on this (as I always muddle when it comes to Hebrew), but it’s great stuff. I’d love to hear your insights on this text as well. Most importantly, how does this text give us Jesus?