Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Year: Dt 28-30 for Mar 1

The covenant for the Israelites at Moab (Dt 29:1) is for their immediate and future well-being, theirs, and their descendants (29:22), "that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them" (30:20).

The coupling of the listening to the voice of God and the doing of all these commandments is repeated and unmistakable (cf. Dt 28:1, lit.; 28:15, lit.; 30:2, lit.; 30:8, lit.).

So what is this covenant, in its nature? Historically, it certainly didn't come into being at Horeb (29:16). It started before all but three of them, that is, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, were born, and is "with those who are not with us here today" (29:15), a phrase we can gather, from a parallel in Acts 2:39, may mean succeeding generations. Cf. Dt 6:20ff. As far as their present moment goes, the Israelites are told to listen, as above, and also in 28:45 and 30:10. The covenant is from long ago, but for them, the present moment begins with listening to God. Then what?

There is a variety of expression in the verses listed, for what is to follow. We can learn from that what the model of obedience to God was in this covenant. Let's go through this phraseology, because the variety of expression is surprising.

28:1 -- "if you diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments ..."

28:15 -- "if you do not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes..."

30:2 -- "...and listen to His voice with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today ..."

30:8 -- "listen to the voice of the Lord and observe all His commandments which I command you today ...."

30:10 and 28:45 are very similar. The relevant phrases there are "to keep His commandments" and "by keeping His commandments and statutes."

What is at risk, at stake, here? The curses of chapter 27:15ff and 28:15-68. Those things are at stake on the negative side.

What is to gain, here? The blessings of 28:1-14.

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