The Bitesized Bible
7 November 2020
This week's Bite-size bible offering is Deuteronomy. Let me say that again, its Deuteronomy.
Formed from two Greek words Deutero and Nomos, Deuteronomy is all about repeating the story of the bringing of the law. Particularly to a new generation of Israelites who gained identity by discipline and instruction and not so much by personal experience. With Moses having forfeited his right to enter the so-called promised land, Deuteronomy works as a sort of farewell speech. Moses reminds Israel’s new generations of their history and reiterates the Law. In essence, Deuteronomy centres upon obedience as the channel for God’s blessings and disobedience as the channel for being cursed. With strong opposition to Canaanite practices, Deuteronomy is looking to the new generation to establish Mosaic law within their pending new horizons. Deuteronomy may be a ‘second telling’, regurgitating the theology of Exodus, but it is a first call to a new generation, who are informed about their past and made ready to face the future.
Obviously, Mosaic law is everything as the underpinning of Deuteronomy’s message for generational legalistic succession. However, as Christians, we know that this underpinning was turned upside down by the first response of Jesus when asked to summarize the Law of Moses, He used these words from Deuteronomy: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength." And then, as a ‘second telling’ of his fulfilment of the law, Jesus quoted Leviticus: "Love your neighbour as yourself”.
The image I offer for Deuteronomy is a view I painted of the Channel Island of Sark. One meaning of Sark’s name is thought to be ‘New beginnings in a small place’. It reminds me of Israel’s new generation as a small place being made ready for new beginnings. It was during my time on Sark as its Methodist Pastor, 2008-2010, that God called me to Ordained ministry. A new beginning, a new horizon, a new way!
How does Deuteronomy speak to you?
© 2020 David Hollingsworth
Last Updated: 8 November 2020