Okay, admittedly there is something odd about part four of a three part series. If you are really bothered by the inconsistency, then we will call this an addendum to the series. If you are not bothered, then good for you, o peerless reader. For you this is part four. The text, from Deuteronomy 31:11-12, is:
when all Israel assembles in the presence of the Lord your God at the place He chooses, you are to read this law aloud before all Israel. Gather the people-men, women, children, and foreigners living within your gates-so that they may listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and be careful to follow all the words of this law.
In case you have forgotten the first three parts (an unlikely occurrence that I am not suggesting) the outline is this: the people are called to gather for the purpose of reading the Word of God, and God, through Moses is telling them how to respond. From that I have made the application that our corporate worship, which should be Word centered, calls for a similar response. We gather to LISTEN. We listen to LEARN. We learn to LIVE. That’s it. Look, by the marvels of technology you can go back and read all previous posts if you are so inclined.
Now this part (or addendum) is going to show a real life example of how this works. Consider the first part of the chapter:
Then Moses continued to speak these words to all Israel, saying, “I am now 120 years old; I can no longer act as your leader. The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross this Jordan.’ The Lord your God is the One who will cross ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will drive them out. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, as the Lord has said. The Lord will deal with them as He did Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and their land when He destroyed them. The Lord will deliver them over to you, and you must do to them exactly as I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” (verses 1-6)
Do you see what happens. The people are called to obey. They are to “do to them exactly as I have commanded you.” They are to not “be terrified or afraid of them.” Notice what motivates them to obey, or LIVE in accordance to God’s will. It is God Himself, who He is and what He’s done. They LEARN that God is Present, Powerful, and Personal from His Word which recounts His promises and activities. It is Him and their relationship with Him that moves them to obey. So how do they learn? By hearing His Word. Moses begins with “the Lord has told me.” He concludes with “He will not forsake you.” Moses proclaims the Word. The people hear the Word and learn about God. The knowledge of God then becomes the motivation and assurance to obey.
The same sequence happens with Joshua. Verses 7-9 state:
“Moses then summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will go with this people into the land the Lord swore to give to their fathers. You will enable them to take possession of it. The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all the elders of Israel.”
Joshua was called to obey. Obedience flowed from his knowledge of God. The understanding of God was based upon God’s revelation of Himself (in this case, specifically, God’s faithfulness to His promise to Abraham). Moses reminded Joshua of the Word, which drew attention to God’s faithfulness, power, and grace. He then becomes the reason for, and power to, Joshua’s obedience.
My point is that we see in verses 1-9 the very sequence set forth in verses 11-12. God’s people hear God’s Word. From the Word, they learn about God’s being, character, purposes, and promises. Obedience then follows based upon, motivated by, and strengthened in the knowledge of the God who called us to Himself. All of this is to say that I want to encourage you to be eager to hear the Word and to learn, first and foremost, about the Lord Himself. Our obedience, then, is not a chore or futile attempt to earn something, but is a joyful response to the amazing God we see revealed in the Word who has come to us with saving grace in Christ Jesus. He is worthy of obedience and it is in His strength that we are able to obey. I hope this encourages you to set your eyes on Him because the more we see Him the sweeter our life, and obedience, in Him will be.
Thanks for reading and Peace Out!