Deuteronomy - Lesson 11

Catechetical Response Deuteronomy 6.20-25

God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

Daniel Block
Lesson 11
Watching Now
Catechetical Response Deuteronomy 6.20-25

Catechetical Response (6:20-25)

I. Testing of the Covenant Commitment

II. Catechetical Response to the Test

A. Definition of the terms

B. Different views of the law

C. Moses’ earlier answer

D. Answer for the children

1. The Law as the climax for revelation

2. The Law as a guide for conduct

3. The Law as an expression of trusting awe

4. Deuteronomic formula for life

5. Key to well-being

6. The Law as the key to life

7. The Law as the key to righteousness

III. Biblical View of the Law

A. Psalm 19

B. John 15:1-10

C. Paul

D. James

E. The message of Deuteronomy 6

F. Old and New Testament teachings about faith and works are the same

Class Resources
  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Dr. Daniel Block



Catechetical Response Deuteronomy 6.20-25

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] The gospel, according to Moses. I've mentioned before that the Qamar opens up a whole series of discourses now between six verse four, taking us all the way through 820, where the key issue is the testing of the covenant commitment represented by the Shamar. We have a general introduction to the test of this in what follows immediately after I had intended to do devote a whole session to it. But we will cover the themes in other contexts and I thought we can dispense with that. But I must remind you again that in verses 10 to 19, Moses presents two contexts in which this source of covenant commitment will be challenged. Testing you shall when the Lord, your God brings you into the land and you flourish and everything is going hunky dory. Then watch yourselves, lest you forget your way. Who brought you from the land of Egypt? Out of the house of slavery. When we get to Chapter eight, we'll see the deprivation of the desert as a context of testing. Here it is, the flourishing in the land as the context of testing. When things go well, then watch out. Not only well, in chapter eight, you say, Look what I've produced and you forget God. Here it is going after the gods of this land who are all fertility gods, and you flourish and say that the fertility gods are really serving us well, and so we are worshiping them. Then watch out. Less the Lord's fury rage against you. He is an impassioned God. There it is again. Then verse 16, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. This is Jesus quotation, and in the face of the devil's tempting of Him, testing of him, you shall not tempt the Lord your God.


[00:02:19] Which raises the interesting question Who does the person saying that think he is? When Jesus says that to the devil, you shall not tempt the Lord your God. It's a it's the sword. Is he talking about God as another person? Or is he talking about himself? You don't know who you're talking. I am, Jacqui. You are. Testing me. No, you don't. It is not appropriate for a vassal to test the loyalty of a supreme. Did you hear that? You shall not test the Lord. You tempt the Lord your God. Tempt doesn't mean necessarily lead them astray. The word means to test the commitment of. It's inappropriate for a vessel to test the commitment of a in. It's very appropriate for the Psu's run to test the commitment of the vessel. That's variable. That's totally okay. But you shall not put the Lord your God to the test. Well, this is the principle. Of course, there is a place in Malachi where you have this issue of bring all the ties into the four oceans. Test me in, see if I won't. Fill your larders. Of course, this is breaking the norm, but the Sumatran has the right at any moment to invite the vessel to test them. The Lord doesn't have King Ahaz in Isaiah eight or seven. I asked for a sign. I'll give it to you. God invites the king to test his fidelity. God can always do that. And in Malachi, this is not a general invitation to people like in our fertility religion these days. Prosperity, gospel. Go ahead. Test the Lord. God invites you to. No, he doesn't. Not normally. In that Malachi context, there is that little particle basalt in this. Test me in this. And I think that's a deliberate expression, expression of the exceptional character of the invitation.


[00:04:55] At this point, he is saying, I'm inviting you to test me. Go ahead. And so but that is not to be generalized. Here is the general statement. Unless God specifically invites us to test him, you don't go there. That in itself is an act of unbelief and infidelity. You shall not put the Lord your God to task as you tested him at Massa. That's the problem. You shall be diligent and keeping the commandments. Do what's right in the sight of the Lord that it may be well with you in that you may go on and possessed by and possess the good land the Lord swore to give you by driving out the enemies from before you as He has spoken. Well, there you've got the second test. There are two tests here. The first involves the internal test. How do we respond to prosperity? The second is an external test. How do you respond to the enemies out there who are against you? Two tests, and those two tests will be unpacked in detail in reverse order. The second one in chapter seven and the first one in chapter eight. The big motif of this whole section is. Testing. It's inappropriate for the vessel to test the former, but it is very appropriate for the Lord to test them. Watch yourselves and see how you do with the test. And so that's what we have in versus 10 to 19. What we want to talk now about is, oh, there's a guy listening in on this conversation and you have this interesting query. He is changing the subject in a sense. In the future, when your son asks you what is the significance of the covenant statutes, ordinances and stipulations yourself where your God is commanding you? And now, of course, this is not a law.


[00:07:07] This is the preacher talking Moses. The preacher is imagining a context in the future, long after we've been in the land and our kids are watching how we live. And they're asking what is the point of all these covenants, statutes, ordinances and stipulations that Yahweh, our God, is commanded? You then you shall say to your son. And he prescribes a catechetical response. What's the point? We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt. I didn't ask about that. I asked, what's the point of the laws? We were slaves in Egypt. Answer my question, Dad. Who bought them. But yeah, we brought us out with each with a write in. No, that's not my question. My question. What's the point of the laws and the most. I'll get there. Jacqui inflicted severe and devastating, miraculous signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his whole household before our eyes. But he brought us out of that. I wasn't asking about this. I was asking about the laws, the statutes and the ordinances here. My three words. You're not answering my question. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the good land he promised on Earth to the ancestors. And Yahoo! Commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances. Oh, really? Those finally there. But the point is, Moses cannot answer the question about the significance of the laws without talking about the gospel first. That's very important. The Lord commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances by demonstrating fear for Yahweh or God, for our perpetual good and for our survival, as is the case today. And we will be recognized as righteous if we keep the covenant by putting into practice this entire charge before Yahweh or God as He commanded.


[00:09:16] The fabulous texts. This is such a gospel text and none of you knew it was in the Bible. But here we are. What a great day this is. Well, it starts with a boy's question. So let's look at this. What is the significance of the statutes? Hot a dose ordinances, Hakim and stipulations. We. We've got three words here. Hot adult. We talked before about hot a deuce, which I translated as insignia. The symbols of Queen Elizabeth's reign or whatever. Symbols of royalty. The Decalogue tablets are a deuce, the same consonants as hot a dolls, but its different vowels. And it is a different word. It's from the same root, but it has a different significance here. When the word appears together with ordinances, have whole team and stipulations. Hamish Bar team. It means something like the terms of the covenant, what God expects of his vassals. Again, often translated testimonies. These aren't testimonies. No. These are God's expectations. The Susan Ryan's declarations of what is expected of the vassal. We can talk about each of these words separately. Have who came? It comes from the root hope, which means to inscribe. And it is used of decrees that an authority makes to govern the the life of the community. It's a decreed or unauthorized decree. Second, Hamish par team, these are the judgments. And if we were literalists now, we would translate. These are the ordinances and the judgments. Except that to us, judgments means that's the end of a court case. I mean, I wonder how it's going there in in Minneapolis, the Brooklyn Center. I wonder how that what will the judge the outcome of the. That's not what we're talking about. So we take judgment to be a legal, casual stick law, you know, case law.


[00:11:34] That's how many people interpret. But I don't think that's what it is here. Judgment in the context of a covenant is the the judgment, the decision of the sues run. Concerning the appropriate conduct of the vassal. In a Souza and vassal relationship. None of the terms are negotiated. The Souza and calls all the shots. And in all of God's covenants, it is this way. God picks the covenant partner, God sets the terms. God declares the goal of the covenant. God identifies the sign of the covenant and God determines the consequences of obedience. And the Israelites have zero say in this, this is what we call Monster jism. It's put in force from one side. All the Israelites can do is say yes or no. Nothing is negotiated. The judge. The decrees are God's decreed expectations. The judgments are his decisions about what is right and appropriate behavior and what is wrong behavior on the part of the vessel. So that's what these two words together mean. And as a pair there, they refer to all the terms of the covenant revealed at Mt. Sinai. When this word appears in that context, it has to be in the same semantic range. And here, the best clue to its meaning again, is a cousin word in Aramaic. Are they instead of a dulce, which is plural, A de would be singular instead of a The Aramaic has oddly and Akkadian has odd a to those spelled slightly different, but it's the same word Akkadian, which is the Babylonian language, doesn't have the word for covenant that Hebrew has Borrett. That's the Hebrew word for covenant. Perfect. You'll find that in Akkadian you have one or two occurrences of it, but it means something slightly different. The their word for covenant is are they comes from this same root.


[00:13:53] And here this must mean the terms of the covenant. Specified as its ordinances and its mission team. And so the guy is asking, what's the point of all the terms of this covenant? And you read Leviticus and you read Exodus and you read Deuteronomy and all. I'm so tired just listening to this stuff and I can't imagine the Israelites. Blessed is a man who walks not in the council, but his delight is in the law of the Lord. There's no law here without the Gospel. But of course, by now, you know that Torah doesn't mean law. But this refers to all the laws. Three words for all. Moses does everything in three scenarios. Three words. A dose of Hakeem and how stipulate this guy is asking not what the point is Of every one of the 613 commands that Maimonides identified in the Pentateuch? No, it's the whole package. What's the significance of the package of covenant stipulations that the Lord revealed to Israel? It's a natural question the guy is asking of his parents. He's asking for a response. You've heard you've had experiences like this. We have. Certainly when our kids were in high school, they were swimmers. And my our son was captain of the swim team one year. But in any case, they were a good bunch of kids, the swimmers. And we loved that. We said, look, we still smell like chlorine from all the time we spent in the in the pool. But in any case, one day during that time, I mean, they'd get up early to go swim practice and come home late after swim practice. He spent a lot of time with his buddies. I'll never forget one time at the supper table, we were having a rather warm conversation and suddenly our son blurted out, Why do we have to live in such a prehistoric family? Wah wah.


[00:16:08] I was just lit up. What a question. Now, the tone of his voice was all wrong. It was all raw. But I tell you, it just opened up the gates wide. And what could what? What? What should we say? Well, we could say, well, yeah, this is the way we did it when we were kids and you're going to do the same. Or this is the way the youth leader says we should do it and you're going to do the same. We could have had all kinds of legalistic, but these kids weren't in a regenerated state at that time. And so what are you going to do? You can just impose a godly lifestyle on people who are not internally disposed to that. Can't do that. That's hypocrisy. And so we learned very quickly that there are certain battles not worth fighting about, like what does a haircut mean or what not, You know, those kinds of things. There's no point in looking like a Christian if you're not a Christian. So get the other part right first. They'll hear this. This. I mean, I feel so sorry for our Jewish friends. The Lord has called us to keep the commands, and so we keep them literally precise and we count the steps we take on a Sabbath morning to see that we're not transgressing. I mean, all that sort of ness. What? What's Moses going to say? What's the point of all these laws that the Lord imposed on us? Well, here's a family picture. My question is, which of the guys asks the question your son will ask with, This is my family. These are. Well, our sister's not on there. We do have a picture with her on it. But they took a picture of all the boys and they are all in order by age.


[00:18:10] Number three here, Haley, that when we did things by age, he was number three. He always acted as if he should have been number one. It's a petro centric world where the Elvis is always favored and he always thought he knew it better than everybody else. And so he would resist this sort of thing because then he'd have to stand back next to number four. He wanted to stand in the place where my oldest and sadly, my oldest brother, Albert, his daughter Ivy, my oldest niece, she's, I think, 65 now. She's dying of cancer right now, even as we're here. So it's it's a very sad thing to reflect. But here's my youngest brother. The day he was born. He was an uncle twice over. Ivy is older than Harold, but in any case, that's Harold. This is Art and this is Benjamin. And that's Dave. And that's me. That's Ruben. And Neil. And Henry. And John. And Isaac. And George. And Albert. I still remember the names, but the question is which one will ask the question. In our family, I definitely wasn't the one to ask the question. Rubin would have. He's the one who is always talking. We called him the turtle who wouldn't stop talking. So that. And I was the total introvert and we have no pictures of when I was a little child because I was never around where all the action was. Who knows? Where's Dan? I have no idea where that is. I can't figure this out. We don't have any pictures. And so but Reuben's on every other picture. And so Ruben and Neil, they're on all the pictures and my brother Dave. But in any case, which of these boys ask the question? Well, anybody can ask the question.


[00:20:04] The point is, our lifestyle should provoke questions in our kids. And if they don't recognize that we are living different from the rest of the world, we got a problem. Why do we have to live in such a prehistoric family? I took that to be such a compliment. You've noticed. But now he wants the answer. And of course, the answer became a gospel answer. Which is exactly what Moses does. He gives them the gospel. We got to start there. What mean these laws? Well, we talked about this. What do the laws mean? Well, to some, they make no sense at all. Modern answers. They have antiquarian value. We can look at what life was like. They represented a way of salvation or the laws kill. We talked about this the other day when we were in versus from one day eight of chapter four. So those are the answers we saw there all week. We could give Paul's answers. The law brings wrath. This is what I would have done 30 years ago. The New Testament tells me what to think about the law. It gives the answer to the boy's question. The only problem is what Paul says doesn't fit at all. And I asked Paul, How can you do that? You sound so different from Moses. Now I'm asking that question. How can you twist Moses like this? You should be stoned. Of course, I think there is an answer. Actually, he he intentionally sounds very different, but it's not because Moses was wrong and Moses needs fixing. God never reveals anything in one period that turns out to be a mistake. Or flawed. So we can't go there. Later, revelation will be clearer, more be fuller. But it's never more true. So we cannot pretend that Moses had something wrong and that New Testament is fixing it.


[00:22:18] It's one God. Who doesn't talk out of two sides of his mouth. But Paul says the law brings wrath. But now we've been released from the living dead to that which we were bound. We all who rely on the works of the law under a curse. The law is not of faith. Christ returns from the curse of the law. And all these others. I mean, that's that's the answer we have. Again, I remind you of the earlier answer versus 1 to 8. What's the point of the law? The Torah is normative by definition. You don't add or subtract. The Torah is the key to life. 3 to 4. Knowledge of the Torah should be transforming. Possession of the Torah is the highest and most enviable privilege imaginable. So we're all we've already heard that. But that's a lecture for the congregation. That's not a lesson for the kids. What's the lesson for the kids? Here it is. The law is the climax of revelation. Did you see that? We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but Yahweh brought us out with a mighty hand he inflicted. There's that hand again we inflicted severe and devastating, devastating, miraculous signs and wonders upon Egypt on Pharaoh and his whole household before our eyes. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the lands that he promised on all through our ancestors. And here we are. And he commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances. Oh, thank you for telling us. Remember? Oh, my God. Whom I know or do not know the sin that I had committed. I do not know. That poor guy had no idea what the gods expected of him. But here the head of the household is able to tell the son, you know, God in his mercy, didn't leave us in the dark.


[00:24:13] He didn't get us out of Egypt and say, then, now you figure out what I think an appropriate thank you would look like. There's nothing like that here. No, he said, Look, this is what. Thank you looks like. You have no other gods besides me. Rachel. This is all part of the Grace package. He commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances. So the law is the climax of Revelation. He has just told the story. This is why I call this the domestic creed or catechism. When your son asks you at home, what's the point of all? Moses prescribes the answer. Then you shall say to your son, We will tell them the story. And it dictates the form of the story. And then he at the center, he comes finally to verse 24, Yahweh commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances. But what follows us follows catches all of us who have lived with Paul for so long. American Christianity is so Pauline, or is it pseudo Pauline? What we make Paul say just doesn't work. But in any case, the Lord commands us to put into practice all these ordinances. Why? And if we keep the covenant by putting into practice this charge before Yahweh, our God as he commands. Well, the point here is the law is a guide for commitment, for conduct. We're asking the question, what's the point of the law? A It's the climax of revelation. B It was given to us not to put in walls on the wall, but to be lived. Put it into practice. Yeah, but then he gives us some purpose clauses the law as an expression of trusting all. And yea, he commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances by fearing the way our God.


[00:26:32] Okay. What does fear mean? It's not fear of punishment. It's not fear of punishment. A. Remember that spectrum we had? Where on that spectrum is this fear? Trusting or trusting or in response to the revelation of his will, we say, Wow, how privileged we are, that he should have revealed his will to us. Why us? Here, the order is actually the reverse of what we usually find. Usually it is the other order. And now Israel waters you off with your God, require of you, but to fear Yahweh, your God, to walk in all his ways to love him, serve him with all your heart and soul, to keep the commands and statutes of Yahoo! Which I am Khamenei, for their fears, number one. But in this case it is Obedience is first. But then you got the F in order to fear or by fearing, you obey. Here's the spectrum. I thought I had it here and I thought it was earlier here where this on this spectrum would the fear he's talking about be, It can mean terror, fright, anxiety or reverence, submission, allegiance, trust. It's somewhere here. Because he's just giving you the gospel. Why does he keep telling people the story of their salvation all the way through? The book is for You were slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought you out. It's about fearing God, and you demonstrate obedience to God by fearing Him, by starting with the right disposition. Trusting all. Well, here's the do genomic formula for life. Earlier we had read that they may hear that. They may learn that they may fear that they may obey, that they may live. This is what we had earlier. But here we have it. Obey that. They may fear that they may live and be declared righteous.


[00:28:54] So if you had this one all by itself, then that could be problematic. But you see here, reciting Moses gives them the words to say, the kids will live here, then they will obey and in so doing demonstrate fear. Then they will live and they will be declared righteous. That's what's happening in this catechetical. And, sir, we need to take all of these texts together. The normal pattern is recite or read that they may hear, that they may fear that they may obey. But here's a context in which he varies it slightly and don't make this the norm. Make this and ask the question, why is he doing it in this direction? But notice where the where it ends. And this is the really good news. And it will be righteousness for us. And we hear the Lord say, Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done. They will be those who do are declared righteous. It is a magnificent text. Well, there's. But there's more. We we we we skipped a few issues here. We we skipped living and whatever else. And Yahoo! Commanded us to put into practice all these ordinances by fearing Yahweh and our God for our good. About eight years ago at the annual conventions of scholars. I was just shocked out of my mind when. My students and other scholars they had produced a first draft for. For me. A thanks and it was awesome. I had no idea this was going on and and and Ellen had told so many lies along the way to protect me from what she knew was going on from the beginning. But then the title of the book. For our good always. Comes right out of this text. By fearing the way our God for our good.


[00:31:32] Let Tove le new. What was Luther thinking when he says it's to kill you, it's to drive you to Christ to recognize your wretchedness. Moses knows nothing about that. The law was given. With our interests in mind. And of course, it's more than for our good always. It's for to sustain life. And this is the real kicker. Or should we say to preserve this alive? The verb here is chi, which means to live. And this is the stem is to reinforce life, to promote life, to bring to life something else. It is again, is the opposite of the law. Kills. This is what the song was, the celebrating in Judea in Psalm 119. In the Torah, there is life. This is what he's talking. This is the norm. To preserve us alive, we deserve death. But this is the way of life. The revealed will of God. Well, you see, then, the last one I. I assumed when I was doing this there'd be one or two who would be interested in Hebrew. But in any case, let's go for the English. The climax of this text. And it will be righteousness for us. If we keep now, it's it's very cryptic. Now the English it will be righteousness for us if we keep. Keep what? There's no object. I think we have to fill in the blank. If we keep the covenant, if we keep the ordinances, I mean, if you go back to Exodus 19, you've seen what I did to the Egyptians, how they carried on eagles wings and brought you to myself. Notice how he starts with the gospel. Now then, if you will keep my covenant and listen to my voice, you shall be my special treasure, my royal priesthood, and all the rest of that.


[00:33:49] Well, if so, I think if we keep the covenant, it will be righteousness for us. But if we keep now, we've got a curious Hebrew construction to do. It really means by doing. That's how you keep the covenant by putting into practice the will of God revered revealed for his vassals. By putting into practice this whole charge singular command. This whole command before your way. Our God, everything is in His presence. There's no place in life where we're not before God. This is not just about going to the temple. In the presence of God in the temple. It's all of life lived before God. And if we put them into practice before our God as he commanded us, it's the surgeon is the determiner of the conduct of the vessel. And here the glorious gospel is unlike. Oh, my God, whom I know, or to not know nothing that I have done. I don't know how well this can be fixed. I don't know. This guy says, Look, this what you do this you live by the revealed will of God. Guaranteed you have security in him. Psalm 24 has, I think, an allusion to this Psalm 24. And here he's asking whose worship is acceptable to God? The Earth is the Lord and all it contains He founded upon the rivers and whatever, who may ascend into the hill of the Lord, who may stand in his holy place. That is a matter for whose worship is acceptable to God in the temple, liturgical worship. And of course, the the answer is, if your life isn't in order, nothing you do in the temple is going to help you. Nothing will be judged. But look who's who will find. Whose worship will God find acceptable? Who may ascend instead? The one who has clean hands.


[00:36:12] What's that a metaphor for? It's your actions has a pure heart. Notice how all the body parts are in this one. You should love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your navigation, with all your old hoo hoo, your pure heart, who has not lifted up his nefesh through falsehood. This is strange, but presumably falsehood means of a faulty idol, some other God, and has not sworn deceitfully. Your tongue has not said that person shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of His salvation. Now what is that? Righteousness from now. I see. I know some who will very quickly jump and say that's the imputed righteousness that you receive. But no read, read, read this from the First Testament perspective, that may be theologically true in the light of what we learn in the news. But that's not what he's talking about here. Notice he shall receive a blessing from the Lord. That's a verbal thing. God says, I bless you. In the name. Yeah. He will receive from the priest the ironic blessing. Perhaps the Lord bless you and keep you the Lord. Lift up his countenance, find you, give you peace. It could be that. But then. And righteousness. I think this is shorthand. We've got a verbal statement in the first. That's a verbal. It's a yield Shreve, a blessing. And now I think it is a pronouncement of righteous. From the officiating priest here and will hear the words You are righteous. And he speaks on behalf of the God of his salvation. That's what's happened here. This is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face that, you know, they hear God's saying. Well done. Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of the Lord.


[00:38:25] But now we have to talk about what is righteous me. This is a very important In the book of Deuteronomy, one of the key verses is 1620 said to take care of righteousness, Righteousness only you shall pursue. And of course, here most of our translations get this one wrong. They translated justice just as usual. You. There's a difference between the two. Justice tends to be social justice. Tends to be, but it's a subcategory of the bigger concept of righteousness. Righteousness and justice are often paired and often used interchangeably. But in this context, in the context of Chapter 1620, we'll get there immediately after his said act said a tier dull few shall pursue righteousness. The first thing he talks about is idolatry. Well, that's not social justice. It's the relationship you have with God. It's a different dimension of righteousness. Mish part is typically social justice, but in what Deuteronomy, how Deuteronomy uses this word covers all whole package of it's all of life. And the goal is to hear God's well done. You are righteous in Ezekiel, you have explicit statements so we can talk about vertical dimensions of righteousness. That means no other gods ritual fidelity bearing the name properly representing him. That's righteousness. You can talk about personal righteousness, not coveting remaining pure, the one with a pure heart. Psalm 24 Or we can talk about horizontal righteousness, creation care, social justice, family care. It's all righteousness. It's all has to do with righteousness. By definition, righteousness means. Right. Action based on an established stand, or I should say, action in accord with an established standard. Did you hear the first word? It's action. There is no righteousness apart from demonstrated righteousness. Abraham demonstrated he was righteous long before the narrator says, and God continued to him for righteousness when he believed God.


[00:41:07] Genesis 15, He demonstrated righteousness long before that, when God said, Get up and leave the land of your birth and go to a land, I will show you and what that Abraham do. He got up and left. Now, he wasn't blameless completely, but I mean, the righteousness is there. But in, in, in, in a case like this or in Deuteronomy, righteousness is action demonstrated in accord with the established standard, which is the covenant. Now there is one place in which that word is applied to your way, and this is in the song in chapter 32, where it begins with I proclaim the name of your way, ascribe greatness to our God. The Rock. His work is perfect. All his ways are just a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright. Is he? God is righteous, which means that God always acts in accord with the established standard, never deviates, never deviates. And so for the vast soul, it means acting as God would have us act. Well, this is a fascinating text, and I don't hear our theologians refer to it very often. But let me just caution us that against reworking texts like this to say something they do not say. Here. He says Obedience to the will of God is the key to his approval. Did you hear that? And apart from evident obedience. There is no. Security in God's approval. Jesus says, If you love me, of course, that if you are a covenant fully committed to me, tell me no. Keep my comments. It's nothing new or old here. Obedience to the will of God. Use in chapter 2413. You shall restore to the poor person to pledge as the sun sets that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you, and it will be righteousness for you before you offer your God.


[00:43:49] Same expression. That is an act of righteousness. If you've taken a cloak as a pledge or a debt and you and you give it back to the guy, this is Blanket as well. I mean, he's homeless. He has nothing, but he has a blanket. And you've taken it as security. Be sure you give it back to him at night. He needs to sleep. That's righteousness. Well, what shall we do with Paul? What is the relationship between the keeping of the law and salvation? Well, when we answer this one, we need to hear the witness of all Scripture, the Psalms. We've talked about this already. The Torah of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul, the statutes are trusted, making wise a simple. The precepts are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands are when you hear when you hear Paul talk about the law so negatively, ask yourself, what about? Paul, what do you think of the song from 1990? How can you do this? I would love to have this conversation with Paul because I have a feeling I know what his answer would be by then was your servant. There's life here who can discern. So forgive my and it's all over the place. Psalm 119. But this is also the New Testament. It's all over the New Testament, as the Father has demonstrated love for me. So I have demonstrated love for you Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain in my love just as I've kept my father's commands. Well, what's the assumption? If you keep my commands, you'll remain in my love. The assumption is the alternative. If you don't keep my commands, you won't remain in my life. This is the plain sense of it.


[00:45:35] I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, that your joy may be complete. My command is demonstrate love for each other as I have for you. There's no greater demonstration of love than this. And to lay one's life. You are my friends if you do what I command. That's the word for being Covenant relations. I no longer call you servants mere slaves because a servant doesn't know his master's business. Instead, I've called you friends, your covenant partners. Everything that I learned from my father. I've made known to you. You didn't chose me. But I chose you and appointed you that you might go and bear fruit. What's the fruit? I used to think it was winning souls. I mean, in evangelism classes. That way, the fruit of this is bringing people to the Lord. No, it's not. That's God's business. The fruit here is living as God's covenant people. Righteousness, whatever you ask me. Well, Paul. He has some good words to say about the law. It's not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it's those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Did you hear that? There is no declaration a part of righteousness apart from demonstrated righteousness. So then the law's holy. The commanders were righteous and good. Or James. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that so prevalent humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Don't merely listen to the word and deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but doesn't do what it says is like someone who looks in the face, looks at his face in the mirror, and after looking at it, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.


[00:47:22] I'm so happy that you all looked in the mirror this morning and you're happy. I did too, I hope. But this year was a mess. But that's what we do with the scriptures. Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom. I love James. Luther says the rights. Draw your pencil. He. He so didn't get Moses. The law gives freedom. When you know where the boundaries are. Wow. I get to do it in the name of my father, Heavenly Father. And I know that when I do it, he is celebrating. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues, deceive themselves, their religion is worthless. Religion that God our father accepts is pure and faultless. Is this to look after orphans and widows? And their distresses is not totally, Totally. Deuteronomy will see this in chapter ten to keep oneself from being polluted in the same way. Faith by itself. It is not accompanied by action. Its dead as the body without spirit is dead. So faith is how it works. Don't change the message. Moses doesn't view obedience to the law as the basis of covenant relationship. What's the basis of covenant relationship? It's what? It's God's grace. The grace of God. The invitation. To covenant relationship. It's all grace. It's all grace. Moses has no other picture. This is not earning salvation. This is not salvation that I mean, this is not works that yields salvation. It is salvation that yields works. And in the absence from the works, you assume the salvation and their faith without works is dead. Moses also assumes that compliance is doable. We'll get back to this one in chapter 30 in the law. God did not ask the impossible of the Israelites.


[00:49:49] No one in the ancient world would have looked at the Israelites and said, Wow, your God really demands a lot of you. You can't do that. Nobody would have said that. Nobody. God did not ask the Israelites to swim across the Atlantic. He didn't ask to jump over 12 story buildings. Honor your father and your mother. That's doable. There isn't a single law that is beyond human capability. But we have this so ingrained in our since Luther or wherever. I don't know that the only thing the law does, it proves that we can't keep it. There's something fundamentally twisted in that thinking. It's not biblical way of thinking about these things. It's doable if we don't do the law. It's not because the laws are impossible. It's because our wheels are a problem. The other thing is Moses doesn't expect perfection. Within the covenant laws are all these statutes provisions for forgiveness, redemption, atonement. It's all there. God knows going in, they're going to blow it. But he says, I got that one covered, too. Never mind. Well, we need to recognize that first. The New Testament paradigms of relationship between faith and works are exactly the same. There is no rage or difference between yours. Gracious saving actions yield the fruit of redeemed. People are redeemed. People yields the fruit of righteous deeds. Righteous deeds yield the fruit of divine approval and blessing. That's where it is. It's all the same. It's one and the same picture. And so I conclude with a paraphrase of this domestic creed. When our children ask us in time to come what is the meaning of the ordinances and customs that we observe? Then we will say. We were slaves to sin, but the Lord rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and ushered into us, ushered us into the King glorious kingdom of light with a strong hand and with great signs and wonders.


[00:52:15] He has brought us out in fulfillment of his promises and in accordance with his glorious plan of salvation conceived before the foundation of the world. So the Lord commanded us to demonstrate our fear and love for Him by keeping His commands for our good always and as expressions of our covenant relationship with him. As it is this day, and it will be righteousness for us before him, if we are careful to show that we love God with all our hearts by doing all that He has commanded us. For, then we will hear him say. Well done. Good and faithful servant enter into the celebration. Of your Lord. This is the word of the Lord, an invitation to celebrate. I mean, it's a magnificent text, but it's buried there. Who knows it? And when we read it, we impose on it. All kinds of other polemical issues that Paul is dealing with are totally extraneous to what's going on here. Let the techs talk to you first before you go to larger uses of texts, because they're doing things in their context that have that are very significant and they will appeal to concepts, but they'll often use them in new and fresh. Paul is a preacher. He's not a dogmatic theologian. He's not a sister. He he is not writing exegesis papers. It's rhetoric. We're talking about trying to get people to think in a certain direction, which is exactly what Moses was doing and the issues Paul was dealing with in his debates with the Judaism and whatever are are very different from what Moses is talking about here. This is the norm. But when you make the law, you're a God in place of God. That's what you get. That's what you get.


[00:54:20] They've lost Moses. They've got the law. But without the heart. They've got the oral tomorrow, which is driving them crazy. In that context, we say free from the law or happy condition, free from the oral Torah, free from the legalism, free from whatever. It is, not the law that drives us. When I read the book of Ruth, I encounter Boaz. He never quote scripture, never quotes scripture. But here is a man who is guided by Torah. So obviously. But driven by the spirit. There are allusions to all sorts of Deuteronomy laws in the book of Deuteronomy. In the Book of Ruth. There are lots of allusions, but none of them fit precisely this circumstance. Boys is not obligated to marry Ruth. He is not obligated to redeem this whole business. He's not obligated. None of the laws as written fit. But Boaz is the kind of character who says, I don't need a law to do what's right. Because I've got the worldview of the Torah. That means I can apply it to any circumstance and pay your living in the interests of others. And that's Boaz. So beautifully. Beautifully. This is Deuteronomy. Magnificent.