Lecture 10: The Law: Deuteronomy
Course: Old Testament Survey
Lecture: The Law: Deuteronomy
I. Orienting Data for Deuteronomy
II. Covenant Structure in Deuteronomy
Here I have done something different. I have not said what is the overview and what are the main themes and so on because I wanted to have you see the structure, especially how carefully a book like Deuteronomy is structured relative to the six elements of the covenant—the preamble, prologue, stipulations, document clause, witnesses, and sanctions. They are all there, they are very visible in Deuteronomy and it is a very overt structuring as a covenant because this is a new people, and they need to realize they too are part of God’s covenant. They are getting a covenant relationship. This is not Mount Sinai, this is forty years later. They are now in northern Moab ready to go into the Promised Land, but they need to know they are God’s covenant people. All the essentials of the covenant that was originally given in Exodus and Leviticus, the Sinai Covenant, and all the amendments, as it were, added on during the days of the Numbers, wandering in the wilderness are now reorganized, reformatted, in some cases summarized, in some cases expanded, and put together as a restatement of the covenant. But many people then think, "Well, that means Deuteronomy is kind of throw-away stuff. Who needs to learn Deuteronomy?"
On the contrary, it is like something that is the final draft as opposed to the first draft. I do not mean it is really that way with God and he says, "Gee, I can write a lot better that than if I thought long enough; I just need more time, a little more sleep, I’ll be fine." No, that is not so. Deuteronomy really is a kind of a culmination law and some people have said it is the most important book in the Bible for understanding the big picture and overview. There are many people who will say you need to know Deuteronomy far more than you need to know the other four books of the Pentateuch. Let me commend to you the importance of the things that are said, the themes, the topics, how crucial they are to appreciating the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament as well. We will talk about how the prophets relate to Deuteronomy, how the historical books relate to it. Deuteronomy, once it is stated, really kind of gets a little bit pride-of-place even over Exodus and Leviticus. So do not underestimate the significance of this book just because it has kind of a dull name like "second law." It is really pretty important.
A. You have got a very long prologue this time, long summations of what it is God did for His people. (1:1-5:5)
B. You have got a brief mention of witnesses, in this case heaven and earth. (4:26)
C. You have got a solid preamble. (5:6)
D. Lots of stipulations. (5:7-26:19)
E. Extensive document clause. (27:1-8)
F. Extensive sanctions. (27:9-30:20)
G. Again, a mention of witnesses, heaven and earth. (30:19-20)
H. More document clause. (31:1-29)
I. Then both the Word of God and a poem are witnesses. This is very interesting. Now by this time the Bible is beginning to be formed, Moses has written Genesis and so on and he is writing Deuteronomy for them. Now there is a Bible. So it, the Word of God, functions as a witness to keep you on track. So you begin to get the concept of a scripture and how it works in connection with God’s covenant. What does the Bible do for you? Does it help you get Sunday School pins? Does it help you answer questions in Bible trivia quizzes or something? Well, yes, but that is pretty unimportant compared to the fact it is there to help you know how to be God’s people, how to belong to him and how to serve him and how to fulfill his covenant. Part of that Bible, the Song of Moses itself, which is a poem in chapter 32, function as witnesses. It is very nice, it is a very important and useful phenomenon. (31:19-26)
J. More sanctions in musical poetic form. (32:1-33:29)
K. Then finally an epilogue, a brief twelve-verse epilogue of transition. How do you get from Moses, the great leader, the first leader of the people, what is going to happen after he dies? The answer is God has a way of bringing about successors. God has a plan for his people on into the future and that is the position that Joshua occupies. So he gets introduced at the end of the book of Deuteronomy in order to prepare us for what will now come in the history of the people including the conquest of the Promised Land. I have said the things that I wanted to get across in this lecture. As you can tell by now, it is obviously sampling. There are certain things I want to be sure you hear that I hope are helpful. I am trusting that you are doing the reading and thus getting the balanced picture because I do not give a balanced picture in these lectures. Some people would say I am unbalanced. That's alright. (34:1-12)
Let us close in prayer.
Thank you Father for the time we have had together tonight. Our greatest joy would be that we take your word and really use it, first upon ourselves so that it guides us but also that we take what we have learned and always pass it on to others because we believe that everybody who is converted is hungry for the Word of God and we know that everybody needs the Word of God converted or not. So we pray to be good stewards of whatever information we learn about your truth. In Jesus' name, Amen.