Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Diving into Deuteronomy

Congratulations to those that have decided to begin reading through the Bible in a year. A reading schedule is available at the church or I can email you one. We start the year with the Psalms and the Book of Deuteronomy. I a bit behind on my reading already, I haven't finished all of my reading for December yet! I'll get there. It takes work to read on a schedule, especially during the holidays. I want to encourage you though: keep reading and reflecting - even if you are behind. Just stay with it.

A few thoughts on Deuteronomy: as a book it is one of the most central influences on the shape and content of the Jewish faith - and as a result, Christian faith. The book includes five discourses and poems of Moses to the Israelites prior to his death. He is reminding them of God's promises to bless them according to their obedience, and of the curses in accordance with their disobedience. These laws they are to obey (and not disobey) are a "divine gift to Israel, unparalleled in their justice and their ability to secure God's closeness."

As you read, see if you can keep track of the discourses. The most famous one is the second one, which is where we find the prayer called the Shema: Hear O Israel the LORD is One; Love the LORD your God with all your heart.... We also find in this book a strong concern for the poor and disadvantaged, as well as a strong concern for intellectual development. It is from Deuteronomy that we are are urged to be a people of the book. Jesus takes this teaching and turns it on its head: be people of the book, be people of the words of the book; be people of the Word - and Jesus declares himself to be the Word. Thus we are people of the book of the One. We can know God through Jesus the Word, and we can know God through the Words of Jesus.

No comments: