44 Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and recited all the words of this song in the presence of the people. 45 After Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all these words I am giving as a warning to you today, so that you may command your children to carefully follow all the words of this law. 47 For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Sometimes I wonder if the Law gets a bad rap because of the abuses of the religious leaders in New Testament days. Certainly the Law was and is powerless to bring about right standing before God or to make it possible for us to stand before God without our sins counted against us. Both righteousness and justification are possible only through the finished work of Jesus Christ for those who put their faith in Him.
Even so, digging into the Law given through Moses to the people of Israel brings some illumination of God's good character and intent. Deuteronomy 32:47 is a perfect example, but let's look first at a few other examples given earlier in Deuteronomy to shed a little light on this one.
In 4:7-8 Moses affirms that a primary intent of the Law was to reveal the kindness and wisdom of God, not only to Israel, but to all who came in contact with them. "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as The Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?" (ESV) Through His chosen people Israel and through the wisdom of His Law, God intended to show something of Himself and His ways to His whole creation.
In 30:15-16 Moses says, "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of The Lord your God...by loving The Lord your God, by walking in His ways and keeping His commandments...you shall live..." (ESV). What is the essential ingredient to obeying the Law here? It's loving The Lord. By their loving Him and trusting Him and living out that love every day as they walked in His ways, God intended to bless His people and, through them, those around them.
One last verse! 7:7,8 says to Israel, "It was not because you were more in number than any other people the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath He swore to your fathers." (ESV) God loves them!
So, with the idea that God intended to reveal Himself and His ways to the world through the Law and His people living it out, PLUS the fact that the Law clearly defined for Israel the paths to life and good as well as the paths of poor choice that would bring about death and evil, PLUS the fact that He does what He does because He loves them—our verses make sense. "It is no empty word for you, but your very life."(ESV) His Word affected their everyday lives.
God's Word then as now is given because He loves us. By our knowing Him and loving Him back, His Word is not dead on the page for us either. The full counsel of His Word contains the gospel and all the promises fulfilled for us in Christ Jesus.
His Word is not empty as His love is not empty. His Word is life to us today. As we learn of and live out His love we find in the Bible, we can as followers of Christ be bold. So step out and live lives of trust and faith in God’s Word in everything you do and say today! His Word is life to you.
- Can you remember a verse where God has expressed that He loves us? (Something like John 3:16 will do.) What does that verse say about God and His relationship with you personally?
- Does God’s love remain still and stagnant, or does He move through it in our lives and shape us? How so? Now give me a Scripture to back up what you just said!
- Are you letting God’s love through the record of Scripture speak into your life today? Why or why not?