Deuteronomy, the “second law”.
Deuteronomy 18:14-20 ESV
“…for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune- tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.”
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die. ’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.
We continue to listen to God’s story in his word, the Bible. It is the story of his glory in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each week we focus on one book from the Book of books. So far we have heard about God’s promises and mission, God’s name, God’s holy presence, and God’s grace from the first four books of the section of the Old Testament Scriptures called the Law or the Torah. Today we join together to listen to an important part of the story from the fifth book of the Torah. In Christian printings of the Bible, it is called Deuteronomy, the “second law”, which can be misunderstood easily. Among the Jews, it is titled in various ways, but the most common is “These are the Words”, which is taken from the first verse of the book. With this in mind we can say that it is the story of God instructing his people through his prophet Moses, since the idea of “torah” is “instruction”. But in this instruction, God tells through Moses that he will send a greater prophet and that everyone must listen to him.
Deuteronomy seems to be put together like a covenant renewal document. Many teachers see resembles to ancient treaty documents between a king and his subjects. Such writings were put together like this: the preamble, historical prologue, general stipulations, specific stipulations, divine witnesses, and blessings and curses. This appears in a general sense to be the structure of chapters 1-28, with chapters 29-34 added as a format for covenant renewal ceremonies.
Features of Deuteronomy – It is the most quoted book in the NTS (over 80x)
 Its tone is urgent and expectant. “You’re about to take the next step in God’s story of redemption. Get ready!”
 It talks a lot about the land that God was about to give his people. Along with this is a reminder that God would choose a place to live among them.
 It functions like a grid through which Israel is to view the world and life. We can see this fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. Consider his temptation by Satan and his answers.
 It emphasizes spirituality and having a heart for the Lord (Yahweh). It tells people to love, to hear, to serve, to fear, to cling to, to walk in the ways of, and to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. It warns against following other gods and idolatry.
 It praises the Lord for what he has done for Israel: election, redemption, calling, setting them apart, and making a covenant with them.
 It has a future perspective. It is not provide the end of God’s story, but is another step toward its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
I.Moses reviews the story of the journey from Sinai to the borders of the Promised Land (1:5-4:43).
We see condensed stories of God’s story throughout his word (cf. Josh 24:1-13; 1 Sm 12:6-15; Ps 78; 105; 106; 114; 135; 136; Neh 9:5-37; Acts 7:1-53; 13:16-41). Moses is telling the story of why an eleven day trip took forty years.
A.The journey from Sinai to the east side of the Jordan River (1:1-25)
1.The land to be received would be the fulfillment of God’s covenant of promise (1:8). God keeps his promises. Moses makes this point often.
2.Moses encouraged them to take the land (1:20-21).
Point: Be encouraged; God keeps his promises.
B.The rebellion of the first generation against the Lord (1:22-46).
1.Their problem was a wrong view of God (1:27) and unbelief (1:29-33).
2.God’s judgment on the first generation but his promise to the second generation (1:34-39).
C.The wandering in the wilderness (2:1-23)
1.God’s provision for his people during that time (2:7).
2.God’s work among the nations (2:21) – God’s story includes other nations.
D.God’s glory on the approach to the land (2:24-4:43)
1.The defeat of two kings and the enlargement of the land (2:24-3:30) – God gave them more (2:30; 3:3). God is the God of the much more (Eph 3:20).
2.The greatness of the Lord contrasted with false gods and idols (4:1-43; especially 4:3-4, 7-8, 11-13, 15, 23-24, 31-38) – This chapter needs to be studied well in this time of increasing worship of false gods and idolatry.
II.Moses instructs them in the ways of the Lord (4:44-28:68; 29:1-33:29).
A.The basic instruction—the Ten Words of the Covenant (5:1-33)
1.The Ten Words were the basic agreement that God made with Israel. If they obeyed them, they would live as his people. It is a serious mistake to call them the “moral law” since they are constantly referred to as the covenant made with Israel at Sinai and written on two stone tablets and placed in the Ark of the Covenant. They present instruction about a set apart or holy way of life in the presence of the Holy God, but they should not be lifted above other parts of God’s word. The fourth command about the Sabbath is the sign of the covenant treaty. If they broke that, they broke the covenant.
2.The people lacked the heart necessary to keep the covenant (5:29).
B.The heart of the instruction—Love for God (6:1-12:32).
1.The First Great Command (6:4-9) – This is the core of a godly life. To miss this is to reduce any relationship with God to the keeping of rules and rituals. This is where most religious people go astray. Passionate love for God is at best neglected and often rejected.
Point: A genuine relationship with the Lord involves whole-hearted love for God.
2.God’s love for his people (7:6-9; 8:2-9) – We love, because he first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). God takes the initiative in a relationship with people. If you think you’re seeking God, it is only because God is seeking you. This is reason for hope, but you must draw near to him in his way—through faith in Jesus Christ.
3.Their need for a circumcised heart; that is, for regeneration (10:16; cf. 30:5-7, 11-14); Ezekiel will later speak about God’s provision for this in the new covenant.
Point: With numerous blessings promised to Israel, it seems sensible for them to trust God and to obey his instruction. But sin never makes sense. It is irrational. People will turn from life and blessing to destroy themselves. We need God to change us.
C.Specific instructions for life as God’s old covenant nation (13:1-28:68)
1.Some present matters of old covenant worship
2.Some provide regulations for government of the nation
3.Some set forth instruction about a life set apart from sin for God
4.All must be obeyed—the blessings and the curses (27:1-28:68)
D.Format for covenant renewal (29:1-32:47) – The format is given through the actions of Moses. This is much livelier than simply saying “do this and this and this”.
1.Appeal for faithfulness to the covenant (29:1-29)
2.Appeal to love God from the heart (30:1-20)
3.Transfer of leadership (31:1-29)
4.Song of Moses (31:30-32:47)
III.The promise of a better prophet (18:9-20)
A.The promise in this passage
1.The Lord prohibits his people to follow the detestable practices of the nations who do not know the Lord (18:9-14). People need instruction from God to live in a way that pleases the Lord, but such instruction must come from the true and living God.
2.The Torah is not the end of God’s revelation to his people. God would continue to speak to his people. He did through the prophets. But this promise is pointing to a greater prophet, a prophet like Moses. Everybody must listen to him (18:15). He would tell the people everything that the Lord would command (18:18).
B.The fulfillment of this promise – The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is sent by God the Father to be his full and final Word to his people. Everything written in the NTS come from this Great Prophet of God.
1.The word from God the Father at the Transfiguration (Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7; 9:35; cf. Jn 1:1, 14, 17).
2.The message given by the Apostle Peter (Ac 3:17-26)
3.The teaching of the writer of Hebrews (Heb 3:1-6)
Point: Jesus is the better prophet promised by God. Have you bowed before him as the way to know God and his way of salvation?
Ideas to transform our lives:
- Be encouraged; God keeps his promises
- A genuine relationship with the Lord involves whole-hearted love for God
- Sin never makes sense
- The Lord Jesus Christ must be your final authority
Pastor Dave Frampton
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.