30 March 2011

Deuteronomy 4:1-9

"For what other nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him?" (v. 7)


The book of Deuteronomy tells the story of the last days of Moses' leadership of the Israelites. He is handing over to Joshua, and is keen to make sure that everyone knows the law he has been given by God. In some texts, Deuteronomy is translated as "repeating the law", which is exactly what it does. It is a book of instructions and exhortations to obedience. This passage fits perfectly in its context. However, there is a revelation in verse 7. The Israelites have encountered diverse peoples and diverse gods in their journey, but these gods are distant and remain apart. Yahweh is different. Here we see God who is at the centre of those who follow God's call. God sets clear boundaries and expects obedience, but does not give orders and leave. God remains close by to love and support God's people.

God has not changed. Jesus allows us to encounter God intimately. If we study the Gospels we get a glimpse of how incredible God is, furthermore we and can experience God's personal invitation to part of God's family. Yes, the instructions are specific; yes, we are expected to follow the rules; and yes, we are to remember that the rules remain unchanged even today. But we are given strength and support from God who remains both around us and within us.

To Ponder

This reading reminds us that faith and obedience are interlinked. How far do you follow the instructions God has given you even when they don't seem to make sense?

God has chosen to be with us as we live our lives. How do we confess the presence of the living God in our daily living?

If we are to know God intimately we need to experience God daily. What do you do to seek God each day? And where and how do you find God?

Bible notes author

Mia Briggs

Mia Briggs used to be a local preacher. She is now a member of the student clergy in the Metropolitcan Community Church.