Tuesday 22 November 2016

Bible Book:

“Every seventh year ... you shall read the law before all Israel in their hearing.” (vv. 10-11)

Deuteronomy 31:9-13 Tuesday 22 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 55:1-8


A new theme is introduced here. It signifies Moses' religiousleadership. He is credited with writing down "this law" (v. 9) (areference to the book of Deuteronomy, which means 'Second Law' or'Second Teaching'). Provision is then made for the teaching to beread aloud every seventh year. In one way or another, everyone hasto hear the reading: verse 11 refers to a central gathering of thepeople; verse 12 may refer to readings in several towns (as afollow-up). The reading aloud demands more than mere listening. Thehearers are to be prompted to rediscover the conviction that thisis none other than God's instruction ("fear the Lord your God" (v.12)) and to take it to heart ("observe diligently" (v. 12)). Thepublic reading is also an educational tool for children. Itcontributes to the long process of induction into Israel's faithand pattern of godly living.

The reading every seventh year coincides with the 'year ofremission', when (in principle) every creditor remitted the debtsowing from any kinsfolk (Deuteronomy 15:1). This particular year markeda new start in Israel's life, putting everyone on a level playingfield. It was a re-booting of relationships within the community.It was ideally suited for a renewal of the people's covenant withGod.

The public reading is scheduled for the autumn harvest festival- the seven-day festival of booths when 'all is safely gathered in'(Deuteronomy 16:13-15). It was probably calledthe festival of tabernacles (or booths) because those gathering theharvest set up temporary shelters in the fields to store the cropswhile the harvesting continued (Isaiah 1:8).

To Ponder

  • How do you evaluate the practice of daily readings fromscripture if you use A Word in Time regularly? What from yourexperience commends this practice to others?
  • It is sometimes alleged that the public reading of theScripture in Sunday worship is the most boring and alienating partof the service. How in your judgement could this part of theservice become more accessible and helpful?
  • It is claimed that peace and harmony in our multi-faith societyhinges on religious literacy or a basic awareness of the key themesin the scriptures of the main world faiths. What can you and yourchurch do to contribute to better knowledge and understanding ofthe Christian Scriptures? 
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