V. WHAT THE LORD REQUIRES:
A reminder of God’s call (DEUT 11:1)
To hit the point home, Moses wraps up this section of his speech and transitions to his further arguments by emphasizing again the summation of Deuteronomy: “Love the LORD your God.” The prime position is again given to “love.” Following closely is the charge to “keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws, and his commands always.” So the resound is echoes: reciprocate and imitate God’s love for this is the enabling purpose of the law.
It is as Paul says it is. In Romans 8:1-4, the “Old” Testament steeped apostle recalls the loving purpose of God’s commands. The words of the law, like the sign of circumcision, like the actions towards others, are all meant to set a person free from enslavement so that they can have loving relationship with God… a relationship that champions life. The law leads to life because it is rooted in God’s loving purposes. Only when Israel failed to reciprocate and imitate God’s love, did the law then become a measurement of judgment. That’s why Paul could say:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
It is time for the modern church in North America to embrace the continuity between the Testaments. If we truly believe Jesus was right, then we must accept that he fulfilled and did not abolish the law. Jesus enabled the heart of Deuteronomy 10:12-11:1 for his people. It would do the church well to embrace the heart of Moses, which is the heart of Deuteronomy, which so keenly reflects the heart of God. God has loves his people. He always has. God desires and urges his people to love him reciprocally. He always has. And God desires and urges his people to love others, just like he does… and just like he always has. It is time to be transformed by that testament of faithful grace and truth. The charge is simple: Love the LORD your God; and love your neighbor as yourself.
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Brown, F., S. Driver, and C. Briggs. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Peabody, MA: Henrickson Publishers, 1906 (6th printing 2001).
Glasser, Arthur F. Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of God’s Mission in the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003.
Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. Theological Workbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.
Kalland, Earl S., “Deuteronomy”, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 3, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992
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Tigay, Jeffrey H. The JPS Torah Commentary: Deuteronomy: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation. Philadelphia: PA, 1996.
Wright, Christopher J.H. Deuteronomy: New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996