From Deuteronomy 5-7
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Moses has just repeated the Ten Commandments. These we have already had a look at this year in Exodus 20. Today’s word follows those commands.
22 “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. (Dt 5:22)
The LORD speaks out of the midst of the fire, cloud and darkness. It must have been an impressive sight. Moses says after the giving the ten commandments, ‘he added no more’. This suggests the ten commandments were all the LORD gave him. This was all that was written on the two tablets. But what does this say about all the other laws Moses gave? Did the LORD give these at another time? The text differentiates between these laws and the rest in the Law of Moses.
The Ten Commandments are given more prominence.
23 And as soon as you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders. 24 And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25 Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. 26 For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? 27 Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say, and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’ (Dt 5:23–27)
The people are impressed with the LORD. His power, authority and majesty. They have seen his ‘glory and greatness’. They have heard his voice speaking out of the darkness and the fire. So awed are they with the LORD they are amazed Moses could have lived after he spoke to him.
Have you heard the voice of the LORD? He still speaks today.
The people of Israel fear the LORD. They fear his voice will cause them to die. So they send Moses again, knowing he can hear the LORD’s voice and live.
28 “And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29 Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever! (Dt 5:28-29)
The LORD of course knows what they have said. He says they are right in what they say and wishes they had the same heart and fear always. If they did they would be blessed and so would their descendents. However the statement suggests the LORD anticipates they will not stay like this forever.
30 Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” 31 But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you the whole commandment and the statutes and the rules that you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.’ 32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess. (Dt 5:30–33)
The people are to remain at their tents. Only select individuals are allowed to speak with the LORD in the tent of meeting.
Are you allowed to speak to the LORD? If he spoke to you would you die?
The LORD emphasises the importance of the commandments, statutes and rules he has just given (Dt 5.6-21). They are not to stray from them. They are to walk in them. These are how they are to direct their lives. The verb ‘keep’ means to have or retain possession of. To honour or fulfill a commitment. If they keep them, they will live and things will go well with them. They will prosper.
Story of Israel
The voice of the LORD speaks out of the darkness and fire. Quite often the voice of the LORD is associated with his commands (e.g. Ex 15.26; Nu 14.22; Jdg 2.2; 1 Sam 12.14). For example God makes a promise to Isaac because Abraham obeyed;
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. 4 I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Ge 26:3–5)
But later in Israel’s history they turn away from the LORD, they serve other gods and refuse to keep the Law of Moses.
9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it, 10 and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11 The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed. (2 Ki 18:9–12)
So they were punished and sent into exile. The LORD still kept speaking however.
Story of Jesus
The Lord still speaks today. During Moses’ time only he and a few others could approach the LORD and not die when he spoke with them. But with Jesus the doors open. They are opened to everyone who recognises the voice of the LORD speaking through Jesus.
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (Jn 10:1–5)
Given the opportunity would you want to hear the voice of the LORD?
Come to Jesus, hear his voice. Praise him for speaking to you.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.