Deuteronomy 17-20 God will raise up for you a prophet, it is to him you shall listen

From Deuteronomy 17-20

05 DeuteronomyMoses continues in today’s chapter readings with sections of the Jewish law. Moses himself will not be around to guide Israel forever. Like most men he will die. The passage I have chosen foretells the coming of another like Moses.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

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 (Dt 18:15)

Im sure it comforted Moses to know the LORD will continue to look after Israel after he passes away.

The LORD will continue to raise up leaders to further his kingdom.

The prophet the LORD raises up after Moses will be from among their brothers. He will be Hebrew.

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. (Dt 18:16-17)

Moses recalls their time at Horeb when they feared the LORD and requested someone stand for them before him (Ex 20.19; Dt 5.24-27). The LORD appreciated the awe and respect they were showing him.

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. (Dt 18:18-19)

So the LORD promises to send another. He does not promise to send an ongoing stream of prophets over the ages. Although he does. He promises to send ‘a prophet’. A single prophet to follow Moses. The LORD will speak through him.

All are required to listen to him. If they don’t they will be punished.

There will be many pretenders.

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.’ (Dt 18:20)

Some will speak, perhaps thinking they are prophets. Deluding themselves and others. But they will not be from the LORD.

How can we tell the true prophets from the false?

The LORD will eventually bring these false prophets to account. They will die.

21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’ 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Dt 18:21–22)

If someone says he speak’s for the LORD. The way they will know is if his predictions do not come true. Only the LORD reveals to people the future.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

False prophets did arise. During the time of King Ahab, the eighth king of Israel. On a mountain called Mount Carmel the King, many of his people and a large number of prophets serving the false god Baal confronted Elijah. A true prophet.

Was Elijah the prophet Moses predicted? No.

The false prophets of Baal could not get their gods to light their sacrifice. The LORD on the other hand consumed Elijah’s sacrifice. The LORD won a great battle that day. But Moses had another in mind.

Story of Jesus

A few hundred years later a man named Peter, an apostle of Jesus quoted Moses on his prediction of the coming prophet. In context a man had just been healed by the LORD through Peter. Peter explains what has happened;

11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. 12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? (Acts 3:11–12)

Peter denies it is through his own power or goodness that the man was healed. The LORD used him for his own purposes. Why? He tells the story of Jesus. The gospel.

13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. (Acts 3:13-15)

Peter shares the story of Jesus and their involvement in it. He calls Jesus the ‘Author of life’ – an impressive title. They killed him, but God raised him to life.

16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:16)

Its actually through Jesus’ name that the man was healed, not through Peters power or piety. Jesus is the one with the power.

17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. (Acts 3:17-21)

Peter calls them to repent of the wrong they have done, in particular what they did to Jesus, an innocent. If they do so ‘times of refreshing will come from the LORD’ and he will ‘send the Christ’ – Jesus, to come back.

Then he refers to the prophets and he has Moses in mind in particular.

22 Moses said,

‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’

24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3:22–26)

The prophet has come, his name is Jesus. Listen to him.

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