From Deuteronomy 30-31
Today’s passage is another reminder to keep up with our bible reading. When Moses wrote down the law he didn’t have a photocopier.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
9 Then Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. (Dt 31:9)
The only way people could really come into contact with the scripture was to travel to the sanctuary, be it the tabernacle or the temple and hear the law read.
Do have your own copy of the law? God’s word?
The priests and the king (Dt 17.18) were the sole possessors of the scripture.
10 And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. (Dt 31:10–11)
Once every seven years they would come together at the place of the LORD’s choosing – hint, the temple, and hear the law read to them. Now thats a long time between hearing the scripture read.
Do you gather with other people to hear the scriptures read?
It would also take a long time to hear it all read in a single sitting. It would take all day and you should be able to imagine it was quite an event. Possibly more than a million people attended.
12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, (Dt 31:12)
The people assembled to hear the law. That they may learn to fear the LORD and be careful to do all the words of his law.
Why do you come and listen to the scriptures being read?
They listened and thus grew in awe of him through his words and mighty deeds. They learned to revere him, respect him as King. Perhaps love him for all he had done for them. They listened and obeyed.
13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” (Dt 31:13)
They didn’t do it just for themselves. They did it for the generations to come. Their children, their future. God expects his people to be involved in childrens and youth ministry.
Story of Israel
Through Israel’s history there were a number of people who profited from hearing the law read to them. Josiah in particular comes to mind. Having found the book of the law, he began religious reform across the country. It needed it. Amos on the other hand pronounced judgment on people who had turned away from the LORD.
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”
9 “And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it. (Amos 8:4–12)
The LORD punished them with a famine. A famine of hearing the words of the LORD. For a long time in Israel’s history people weren’t hearing God speak. Nor did they seem to care.
Story of Jesus
After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to his followers. In the gospel he speaks of the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. He explains these scriptures speak about him.
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. (Lk 24:44–48)
Jesus says, ‘it is written’. Written where? In the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.
What is written?
- That the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and
- That repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Jesus says the Old Testament is all about these things.
So when Moses commanded the people assemble to hear the law. In addition to learning to fear the law and obey his commands. They were learning about Jesus. Learning about repenting and seeking forgiveness from the LORD. When people turn to the LORD in repentance and faith they receive forgiveness from God. Hearing Amos read aloud would have lead some in this direction.
Paul instructs his young protege Timothy to read the scriptures as well.
12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim 4:12–16)
Practice these things, immerse yourself in the Word, so that all may see your progress.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.