I can still hear Dr. Paul Benware‘s (Now moved on to Philadelphia Biblical University)voice telling me that if I’ll just pay attention to the next few chapters the entire Old Testament will start to make sense. It was my first semester at Moody Bible Institute and we were only a short way into Old Testament Survey when we came to Deuteronomy 27-30, especially Dt 28.
The passage is so extended and relentless in its pictures of misfortune that no sane person would choose to live in disobedience if these are the results. -ESVLSB
Every blessing God promises for obedience he continually calls Israel to receive through the prophets. And every curse which he promises if they reject him comes to pass from the period of the judges all the way through the deportation’s of Israel and Judah. Even the promise to restore in chapter 30. If you’ve never read these chapters with an eye on the rest of the Old Testament you should.
Moses already closed Deuteronomy with the admonition to “be strong and courageous” (Deut 31:23) and now at the onset of Joshua God steps forward to imbue strength and courage into the life of Moses’ former servant – the new leader of Israel. Joshua is going to need all of the courage he can muster too. If not because of the prolonged (but victorious) war he’s about to enter because the people of Israel in a rather ironic twist vow to him that they will obey him in the same manner they obeyed Moses. (Joshua 1:17) I can’t help but believe that the frequent rebellions didn’t rise to the surface of Joshua’s mind.
Nevertheless aside from the matter of Achan (Joshua 7) there is no hint of rebellion against Joshua’s leadership. This could be not only because rebellion didn’t happen or wasn’t recorded but because all the dreams of the Israelites are coming true. They’re finally done with manna (5:10-12), they’ve all be circumcised (Josh 5:2-9), they’re entering the land to possess it (Joshua 12:1). The book of Joshua is a masterfully told epic of God’s people taking the land culminating in the twin climax of the nonrebellion of the tribes of Ephraim, Gad and the 1/2 tribe of Manasseh in the building of the altar of remembrance (Joshua 22) and the great challenge of Joshua to the people in Joshua 24:15, “Choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
– Joshua 24:14-15
Beginning with the great Psalm of David’s repentance in the affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband this small collection of Psalms rotates around the common themes of life struggle, lament, and hope and worship of the Living God.
One of the difficulties of reading larger chunks like this is that the Psalms tend to get passed over simply because time is running out. All of us must fight the same battles in our day. We all have many responsibilities but as I reflect on the constant failures of Israel I note with dismay that many times as at the beginning of Judges tomorrow that the reason for the massive moral failures was that people did not know the Lord nor his word. If in no other way, this most clearly exemplifies our great need to bring God’s word into our hearts that it might flow through our lives.