What does it say?
Deuteronomy means “second law” in Greek and comes from the title of the Greek translation of the Hebrew. Unlike Numbers and Leviticus that are mostly God’s words to Moses, Deuteronomy records Moses’ words as he explains the law to the people. Specifically, the book contains three discourses by Moses: #1, a review of the time in the desert (1-4); #2, an explanation of the Ten Commandments and the Law (5-26); and #3, promises for the future (27-30). It would appear that Moses wrote this book on the plains of Moab shortly before his death about 1406 B.C.
After the chronological and geographical markers by way of introduction, Moses begins the review at Mount Horeb, another name for Mount Sinai (Deu 1-2). In these first two chapters, Moses relates the accounts of Israel’s failures in order to emphasize God’s faithfulness.
What does it mean?
A common thread links Moses’ speech in these first chapters highlights the failures and rebellions of Israel and the faithfulness of God. No matter how often and how badly we fail God, he never fails us, never breaks his promises and always accomplishes his mission, even though it involves a 40-year detour.
Deuteronomy 2:25 is an important statement of purpose. God is putting Israel in a power position over the surrounding nations. This is the same story begun in Genesis. God is working to redeem and restore all the families of the earth. He reveals himself to Israel, blesses them and manifests his great power through them in order that all the earth’s families might know him and be blessed.
Our culture and circumstances are far different than those of Israel in the days of Moses, but there is one important commonality. God wants to demonstrate his power in the lives of his followers as a witness to those who do not believe. This does not mean that we will be flawless. In fact, just as we see here, God will even use our failures to highlight his faithfulness and grace.
How will I respond?
God wants my life to be a witness to his power and grace. Can others see him at work in my life, even through my failures and shortcomings? What can I do to more clearly reveal God’s working in my life? Am I in contact with people who need to know him? Do I need to learn better how to connect with non-believers? Am I transparent enough for people to see God at work even in my failures, or do I put myself under false pressure to give a façade of perfection.