Sat, 21 June 2008
Deuteronomy chapters 12-26 contain the exposition of God's law. At the onset, He demands that His people purge their land of all false religion (Deut. 12). The Lord of all will not tolerate being worshiped at shrines to pagan idols. Further, He abhors any relativistic attitudes where men do whatever seems right in their eyes (v 8). His people are to wholeheartedly resist the devil in all his forms, especially temptations to do those wrongs that may seem so right.
God warns Israel in 12:29 to put away curiosity about the religions of other nations and to reject all forms of syncretism (when a religion begins to adopt pagan practices). Although God makes it clear He does not want His people to add or subtract from His law, in reality, modern Christianity has tended towards various forms of syncretism.
Contrary to some modern notions, Christ did not eliminate any of the laws of Torah. While some of His laws may not directly apply to Gentiles, it is in His people's best interest to study and understand the Law of Moses.
In chapter 13, God reveals that He will test His people with false prophets and apostates to see whether or not they will love Him fully (v 1-3). He instructs the community to put to death by due process any false prophets and all apostate family members who solicit idolatry. Although this may seem extreme to some, God is not a sap, and He will not be mocked. If God has called a nation to be His sons and daughters, His people have an obligation to keep His covenant and not to tolerate apostasy among their ranks in any form.
The rest of the law continues to define the way God's people are to live. He instructs them in many areas of life, covering everything from Passover regulations, to dealing with an unruly son and neighborly conduct. Throughout the entire exposition, God reiterates that all His commandments are for the good of His people and will set them apart that they might be a witness for all the nations.
Music: Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15" performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. www.musopen.com