And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of his people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.
Deuteronomy is my favorite book of the Bible, for so many reasons; and for a prolonged season I will trek through the book providing my “commentary” on this book, from the first verse to the last. These posts will be deep, theological, and from my heart; I do not claim an authority on this book nor do I wish to presume to be your teacher on this book. This will be for me an outpouring of my love of God of the Old Testament and New Testament; you will read my passions poured out over this book like a poet over the heart of a woman he loves. I will explore the depths of this book out of my love and affections over God and His Word given to us, of which includes this book. For me this will be a journey of passion and pleasure, I cannot read this book and walk away feeling more dead but rather alive. My journey into theology formed first here when I was a boy at the age of 12. Indeed this is the book that brought me out of the mire of my struggles in that season of my life, that sharpened my mind and understanding of God, and drove me to my knees in a deep thankfulness in my formative years entering manhood. This is the book that informed me of the heart of Christ, as I read His physical ministry on this planet I recalled over and over again the same heart of God I found in this book. My heart in sharing this journey with all of you in the Shepherdsville group is to open up the floodgates of God’s passion over you and the church, you don’t have to just rely on your assumption that the God of the Old Testament is the same you’re most familiar with in the New Testament. Indeed you will find the Scriptures to recall from this book to cultivate your resolve in the Lord and to embolden your faith in our one and true King! I hope to write in such a way that isn’t textbook and lecture like, but that is driven by a flood of joy in Him, so that your own studies throughout the Old Testament will be a lively one, rooted in the big picture of God working for our good.
The basic structure of my posts will open with the Scripture being studied italicized, there will be outside references to further elaborate what I understand from the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. And will close with questions for consideration focused on building a solid approach to the study of all Scripture. I also hope that for those who are interested in this study and follow along that what you find and see you will share with me. I look forward to any additions you may provide or things you see that I didn’t being shared with me, for I am equally a student of the Scriptures as anyone else.
So let us consider the following:
What are assumptions you have of God in the Old Testament? What ways do you understand God to be different between the two testaments?
Do you wish to understand God’s character more, or do you come to the Scriptures for mere personal application?
I strongly believe that through further understanding of God’s character first will lead us to application next. The Old Testament can be daunting for us when it comes to understanding how we ought to relate to God in our daily lives, but that is often rooted in our own ignorance rather than in God’s actions. If we can understand God’s character better we can apply our understanding of His character to our time and the decisions we are faced with that are different then the Israelite’s of the Old Testament. A great example that we all face at one time or another is dating or pursuing marriage. I often hear the question of how we should do that, or what should it look like now since we don’t do pre-arranged marriages like the Israelite’s of that time. And the New Testament doesn’t necessarily give us a step-by-step guide. But if we understand God’s character in relation to humanity throughout history we can see that God calls us to respect one another’s value as image bearers, that life is invaluable and something only He can give and take away. So we can ask the question; how can I best respect the person I wish to pursue right now? How can I honor their value before God and propel them towards Him at every opportunity I have when I interact with them? Such a question deals pointedly with physical boundaries, how we speak to this person in question, how we spend our time with them, and how we think of them when we are away from them.
So in closing, the drive for our studies of Scripture is to first and foremost understand God and see Him more clearly, and to be more in love with Him every passing moment; through that we will find our will and our actions transformed and living to honor and glorify Him in every facet of our lives. We will find ourselves more intentional with every menial and important decision we make in our day-to-day lives; in our thought life and what we think about, how we think about those things, and what we refuse to dwell on. Indeed, our God is a mighty and majestic God and is the source of all life and holiness, and so we must start with Him and end with Him in every waking moment we are given.
To His glory.