Welcome to Part 2 of ‘Delights from Deuteronomy’ (thoughts from the recent lectures on Deuteronomy I attended)!
This Minute from a Minister is about how God’s word gives you a progressively greater vison of what the good life is … so that we can live a God-blessed and God-pleasing life — because that’s what God wants for your life, because He is so good and generous.
Of course you know of the 10 Commandments — Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5 (… well, actually they are literally called the ten “words”: Ex. 34:28; Dt. 4:13, 10:4). They’re often thought as a definitive Summary of the Old Testament (O.T.), but they’re really ‘just the beginning’, being the start of the O.T. sections on laws. They’re more like a Table of Contents in a book, which gives you the framework for what’s coming, but to know much of what’s involved in living the 10 Words out you need to ‘read the details’ in what follows.
So, following this, the Bible has numerous further sections on laws, which each expand and deepen and apply previous teachings. So, immediately after the 10 Words there is Exodus 20:22-23:19 (often called ‘the Book of the Covenant’) which applies the 10 Words, showing how it’s lived out in various ways and situations.
But wait there’s more … because after this then comes the book of Leviticus, which further expands on how to live a holy life as a person whom God has saved by grace.
And more … after Leviticus then Deuteronomy Chapters 12-26 & 28 gave the Israelites even more details about how to live for God — especially in the new situation of living in the Promised Land. God’s word was applied to new scenarios and challenges.
But even all those sections of the O.T. didn’t explicitly give the fullness of God’s good instructions for living for Him. So, Jesus comes and elaborates, deepens and makes explicit what was implicit in the O.T.— he gives ‘the Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew Chs 5-7) in which he explicitly refers to what Israel was previously taught (“you have heard that it was said …”) and definitively says, “but I say to you …”. But even this isn’t ‘the final word’, because the Gospels record Jesus giving much more teaching. And then the rest of the New Testament continues to apply, elaborate and deepen God’s word for us. So, the 10 Words relate to certain other parts of God’s word like “a seed that sprouts and grows and eventually yields its full beautiful flowers” (Daniel Block, Deuteronomy). So, the Bible is a rich, developing treasury of how to live The Good Life.