If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.
27 February. Deuteronomy chapters 1-3
This is a short post because much of these chapters (indeed, much of Deuteronomy) covers old ground. It represents a recapitulation of both the history of the Exodus period, and the teachings that Moses received at Horeb, before moving on to Moses’ farewell speech. This was necessary because a whole generation had passed, and only two of the men who had left Egypt with Moses (Joshua and Caleb) would take the new generation across the Jordan into a new land. So the new generation had to be reminded of what had gone before, in order to inspire them to continue in the same faith and not assimilate themselves to a new host culture.
The church today finds itself in an increasingly post-religious world where fewer people attend church (very few, if the older generations are left out of the count). Our task therefore is to inspire those few younger people who are with us to take a distinctive faith forward in their generation, as well as seeking new converts by appropriate means. They need to understand the whole history of the Jewish-Christian tradition in order to see their own challenges in context, just as Moses’ hearers had to understand the sacrificial effort (in every sense) that had gone into getting them to where they were.