Despite the demanding duties of the day to day I’m pleased to say Deuteronomy is well and truly read! My curiosity re Moses is more or less fed. Again I have my questions and puzzles to complete, but happy that I’m closer to my bible reading feat.
Most conveniently, the You Version Bible app has wiped all the notes I had prepared for this blog so a portion of what I write is coming from the heart. Thankfully this little hurdle has not compromised the points I’ve been eager to make for some time!
It’s funny; as I read through the beginning of the book, the sound of war drums pounded the mind. The tone in which God spoke insinuated a preparation for battle. Reading the defeat of King Og made it all apparent. However, I’ve yet to read Joshua and I’ve got a feeling these war drums will be louder!
Again, much like Numbers, I had to break away from the easy way of thinking (why is God so angry, harsh, strict? What’s with all the laws and animal blood shed?). Dare I say it; I felt the repetition brought about a monotony. However, there are some elements of the book which stood out like a sore thumb.
I was astonished by Israel’s rebellion despite the preceding signs and wonders from God. Frankly I was getting frustrated. I saw the people as ungrateful, hard of hearing, etc and then it struck me. If we are all in fact children of Israel, we are all just as ‘stiff necked’, ignorant and rebellious. If I had a child like Israel I’d be sending them off to boot camp or boarding school! As hard as I’d find it, it’s likely I would give up. I’d never think of sending my most behaved, loyal, promising child to die for his sibling’s rebellion! Once again, I was reminded of the grace I found when reading Numbers.
Deuteronomy 4 and some of 12 God warns us against idolatry; Christians have been taught this concept applies to those who worship in other religions, but that’s not strictly true. Christians who turn up to church religiously, but cannot get that celebrity out their mind, feel the end of the world is nigh if they miss Match of the Day, must have those shoes before they have food in their cupboards, etc are in fact expressing idolatrous behaviour.
This concept did lead to me taking some time for self analysis. What do I see as more important than my relationship with God, family, friends? What can I not live without (but really can live without)? How would I react if my things were swept away in a hurricane tomorrow? Would I be grateful I’m alive or would I mourn the loss of my make up bag? More intricately, if my Mac exploded tomorrow, what exactly would frustrate me; the fact that all my hard work (including notes for this blog) were gone or that my ‘thing’ was destroyed?
However, I also discovered that your idolatry is not mine: debates over whether Christian women should wear pants, the rules on mixed fabrics and jewellery to me are pretty laughable. Yes, God speaks of the distinctions between men and women but I promise you, I have no intentions of growing a 5 o’clock shadow as a result of my denim jeans. My jewellery and the tattoo on my foot are not reflections of my worship, just fashion preferences which by the way, do not equate to God or my relationships and sure I might wear a woolly jumper with those denim jeans but, I live in England! Give me a break!
By reading too much into the literal laws without considering the reasons behind them, we are at risk of making the laws our idols which of course is an embarrassing contradiction. Such laws were put in place for a tribe who despite their knowledge of God, threw their jewellery into fire to make a golden calf to worship. God gave us discernment for a reason. Many of the laws including the treatment of women are not applicable to today for obvious reasons and rightly so, they are no longer debated. However, my earrings and the stars on my foot causes heart attacks amongst church members of a certain generation??? Think it over people 🙂
As the book draws to a close, Moses dies at Mount Nebo: Gutted! I felt a smidgen of the Israelites mourning. Moses lead an extraordinary journey and through reading Exodus and Deuteronomy I did establish a relationship. I now see why his name insinuates power, strength, courage as well as humility. I have no children but will defo consider naming my next pet fish after him!
Despite certain revelations, I still have a few unanswered questions:
Deuteronomy 7 and some of 26: God speaks of his chosen people. I often wonder what the relationship was like between God and other tribes? Did they know him? Was he there for them? Why are they not referenced in the bible?
In Deuteronomy 25 we learn God’s order for the Israelites to destroy the Amalekites; What’s with God and war against other tribes? Whatever happened to reasoning and diplomacy with violence as a last resort (in self defence)? It’s references like these which bring me back to a state of confusion re God’s love for his children; does he initiate these laws to make way for his examples of grace? If so, then why?
I’m about to get stuck into Joshua (the book). Looking forward to writing you again soon.