Words for the Wilderness

The backdrop for understanding the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4/Luke 4 is Israel’s time in the wilderness. The parallels aren’t difficult to see. I’ve adapted the following from Liefeld and Pao (Luke, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary).  To that last point, when Israel was in the wilderness, they were fresh off their miraculous rescue byContinue reading “Words for the Wilderness”

Finishing Strong

Moses’ mission was accomplished. Joshua had been commissioned as his successor (Deuteronomy 31:14,23). Israel was on the brink of entering the land of Canaan. They had renewed their promise to live under the covenant first given to the nation at Sinai (29:9-14). The next chapter of their story will be told in the book ofContinue reading “Finishing Strong”

Be Strong and Courageous!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:7) These are words from Moses to Israel just prior to his death on Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34). The phrase “be strong and courageous” occurs two more times in the chapter (v. 7,Continue reading “Be Strong and Courageous!”


Mark Twain famously noted that it wasn’t the parts of the Bible he didn’t understand that brought him grief—it was the parts he did understand! I think that’s the case with the section of Scripture in Deuteronomy 28-30. There’s not much that’s vague, ambiguous, or cryptic—it’s all very straightforward: Follow God and be blessed; forsakeContinue reading “Curses”

Not Chance But Choice!

The book of Deuteronomy is (among other things), a record of Moses preparing Israel for life in the promised land. Chapter 28 is part of a concluding section of Moses’ address given to the nation shortly before his death (34:1-8). Not long after his passing, Israel entered Canaan under Joshua’s leadership. We reach a crescendoContinue reading “Not Chance But Choice!”

More, More, More

Greed is the state of wanting more than you need. It’s never a good look. It’s the attitude that says, “More, more, more!” when there is no legitimate purpose or reason for it. People can be greedy because of status. They buy into the lie that you are what you own. They are under theContinue reading “More, More, More”

Hide or Seek?

Jesus summed up the Torah as being about loving God exclusively and loving your neighbor as yourself. But of course, He did more than talk about it, He modeled it in all aspects of His life so that when we look at Him, we see Someone who was the epitome of loving God and others. Continue reading “Hide or Seek?”

Thinking About the Tithe

Tithing is one of those things that can betray our approach to and understanding of the Old Testament if we’re not careful. It’s easy to note that it meant ten percent, assign to Israel an unconscious, semi-spiritual attitude and move on to making applications to our giving today. But as Lee Corso says, “Not soContinue reading “Thinking About the Tithe”

Truth Telling

The witness section of Deuteronomy 19:15-21 should lead us to think about truth telling as it relates to the community of Christ. After all, the text isn’t addressing honesty in general terms, its specific concern is with truth telling as it relates to the community of Israel and its judicial proceedings. The judicial system wasContinue reading “Truth Telling”

Community, Justice, & Truth-Telling

We’re in a section of Deuteronomy that’s largely concerned with governing. That being so, we hear about:  In all this, it’s not hard to see a focus on those who were to lead Israel and the legal processes and standards they were to implement. Brueggemann reminds us that Israel is being given “a pattern ofContinue reading “Community, Justice, & Truth-Telling”