You can find a one-year Bible reading plan here.
One warning shows up repeatedly in Deuteronomy. Take heed! Beware! Watch out! Moses warns the people over and over again, not to be on guard for enemies, but to know that they will be tempted to abandon their commitment to God.
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. Deuteronomy 4:23
Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Deuteronomy 6:12
Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day. Deuteronomy 8:11
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; Deuteronomy 11:16
The greatest dangers to their commitment would be the prosperity they would experience in the Promised Land and the example of the native people who would tempt them to abandon God. Moses could rightfully make this case for steadfastness because the people pledged their faith to God back at Mt. Sinai. Now they would make that same commitment a second time as Moses gave the law to them a second time.
God and Israel entered into a conditional covenant. It was conditional because there were requirements which the people had to follow. Only then would they receive the benefits or blessings of the agreement. There were also curses which fell upon them if they broke the agreement. The contract was not unconditional like God’s promise to bless Abraham and give his descendants the Promised Land. But it was a covenant, meaning that the relationship between the two parties went much deeper than a contract. God was not simply going to walk away if Israel proved unfaithful.
As you read these laws and think about the agreement the Israelites made, remember that we do not live under this covenant. There are timeless principles here including the demand to keep God first, the importance of respecting life, compassion, honesty, and others. We relate to God, however, under a new covenant of receiving grace through faith in Christ’s work on the cross. We have our own commands to follow (be holy, pray without ceasing) but the agreement between God and the Israelites is not binding upon us. Both covenants were necessary because of the underlying condemnation of sin which weighs upon every man and threatens to send us to Hell unless remedied. The old covenant of Sinai still teaches us, as Paul said, that we are much in need of grace and cannot find an escape from Hell on our own. One final question: do you consider the new covenant to be conditional or unconditional?
About this blog
During 2020 I plan to post weekly writings covering the material you would read during each week as you proceed from Genesis to Revelation in one year. And so for this week I have covered Numbers 35-Deuteronomy 16. Next week I will write about Deuteronomy 17-Joshua 4. I hope you will continue along with me. You can find daily posts about these chapters archived here on the Bible in a Year blog. For your convenience here are the previous posts covering Numbers 35-Deuteronomy 16.
Image by Helmuts Guigo on Flickr, CC by-sa 2.0