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The Bible In A Year: Day 78

Deuteronomy 5-6
Psalm 77
Luke 5:33-6:5

Deuteronomy 5-6

Moses continues his recounting of the events over the last 40 years. He’s now recalling the Lord giving the Ten Commandments and all that happened at that time on Mount Sinai.

He also reminds them that at first they also heard the voice of God speaking from the fiery cloud at Sinai but because of fear they begged him to be their intercessor and mediator. This makes the rebellion against moses so much worse, because it wasn’t Moses who put himself in the position he’s in, it was by the people’s own request.

Moses the delivers to them the one commandment, who’s observance would fulfill the entirety of the Law, and called greatest commandment by Jesus himself. This is to love God fully and with all of our being. This law is summed up in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and is called the Shema. This short recitation of faith is a bold declaration of monotheism in a world where that was a rarity and oddity.

The command to bind this law on their arms and between their eyes, and also to write it upon their doorpost, is where the practices of Tefilim and Mezuzah come from. The small boxes that Orthodox Jews wear today on their arms and tied to their foreheads, and were worn by at least the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, are called Tefilim and is their way of observing this law. A Mezuzah is the small item you see nailed to the doorframe of an observant Jew’s home or business, it contains a scroll containing this law written on it inside.

Moses follows this all up with a warning not to go after other gods, not to forget who it was that brought them from slavery and gave them this land, not to turn from their commitments under the covenant they made at Sinai. Of course if the followed the greatest commandment, then they would never do these things, but unfortunately they don’t, and all the warnings fall on deaf ears.

It all hinges on driving out the sinful and corrupting inhabitants of the land, a metaphor for us to drive out sinful habits. And also I’m remembering where they came from. That is what God keeps reminding them of because they’re so quickly forgetting him.

Luke 5:33-6:5

Jesus is asked about fasting, and why his disciples don’t fast. He says that it’s because he is with them, but a day is coming when he’ll go back up to heaven and then they’ll fast. He turns this into a parable about old cloth and old wine. The point he is making is that the old covenant and the new covenant cannot coexist together, and so the coming of the new will necessarily mean the ending of the old. This comes to complete fruition at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus and the disciples are walking through a field on the sabbath and pluck a few grains as a snack. The Pharisees take offense at this (what a surprise) and so Jesus sets them straight. He could’ve pointed out the distinction made in the Law between harvesting and gleaning. One would’ve been unlawful and one was allowed, but instead he asks them if they’ve ever heard of a man called David. This was a sarcastic remark to the people who considered themselves the most learned and wise in all of Israel, asking them if they’ve heard of Israel’s greatest king. He made the point that strict observance of the law could be modified in a situation of great need, such as in other sabbath observance questions when he asks if someone had a donkey fall in a well, would they help it or just leave it to die.

He uses this davidic reference because the messiah will be the son of David and the new king of Israel, so he’s hereby equating himself and his disciples to David and his mighty men. Another subtext that the Pharisees certainly picked up on.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 7-9
Psalm 78
Luke 6:6-26

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