April 11: Deuteronomy 4:44- 5:33, Psalm 101
Moses tells the story of receiving the 10 words (also known as the 10 commandments) and repeats them in our reading today. God speaks after the people request Moses to approach YHWH again on their behalf and we learn some of what God expects for Israel. First we know that YHWH desires Israel to pay attention to His commands and to obey (Deuteronomy 5:22-23). We also learn that God desires that Israel would have hearts devoted to Him that it might go well with them forever (Deuteronomy 5:29). When God speaks in verse 29, if we are just evaluating the sentence, it seems that God is skeptical Israel will fear God like expected. When reading Deuteronomy there is consistent tension between God’s call for Israel’s obedience and this underlying suggestion that the future will include more disbelief, disobedience, and frustration. Though God's promises rewards, blessings, and everything Israel could hope for in return for obedience, it becomes clear often enough that God realizes even this cannot power Israel to obey. Obedience comes harder for Israel than we imagine it should. For us, these readings should be a consistent reminder that we cannot obey God apart from the power and presence of God, even with all the gifts God can give us.