Thoughts from Pastor Derek...
The Deuteronomy Sermon Series
The Video below is from a group called The Bible Project. It does a good job of explaining the themes and structure of the book of Deuteronomy.
Thoughts from Sunday March 17th
Over the next several weeks of Lent, we are going to be looking at the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy chapter 5. Often, when we think of the Ten Commandments, we think of a list of do’s and don’ts. We think of a list of rules that we have to keep. The focus can be on our actions and on our behavior. But, this is not how the Ten Commandments are presented in Deuteronomy. Look at the verses immediately before the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 5:1-6 says,
"Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Notice that even before the Ten Commandments are given, we are reminded that God has provided a way for us to have a relationship with him. Before the Ten Commandments are given, we are reminded of God’s saving acts on our behalf when God says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” The Ten Commandments are about our Gospel God who comes to save us from our sin and draw us to himself.
Readings for next week:
Deuteronomy 5:1-22 and Exodus 20:1-21
Thoughts from Sunday March 10th
This week, as I was reflecting on the words of Deuteronomy, I looked the window of my office and saw the hill behind the church. This is just a small hill, but it made me think of larger hills and of the mountains that we find throughout our country. In Deuteronomy, Moses talks about how God met with his people at a mountain. He met with them at Mount Sinai. This language is picked up in Hebrews chapter 12, where the author of Hebrews compares the hope that we have in and through Jesus Christ to a mountain. He said that our hope is as unshakable as a mountain.
It says, “You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Let us live in that unshakable hope.
Scriptures for next week:
Thoughts from Sun, March 3rd
This past Sunday, we talked again about Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3. We talked about how Deuteronomy tells the grand and epic tale of God leading his people through the wilderness and into the promised land. It is a story about the forces of good conquering over the forces of darkness. It is a story about those who trust in God conquering over the things that stand opposed to him. I mentioned that we can live in hope because we know the end of the story. This is the sure and certain hope that we can have through faith in Jesus Christ.
This hope is shown very clearly in the next to last chapter of the Bible. In Rev. 21, we read about John’s vision of heaven. He tells us that, “I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 4: 15-49 and Deuteronomy 5:1-6
Thoughts from Sun, Feb 24th
Yesterday, we talked about how we approach passages of violence in scripture. I tried to lay out several approaches that can be useful in thinking about this issue. What I said is by no means exhaustive and I know that this can be a confusing topic. If you have questions about this topic or would like to discuss it with me further, please stop by the church office. I would be happy to talk with anyone about this.
Please read these scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 4 and Hebrews 12: 18-29
Thoughts from Sunday February 17th
Yesterday in worship, we talked about the second half of Deuteronomy chapter 1. This passage recounts the story of the Israelites coming to the border of the promised land after they are delivered from slavery in Egypt. When the spies go into the land, they find a cluster of grapes so large that it takes two of them to carry it back (see Numbers 14:23). This incredible fruit was meant to serve as a testimony to the Israelites of God’s blessing to them. I mentioned a movie called Transformations that documents God’s incredible blessing on his people today. The town of Almologna in Guatemala experienced incredible crops after a revival of belief in Christ. Here is the picture of the giant head of lettuce I mentioned yesterday in my sermon:
If you would lIke to watch the entire Transformations documentary, here is a link to it on YouTube. Please be aware that this documentary deals with God conquering many evil forces. Because of this, it mentions drugs, witchcraft, alcoholism, gangs, prostitution and discusses a pastor being martyred.
Please read these scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3
Exodus chapters 7 through 11
When you read Exodus 7 through 11, watch for the phrase “that they may know the Lord” or similar phrases like “that they may know that I am the Lord”. This is a big theme in these chapters. See how many times you can spot a phrase like this.
Thoughts from Sunday February 10th
Yesterday in church, we talked about Deuteronomy 1:5-18 which reminds us that we, like the people of Israel in Deuteronomy, are children of the promise. Through faith in Christ, we are heirs of the promises of God. But, what are these promises? Well, the scripture tells us many things about the identity that we have through faith in Jesus Christ. The following is a list that is taken from a book called “Victory Over the Darkness” by Neil Anderson:
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 I am Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
I Corinthians 6:17-20 I am united with the Lord and I am one spirit with him.
Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint.
Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:4 I have been redeemed and forgiven of my sins.
Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ.
Romans 8:28 I am free from condemnation
Romans 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of Christ.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will finish his work in me
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
I would encourage you to read through this listing of Scriptures and listen to what the voice of God says about your identity and who God makes each one of us to be through faith in Jesus Christ.
Please read the following scriptures in preparation for Sunday, Feb 17th:
Numbers 13:17 - 14:11
Thoughts from Sunday Feb 3rd
This past Sunday, we talked about how the book of Deuteronomy is the conclusion to the story of the Pentateuch. The video below talks about the books of the Pentateuch and is taken from our children’s Sunday School curriculum, What’s in the Bible. After seeing this video in Sunday School, each time my children here me mention Deuteronomy, they want to sing “Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy!” Watch the video to see why:
In our sermon yesterday, we talked about how the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, tells the story of God giving life. With the exception of Genesis, all of these books also tell the story of Moses. The story of Moses contains many of the famous stories in the Bible, such as the burning bush, the plagues of Egypt and the receiving of the Ten Commandments. The great irony of this is that the man who became such a great leader did not feel up to the task. When God called Moses through the burning bush to go and set his people free, Moses had many concerns. Some might even call these downright excuses. Moses thought that he was the wrong man for the job. He objected that he couldn’t speak very well and suggested that his brother Aaron speak to Pharoah instead. He worried that the Israelites would not believe that God had called him. Finally, when he had run out of other excuses, he asked God to just send someone else. This part of Moses’ story is well-known, but we sometimes forget that Moses was pulled from the Nile by the daughter of Pharaoh. He was raised in the palace as a son of Pharaoh. He was given the best education available and had access to all the riches of Egypt. Yet, in spite of all this, Moses did not feel ready for the task to which God called him. The story of Moses reminds us that the things which God calls us to are not things that we are able to do in our own strength and power. Rather, when God calls us to something, God promises that he will be with us. (Exodus 3:12)
Please read the following scriptures in preparation for Sunday, Feb 10th
Thoughts from Sunday January 27th
This week, we are starting a sermon series going through the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a very important part of the scriptures and deals with many themes and ideas that we still encounter today. In fact, the book of Deuteronomy was Jesus’ favorite book of the Old Testament. Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Old Testament.
Each week during this series on Deuteronomy, I will be posting here some follow up thoughts to my Sunday sermon. In addition, I will also be posting a list of scriptures that relate to the passage of Deuteronomy we will be looking at the following Sunday. Please try to read this list of scriptures at some point during the week. This will allow our congregation to engage together even more deeply with the themes and lessons of the book.
Here is the list of scriptures for next Sunday:
Exodus chapter 1