Sermon – July 2, 2017
As Deuteronomy comes to a close, we have noticed the two major arcs fall into place. First, Moses has explained the nature of the law to the people, calling for a radical obedience to God from the heart. Second, he has noted, most fully in chapters 27-29, that the people will fail in the law. Nevertheless, Moses is certain of God’s promises to bring his people, righteous and holy, into the Promised Land. Today we see the final portion of this second arc; God’s sure promises and our responsibility to respond.
1. God’s promises will not fail
While Moses leaves no doubt that both the blessings and the curses will come upon the people, he is likewise sure that God’s promises will not fail. The central portion of vv. 1-10 is God’s sovereign enactment of the people’s obedience. What they could not do, weakened by the flesh, God would do of his own accord.
2. God’s promises have not failed
The people’s problem is not that the law is too difficult, or that they cannot understand it, or that God is keeping from them some information they need. Rather, the problem is that they just don’t want to do it, and therefore they will never gain righteousness through the law. But God’s promise has not failed, because Jesus has fulfilled the law through his perfect obedience. What the law made possible, Jesus has made actual.
3. God’s promises call for a choice
We, then, are faced with a choice. We can think that God’s sovereignty implies that we have no responsibility to make a choice. If God is sovereign, and controls all things, that what choice are we to have? Yet the Bible refuses to speak in this manner. It always, at every turn, upholds the immutable and unwavering sovereignty of God over all things, including salvation, as well as our necessary choice of him. Neither Moses nor Paul invite us to think any differently. The call for the people to make a choice for life on the other side of the Jordan comes even to us today.
Therefore, as the book of Hebrews states, as long as it is “today” we have a choice to not harden our hearts before our God, to follow where he has lead, to place our lives before his will, and with all of our hearts and minds love him as our God and our neighbors as ourselves. Yet, we know that only through belief in Jesus Christ as we equipped for this – only by the power of his blood, forgiveness and new life, can we live how we ought. As we prepare ourselves for the table today, let us be reminded that taking in the bread and the body is a great act of faithful obedience. Choose today life, and live.