“I take thee to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.”
These are the time-honoured words of commitment from groom to bride found in the 1662 version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. They reflect the Christian belief that marriage is a divinely ordained human covenant, an agreement between a man and woman before God. This Sunday, Pastor Andrew endeavors to cover the book of Deuteronomy in a single sermon – pray for him! The central theme of the book is the renewal of God’s divine covenant with his creatures.
Israel finds itself on the doorstep of the Promised Land about to transition into a new phase of life in its long history. The older generation, due to unbelief and disobedience, has passed away in the wilderness; even Moses was soon to die. It would be up to Joshua and this new generation to possess the land in faith and with great courage. The book is a lengthy exhortation of Moses, his ‘upper desert discourse’ if you will, that urges his people to keep their side of the covenant. Working against them will be great dangers, both external and internal. Yet they face these dangers knowing that through it all, Yahweh is ever faithful!
Something to See:
One framework of encouragement Moses uses to strengthen the resolve of his people is: to remember, to hear, and to hope. They are frequently called to remember the Lord’s power, deliverance, and provision, as in 4:32-40, “that you would know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.” They are frequently called to hear and listen to the Lord as in 7:7-12. When obstacles and temptations come, God’s words of promise and command should speak louder than their circumstances! Finally, they are called to a sure hope, as in 3:18-22, for God is faithful. This also serves as a simple way to encourage ourselves as we face trial and temptation: consider what the Lord done for us, what does he say to us, and where he is ultimately taking us.