Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Pete fell out. Who was left? Repeat. Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Pete fell out. Who was left? Repeat. Pete and Repeat…
I hated this riddle when I was a kid. I still hate it. Why? The endless repetition becomes a mindless chant and drives me completely INSANE! My kids know it. If they want to watch me turn into a raging lunatic, they simply sit in the back seat of the car and repeat a phrase or stanza of a song over and over and over. Works every time. Sounds something like this…
Krusty Krab pizza is the best pizza, Krusty Krab pizza is the best pizza, Krusty Krab pizza is the best pizza… While allowing my children to watch SpongeBob Squarepants was not one of my wisest parenting moves, the Krusty Krab pizza episodes have become part of our family story. They make us laugh and bring us closer together as a family.
Today we started into Chapter 1 of Deuteronomy. It is in the fortieth year since God rescued his people from Egyptian slavery. The whole generation of Israelites who rebelled against God has died off. The second generation is within days of crossing the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, THIS IS THE MOMENT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR…it has me on the edge of my seat…let’s go!!!!
Not so fast. Deuteronomy begins by going back in time. Chapter 1 recounts when Israelite leaders were appointed for each tribe (Exodus 18), the adventure of the twelve spies (Numbers 13), and the Israelites rebellion against the Lord (Numbers 11-20). The repetition starts to seem like a drag (and starts to annoy me), but hang on. Don’t overlook why telling these stories again was so important. The first generation of Israelites originally received the law through Moses, rebelled against God and lived through 40 years of wandering. Except for Moses (until Deuteronomy 34), Joshua and Caleb, this whole generation is now dead. In Deuteronomy, Moses is teaching the second generation of Israelites about God’s law, why they should keep it and the severe consequences of disobedience.
It comes as no surprise that the Greek word Deuteronomy means “second law”. Moses knew, because of his sin, he did not get to enter the Promised Land. This is his last hurrah, his last chance to pass on insights from his incredible journey with God. Throughout Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, Moses lived these stories real time. Now he gets to teach them again. This time, however, he makes them relevant to the challenges God’s people will experience as they take over the Promised Land.
The stories in Deuteronomy weren’t repetition for the second generation of Israelites, but they are repetition for us. Please don’t check out. From years of schooling, we all know the immense value repetition brings to the learning process. As we read through Deuteronomy over the next month will you let the repetition help implant these key messages in your heart and bring you closer to God?
- God is serious about sin. He hates it. It separates us from Him.
- Because of his love for mankind, God made a way for us to atone for our sins and be reconciled to him.
- Under the Old Testament law, atonement was achieved through a variety of defined sacrifices; under the new covenant, Jesus’ death on the cross paid the price for our sins.
Thank you God for your word, for making it living and active in our lives.