The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 15

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it. [Deut. 30:11-14 (NIV)].

The Israelites were nearing the end of their forty-year wandering in the wilderness. The earlier chapters tell us of the renewal of the covenant, and of the promises of blessings for obedience and of curses for disobedience.

God had chosen Joshua to succeed Moses because of Moses' disobedience at the waters of Meribah. We therefore find Moses giving his people some final instructions in preparation for their entry into the Promised Land. He tells the people that understanding, believing and obeying the covenant were not beyond them ("the word is very near you"). The terms of the covenant were clearly and simply stated. It was simply a matter of the people recognizing that the two choices, (1) life and prosperity or (2) death and destruction, were implicit in the terms of the covenant. Theirs was to obey. Their righteousness was governed by observance of the stipulations of the Law.

In the NT, we find Paul applying this same passage to the availability of the "word of faith" as follows: -

But the righteousness that is by faith says "do not say in your heart, 'who will ascend into heaven?" (that is to bring Christ down) "or 'who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart". [Rom. 10: 6-10].

The OT passage quoted earlier referred to God's "word" as found in The Law. But Paul uses the term "word" here to mean The Gospel. Paul makes the point that righteousness is gained by faith, not by deeds, and is readily available to anyone who will receive it freely from God through Christ.

As Christians, we believe not only that Jesus lived but also that he still lives. This is the chief reason why we are people of faith. We do not have merely the written or spoken word; we have Jesus himself, who is near to us. We call on His name, which is 'THE WORD OF GOD' (Rev.19: 13).

The Word of God does his works through us (righteous works) when he has done his work in us.



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