Deuteronomy: A Call to Covenant, Part 4

In the previous two posts (part 2 and part 3) of this series on the book of Deuteronomy, we looked at the covenant terms, what was expected of the people of Israel in order to secure the continued blessings of God and maintain their inheritance of the land of Canaan. After restating the covenant terms Moses, once again, gives them a reminder.

Scripture and summary

Deuteronomy 5:22

Moses harkens back to the events on Sinai, reminds the people that they heard the voice of God himself speak these terms to them. Not only did God speak them, but he wrote them out upon stone tablets.

Deuteronomy 5:23-27

The sounds and sights of God making utterances were too much for the people of Israel. They realized that they needed an intermediary between themselves and God.

Deuteronomy 5:28-33

God’s discourse with Moses borders on sarcasm. God knows what will occur, but still goes forward with his actions to bring the people into covenant with himself.


Two important factors need to be recognized in this brief section, first is the permanent nature of the terms of the covenant and the second is the need for an intercessor.

The significance of the covenant stipulations in their being carved into stone is a testimony to their permanence. The conditions of the covenant are eternal like the one with whom they are made. It is also a testimony to the fact that they are unalterable and unchanging, like the one with whom they are made. Once a carving or an engraving is set in stone it cannot be altered without making the original unintelligible or completely destroying the medium. The psalmist captures this by saying,

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. (Psalm 118:22, ESV)

As the people of Israel needed Moses to act as intermediary between a holy God and themselves, we must recognize that we need a intermediary between ourselves and God, an intermediary who knows our tendencies and our deficiencies but who has not failed in any way himself. Moses failed and was, for all intents and purposes, a failure and he knew that he needed a savior.

One thing that needs to be considered is this fact: God didn’t say to Israel, “If you do X, Y, and Z, then you can participate in the covenant.” No, God graciously invited them, extending his love and mercy to them, and saying, “Now, conduct yourselves in this way because I am relating myself to you.” Like those people, Christ now stands before us as intermediary, offering grace and love to all who will submit to his righteous rule.

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