Picking up in our study of the Book of Deuteronomy, we turn to chapter 18.
Scripture and summary
The Levites, who composed the priesthood, are given statutory provisions due to the fact that they have no direct ability to earn a living. They are given allowance to take from the offerings that are to be presented from the people.
The people are, once again reminded, of the practices of those nations that they were displacing. Child sacrifice and witchcraft were hallmarks of their wicked behavior, and for that they were being cast out.
The means by which God will communicate with his people is defined here: the prophetic tradition and what defines it is outlined.
When modern believers look into God’s law there is often a severe disconnect. The constant profession of Christ and the emphasis on grace, while good and proper, gives us a feeling of distance from the law that God gave his people Israel.
We look at these laws and they seem so disconnected from even later Judaism and our modern context that we will often discount them without taking the time to seriously consider exactly what is going on.
Themes of absolute loyalty to Yahweh and provision for those who have no means of support abound in God’s law. It is simply a negligent and unreflective attitude that cannot see what is going on in the text.
In these three, somewhat disconnected laws we see order being established: an order for those set apart to specifically serve God; an order for the religious life of the private citizen; and an order for future revelation, ultimately fulfilled in Christ.
Deuteronomy’s law code seeks to bring chaos into order. The covenant it presents seeks to bring a people into a right relationship with a covenant maker. It demonstrates God’s sovereignty and his desire for a relationship with his creatures, and it should stimulate us to obedience and faith.