When most people think of Moses’ messages to Israel in the wilderness, they do not think of “good news/Gospel.” Yet the writer to the Hebrews declares that “good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened” (Heb 4:2).
In a recent paper presented to the Evangelical Theological Society, our Associate Professor of Old Testament, Jason DeRouchie, attempted to articulate why Deuteronomy was one of the NT author’s favorite books, and why Moses and Paul both could have affirmed that the law given to Israel was the “embodiment of knowledge and truth” (Rom 2:20)—”holy and righteous and good” (Rom 7:12)—and yet also “not of faith” (Gal 3:12). DeRouchie is committed to helping ministers rightly handle the Old Testament, and this paper, titled “The Pursuit of Lasting Covenant Relationship: A Summary of Deuteronomy’s Theology,” was an attempt toward this end.
The paper itself shapes the body of the chapter on Deuteronomy in a forthcoming Gospel-centered, thematic Old Testament survey that DeRouchie is editing (What the Old Testament Author’s Really Cared About, due out in February 2011 with Kregel), and it also provided a forum for DeRouchie to synthesize his views as he embarks on a multi-year, discourse-analysis commentary on Deuteronomy that is targeted toward ministers and students (in the Hearing the Message of Scripture OT commentary series with Zondervan).
Deuteronomy is all about enjoying lasting covenant relationship with God. The six key points in the paper were as follows.
The author of Deuteronomy…
- Provided a constitution for guiding Israel’s relationship with God (the charter of the relationship).
- Stressed the importance of taking God & his Word seriously (the context of the relationship).
- Emphasized the centrality of love in one’s relationship with God (the essence of the relationship).
- Detailed the perils of sin, the pleasures of surrender, & the promise of grace (the foundation and means of perpetuation of the relationship).
- Defined the goal of love as God-exalting influence on the nations (the purpose of the relationship).
- Affirmed the superiority of Yahweh God over all (the Lord of the relationship).