The book features warm, personal, reminiscent ‘sermons’ from the heart of Moses to the people of Israel at a time when the prophet was close to the end of life’s journey. He repeats himself again and again, going over their story, reminding them of Yahweh’s goodness and mercy, warning of the dangers of angering Him or making Him jealous, urging upon them the need to respect His ways, and frequently reiterating the blessings that will result from keeping His commands. In fact the spiritual emphasis of the book and its call to total commitment to Yahweh in worship and obedience is so compelling it is freely quoted throughout the rest of scripture.
“Fear [Yahweh your Elohim] and serve Him,” declares the prophet. “Hold fast to Him…” (Deuteronomy 10:20) and again, “Walk in all His ways and…hold fast to Him…” (11:22) and again, “Keep His commands…serve Him and hold fast to Him.”(13:4) and finally, “Listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.” (30:20 – all italics mine). Because of these verses ‘hold fast’ is a phrase that echoes throughout the Bible and, consequently, we hear it often from our pulpits, so what does it mean? The Hebrew word used here is also used to describe the way a man ‘shall be united’ to his wife (Genesis 2:24) and, equally, defines the way Ruth ‘clung’ to Naomi (Ruth 1:14). Interestingly, both these references are about love relationships, and Deuteronomy is a book pervaded with a sense of such a relationship between Yahweh and His People. Yahweh’s love for all His people remains constant and Moses’ counsel still rings true; so let us cling tightly to Yahweh, holding fast in love, trust and obedience.
Photo: Valerie Warsop