Thursday, July 19, 2007
Starting Deuteronomy
Yesterday was my first attempt at grilling steaks on my new toy. They turned out quite tasty. Maybe it's beginner's luck. But the rub I made out of paprika, garlic powder, basil, chili powder and thyme didn't hurt.

Jackie's on her second overnight at her new job. Pray for her. I gotta think it's pretty weird coming home just the sun is coming up. This morning, my alarm to get up went off 10 minutes after she crawled in bed.

Last Sunday we kicked off a new study through the book of Deuteronomy at The Rock. I personally think that reading Scripture in community is important. While we as evangelicals put a high emphasis on personal Bible reading, I think we miss a lot of the time the great value in reading Scripture together. There may be stuff that you see that I don't and stuff I see that you don't. I think the more eyes we put on a text, the more we all see together. I'd really like to read this book to see how it applies to reading Scripture together.

A couple weeks ago in the Sunday service I made an announcement about this. I talked about the Never Ending Story--how it's one of my favorite movies. I love the scene at the beginning, where the shopkeeper is warning Bastian away from the book: "This book isn't safe!" Yeah, I think the Bible is kinda like that.

Anyway, on Sunday we just did a quick overview and outline of the book. I started out wondering why we should look at the Old Testament in the first place, much less Deuteronomy. Jesus says some glowing stuff about the OT. Paul does, too. In more than one place. But two narratives that to me best show what Christians do with the OT are from the Gospels. The first is Luke 24:13-25, the road to Emmaus. As Jesus explains to these shell shocked disciples, the Resurrection only makes sense in light of Moses and the prophets. The second is Mark 9:2-8, the Transfiguration. Here, in front of Moses (the Law), Elijah (the Prophets) and Peter, James, and John (the apostles/Church), the voice tells them all the listen to Jesus. So as we read the words of Moses in Deuteronomy, we listen for Jesus. I may never stand before SBL and get away with that, but I can in a Sunday school class.

Next we talked some about how Deuteronomy isn't our book. It's a book for 3000-year-old Israelites. It's not a book for 21st century, English-speaking, Western, white folk. There are a lot of cultural barriers to cross, because there's a lot of weird stuff in there. On the other hand, it is our book. If we take "authorial intent" seriously, and the inspiration of the Spirit seriously, then the same Spirit that first breathed these words still speaks to us, the Church. So, in that sense, it is our book.

And then I did some talk about Deuteronomy as an ancient near eastern suzerainty treaty. I read a couple of sections from a Hittite treaty dating back to about 1500 BC. There are a lot of striking similarities. If the book started out, "once upon a time," we would expect a certain set of conventions. Because it starts out, "these are the words..." as these treaties do, we can then expect that structure. The point being that what is recorded here has some historical credence. We're listening to a God that intervenes with human history. And next week we'll start digging into chapter 1.

So if you happen to me in north Lexington on a Sunday morning at 10 am, feel free to drop by and say hello.

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posted by Peter at 11:28 PM
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