My paternal Grandmother was a talker. She loved a good laugh and a good story and a good sermon. Sometimes she'd get half way through a joke and start laughing before she finished. She'd laugh and snort and laugh harder. We might never get to the punchline but we certainly all ended up grinning and giggling along. She also did running commentary to any movie we were watching. "See that Mindy? What those people are doing there is not right. Don't do that". Best sermons ever.
The fifth book of the Bible functions as a large call to choose for the people of Israel. Deuteronomy is three separate sermons of Moses. The generation who wandered the desert for 40 years as the consequence of their unbelief has passed away. The current generation is camped out at the border of the promised land. Moses is nearing the end of his long amazing life. He takes the opportunity to preach at his people.
When my grandma turned 90 my family threw her a big ol party. We rented a beautiful little church that doubled as a coffee shop. Hired a waitress friend to cater. Pasta and Veggies. Stuffed Mushroom Caps. Meatballs. Cake. Lattes and punch. Invited all the family. They came from Seattle and Salem and Nebraska. People took turns standing and telling about how Grandma had impacted their lives.
Then my sweet and fiery Grandma stood up and said she had something to say. And oh my. She preached. She told about God and his grace. About how there were ups and downs in life but Jesus was constant. About how the one thing she knew she got right in her life was her choice to follow Jesus. She encouraged the listeners to follow along. Said they'd never regret it. Then she sat down and had cake. She looked completely satisfied.
Out in the desert Moses stood before his people and he preached.
"Hear, O' Israel. The Lord our God, The Lord is One." Deuteronomy 6:4
He called them to the greatest law - the one that sums up all the rest of the laws.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
Moses had watched this generation grow up in the wilderness. Their parents had faltered and wandered and failed. So Moses had a message specifically for this young crowd of followers regarding the laws.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7
My grandmother talked about God over rootbeer and frozen cherries. She talked about God while playing croquet in the backyard. She intertwined Jesus in with the daily and the mundane and with big hearted generosity. I listened. I pray my children hear and see and catch a glimpse of the law, the demands, and the grace of the savior who fulfilled it all.
Moses kept on preaching. Big tent revival style. He reviewed the details of the covenent. He went over the amazing blessings for following and the painful consequences for rebellion. He laid it out clearly. The law is weighty and exacting. God is holy and demanding and just - and - merciful to a people unable to stand. Merciful to me.
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 10:12
And then he asked them to commit. Choose this day. Choose life.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19
Good speeches move people to action. I think about my grandmother's birthday sermon frequently. I love her simple faith and her clear declaration. I tend to complicate things. Really her goal was to love God and love people. She loved through food and through friendships and phone calls and card games. And bravery. I remember Grandma saying that no matter what comes its okay because God goes with. She agreed with Moses.
Be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid or terrified becasue of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
Moses knew the people would wander again. But his hope was not in their committment but in the character of God. People will let you down. Fact of life. But God - He is faithful.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32: 4
Moses left his people and climbed up the mountain to meet his maker. He stood on the top and looked into the promised land. From the mountain where he stood he was looking at the Sea of Galilee. You know who comes from Galilee? The future Messiah. The Savior. Moses never got to walk on the promised land but he most certainly was welcomed into eternity by the promised one.
Grandma's 90th birthday party was on December 16th. She passed away two weeks later on New Years Day. Heaven, oh what a way to ring in the new year. Preach on.
The Bible Project's walk through of Deuteronomy. If you haven't watched one yet....this is a great place to start.
Beth Moore's Study for Deuteronomy is a fascinating in depth look at the book. Plan on being inspired.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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