I spent a lot of time growing up questioning the rules and expectations that were placed on me. I would often rebel against them, and although sometimes I might have gotten away with it in the short run, I think it usually came back to haunt me at some point. Now, as a parent of a 16-year-old son, I find myself reliving many of those same situations on the other side of the scenario. I also worked as a high school math teacher for nine years before moving into my current role. Again, I can’t begin to count the number of times that I would try to reason with a teenager knowing that the choices they were making were going to come back to haunt them and wishing that they could just see for a second what the adults in their life were trying to tell them.

This book of Deuteronomy was written by Moses to the people of Israel as they were preparing to enter the Promised Land. So many times, during the 40 years that the Israelites were wandering, they would ignore or forget the advice or rules that were laid before them. Sometimes they were distracted by a false prophet or the next shiny object in the road, and other times they simply forgot what God had already done for them or what he expected of them. Some of the rules presented here may be out of date (I haven’t ever seen black vulture on a menu) while others remain true today, such as avoiding idols or taking care of the poor.

Regardless, it is important for each of us to remember the kindness God has shown to each of us and recommit to trusting, loving and obeying him.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Loud or quiet, what is a temptation that causes you to doubt your purpose or calling? 
  2. Part of the passage refers to forgiving debts that are owed. Traditionally we think of debts as a financial obligation, but it could be anything that is owed. Is there a relationship in your life that is currently blocked because there is a debt between you?
  3. This passage also discusses tithing. Tithing shows devotion and reverence to God as well as thanksgiving for gifts received. It is also a way to offer support to those less fortunate. Hope emphasizes the idea of a cheerful giver and recognizes the importance of donating time, talent and treasure. Take a minute to reflect on your personal situation and how you are fulfilling this expectation.