A Witness Against You

Monday, October 12

When Moses knows he is soon to die, he is profoundly aware of the situation that he will leave behind. He knows that after his death the Israelites will enter into the Promised Land of Canaan. He also knows that they will become rebellious upon reaching their long-sought destination.

Read Deuteronomy 31:14-27. What preparations does Moses make before his death? What were Moses’ chief concerns, and how does he address those concerns?

Moses’ tone here may appear like that of a teacher preparing for a substitute. He knows that his pupils have misbehaved in his presence in the classroom; he is not so deluded as to think that they will not rebel in his absence. He instructs the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant to place the Book of the Law next to the ark in order for it to be a “witness.” Moses is not simply passing on a lesson plan for his substitute. He is passing on a witness. Moses speaks of the Book of the Law as though it is a living being with power to reprove the hearts of men.

Think about the law as a “witness against” them. How do we understand this idea in the New Testament, as well? See Romans 3:19-23. That is, how does the law point us to our need of grace?

In Deuteronomy 31, God instructs Moses to write down a song that the Lord has taught Moses. Moses is then to teach the song to the Israelites so that, as stated in verse 19, it “may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.” Again we see God’s directives personified. A song, when sung, is more easily shared and spread. And when a song is a witness, it has the ability to cause people to look at themselves and see what it says about them.

Even as we seek to obey God’s law with all our God-given strength, in what ways does His law function as a “witness against” us? What does this witness teach us about the need of the gospel in our lives?

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