The Scriptorium

For the Generations

We are written into God's covenant. Deuteronomy 29.14-19

The Covenant Renewed: Deuteronomy 29 (4)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 78.1-4
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Psalm 78.1-4

(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word,
dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord,
things we have before by our fathers been told,
which we would not dare from our children withhold.

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 29.14-19

Preparation
1. What does Moses warn against? Why?

2. With whom is God making this covenant?

Meditation
Once again, Moses warns the people against idolatry (vv. 16-18). Clearly, the people of Israel needed to hear this admonition again and again. Why? Because God is unseen, and all the things that tend to bring us happiness in life are seen. Our temptation is to worship the gifts and forget the Giver. We think our wellbeing and happiness come from possessing things, enjoying wealth and ease, and having all the right relationships. But true happiness – the only real and lasting happiness – comes from knowing, loving, and serving God. He is our joy. He is our peace and our righteousness. In Him alone is the true and lasting pleasure we seek (Ps. 16.11).

So don’t lose sight of God. Be grateful for and enjoy all His gifts, but guard your heart from worshiping them, as though they of themselves were your true and lasting joy. They are not.

Moses invokes the covenant for all who were present at that time as well as for the generations to come, all who will call upon the Name of the Lord for salvation (cf. Acts 2.38, 39). But how would those who were “not here” at that time know about and enter the covenant? Only through the faithfulness of those who guard their hearts and resist the allure of idolatry (vv. 15-18). The biggest danger is that of neglecting God and His Law, and thinking that we know better than the Lord how to manage our lives (vv. 18, 19). God alone is the Giver of peace; we deceive ourselves if – and we betray the generations to come – if we think we can realize peace and its benefits through our own wits and schemes.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Facebook. Instagram. TikTok. People long to be seen and known. Well, here we are, noted in the greatest book ever written: “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today” (Deut. 29.14, 15). There it is: That’s us! And while we’re basking in the fame, let’s understand as well the responsibilities that come with such good fortune. We must not be one “whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God…that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood” (v. 18). Wormwood is something bitter or grievous. Bitterness is anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly. Resentment. And that would only take root in our lives because we had a misunderstanding of God, along with a heavy dose of confused thinking. The writer of Hebrews gives aid to this nasty condition: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12.14, 15). We are known by God. Let’s obey Him and rejoice because our names are written in heaven, “in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Lk. 10.20, Rev. 21.27). Let us remember that “true happiness – the only real and lasting happiness – comes from knowing, loving, and serving God. He is our joy. He is our peace and our righteousness. In Him alone is the true and lasting pleasure we seek.”

Reflection

1. Your name is written in God’s covenant, in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Have you told anyone about this lately? Do you think you should?
 
2. What are you investing in the generation that will succeed you, to make them pursue peace and holiness in the Lord?

3. How do you keep your defenses up against the ever-pressing presence of potential idols?

He shews that it is not without reason that he has used so solemn and severe an adjuration; since nothing is more common than for men to flatter themselves, and by levity to evade the decision of God. He therefore repeats, that they are standing before God, who neither deceives, nor is deceived, nor even allows Himself to be thought lightly of; in order that they may tremble at His threats.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 29.19

Help me to love my neighbors, Lord, to keep Your commandments as I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 78.5-7
Pray for the children of your family and your church, and for those who teach them the great works and true words of our Lord.

Psalm 78.5-7
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The glorious deeds of our God in His might,
and all of the works He has done in our sight,
together with all of the words of His Law,
would we on ourselves and our children bestow.

Lord, let all our children arise and declare
the truth of the Lord every day, everywhere,
and set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word,
and never forget all the works of the Lord.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here. And check out our current ReVision series on encouragement.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore