When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment, he cited a passage from Deuteronomy 6 as the fundamental and first tenet of Scripture. In this Study Commentary, John Currid shows that the purpose of Deuteronomy is to teach the people of God how to behave in every area of life. And the two main principles of that teaching are to fear God and to obey his commandments.
Using his own translation from the original Hebrew, Dr John Currid ably demonstrates that the book of Deuteronomy is an official document ratifying the formal covenant relationship between God as the sovereign King and his covenant people, Israel. At the close of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and on the eve of the entry into the promised land, Moses summons the Israelites to a solemn reaffirmation and ratification of the covenant first made at Sinai and promises great blessings to the people if only they will remain faithful to the covenant and obey God’s Word.
Christians too need to remember that God has made a covenant with the church. And, therefore, we need to ask the question: ‘What does Yahweh your God ask from you?’ The answer is found in Deuteronomy: we need to fear God; we need to walk in his way; we need to love him; we need to serve him; and we need to keep his command-ments. And, like Israel of old, if we live in obedience to the Word of God then we shall be wise and understanding and, indeed, God will greatly bless his people if they obey his Word.
Dr John D. Currid is Carl McMurray Professor of Old Testament at the Reformed Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He received his PhD degree in archaeology from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. He has several books in print, including the Study Commentaries on Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus in the same series.