“Goodness like a fetter.”
The hymn “Come Thou Fount” reminds us that God’s laws were created to draw us closer to him. But reading the law is intimidating. Deuteronomy is a long and ancient book full of speeches and laws for a wandering people on the cusp of entering a land filled with hostile nations. What could Deuteronomy have to say for modern readers who face vastly different issues?
Invited to Know God shows that Deuteronomy is simply about knowing God. The book is a divine portal, drawing people into the ancient presence of God. To understand God better, we need to understand Deuteronomy better. Rather than being a dusty book of ancient laws, Deuteronomy calls those who love God to know Him better, choose the path to life, and flourish under His loving wisdom and guidance.
God’s laws bind our wandering hearts to him.
God’s Word is transformative. It is this conviction which gives the Transformative Word series its name and its unique character. Series Editor Craig G. Bartholomew has worked alongside authors from around the world to identify a key theme in each book of the Bible, and each volume provides careful Biblical exegesis centered on that gripping theme. The result is an engaging, accessible thematic exploration of a biblical book, poised to offer you new and refreshing insights.
Learn more about the other titles in this series.
“The first step in understanding Deuteronomy is to correct a critical misunderstanding: it is not a book of law. Certainly the book includes law and in some respects revolves around law, but it is not a book of law. The book is rather about love for Yahweh, Israel’s covenant Lord, who delivered Israel from slavery and bound himself in relationship to his people at Mount Sinai. In this way, Deuteronomy stands not in opposition to the gospel but as an example of it. Its logic is the very same: since God has graciously delivered you, you in turn should live in a certain way. This way of living, in Old Testament terms, begins by obeying the law. So Deuteronomy does not merely rehash the law but retells of Yahweh’s goodness in order to motivate obedience to it.” (Pages 6–7)
“This shows the fundamental idea in Deuteronomy that right worship is the fountainhead for right living.” (Page 10)
“G. K. Beale has summarized this well: ‘What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.’4 He does not mean this narrowly, as if lovers of money will turn into money themselves. He means instead that if we worship things other than God, then we, like figures of stone and wood, will become blind and deaf to God.” (Pages 28–29)
“joy equals gratefulness. Gratefulness to God, in turn, is shown in generosity toward others” (Page 52)
“Idolatry, then, is simply beholding and adoring the wrong thing” (Page 29)
A.J. Culp is Lecturer in Old Testament and Biblical Languages at Malyon Theological College, an affiliated institution of the Australian College of Theology