FBT – Second Giving of the Law

June 7, 2008

Deuteronomy is a keystone in the arch of Biblical theology. Literally meaning a "second recitation of the law," to understand this book is to understand the standards Christ sought to raise. Jesus said "think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets, I have come to fulfill them; not one jot or tittle will pass away until all is fulfilled. Anyone who relaxes on the least of these commandments will be considered the least in the Kingdom of God," so all remains in effect unless He specifically and explicitly gives dispensation.

Before entering the text proper, we consider the many theological points that Deuteronomy establishes. First is a theology of words: God’s words matter. Next, Deuteronomy contains a theology of memory: we would do well to reflect on all that God has done for His people. The story of Israel then becomes our own history: as we enter into these memories we are obligated to pass them on to each generation. The Church continues these Jewish traditions of word and memory in her liturgy. To illustrate, the priest stands on the altar as another Christ speaking to us, His disciples. Because God is beyond time, the raising of palms on Palm Sunday is both a remembrance of and a sharing in Christ’s entrance celebration at Jerusalem.

Deuteronomy establishes categories that represent something timeless in man and his condition that point us to principles, ideas and objective things in our salvation experience. One might consider this a theology of "types." In the words of Fr. Paul Quay, SJ, ‘we are all fated to relive the Old Testament,’ so we should read the script and strive to live our parts faithfully.

A theology of community, key to the divine intention, gives man meaning. All fell with Adam; all were redeemed in Christ’s saving act: God calls us to be a corporate people without removing individual responsibilities.

God’s sovereignty and His sovereign choice are key to understanding Deuteronomy. He is supreme, one, Lord of all, and He chooses His people for salvation and consecration. We are called to come into the presence of the living God – let us not delay. The promises of Deuteronomy also imply an even greater grace that is only fulfilled after Christ in Baptism.

God’s call requires a response: holiness. The only faithful responses to God’s call are to either to trust Him or to seek clarification on how to trust Him. All else is sin and borders on breaking the tenet, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (Deut 6:16). Israel all-too-often wanted their God to jump through hoops for them. They required constant "perks" and were ready to call everything off if they did not get their way immediately and in full. How foolish are we to still act as they did, we who have so many graces from Christ! Jesus recapitulated their 40-year sojourn in his 40-day fast in the desert. The devil’s three temptations there were significant, especially when he asked Jesus to disobey Deuteronomy 6:16.

Finally, theologies of obedience and love also emerge from the text. We are called to give ourselves freely, fully and faithfully to God and to our people.

The Book of Deuteronomy begins with Moses giving the people a historical prologue for all the people about their journey from Sinai (Horeb) to the attempted mutiny of Moses at Kadesh which is essentially a rebellion against the Lord. Moses also accounts the other rebellions where tens of thousands die, and also their victories over Sihon and Og.

Music: Grieg’s "Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16" performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra. www.musopen.com

  • /
Update Required
To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.

Download MP3 (38:36; 22 MB)

Isaiah Lecture 20 – Restoration

February 23, 2021

Isaiah Lecture 19 – Transgression

February 16, 2021

Isaiah Lecture 18 – Awake, O Zion

February 2, 2021

Isaiah Lecture 17 – Song of the Redeemer King, Part II

January 26, 2021

Isaiah Lecture 16 – Song of the Redeemer King, Part I

January 19, 2021

Isaiah Lecture 15 – The Symphony of God

January 5, 2021

Isaiah Lecture 14 – Who Is Like God?

December 29, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 13 – Comfort My People

December 22, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 12 – Trust in the Lord

December 8, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 11 – Signs for Unbelievers

December 1, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 10 – The Study of Prophecy

November 24, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 9 – Historicity of Prophecies

November 10, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 8 – The Oracle Against Babylon, Part II

November 3, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 7 – The Oracle Against Babylon, Part I

October 27, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 6 – The Emmanuel Songs

October 13, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 5 – First Visions

October 6, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 4 – Historical Context

September 29, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 3 – The Life of Isaiah

September 15, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 2 – The Shakespeare of the Old Testament, Part II

September 8, 2020

Isaiah Lecture 1 – The Shakespeare of the Old Testament, Part I

September 1, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 17 – Gifts of the Spirit, Part II

August 25, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 16 – Gifts of the Spirit, Part I

August 18, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 15 – Trinitarian Controversies, Part II

August 11, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 14 – Trinitarian Controversies, Part I

August 4, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 13 – The Trinity, Part II

July 28, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 12 – The Trinity, Part I

July 21, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 11 – Gifts of the Spirit, Part II

July 14, 2020

Holy Spirit Lecture 10 – Gifts of the Spirit, Part I

July 7, 2020