More than Teaching (Part 2)
More than Teaching (Part 2)
by Pastor Tom
Recently one of our sons shared a joke with me. The funny part was that it was one my father frequently told me as a boy. After the laughter, the reality hit him, “I am becoming my father!” Later on another reality hit me, “Disciples are like their teachers.”
Moses taught. That’s what prophets do. The first four books of scripture is Moses teaching what God told him personally. From Exodus to Numbers we find the phrase “The Lord said to ... Moses” more than 160 times, not to mention the other ways we are told that God spoke to him. Just before Deuteronomy, the closing words of Numbers are, “These are the commandments and the rules that the Lord commanded through Moses to the people of Israel ...” Num. 36:13
When we open Deuteronomy, there is a striking difference, “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel...” Deut. 1.1 This important detail is easy to miss. This change compels us to consider the man, Moses, and his motives. Obviously, we cannot ignore the fact that he was moved by God to write this, but, because it is inspired, it is easy to attribute the passion of its contents to God alone. Moses is more than involved here. He remembers the golden calf (Ex32), the horror of the ground opening up to swallow the Levites Korah, Dathan, Abiram, their wives and their “little ones” (Num16). He warned them in their rebellion, “Is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself?” Num16:9. He remembers those who perished by fiery serpents (Num 21). He remembers them because they were dead. He is now speaking to the living descendants of the dead Israelites who saw the outstretched arm of God.
He remembers the Bronze Serpent, too.
So Moses, being weak in his flesh, knew the utter need to live by faith. Indeed the author of Hebrews tells us that by faith, “(Moses) considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” He11:26.
Before I connect this to our passion for the faith of generations that follow us, let me make one more observation about Moses and the Book of Deuteronomy. “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel.” Moses spoke to all Israel. How did he do that? Was it like Christ and the Sermon on the Mount (Mt5.1-2)? Probably not. It is believed that he spoke to the elders of Israel and they carried the message to the people. It is not inconsistent with scripture to conclude that speaking to the elders was like speaking to the congregation of Israel. Compare Exod 12:3 with 12:21 and Lev 9:1 with 9:5 for good examples. He entrusted the Word of the Lord to men who would teach it to others, others who would “teach them (the words) diligently to their children.” Deut. 6:7. Hopefully this sounds familiar to you and reminds you of Paul’s admonition to Timothy (2Tim2:2).
We are all teaching. And most of us are familiar with the Biblical narrative of peace with the God of wrath through faith alone in Christ alone. Perhaps we are even familiar enough with the gospel to summarize it in twelve words or less. You have heard it said that we loose sight of the forest for the trees. Perhaps we could consider this as we remember the pillars of fire and smoke: We loose sight of the God of our faith for the faithfulness of our God.
Transmitting a passion for God should not be only from the teaching we hear and believe, but from the teaching we have applied and seen in the way God is saving us.
Passionately live your faith before your children.