I can hear it everywhere … parents saying, “Yay! School’s back!” From the students I hear, “Ugh! I don’t wanna go.” Like it or not, school is one of God’s many gifts, along with parents and others, to help us develop our God-given talents, skills, and abilities. It’s through school that we receive many gifts from our teachers benefitting us throughout our lives.
Even the best teachers sometimes have to tell their students what they need to know twice. It’s been that way forever. The name of the Old Testament book Deuteronomy means “Second Law.” It’s not another Law … a new one for God’s people. Rather, God’s primary instrument to teach His people Israel, Moses, took some time to teach Israel a second time what they’d already been taught. Moses says, “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live … keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2) God gave His law to His people as a gift protect them and to show them how to live as His people among the pagan peoples in the Promised Land He was about to give to them. So, Moses retaught God’s law for His people … making sure they knew and understood it.
In living by the law among these people, who didn’t know God, God called Israel to become a light to them … showing them the one, true God through their actions and deeds which emerged from their hearts. Their adherence to God’s Word would cause people to stand up and take notice saying, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” because the one, true God was so close them in all things. (Deuteronomy 4:6b-7)
Of course, teachers sometimes need to go over key items again. Fourteen hundred years later, God sent His Son into the world to teach His people … again. The people of Israel had changed God’s commandments by adding their own ideas to it … against Moses’ warning. (Deuteronomy 4:2) Jesus told the crowds, “There’s nothing outside a person that going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” (Mark 7:15) The things making a person impure come from the heart of a person, their actions and deeds which run counter to God’s Word. Jesus lists them for us in verses 21-23. Later, Jesus re-teaches the law in summary saying, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ … (and) ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:30-31)
We all get to go back to school … to hear the teaching of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh in our daily devotions, prayers, and worship of Him through our lives. Here He teaches us how to live as His people in the world. Then, seeing the love of Christ coming from our hearts, people of the world will stand up, take notice, and be drawn to God by the Holy Spirit to hear His teaching again. Welcome back to school!
In Christ’s Love,