Today we begin Deuteronomy. The ‘experts’ say that it is structured similarly to ancient treaty documents. (I’ve never read an ancient treaty, so I wouldn’t know!)
In any case, Deuteronomy is important because it contains the final words of Moses. We will watch as he recounts their history, reminds the people of the law and implores them passionately to obey all that the Lord has commanded. It’s a powerful book, rich in theology and insight into the character of God.
Deuteronomy begins with the people just east of the Jordan river. They are poised to cross the Jordan and take the land. The promised land. Moses begins his final treatise by recounting the last 40+ years – beginning at Mt. Sinai (Horeb) and following the Israelites through the wilderness, to their failure to obey and take the land – to their 38 years of wanderings – on to their recent victories over King Sihon and King Og.
It has been a long journey – a journey which began hundreds of years earlier with God giving the covenant to Abraham…
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).
We are on the brink of all the promises being fulfilled…all except one: “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” We know that this promise is fulfilled in Jesus – the Savior that comes from Abraham’s family line.
In today’s reading from Mark, we see Him enter Jerusalem as their King. On the surface, it is a joyous entry, but His entry is a sad shadow of his future glory. He enters Jerusalem to find her spiritually dead. The fig tree, a symbol of Israel, has no fruit and Jesus curses the tree as a symbolic cursing of the fruitlessness of the Jews. He enters his temple to find it corrupt and defiled. He is King – but His people are unworthy. They need a savior – a priest to make peace between them and God. And only after the sacrifice is offered can the final promise be fulfilled – all the people’s of the earth are blessed because of Abraham’s family line – because of Jesus – our priest and King – who gave His life as a ransom for many!