The book of Deuteronomy was likely part of the religious reform movement of King Josiah in 621 BCE. It is a reinterpretation and reaffirmation of the Mosaic law, composed to encourage adherence to the covenant between God and the people. The text today promises certain blessings will occur when the covenant is kept and the Lord God is obeyed.
But what if in my life I do not experience prosperity, success and abundance; if I do not have many descendants; if I am not “at the top” as the text promises (verse 13)? Does this mean I am not following God? Does it show I am not in God’s favour as one of “his holy people” (verse 9)? This would seem to be the implication.
The book of Job, Jesus on the cross, and the ample prophetic witness of God siding with the poor provide voices counter to a facile reading of Deuteronomy, which says be righteous and you will have success, be wicked and face calamity.
But what the reformers behind Deuteronomy can teach us is that walking in God’s ways, based on what God has graciously done for us, brings its own reward, its own blessedness. May we walk in this blessedness.
Lead us in your ways, gracious God. Amen. — TDW