Bible Readings for June 5th
In Deuteronomy 9, Moses shatters the final false belief that Israel might hold onto about why Yahweh was removing the inhabitants of the land of Canaan in order to give Israel the land as a possession. This has nothing to do, Moses assures Israel, with their righteousness. So, Moses warns them, “Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you … and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Deut. 9:4–5). What, then, should we learn from this?
First, we must never forget that we too share in the guilt shared by the entire human race. It isn’t that sin clings merely to other people but that we bear the curse of sin in our own bodies. And just as the Israelites committed the abominable sin of worshiping the golden calf after Yahweh had taken them to be his people and ratified his covenant with them at Mount Sinai (Deut. 9:24–39), so we also should admit that we feel our struggle against sin all the more after we come to faith in Christ. Rather than boasting, we ought to cry out in anguish with Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24).
Second, Deuteronomy 9 proclaims to us again the sheer graciousness of the gospel. Yahweh fulfilled his promises to Israel by bringing them into the Promised Land—not because of their own righteousness, but because of the promise he had sworn to Israel’s fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. God saved Israel not because Israel was faithful but because God was faithful.
In the same way, we also were helplessly lost, trapped, and captured under the curse of sin and death, justly deserving of God’s wrath and displeasure, but God did not allow us to remain there. Out of nothing more than his free grace, love, and mercy, he offered up as a sacrifice his own Son, who was driven out of the land of the living as though he had provoked his Father to wrath.
The Apostle Paul announces this gospel in Romans 3:23–25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” Then, as if to call our minds back to Deuteronomy 9, he asks (and answers) this burning question in Romans 3:27: “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded.”
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.