Several years ago, when I was performing in CATS with a local theatre group, Old Deuteronomy was the cat full of wisdom and grace. Most musicals have a wise person passing out wonderfully timed wisdom to those seeking help. Wisely, Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber had the sense not to change much of T.S. Eliot’s original poem, “Old Deuteronomy”:
“Old Deuteronomy lived a long time;He’s a Cat who has lived many lives in succession, He was famous in Proverb and famous in rhyme, A long time before Queen Victoria’s accession…”
Deuteronomy has never been one of those books that I spent much time studying in the past. In fact, I spent very little time in the OT. I just didn’t think it was necessary. After all, I was a child of the New Covenant. Jesus was where it was at…the narrow gate…the Way… The sad part of this history lesson is that I don’t believe that my thinking is unusual. Most of the churches I attended in my formative years (and I attended a bunch of different ones since I was usually getting paid to sing in their choirs) gave only a passing nod to the OT. Besides, they only had so many Sundays to get across all those wonderful stories that happened between Matthew and Revelations.
“Be silent, O Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God…” Deut 27:9b
Maybe it is because I always have so many questions. Or maybe it is because I tend to rebel much more than most people would ever guess. But the last couple of years, God has set my feet on this path of understanding the Jewish portion of Jesus, and why the Old Covenant is an integral portion of our redemption. It has not been an easy journey (after all I do tend to be a little – ok – more than a little – stubborn). Reading the OT can be tedious at times and boring at best. Timelines are confusing. Names just don’t tumble off your lips. And really? All the violence and patriarchal society thing drives me nuts most of the time. Just how does God’s people do all this nastiness, and He still loves them? And then I look at me…and sigh. If my life was miraculously dropped into the Bible, I would definitely fit right in with all of God’s nasty acting people.
“Old Deuteronomy sits in the street, He sits in the High Street on Market Day. The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsmen will turn them away…”
Unlike the dogs and the herdsmen, Our Father doesn’t EVER turn us away when we seek Him out. Our nastiness continues. Violence — Wars — Terror — yet — when God’s people continue to trust and put their faith in I AM, the miracles follow. GRACE. My Bible’s study guide says that the theme of Deuteronomy is “Devote yourself wholeheartedly to God”. I keep trying to remember that as I am reading it. It is a book full of Moses’ final words to God’s people. It was the end of the 40 year journey. It was the start of a new life in a new country. Finally, it is the land of “Milk and Honey”, and it was in front of them.
“Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants…’” Deut 34:4b
It is just something to think about as we watch the world unravel.