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©Bonnie LaBelle

Chapter 18:15-22 (ESV)

Posted on March 10, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Deuteronomy 18:15-22 (ESV) - “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”

Question to consider: Who was the Prophet of which Moses ultimately spoke?

After warning the people not to partake in the abominable practices of the pagans or listen to their necromancers or fortune tellers, Moses declared that the LORD would send them someone to whom they were to listen. In doing this, the LORD was answering the cry of the people at the giving of the Law who were terrified at the voice of God and the fire on the mountain. “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:18-19)

The first prophet to meet this description was Samuel. Once the people decided that they would rather be ruled by a human king like the surrounding nations, God declared Samuel, the last of the judges, to be the first of the prophets. The LORD would give Samuel the wisdom to give counsel to the kings so that they could rule in a righteous manner.

As the kings grew more and more wicked, these prophets whom God sent were rejected and marginalized to the point where they lived out in the wilderness like: Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. Some the LORD called to endure hardships in order to get the attention of those who had turned so far away from God like: Hosea, who had a wife who sold herself to pagans, or Ezekiel who acted out silent dramas depicting the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. Jeremiah endured those who professed to speak for God but were instead speaking platitudes from their own mind. Eventually, the kings would no longer endure the true prophets from the LORD so they murdered them. Isaiah was sawed in two, and Zechariah was murdered in the new temple.

All of these prophets were types that pointed to the fulfillment of today’s passage— the one to which they referred as the Prophet. When the disciples saw Jesus being transfigured on the mountain with Elijah and Moses appearing beside Him, the same voice from the cloud that caused the people to tremble on Mount Sinai declared, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35) That phrase “listen to him” was intended to draw our attention back to the words of Moses in today’s passage. Jesus also used a parable to declare Himself to be this Chosen One in Mark 12:1-12.

Those who were among the five thousand to receive a meal from Jesus from the five loaves and two fish recognized that Jesus was the Prophet and therefore tried to force Him to be king (John 6:1-15). Throughout the ages, there have been others to declare themselves to be a prophet or even the Prophet, but they all failed the test Moses gives: 1) They were to be from among the Israelites, and 2) They have presumptuously professed to speak from the LORD, and what they have spoken either went against God’s written word or did not come to pass. Unfortunately, people still seem to listen to them.


Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant us that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen. (from the Book of Common Prayer by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer)