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©Jason Hall

Chapter 4:44-5:5 (ESV)

Posted on February 06, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:44-5:5 (ESV) - This is the law that Moses set before the people of Israel. These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the rules, which Moses spoke to the people of Israel when they came out of Egypt, beyond the Jordan in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the people of Israel defeated when they came out of Egypt. And they took possession of his land and the land of Og, the king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who lived to the east beyond the Jordan; from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, as far as Mount Sirion (that is, Hermon), together with all the Arabah on the east side of the Jordan as far as the Sea of the Arabah, under the slopes of Pisgah.

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. 

Question to consider: What role does the Law play in the New Covenant in Christ?

In preparing this new generation of Israelites to receive the land promised to them by God, Moses renewed the covenant God made with their forefathers. The stipulations of this covenant make up what we traditionally call the Law.

At the time in which the Law was originally given to Moses, the people heard the voice of God and saw the fire and pleaded with Moses to be their mediator with Him. They feared they would die if they had to deal directly with God. Even though Moses would not enter with them into the land, he still faithfully fulfilled his role of mediator by delivering God’s words to this generation and asking that they hear, understand, and keep them.

While the previous generation may have received the covenant, their faithlessness kept them from its promises, and so Moses declared that the covenant was intended for this generation who was inheriting the land. There is also a sense in Jewish history that all generations that stem from an event have participated in that event. Thus, when each new generation celebrates the Passover, they do so not just as a remembrance meal but as participants in the Exodus.

Although it may sound crude to say, they participate from the loins of their ancestors. The author of Hebrews makes a similar argument in regard to the tithe given by Abraham to Melchizedek. “One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.” (Hebrews 7:9-10)

We can apply this same idea in the church to the communion meal. In the meal, we do not merely remember what Christ has done but participate in His life, death, and resurrection. While we are not physically from the loins of Christ, we have been joined to Him spiritually through faith and are thus considered part of the covenantal family of God.

If we are considered ancestors of Christ, it brings up the question of how the Law applies to us today since Christ has fulfilled it in its entirety. The commands were the stipulations of the covenant through Moses which means that in order to receive the covenant blessings and avoid the covenant curses, the people were required to keep it. Since Christ has kept it and applied His righteous work to us, we are no longer held to these stipulations. The good works we do in our covenant with Christ are the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit living in us. The Law has become the thing that continues to drive us to repent and cling to the grace of Christ.


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to understand who we are in Christ and our continual need for Him. Give us the desire to meet regularly to participate in the life, death and resurrection of Christ through His word and sacraments that we may abide in Him and He in us until He returns. Amen.