When I was about 13 years old, I can remember thinking I was running for my life. I ran home as fast I could, just out of their grips, slammed and locked the door behind me. When they ran up to the front door of my house and were beating on it, my dad had to sternly open it and tell them to leave me alone. It all happened when I asked too many questions of some teenagers who came over into my neighborhood. They “said” they were in a gang; and before I knew it, they had “thrown” some gang signs with their hands and tried to initiate me. I ran for my life to my house! Gangs are thought of as important to some in urban America because they offer protection to weak individuals, but those individuals must pledge their lives to the gang in return for their safety.
It may sound shocking, but a story like this gives us insight into the meaning of Deuteronomy. Gangs offer protection to people who may live in dangerous areas. Deuteronomy is a protection agreement between God and His people. Why don’t we hear much preaching from the book of Deuteronomy? When is the last time you’ve read through it? Is it important to understand for our spiritual lives? The book of Deuteronomy is actually written in the form of an ancient treaty that would be signed by a super-power kingdom and a tiny nerd-nation back in the 14th century B.C. The super-power kingdom would offer protection to the tiny nerd-nation and, in return, the nerd-nation would agree to offer allegiance and soldiers to the super power (two words).
Read Deuteronomy 1:1-5. It is the introduction to the ancient treaty which introduces the parties involved: God and Israel. What’s happening here is that Israel (the people of God) are at the end of their 40 year hike through the wilderness, and they are on the other side of the Jordan River overlooking God’s promised land to them. Before they go in, God takes two months to remind them of His covenant and laws to them in the form of this common peace treaty of their day. God is reminding them who He is. He is God, which means He is the most supreme being in existence. He is Lord, which means He is in control. He is a covenant God, which means He is loving and faithful to make a treaty with Israel for their good. Then there is Israel. They are a tiny nation with no heritage, history, or pride apart from God. God is calling them to be His chosen nation.
This ancient treaty continues today, but it is way better. Rather than just Israel, God makes a new treaty with all humanity to promise peace with us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Only through turning away from our sinful life, and turning to Christ by believing in His death, resurrection, and Lordship can we have peace with God through Him (Romans 5:1). Do you have peace with God, or is God merely patient with you for now? God is practicing patience with those who do not yet believe, but one day He will pour out His judgment of wrath on those with whom He does not have peace. God’s eternal peace treaty comes through faith and following His Son, Jesus Christ, alone!
I really want this series to train you how to share the gospel with others. I just got an email today from a student saying that she wants to share Jesus with others, but she’s just not sure where to start. Here it is! We start with an understanding that God is huge and we are tiny. We talk that way with people in conversation. If we only talk about Jesus only when we’re witnessing, people won’t see that Jesus is the center of our lives.
Do you really understand the gospel (good news of salvation)? Are you someone who has never believed in Christ, or maybe has merely “believed” in Jesus like you believe in Santa Claus? Jesus is to be believed in as Lord for life, and not just a one time decision. Do you hide yourself in God daily as He is your super-power kingdom? Way better than any gang could, God offers eternal protection, eternal love, and eternal life.