Sixth Sunday after Epiphany (Feb 12th)

Pastor's Summary of Deuteronomy 30:15-20

The setting is the plains of Moab, as the Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. the Book states that Moses is the speaker, but the laws given in Chapters 12-28 are updated versions of those in earlier books. Times have changed since Sinai: the people were semi-nomads then; now they are farmers and shepherds. It is a time of religious revival, of new commitment to God. V. 6 puts the Law in a new light: God will "circumcise your heart"- he will work changes within the people so love becomes the driving force. Note also v. 20: "loving the Lord your God..." They will keep the Law because they love God.

Our reading summarizes Chapters 27-28, which tell of: (1) the ways in which the Israelites will be blessed if they kjeep this expanded and updated covenant; and (2)  the consequences of failing to keep many of the laws, i.e. being excluded from the community. Then it offers a choice: keep the laws in love and obedience, or suffer the consequences of following other paths. Keeping the Law because you love God will have many benefits, including long life ("length of days", v. 20).