Deuteronomy 29-31…Covenant renewal.
Centuries of misunderstanding of the place of God’s law in history and in the life of the believer have caused a lot of confusion over the way the Law relates to us today. As we trace the biblical understanding of the Mosaic law through the canon of Scripture, we should develop a true appreciation for this part of the Bible.
Getting a better grasp on the purpose and use of the Law requires us to remember the context in which it was given and read in the old covenant period. These three chapters of Deuteronomy outline the renewal of the covenant. This describes the reading of the Law that was to take place every seven years when all the Israelites assembled to celebrate the Feast of Booths (“tents,” Deut. 31:9–13). This was not the only time the people heard or were taught the Law, for it was to be a part of their everyday life. Still, the seventh-year reading of the Law to the whole nation was unique in that the people collectively professed their allegiance to the Lord and their countrymen under His statutes, being reminded of their need to live in submission to their awe-inspiring God.
Notice that the covenant renewal involved the whole community of believers. This is because God has called us to live in a community of believers committed to each other. The covenant was not just vertical, but horizontal as well. It is impossible to obey scripture outside of the context of a local church. The “one another” commands are designed for us to live out the Christian life in submission to elders (Hebrews 13:17), with a group of believers (Acts 2:42-47), who meet together regularly (Hebrews 10:25), hear the gospel preached (Romans 10:14), and display God’s glory to the world (Ephesians 3:8-11). When the local church functions this way, as one body, united in holiness and love, the world sees how powerful the gospel really is. When the church looks like the world, God is not glorified, and His name is misrepresented.