Todays readings .. Deuteronomy 27, Song of Solomon 7, Acts 23&24
In our Deuteronomy reading today the word ‘AMEN’ occurs no less than 12 times! Very soon now the Israelites will be crossing the Jordan, but Moses will no longer be their leader. Their crossing of the Jordan carries great symbolism, “Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, ‘Keep silence and hear O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes which I command you today.” [Ch.27 v.9-10]
We must not underestimate those opening words – “Keep silence and hear” – all too many of us only hear what we want to hear! We blot out the rest but fail to keep silence. The crossing of the Jordan will be, in a way, like a baptism, as the crossing of the Red Sea had been to their parents, see 1 Corinthians 10 v.2.
Moses goes on to say that when they have crossed the Jordan they are to show that they hear – and what’s more – that they agree with what they have heard! He tells them what is to happen. “The Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice” [v.14] They will declare to them twelve statements and after each the people are to respond by saying, “AMEN”; in this away acknowledging they have heard and agree!
The first statement relates to the first sin that had been committed after they left Egypt. “Cursed be the man that makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the LORD … and all the people shall say, Amen” [v.15] The final statement in the last verse is, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them. And all the people shall say ‘Amen’.”
Imagine being one of the people saying, Amen! Well, the commitment the people made worked. Almost all the people who went into the land under the leadership of Joshua and who had kept silence and heard and had said Amen, were faithful to their agreement. Next week we will read of the tragedy of the one who failed. Let us learn lessons from these examples, let us be willing to say “Amen” to what the Lord requires of us today.