Have you ever read a familiar passage of Scripture and felt like you’re reading it for the first time? For me, that passage recently was Deuteronomy 31:9-13:
“So Moses wrote this Law and gave it to the religious leaders, the sons of Levi who carried the special box of the Law of the Lord, and to all the leaders of Israel. Then Moses told them, ‘At the end of every seven years, at the time when money owed is done away with at the Special Supper of Tents, when all Israel comes to stand before the Lord your God at the place He will choose, you must read this Law so all Israel will hear it. Gather together the people in your town, the men and the women, the children, and the stranger. So they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God. Be careful to obey all the words of this Law. Then their children, who have not known it, will hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to take.’” (NLV)
Moses tells the Israelites that every seven years they are to gather together to read the Law—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This is a reminder of the Israelite history,= and the laws established by God. When I first read this, I was surprised that it was only once every seven years was a long time! Then again, there is significance to the number seven for God. Beginning with creating the earth, God has repeatedly used the number seven as a reminder for His people.
There are three recorded occasions when the Law is read for the Israelites, beginning in Joshua just before they enter the Promised Land. The second is in 2 Kings 23 with King Josiah, and the third time is in Nehemiah chapter 8 with the prophet Ezra. In Brave Enough, Nicole Unice says, “Commentators believe that because the people had been scattered all throughout Babylon, some of them had lost the ability to understand Hebrew and could no longer comprehend God’s words for His people.”
Each time the Law is read seems to be a time of repentance and renewed promise for the Israelites. They are reminded of all Yahweh has done for them, and they resolve to keep God in His rightful place…again. Scripture shows us that each of the gaps between readings is filled with disobedience. Continue reading here…