Many people have favourite Bible verses, and I am no different. Yet within my favourites there is one verse that I return to repeatedly. This single verse puts the universe in perspective for me. It reminds me of the incalculable difference between mankind and God, that He is nothing like humanity, and that He is merciful in His justice. Deuteronomy 10:17, for the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. Here, Yahweh gives testimony of Himself. So there can be no misunderstanding or misrepresentation, Yahweh tells us plainly. Amongst all the spiritual beings, the Lord is the greatest, the highest, the one supreme God who is over all in every possible way.
It’s easy to read over this verse quickly as we pass through the chapter, missing the enormity of its content. With approximately 29 words, depending on your translation, we read a summary of Jehovah. If we had no other Old Testament declaration of God, this would be more than sufficient to communicate all that is needed. The truths of this one revelation should cause us to quiver with exhilarating fear, realising that we, who are so puny, have had revealed to us Him who is so enormous in presence and holiness of character.
Of course, reading this entire section from chapter 5:1 to 28:68 of Deuteronomy reveals a lot more. Moses is delivering the laws of God to the nation of Israel on the morning of their westward crossing of the Jordan river into the promised land (Deu 9:1), after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Knowing that he himself would not go with them (Deu 32:51–52), Moses faithfully alerts Israel to Yahweh’s covenant law (Deu 5:2). Once again, Israel is confronted by Moses with an expanded revelation of who Yahweh is, what He has done, and what He is like.
God has always revealed Himself as the absolute Sovereign who is beyond compare or challenge. David states this in Psalm 40:5, You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. God always reveals Himself as the perfection of holiness (Jos 24:19). Just as in Deuteronomy, David declares that God has not been in hiding. While human language fails to express the fulness of Yahweh, we are still able to worship what we do know of Him accurately.
David, who was far from perfect, knew that God was dependable in His character, unlike David. So, when David sinned and came under the Lord’s discipline, he knew he could depend upon God’s mercy. In 2 Samuel 24:14, he confessed, I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man. Moses reminded Israel that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders (Deuteronomy 26:8).
Moses was right in instructing Israel to rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you (Deuteronomy 26:11). Not only did God reveal Himself but He acted. We, like Israel, have seen the revelation and actions of God, therefore, we are to worship. God is just as awe inspiring today as He ever was. Therefore, let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29).
To be continued…