Today's devotion from Deuteronomy 29.
Today, we find Moses shifting his focus to define just who "you" are. This is a unique situation. As we've seen, much of the focus of God's work seems to be taking individuals and building a community. So, who is accepting this covenant? Who is supposed to respond? Is it the individual? Is it the community? Who are the intended recipients of these instructions and warnings?
Read verses 10 through 15.
The answer is 'you' as individuals being built into a people. It is the individual who is making the decision to enter into the community of the covenant. But there are people who are there, in their midst, who would hear the words, but not enter into the covenant. In heart this one says, "I will have peace even though I follow my own stubborn heart." (Deuteronomy 29:19, CSB)
This person wants the blessings and benefits of community without the bonds of covenant. God warned, "This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered land as well as the dry land." (Deuteronomy 29:19, CSB) Eventually, God will have enough and, "...blot out his name under heaven, and single him out for harm from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law." (Deuteronomy 29:20-21, CSB) In short, this person will bring harm to the community and be removed from it.
Reading these words, we see a truth emerge: God's covenant is with individuals to create a community. The promise He made with the patriarchs was no good to their children unless the children accepted the covenant themselves. The blessings of the community would offer no benefit to the person living in the community but not in the covenant. One's relationship is incredibly personal, but ripples through the community.
Thinking through this, we need to encourage others not to trust in church attendance or even membership as a sign of their relationship with God. Instead, we need to evaluate our personal submission to Christ, and lead others to make that decision for themselves. Will you, who is standing here today, enter into a covenant relationships with God?