Moses has written down everything that God gave him. He has revisited it all with every man, woman, and child present. And he sets the requirements for future revisiting of the Law.
The people are all gathered together while Moses goes over every aspect of the Law. I believe this was only the second time that Moses sat the people down and went over it all. The first time was when God gave it to them initially.
This second time God is asking for a re-commitment from the people. We read where they were given the choice between life and death. Their choice will determine their direction. We know from history what choice they made. We also know that they didn’t keep true to that choice forever.
The people who were assembled at the time Moses is revisiting the Law were not all present when it was first given. There were 40 years between the two in depth readings. The original adults died off in the wilderness and their children had taken their place. Their children’s children hadn’t heard Moses recite it for them, until now.
The people were not ignorant of the law; even the ones who weren’t present at the first reading. They had lived under its provisions and statutes for 40 years now. Many of them had been under it from birth. Just like any other group though, they were not familiar with every item in the Law. They were familiar with what impacted their daily lives. The Levites were the ones who were charged with knowing the Law intimately.
But the people NEEDED to know the depth and breadth of the Law. They needed reminders along the way to prevent them from stumbling and falling into sin. The Law would be the foundational doctrine for Israel’s future.
To address the people’s need to know and God’s desire to keep them close, revisiting God’s Law became another requirement of it. Every seventh year the whole congregation was to assemble to hear the Law read again. This ensured that every new generation heard the same Law that their parents before them had heard. This also ensured that the adults would receive a scheduled reminder of all that was contained.
I would think that this would be a good way to prevent changes from happening to the Law too. Rereading it every seven years should have solidified the depth and breadth of it in the people’s hearts. But man is VERY skilled at finding the “wiggle room” in anything. We know from history that the Law was added to quite extensively by the religious leaders in an effort to “clarify it” for the people. Instead of revisiting God’s perfect Law every seven years the people would learn of the changes that had been implemented since the last reading.
The year of freedom and release became a little more restrictive as man weighed in with his two cents. God’s scheduled revisiting of His law and re-commitment to follow it each time was marred by man’s behavior. The revisiting the last seven years and the preparation for the next seven to come weren’t as joyful as they should have been. But revisiting is the only way we can really see where we have come from and correct our direction for the future and where we are going.
Father God, I love that You built in a way for the people to remember. I’m sorry that the events of remembering were tarnished by the facts of how far away from the original the people had traveled. Did they “revisit” Your law only or all that they had added to it too? I’m reminded of something my brothers and sisters and I used to say every time our parents returned home after leaving us alone while they ran some kind of errand; “Nobody tell on nobody and nobody gets in trouble!” Instead of being glad our parents were home we became fearful because of how far we had “wandered” from their “rules” while they were gone. I don’t want my life with You to be that way! I want to look back and remember all the good things that have happened along the way and rejoice at each reunion. I want to look forward to what each new period holds for us. Thank You that You set times of reexamination, re commitment and rejoicing. I pray each one brings me closer to You each time.