Deuteronomy 32:3-41NIV New International Version Translations
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Chapter Contents are as follows: The song of Moses. (1,2) The character of God, The character of Israel. (3-6) The great things God had done for Israel. (7-14) The wickedness of Israel. (19-25) The judgments which would come upon them for their sins. (15-18) Deserved vengeance withheld. (26-38) God’s deliverance for his people. (39-43) The exhortation with which the song was delivered. (44-47) Moses to go up mount Nebo to die. (48-52)
“He is a Rock.” This is the first time God is called so in Scripture. The expression denotes that the Divine power, faithfulness, and love, as revealed in Christ and the gospel, form a foundation which cannot be changed or moved, on which we may build our hopes of happiness. And under his protection we may find refuge from all our enemies, and in all our troubles; as the rocks in those countries sheltered from the burning rays of the sun, and from tempests, or were fortresses from the enemy. “His work is perfect:” that of redemption and salvation, in which there is a display of all the Divine perfection, complete in all its parts. All God’s dealings with his creatures are regulated by wisdom which cannot err, and perfect justice. He is indeed just and right; he takes care that none shall lose by him.
Items for Discussion
- What visions come to mind when you hear our God called “The Rock.?”
- If all God’s ways are just, then why do bad things happen to good people?
- Why do good things happen to bad people?
- Can mankind ever prove otherwise that God does no wrong? Why or why not?
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew collected much of what Jesus taught in the Hebrew language and wrote this gospel for the Jews. Matthew collected taxes, but he became one of Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 9:9). Matthew did not write the first book about Jesus’ life, however, this was written by Mark, using much of what Mark wrote. The Christian church put Matthew’s book first in the New Testament because Matthew often refers to the Old Testament.
Verse 43: The Old Testament Law said that people should love their neighbors (Leviticus 19:18). There was no command to hate their enemies. But the Jews believed that they must hate God’s enemies. That would mean that they could hate their own personal enemies. To most Jews, ‘neighbor’ meant another Jew only.
Verse 44: People love in different ways. There are several different Greek words to show this. Parents love their children in a particular way. This is because they are part of a natural family. Friends love each other in a different way. But the word here is another word. This word describes how a Christian should act. He should want to be kind to other people. He may not like them. He may not want to love them. But he should still decide to love them. It may be difficult to do this. Jesus also said that Christians should pray for their enemies. God wants to help everyone and he wants to forgive everyone. Christians recognize that their enemies need God. And Christians know that God loves them too.
Verse 45: God’s gifts are for everyone. Both good and bad people receive God’s kindness. To be a true child of God means that a person will act like God the Father.
Verses 46-47: If Christians love only their friends, they are not acting like God. They would be no better than the men who collected taxes for the Romans. (People hated those men.) They would be no better than other people who do not believe God.
Verse 48: These words are like those in Leviticus 19:2: ‘You must be holy because I am holy. I am the Lord your God and I am holy.’ We should want to be like God. We need to please him in every part of our lives. To be ‘perfect’ means to have the same character that God has. If we want to become like God our Father, we must forgive people. We must forgive our enemies too. As Christians, we must love everyone. The word for “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 is “telios” and means whole, complete, mature.
Items for Discussion
- Is Christ asking us for perfection in our relationship with people? What is He asking?
- What makes Christians different from others and what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion?
- What kind of prayers do you think Jesus was telling us to offer for those who persecute us?
- Since perfection for mankind is not possible, how are we to pursue Christ’s perfection here on earth?
- The Church is to accept all sinners, to acknowledge that all will remain sinners – What then is the roll of the Christian Church in society?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations