Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy)

Book Summation

  • Genesis is about things that God began.  
  • Exodus is about God creating His nation. 
  • Leviticus is about holy living. 
  • Numbers is about wandering – attempting to possess the land of Canaan.  
  • Deuteronomy contains the final words of Moses and a recap of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. 

 Placing the Law in Salvation History

  • Law was a blessing to Israel – it was how God set them apart as holy nation.  Not oppressively restrictive – it gave a better life individually, it was a covenant for national blessings.  Laws such as that of Hammurabi allowed nobleman to force their daughter to die in their place; fertility cult practices boiled goat kids in their mother’s milk; Israel was called to be different.
  • Practicing OT regulations does not help us; understanding God and the history of our faith through these does.  We find in it the character of God and a picture of loyalty to God.  
  • OT Law is a covenant between two parties.  Old Testament is not our Testament (“testament” is another word for covenant).  We should assume that no law is for us unless it is renewed in the Testament that is for us.  Ten Commandments (Mt 5.21-37, Jn 7.23) and the two great commandments (Dt 6.5, Lev 19.18) have been renewed in the NT.  Civil and Ceremonial laws have not been renewed – Jesus did not throw them out, he fulfilled them and had no reason to renew them.
  • Law was not for salvation; it temporarily covered sin; but ultimately to point us to our need for a Savior (Gal 3.24).  Humility and desperation are appropriate responses. 

How to read Books of the Law

Read laws as Narrative in context.  Look for God’s character in the law.  Note holiness as being “set apart.”  Develop personal desperation for a savior.  Make connections to NT law renewals – no law is for us unless renewed.