"Raise Him Up!"
The Book of Deuteronomy recounts God’s expectations for His chosen people as they were bound for Canaan and the good future God had for them to know. The theology of Deuteronomy involves a simple choice: Do what God says and know blessing, or reject God’s ways and suffer the consequences. Of course, the problem lies in knowing exactly how God’s expectations translate into everyday life.
Such knowledge is where a prophet comes in handy. Because prophets “forth-tell” God’s future (which is very different from a mere prediction), their words create possibilities for obedience and favor in response to it. However, it’s when someone shows up who tells us what we want to know and not what God would have us to know that everything gets muddled. Just read passages in the Bible where false prophets did just that and the people suffered abysmally for it.
God will always have the last word. That was the message of Moses to God’s people so they would not live with uncertainty about their days to come. In His time, God would raise up a spokesperson who would speak holy truth in ways that would give confidence and assurance that immeasurable blessings were soon to come.
There is no question that such a promise came to pass in the person of Jesus. The entirety of the Gospel of Matthew shows Jesus to be a “new Moses,” fulfilling this prophecy even to the point of having Jesus escape to Egypt and then return to Nazareth so that He might be formed for the mission of bearing witness to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 2:19–23). Little wonder that when the people heard Jesus’ teaching, they “were amazed . . . because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28–29 NIV).
As we move into the Advent season, know that God has truth for you to hear. It begins with the promise that in Jesus, God has drawn near as Immanuel (Matthew 1:23). It ends with the assurance that “all authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18 NIV). Surely, Jesus is the first word and the last word, the Alpha and the Omega. God’s kingdom will come and His will shall be done, on earth as it is in heaven, for those who will embrace His Word (Matthew 6:10).
Deuteronomy 18:15-22 (ESV):
A New Prophet like Moses
15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.