Deuteronomy 18

Deuteronomy 18 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

Every portion of God’s law that is described in this chapter deals with the importance of seeking the Lord’s will and listening to his hoy word. The reason that the Israelites are commanded to support the priests and Levites throughout the land is so that they can devote themselves entirely to seeking God’s face in worship and teaching God’s people his holy laws. Similar to the support of pastors in the New Testament, this charge is given for the good of God’s people that they might always have someone standing in the gap praying to the Lord on their behalf and clearly communicating the commands and promises of God unto Israel.

On the other hand, anyone who practices divination, fortune telling, sorcery or necromancy is certainly not to be supported but instead put to death for he or is she is seeking to lead God’s people away from the Lord and turn their ears away from his commands. A large part of faith in God consists in waiting upon the Lord when he doesn’t quickly answer our prayers or when he doesn’t explicitly show us the next step to take. There is much trust required in addition to wisdom and love for the Lord that teaches us to cling to God’s Word by faith in uncertain times. The problem with fortune telling and its wicked relatives is that it offers to give insight and comfort apart from God’s Word breaking any sense of dependence of the creature upon his creator and sustainer.

What need is there to go to a fortune teller when the Lord has raised up a prophet on behalf of his people. Prior to his passing, Moses prophesies that the Lord would raise up another prophet like unto him who shall speak all that God commands him, and anyone who would not listen to his words the Lord would require it of him. In a sense, this could refer to the long line of prophets who would come after Moses and speak to Israel on God’s behalf. But it is also seen more particularly as a reference to the messiah, the final prophet of God who was more like unto Moses than all the other prophets for the Lord would speak with him face to face in the same manner as he had with Moses but in a more intimate way like a father unto his son.

Throughout much of Israel’s history the Lord would raise up prophets to direct his people in the way they should go, but for almost four hundred years, during the intertestamental period just prior to the coming of Christ, people were eagerly looking for this prophet like unto Moses who would come and give his people the word of life. When John the Baptist comes on the scene and starts speaking forth the Word of God to the crowds, in John 1:21 the people ask him whether he is Elijah or the Prophet, which is a reference to this passage in Deuteronomy 18. In the same manner, after Jesus multiplies the fish and the loaves in, in John 6:14 the people witnessing these things said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Likewise, in John 7:40 after Jesus spoke at the feast in Jerusalem, they said, “This really is the Prophet.” And Jesus confirms this suspicion, for in John 5:46 he tells the people, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” This is clearly a reference to the prophecy made in Dt. 18. And finally, Peter confirms the identity of Jesus as the prophet like unto Moses in Acts 3:22-23.

This is the main point that the writer of Hebrews makes at the very beginning of his epistle saying, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Here he is showing the importance of listening to the Word of Christ as Paul calls it in Colossians 3:16 and of seeking Christ’s Word daily for he is the final prophet of God who has given us the words of life. And his word is profitable for us in every way that we might be thoroughly equipped for every good work that God requires. So let us seek His Word today, reading it carefully, meditating upon it and using it as a guide for our prayers that we might the love the Lord our God and walk in all His ways.