We continue reading Moses’ final instructions to his people before they cross the Jordan. When they enter the land they are to build an altar to the Lord. On the stones of the altar they are “to write … all the words of this law very plainly” (Deuteronomy 27:8). Moses and the Priests then say “to all Israel, ‘Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD …’” (verses 9,10).

We can draw a comparison in this with the day when we took on the name of Christ in baptism. Moses says that when they have come into the land “the Levites shall declare to all …” (verse 14) certain specific warnings about behaviour God hates, for they, as the people of God, members of His chosen nation, bring dishonour upon themselves and upon Him should they do so. Most of these are equally applicable to those who take on the name of Christ through baptism and then dishonour the name of Christ in aspects of their behaviour.

Moses says, when they are in land, “… the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel with a loud voice (verse 14) such things as, “Cursed be anyone who dishonours his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen’” (verse 16). Similarly, “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless and the widow, and all the people say, ‘Amen’” (verse 19) – and by saying Amen they acknowledge awareness of this warning.

There are curses on a variety of sexual misconduct, also, “Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe …” (verse 25). And the final verse, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them. And all the people shall say ‘Amen’”. Is it the same with following the teachings of Christ? Yes, but we can be thankful that there is the principle of grace. Paul asks believers, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1,2). Let us all live in service to Christ, using our various individual talents and opportunities to bring honour to his name.