The Book of Deuteronomy can be loads of fun but like many of the stories we have read through together already, Deuteronomy will present challenges. The original Hebrew title was "these are the words" but Deuteronomy means a "retelling," a "copy" or "repetition" of the law/torah/teaching.
Many of the stories you have already seen and heard are retold here. One fun thing to watch for is that priestly stuff we talked about a week or two ago. In Exodus and Numbers we see God relaying these things to Moses--in Dt we see Moses representing them again to the people.
A re-telling can be incredible. Oh, if I had a dollar for everytime I heard a story fresh or new or filled with the Spirit's breath during a telling of a story I already had heard I would be a wealthy man.
But, repetition can be tricky too. When we repeat stories they remain the same even as they adjust a bit over time, then when others share their own testimony of those stories things can get even more difficult.
If you'd like an example of this from the time of Jesus go and read the stories told from different eyewitnesses of Jesus' healing of the Centurion's servant. You can find them here in Matthew's gospel and again here in Luke's. Then ask yourself was the Centurion present when Jesus healed his servant from afar? Did the Centurion go to Jesus, or did he send friends? Do we have to be fearful of these sorts of things? Must we decide that either Matthew or Luke are not telling the inspired truth of God?
Do we need to make excuses for all of that?
Or, what if the inspired point of the story (the truth of the tale) had nothing to do with the Centurion's physical presence?
That can make many folks uncomfortable, especially those who feel the scriptures need to be without any adjustments or errors. I get that. And yet...
The commandment related to the Sabbath in today's reading (Dt 5) doesn't exactly match the commandment about the Sabbath we saw in Exodus 20...so aparently Moses didn't feel that God's commands were so vital in a retelling that they couldn't be repeated with some variation.
What do you think? Keep reading.