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D'varim/Deuteronomy 4:5 I have taught you statues and judgements as Adonai my G-d has commanded me
The verb represents both sides of the educational process. In its Qal stem, it means to learn, whilst in its Pi'el stem it means to teach: what one person teaches another person learns. Here, as Moshe starts to wrap up his review of Israel's spiritual as well as physical wanderings in the desert on the way from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael - the Land of Israel - and before he starts to repeat to the generation that are about to enter the Land the body of laws that their fathers were taught at Mount Sinai, Moshe sets out an important principle: he has not been teaching the people any old thing that came into his head, useful though they might have been for health and safety reasons; he has been teaching from G-d's syllabus, at G-d's specific command. In the light of what we now know about hygiene, food science, psychology and medicine, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Moshe didn't teach any of these things; he taught G-d's statutes and judgements, as G-d's commandments for the lives of His people, because that was what G-d told him to do.
Now, the writer to the Hebrews tells us that "Moshe was faithful in all G-d's house" (Hebrews 3:2, CJB) quoting from B'Midbar 12:7. There is no question of this, whatever other lapses he may have had; by the testimony of both the Hebrew and the Greek scriptures, Moshe was faithful. He carried out G-d's commission faithfully; he taught G-d's commandments - the Torah - faithfully. Hebrews goes on, "Moshe was faithful in all G-d's house, as a servant giving witness to things G-d would divulge later" (3:5, CJB). Moshe was perhaps the supreme example of a steward in the household of G-d: he served and ministered to the best of his ability - and sometimes beyond - as G-d empowered him. But the writer to the Hebrews hasn't finished yet; in the next verse he says, "But the Messiah, as Son, was faithful over G-d's house" (3:6, CJB). As the Son of the house (of G-d), Yeshua has more honour, more authority, more natural position and right than Moshe - as the steward, a worker in the household, however senior. But if both Yeshua and Moshe are described as faithful to the owner of the house - that is, G-d - we would expect them to say the same thing.
What does Yeshua say? "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law and Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill ... whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17,19, NASB). Yeshua teaches that the commandments are to remain valid; He does not, and is not going to, change or modify them and, as we know, He Himself kept the commandments perfectly (cf. Hebrews 4:15). Yeshua also insisted this should be the rule for His followers: "Go therefore and make disciples ... teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19,20, NASB).
Further Study: Ezekiel 2:1-7; Titus 2:1-10
Application: In these days of challenge and uncertainty about morality, honesty and what if anything - by the world's lights - G-d expects of mankind, we must be certain where we stand. Are you faithful - what are you teaching?
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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