Words for the Wild | Reflections from Deuteronomy

Words for the Wild | Reflections from Deuteronomy

by Leo Schuster

Filmmaker David Lynch said, “the whole world is wild at heart.” We’re all then, in a sense, people of the wild. And there’s no better place to turn for help than the book in the Bible written specifically for people who had spent their entire life wandering in the wilderness: Deuteronomy. 

Since he quoted it more often than any other book in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy was likely Jesus’ favorite book in the Bible. I’m excited our first sermon series of the 2019–2020 ministry year is a study in this exceptional piece of ancient literature. Literally “second law” in Greek, Deuteronomy is a captivating retelling of the history of God’s dramatic deliverance of his people from Egypt, their wanderings in the wilderness, and a message to the new generation as they prepared to enter the land of promise. 

Deuteronomy was originally a series of Moses’ farewell speeches. He spoke to those who had been born during Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness. They were children of the wilderness—people of the wild. Moses spoke strong words of expectation to them, couched within a warmhearted framework of love. 

Love is a dominant idea in these words Moses spoke for those in the wild. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of all was, he quoted from one of Deuteronomy’s central passages: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5). Not only was this ancient truth fresh and compelling to those in Moses’ and Jesus’ day, it has the capacity to speak across the ages in a life-transforming manner to modern people today, because “the whole world is wild at heart.”