God gave specific instructions to the Jews concerning worship, sacrifices, how to treat one another, caring for the poor, etc. The nuts and bolts of it were fulfilled by Jesus on the cross so today we don’t sacrifice animals on a stone altar, and we don’t kill idolators. But God’s instructions to the Jews speaks volumes to us today.
Deuteronomy 13:18 is the lesson God wants us to understand from His instructions:
The Lord your God will be merciful only IF you listen to His voice and keep all His commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases Him. (emphasis mine)
Gods words in Deuteronomy are still true today, and only through the substitutionary work of Jesus can our sins be forgiven without the physical sacrificing of animals. Without blood, there is still no forgiveness of sin. Jesus shed His own blood as the ultimate, perfect substitute.
What we read in Deuteronomy is a picture of what Jesus did on the cross. He became those sacrifices for us. And therefore, the same principle applies:
God will show mercy IF we obey Him.
We can’t expect God’s blessings unless we do ALL His Word demands. That’s a tall order on our own.
IF I accept Jesus as my Savior I am obeying the Law spelled out in Deuteronomy. And IF I live my life like Jesus spelled out in the New Testament, then and only then can God bless me.
And, oh what blessings!
I think “IF” might be the most important word in the Bible.