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The Hardest Part of the Journey

It's okay to ask, "Are we there yet?"
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Living in the In-Between". See series.


Today marks the beginning of a four-week series on the one book of the Bible that perhaps is read less often than any other. If we took a survey, I'm sure it would take the prize for the least-read book of the Bible, finishing just behind Numbers and Leviticus. Even the name sounds boring.

There's a good reason Deuteronomy is not read very often. To understand why, we need to know that the Old Testament is divided into different sections. The first five books of the Bible form a section known as the Torah or Pentateuch. These are the books of Law. Deuteronomy is the very last book in this section. They are, in order: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. If you read straight through to the end of Numbers, you could simply skip to the end of Deuteronomy, and you'd be at the same place in the narrative. The Book of Numbers ends with these wandering ex-slaves gathered on the banks of the Jordan River, waiting to enter the Promised Land. Arrive at the end of Deuteronomy, and you'll see they haven't moved from this spot. In other words, you could remove this book entirely and not miss a beat in the story.

Another reason Deuteronomy doesn't get read very often is that it's basically all words and almost no action. It's comprised of three sermons by Moses and a set of laws thrown in for the fun of it. Most of the sermons by Moses are retelling stories and laws we've already heard in the previous books. In fact, this is where the name Deuteronomy comes from—deutero means "second," and nomos means "law." It is called the "second law;" it's mostly repetition. If you read this book at a surface level, you might observe that it really has nothing new to say. So I think it's reasonable to wonder why this ...

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Shane Hipps is lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church and author of The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church (Zondervan, 2006).

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Sermon Outline:


I. Deuteronomy is the story of a people in transition.

II. The in-between is the hardest part of any journey.