The Grace of Torah: The Mosaic Prescription for Life (Deut. 4:1–8; 6:20–25) -- By: Daniel I. Block

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 162:645 (Jan 2005)
Article: The Grace of Torah: The Mosaic Prescription for Life (Deut. 4:1–8; 6:20–25)
Author: Daniel I. Block

The Grace of Torah:
The Mosaic Prescription for Life (Deut. 4:1–8; 6:20–25)

This is the first article in a four-part series “Rediscovering the Gospel according to Moses,” delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 3-6, 2004.

Daniel I. Block

Daniel I. Block is the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

The power of God’s “word” is seen in the Old Testament in several ways. First, it is God’s utterance that called the universe into existence. Stated repeatedly in Genesis 1, this is eloquently summarized in Psalm 33:6. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”1

Second, the “word” is the divine utterance that determines the course of history, as in Isaiah 44:24–28. “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’; who says to the deep, ‘Be dry; I will dry up your rivers’; who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”

This is also expressed in Isaiah 46:9–11. “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass [or, make it happen]; I have purposed, and I will do it.”

Third, God’s “word” is powerful in calling people to life or verbally declaring their death. An example of the first of these is Ezekiel 16:3–7

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