We are Not Here to Retell the Story

It has become a fad to see preaching as primarily as a retelling of the Gospel. Pastors are story tellers. We stand up each Sunday and retell that old, old story. This approach is used in some gospel-centered churches and missional churches But it is also a common approach in more liturgically and sacramental churches like mine. We are past the fire and brimstone preachers of yesteryear. We are past Calvin calling out the Libertines (and the Pope and the Anabaptists) and Chrysostom calling out women who beat their maids. We are past Jonathan Edwards declaring with authority that Judgment Day is coming.  Now we believe that just retelling that wonderful story is enough. We are afraid of being moralists. We are dread that awful phrase, “legalism.” So we pander in our sweaters telling the world that Jesus died and rose again, but never telling them to repent. We never tell them that the sexually immoral do not inherit the Kingdom. We just keep telling the story and trust the Holy Spirit to apply the Word. We have the sword, but instead of using it we just remind people that it is there and they should really think a lot about cool it is and how it gleams in the warm sunlight.

There are several problems with this approach.

First, the examples of preaching and exhortations to preaching in the Bible are not like this. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is not simply a retelling of the Old Testament. It is a proper interpretation and extended application of the OT. Paul often takes OT passages and tells us what they mean and how we are to apply them. For example, in I Corinthians 10:1-13 he does not just tell us what happened to Israel. He tells what it means and how it applies to the lives of those at Corinth. He doesn’t just say, “Look the Israelites grumbled.” Or in I Corinthians 15 he doesn’t just say, “Look Jesus rose from the dead. Remember that.” When Paul tells Timothy what to do he does not say, “Tell the story.” He says, “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all patience.” (II Timothy 4:2)

Second, if all we need is the story, then we don’t need preachers. We need readers. Reading the text and going over it is not preaching. Preaching is the text interpreted and applied with authority to the congregation. This is what Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John did. This is a preacher is to do.

Third, this approach may leave the congregation feeling fed, but it does not actually feed them. This type of preaching can leave a warm glow. The pastor talks about Jesus, grace, the forgiveness of sins and the glory of redemption. But he never exhorts, warns, rebukes, challenges. So people don’t grow, but they leave thinking they have.

I am not saying there is never a place for preaching on grace and forgiveness. Obviously there is.  And pastors are to leave their people with a proper view of Christ as welcoming repentant sinners. But pastors are not here to retell the story. We are here to interpret and apply the story. We here to tell our people what the Bible means, why it means what it means, and what our congregations should do about it. In doing this we are not being arrogant or proud, we are fulfilling our office. If we aren’t doing that then we are not doing our job.

Day in Deuteronomy

This is the continuation of a study on the word “day” in the Pentateuch. For introductory remarks please refer to the initial post on Genesis.

I have divided these up into four (there is an extra one for Deuteronomy) categories: All the uses of day with a number, all the uses of “this day,” all the uses of day which in context mean a typical day, and any uses of day which could mean a long period of time.  

One additional note on Deuteronomy. The ESV translates the word “yom” as “today” 58 times in Deuteronomy. So you can add to this list 58 other places in Deuteronomy where the word “yom” means a typical, 24 hour day.  Where the ESV has “today” the KJV often has “this day” or “that day” or just “day.”
Uses of Day with the Number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)
(Deu 1:3)  In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them,
(Deu 5:14)  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.
(Deu 16:3)  You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.
(Deu 16:4)  No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning.
(Deu 16:8)  For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it.
Use of “This Day” in Deuteronomy
I have decided to create a category I did not have for the other books of Moses. The frequent use of this phrase stuck out to me as I studied.  “This day” in Deuteronomy can refer to different days, but it always refers to a specific point in time, not to a long period of time.
(Deu 2:22)  as he did for the people of Esau, who live in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites before them and they dispossessed them and settled in their place even to this day.
(Deu 2:25)  This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
(Deu 2:30)  But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.
(Deu 3:14)  Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.)
(Deu 4:20)  But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.
(Deu 4:38)  driving out before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day,
(Deu 5:24)  And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.
(Deu 6:24)  And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.
(Deu 8:18)  You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

(Deu 10:8)  At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day.
(Deu 10:15)  Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.
(Deu 11:4)  and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea flow over them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD has destroyed them to this day,
(Deu 26:16)  “This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.
(Deu 29:4)  But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.
(Deu 29:28)  and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.
(Deu 34:6)  and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.
Uses of Day Which Are in Context, Typical 24 Hour Days
Just a reminder that Sabbath Day is defined in Exodus as the Saturday at the end of a seven 24 hour day week. There is no reason to interpret it any differently in Deuteronomy. 

(Deu 1:33)  who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.
(Deu 4:10)  how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’
(Deu 4:15)  “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire,
(Deu 5:12)  “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.
(Deu 5:15)  You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
(Deu 9:7)  Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.
(Deu 9:10)  And the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the LORD had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.
(Deu 9:24)  You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. [The “I” here is Moses, not God.]
(Deu 10:4)  And he wrote on the tablets, in the same writing as before, the Ten Commandments that the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And the LORD gave them to me.
(Deu 18:16)  just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’
(Deu 21:16)  then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn,
(Deu 21:23)  his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
(Deu 24:15)  You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.
(Deu 27:2)  And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster.
(Deu 27:9)  Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God.
(Deu 27:11)  That day Moses charged the people, saying,
(Deu 28:32)  Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless.
(Deu 28:66)  Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
(Deu 31:22)  So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel.
(Deu 32:48)  That very day the LORD spoke to Moses,
Uses of Day That Could Mean a Long Period of Time
(Deu 4:32)  “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of.
Of course, how you translate the word “day” here depends a lot on what you think of the creation account.  It could very easily refer to the sixth day of creation when God made Adam. 
(Deu 31:17)  Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’
(Deu 31:18)  And I will surely hide my face in that daybecause of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.
This is referring to a future time when Israel rebels against the Lord and the Lord brings his wrath against them for their sins. (Deuteronomy 31:16-21) Therefore this could mean a period of time in the future when Israel is judged by God. But it could also mean a specific day when God pours out his wrath on Israel. Looking at II Kings 25 where this prophecy was fulfilled, one finds numerous specific days mentioned (II Kings 25:1, 3, 8, 27). Any of those days would literally fulfill this prophecy. It could mean a period of several years while Israel was judged, but does not have to. If it does mean many years, that “day” is limited to a few decades at most.
(Deu 32:35)  Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’
Of all the verses, this one is the most difficult to interpret. What “day” is Moses talking about? It is similar to the previous verses in that Moses is talking about judgment coming upon Israel for her sins. However, a plain reading of the text is that this is referring to some future time when God will judge -Israel. Like 31:17-18 it could refer to a period of time, but that time period would not be long. 
(Deu 33:12)  Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.”
This use of the word “day” is governed by the “all” prior to it.  A paraphrase could be translated “surrounds him all the time.” The idea is one of protection for the tribe of Benjamin. So here “day” does mean a longer period of time, but the reason we know this is the words that surround “day,” the context.

So unlike the first four books of  Moses, Deuteronomy has a couple of more difficult passages, but in the end there is nothing in those passages that indicate “day” could mean a long period of time. 

The research shows the following:
Every time the word day is used in Deuteronomy with a number it means a 24 hour day.
When it is not used with the number it usually  points to a specific day in the past, present, or future. 
There are a couple of spots where Deuteronomy uses “day” to mean a time period longer than 24 hours. However, we know these mean longer periods of time by the context. In these instances “day” does not mean millions or even hundreds of years. It means at most a a few decades. 

Day in Numbers

This is the continuation of a study on the word “day” in the Pentateuch. For introductory remarks please refer to the initial post on Genesis.

I have divided these up into three categories: All the uses of day with a number, all the uses of day which in context mean a typical day, and any uses of day which could mean a long period of time.  

Uses of Day with the Number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

(Num 1:1)  The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
(Num 1:18)  and on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head,
(Num 6:9)  “And if any man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it.
(Num 6:10)  On the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest to the entrance of the tent of meeting,
(Num 7:12)  He who offered his offering the first daywas Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah.
(Num 7:18)  On the second day Nethanel the son of Zuar, the chief of Issachar, made an offering.
(Num 7:24)  On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, the chief of the people of Zebulun:
(Num 7:30)  On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, the chief of the people of Reuben:
(Num 7:36)  On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, the chief of the people of Simeon:
(Num 7:42)  On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, the chief of the people of Gad:
(Num 7:48)  On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, the chief of the people of Ephraim:
(Num 7:54)  On the eighth day Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, the chief of the people of Manasseh:
(Num 7:60)  On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, the chief of the people of Benjamin:
(Num 7:66)  On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, the chief of the people of Dan:
(Num 7:72)  On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ochran, the chief of the people of Asher:
(Num 7:78)  On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, the chief of the people of Naphtali:
(Num 9:3)  On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.”
(Num 9:5)  And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.
(Num 9:11)  In the second month on the fourteenth dayat twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
(Num 10:11)  In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony,
(Num 11:19)  You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days,
(Num 14:34)  According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’
(Num 19:12)  He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean.
(Num 19:19)  And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day. Thus on the seventh dayhe shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.
(Num 28:16)  “On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD’s Passover,
(Num 28:17)  and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
(Num 28:18)  On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work,
(Num 28:25)  And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work.
(Num 29:1)  “On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets,
(Num 29:7)  “On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work,
(Num 29:12)  “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days.
(Num 29:17)  “On the second day twelve bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:20)  “On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:23)  “On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:26)  “On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:29)  “On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:32)  “On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:35)  “On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly. You shall not do any ordinary work,
(Num 31:19)  Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.
(Num 31:24)  You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”
(Num 33:3)  They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians,
(Num 33:38)  And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.
Uses of Day Which Are Context, Typical 24 Hour Days
(Num 3:13)  for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the LORD.”
(Num 6:11)  and the priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall consecrate his head that same day
(Num 7:1)  On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils,
(Num 7:10)  And the chiefs offered offerings for the dedication of the altar on the day it was anointed; and the chiefs offered their offering before the altar.
(Num 7:11)  And the LORD said to Moses, “They shall offer their offerings, one chief each day, for the dedication of the altar.”
(Num 7:84)  This was the dedication offering for the altar on the day when it was anointed, from the chiefs of Israel: twelve silver plates, twelve silver basins, twelve golden dishes,
(Num 8:17)  For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself,
(Num 9:6)  And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day,and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day.
(Num 9:15)  On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.
(Num 9:16)  So it was always: the cloud covered it by dayand the appearance of fire by night.
(Num 9:21)  And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.
(Num 10:10)  On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God.”
(Num 10:34)  And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day,whenever they set out from the camp.
(Num 11:31)  Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journeyon this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground.
(Num 11:32)  And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.
(Num 14:14)  and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people. For you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.
(Num 15:32)  While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
(Num 16:41)  But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD.”
(Num 17:8)  On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
(Num 22:30)  And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”
(Num 25:18)  for they have harassed you with their wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”
(Num 28:3)  And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering.
(Num 28:9)  “On the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering:
(Num 28:26)  “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work,
(Num 30:5)  But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her.
(Num 30:7)  and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand.
(Num 30:8)  But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the LORD will forgive her.
(Num 30:12)  But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the LORD will forgive her.
(Num 30:14)  But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them.

(Num 32:10)  And the LORD’s anger was kindled on that day,and he swore, saying,

Places in Numbers Where Day Can Mean a Long Period of Time

(Num 15:23)  all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations,

Here is the only possible example in Numbers of “day” meaning anything other than a typical, 24 hour day. However, upon close examination all it means is that all the commandments which the Lord has given you starting with Moses on Sinai until today. As usual, the word day is pointing back to a specific day when the Lord began giving his commandments to Moses.  Day is a starting point, but does not represent the entire time period.

The research shows the following:
Every time the word day is used in Numbers with a number it means a 24 hour day.
When it is not used with the number it still points to a specific day in the past, present, or future. 
Nowhere in Numbers is the word day ever used to mean a long period of time.