Ok, it’s not really a commentary per se. What follows is a big picture view of the Pentateuch: the first five books of the Bible. While this is not, nor is it intended to be, a comprehensive commentary on the Pentateuch, I submit that if one does not comprehend the essential, “Big Picture” messages of these first five books, one will not grasp God’s revelations in them or the remainder of the Bible for that matter. It’s not all that complicated, really.
Genesis tells the story of how everything came into being including humankind and its struggle to survive. It describes God’s relationship with humankind and asserts that God loves us. He is omnipresent and forever accessible to persons of faith. Perhaps He is not as accessible as He was in the Garden, He is available nonetheless and is steadfast in His love and commitment to humanity.
This is the story of God’s separation of the children of Israel from the other peoples of the world. He does this, not because they are particularly good or holy but so that the rest of the world may know that He is God and before Him, there is no other God. In fact, there is no other worthy of being called God, period. The Israelites are His chosen people and He is their God.
If, Exodus describes God choosing the children of Israel to be His people to care for and to dwell with, Leviticus describes what it is like to live in such close proximity to God. The tabernacle and purification rites and rules are for the people’s protection as much as anything. God is Holy and only holy people may draw near to Him and hope to survive.
Numbers tells of Gods continued presence among the people of Israel. He gradually fulfills His promises to Abraham through them. The people are stiffnecked and rebellious, however, and seem to be continually at odds with God despite His continuing presence, provision, and protection. It’s analogous to the Church in many ways.
Deuteronomy is the fifth and final book of the Pentateuch. It is very much a summary of the Israelites’ journey from Egypt and through forty years in the wilderness under the auspices of Moses and the direction and protection of God Almighty. They are, at this time, poised to enter and begin taking control of the Promised Land.
God has demonstrated His steadfast love for His people and His commitment to His covenant with Abraham. Moses’ time is at an end and Joshua is ordained to lead God’s people across the Jordan into their next great adventure.
Amazingly, even though God has taken great pains to inform His chosen people exactly what they need to do to maintain His blessings, God prophecies that His people will be utterly unwilling and unable to follow His instructions. They will suffer dire consequences for their faithfulness and be scorned and scattered throughout the world.
The Pentateuch, as one can see, sets the stage for the remainder of the Bible. In these first five books of the Bible we are introduced to the primary themes of God being the Creator and eternal Master of all things and beings, God’s steadfast love for humanity, and God’s eternal faithfulness to humankind. We are also shone humankind’s ultimate dependence on God, our faithlessness, and inability to maintain our righteousness by our own hands despite being told precisely what we must do and how and where and with whom we must do it.
We truly are in need of a Savior.