One hundred and eighty years ago — a full nine score — the Nga Puhi chiefs signed a treaty at Waitangi, that over the the remainder of 1840 was signed by another few hundred chiefs from multiple tribes (iwi). The only iwi that did not sign were the Tuhoe.
Nonetheless, we now take this day as the start of modern New Zealand, and the modern perversion of this is to grieve that it happened, making New Zealand part of the colonial experience. The fact that most such commentators do not have multiple generations buried in this land is irritating.
On this day, the passage we have relates to Moses advising a new nation that they had a covenant before God: a treaty not between peoples but with God.
And it boils down to this: a nation who honours God, God will honour.
4 “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. 4 But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today. 5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 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.’ 11 And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.
One the things we have done, however, is added to the laws of God: in part the English Common Law we inherited, and in part with multiple statues and regulations, at times contradictory.
Often explicitly denying that there is a covenant not merely between peoples. We forget that most of those chiefs in 1840 were Christian, literate, and many had traveled. They knew what they were doing, and they chose a group who they considered had honour.
And that our elite have destroyed any honour and truth and respect of God for expedience.
Many would argue that those who are Pakeha — as I am, fifth generation — should be guilty because of historical injustices. We should not. We are instead guilty as a nation of walking away from the ten commandments, the basic covenant of God.
In this generation. For that we will be held to account.
Pray that you are in the righteous remnant who do not act as such: you will know you are when the elite and their minions hate you.