The Holy Spirit did the same thing when He inspired men to write the Bible. I first really noticed it when I was studying the Psalms. I had found lists of the various types of psalms and what each contained. In the process of looking for those elements in each psalm, I was encountering repeated words and phrases, or their synonyms. In Psalm 13 David asks the question, "How long?" four times in 6 verses making it obvious that he was in distress and this was a Psalm of Lament. In Psalm 51, he speaks of sin and its synonyms 12 times and asks for forgiveness using nine variations of that word. Yes, this is one of the psalms he wrote after his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. There is no question what the psalm is about whether you know that fact or not.
We are studying Deuteronomy together during our exiled worship services. We study separately all week, and then on Sunday morning after breakfast we sit down together to sing, pray, and take the Lord's Supper as "the Lord's church on the Ward property." Then we spend a good hour or more sharing what we have discovered in our personal study. While it isn't something Keith usually does, because of my Psalms study, I have found things to count, and they have made me aware of some things about Deuteronomy I never knew before. It is a great book!
Let me share just one little thing I have discovered in all my counting. I heard it said all my life that the New Covenant is heart religion while the Old is nothing but following the rules. I discovered long ago that this was not the truth. Let me just lay this on you quickly this morning. If you have your own concordance, either a hard copy or online, you can look for yourself. The book of Deuteronomy says "Be careful to do" all the commands of the Law 21 times, not counting about half a dozen synonyms. But it also uses the word "heart," as in "obey with all your heart," "turn to the Lord with all your heart," and of course, the one that became known as part of the Shema, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart," 25 times! That doesn't count the references to having an evil or stubborn heart, the opposite of the heart God wanted, which proves in itself that God has always wanted heart religion.
So if you have that incorrect notion of the Law, start studying on your own today, not just Deuteronomy, but the whole Old Testament, and you will see the error quickly. And use this little tip whenever you study—when God uses the same word again and again, you might just be looking at a theme you need to pay attention to. It might be something you have missed for years.
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, (Deut 10:12).