Deuteronomy Introduction

Deuteronomy Introduction

Deuteronomy means "second law." After spending forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land. Moses was well aware that his time as their leader was just about over. He wanted to remind them of where they had been and of all that God had done for them. Sometimes God has to remind us of where we have been so that we do not make the same mistakes over and over again. We also need to be reminded that God will help us with all our problems, no matter what trials we may face.

Moses' first speech reminded the people of the things that had happened since they left Egypt and of God's goodness to them throughout their journey. He recounted their rebellion against the Lord, the defeat of Sihon and Og, the division of the land and the commissioning of Joshua as his successor. Moses told the people, "The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything" (2:7).

Moses' second speech summarized the laws that the Israelites must continue to obey as God's chosen people. "Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you" (4:1).

Moses warned them against idolatry and reminded them to obey the Ten Commandments. He told them that in years to come, after they had settled in the Promised Land, they must not forget all that God had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt and in caring for them in the wilderness. "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you" (8:10).

Moses reminded the people of practical rules for daily living that they must follow: distinguishing between clean and unclean food, tithing, canceling of debts, celebrating Passover and the other feasts, appointing judges and officials, setting up cities of refuge and resolving disputes.

In chapter 28 Moses reminded the people of the blessings that would come upon them if they obeyed the Lord and of the curses that would overtake them if they disobeyed.

In chapter 29 Moses summoned the Israelites and told them the terms of the covenant between them and the Lord (29:12-14). "'Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life" (30:19).

Moses encouraged the people, "'The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land'" (31:3). Then he summoned Joshua and said to him, "'The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged'" (31:8).

In chapter 34 we are told of the death of Moses. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died in Moab, and God buried him. To this day no one knows where Moses is buried. Moses was God's special servant. The Israelites grieved over his death for thirty days. Perhaps in their grieving they remembered the times they disobeyed Moses.

After Moses' death, Joshua succeeded him. "Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses" (34:9).

Verses 10-12 are my favorite verses about Moses. "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt--to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel." What an awesome tribute to a man!

We may not lead several million people as Moses did, but we can be faithful to God and allow Him to use us.

Fill in the blanks on the worksheet and on the "Go to the Word" sheet, and may God bless you as you study His Word.

By: Warren Simmons