BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 4: Deuteronomy 32:15-43

Summary of passage:  A continuation of Moses’s song.  Moses says how Israel will grow lazy in their blessings and worship foreign gods.  So God will hide his face from His people, and God will send calamities upon them and scatter them.  Moses pleads for the people to understand what will happen and correct it before it occurs and before the Lord brings judgement upon them.

Questions:

8a)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Israel abandoned God and turned to false gods instead.  Mine is to remember God always and obey.

b)  God.  The people themselves.

c)  It says “their”, meaning others.  Their rock (false gods) is not the Israelites’ Rock (One, True God).  Their teachings (wine) is as fatal as poison.

d)  The Lord will have compassion on His people “when he sees their strength is gone and on one is left.” God will take vengeance on his adversaries when “he sharpens his flashing sword and his hand grasps it in judgment”.  God will do this because He loves us and offers us grace and mercy and forgiveness.  God will “make atonement for his land and people” ultimately through the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:  Not like 8a.  Answer is obvious.  This lesson was hard for me to dig deeper than the surface meaning.

End Notes:  Israelites turned on God; in turn, He turned on them.  Not being enough, God punishes the people through calamities in order to turn them back to Him again.  Then God pleads for them to return.

Verses 15-18 is the first true apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of God) by the Israelites.  The golden calf was a sin but at least the people worshipped the golden calf as God.  Here, they abandoned God, completely rejected Him, and sacrificed to false gods.

Jeshurun means “upright one.”  We see it used again in 33:5; 33:26 and in Isaiah 44:2.  It’s a term of affection for Israel.

Paul quotes verse 21 in Romans 10:19.

Excellent explanation of the Song of Moses (Moses wrote at least three recorded songs scholars believe in the Bible) HERE.  If you were like me and didn’t get much out of this song, then this link explains succinctly what it’s all about.  Highly recommended.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 3: Deuteronomy 31:30-32:14

Summary of passage:  Moses spoke his song to the people.  Moses proclaims God’s greatness and the people’s sins.  Remember the days of old and what God has done for His people.  He cared for them and nourished them.  He alone.

Questions:

5)  Let his words fall like rain, descend like dew, shower new grass, and abundant rain on tender plants.

6a)  God is first in his life.  It’s the first thing he talks about is how great is the Lord, how faithful and just and perfect.  He talks of God’s character with very intimate words.  His love for God is obvious.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By speaking of all of the blessings upon me and not complaining.

7a)  Even when the people acted corruptly and foolishly, God cared for His people, giving them the land, bringing them through the desert, shielding them and guarding them, and letting them take flight while watching over them to make sure they didn’t fall.  He fed them with the fruit of the fields, nourished them with honey and gave them labs and goats and rams and wheat and drink.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Lessened my fear of my husband’s job being lost.  Blessed me with a free gym membership.  Given me more time to write.  Things are winding down (school and BSF) so I will have more time to write.  I thank Him in prayer, living out my life like Jesus, and doing His will as much as possible.

Conclusions:  Love the prayer model of proclaiming who God is, what He’s done for us, and who He is. Good stuff!

End Notes:  Moses asks for attention from Israel and all of creation, praising God for who He is and what He has done.  He calls attention to the Israelites’ sin, and speaking of God’s love and grace, he hopes to call the people back.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time God is called “the Rock” in Scripture.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 2: Deuteronomy 31:1-29

Summary of passage:  Moses, at 120 years old, tells the people Joshua will be their new leader and the Lord will go before them and destroy their enemies. He tells the people to not be afraid for God will never forsake them.  Moses wrote down the law, placed it beside the ark of the covenant, and commanded the people to read it every 7 years so all will know it.

The Lord appeared to Moses and Joshua in a cloud over the Tabernacle and told them that the people would turn from Him and worship other gods.  When the people did this, God would turn His back on His people.  He taught Moses a song to teach the people so they would know why God turned on them.  Moses warned the people of the evil they would do and consequences of the Lord’s anger against them.

Questions:

3a)  He commanded the people to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid or terrified because the Lord goes with them and will never abandon them (the promise).

b)  Joshua had some big shoes to fill so I’m sure leading the people was daunting, challenging, and scary. God wanted to make sure Joshua knew he could do it because He Himself was with him and would never leave him.  God Himself would defeat His enemies, and Joshua had nothing to fear.  He was chosen by God for this task like Moses.  Confidence is what Joshua needed–in himself and in the Lord.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting.  When no one else is there, God is.  He knows my pain, my heartache, my struggles, my passions, my frustrations, my joys, my sorrows, my victories, my failures.  And He shares them.  He works them for His purposes.  And I just need Him and faith.

4a)  God commanded Moses to write down the law and keep it in a safe place and once every 7 years for the law to be read to all the people so they would know God’s laws.  It was a resource for the Levites, who were the spiritual leaders, so they could look back and learn God’s laws as well and teach it accordingly.

b)  It would serve as a warning so the faithful would be aware of what was to come and perhaps spot the temptation and turn away before they sinned.  Perhaps they could warn others and turn them away as well.

Conclusions:  Love how God appeared to Joshua personally to commission him and reassure him that he could do this monumental task and that God would be his strength and his rock.  God’s care for us is unfathomable!  I like how everyone from young to old was gathered to hear the law once every 7 years.  I wonder how many of us read God’s word every 7 years.  Can you imagine our society if we did?

End Notes:  The people needed to know God was with them.  All most of them had ever known was Moses.  The people needed to know God was bigger than one man and God was enough.

God does His work through people–God’s work is the giving of the Promised Land and Joshua would be the one God would use to accomplish His work.

What a blessing Moses is to Joshua!  He encouraged him in his walk.  How many of us have wise counselors to encourage us to do the great things God has in store for us?

The first recorded reading of God’s law to the people is in Nehemiah 8:1-8.  It is recorded three more times in the Bible of the law being read to the people (Joshua 8:30; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 2 Chronicles 34:30).  Between these readings are hundreds of years.  Certainly, the law could have been read and not recorded but scholars say that the fact the reading of the law is recorded with so many years in-between was because it was such a rare event.  Can you imagine how history would be different if the people had obeyed and read the law–like today if we did as well?

Deuteronomy 32 is the song Moses wrote down for God’s people.

Here we see the completion of the first five books of the Bible (also known as the Pentateuch which means five scrolls in Greek or the Torah in the Jewish tradition) in verse 24 written by Moses.  It is assumed by scholars that the last three books of Deuteronomy were written by Joshua (or by a scribe he appointed) to record the end of Moses’ life.

Note how the Ten Commandments is inside the ark but the first five books of the bible is beside the ark. I see this as so it’s readily available to the priests for teaching purposes.

God’s word is also a witness against us.  We often think of the Bible as our helper, which it is. It is also our condemner as well when we don’t read it, don’t follow it, and don’t obey.  For it is right before us and we choose to turn the other way.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 5: Deuteronomy 30

Summary of passage:  If God’s people turn back to Him, He will bless them and gather them together and prosper them and curse their enemies.  God only desires love and obedience.

Questions:

10a)  “Take his commands to heart” that is obey Him and love Him.

b)  Circumcise them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is always just one step away, one prayer away, one repentance away.  He is waiting to pick us up when we fall and He never tires of this no matter how many times we sin.  It is a great comfort because I sin all the time so knowing God loves me anyways gives me the faith to keep pursuing Him.

11a)  A choice of life or death

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life.  Through believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

12)  If you read all of Galatians 3, you will see the whole answer here.  Paul’s argument is this:  Abraham who lived before the law was given merely believed in God and was considered righteous.  Then the law was given (and Paul says the reason the law was given was to lead the people to Christ.  Verse 19 has the answer:  The purpose of the law was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus) had come.)  The law’s purpose was to show people that it is impossible to gain God’s acceptance and be with Him on our own–that we need a Savior to do it for us.  But once Jesus stepped foot on this planet, God required faith in Jesus who took our transgressions upon himself.

Therefore, the law was to show us our inadequacies and just how much we truly need God and a Savior.

The people needed the Law because Jesus hadn’t come yet.  They needed a way to be with God and the Old Covenant was it.  The problem:  as we’ve seen this year, the people were never cleansed enough to be with God.  The system of blood sacrifice was not enough.  The people needed to see that and to live that out.  It was to prepare people for the Truth and make them desperate for a Savior.

Conclusions:  LOVED the last question.  Perfect!  Sums up our whole study.

End Notes:  The modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise here to regather His people that have been scattered for centuries all over the world.  Scholars say this promise was not fulfilled after their Babylonian exile because the Israelites were still being ruled over.  Now, the modern state of Israel is larger, stronger, and richer than any other time in history.  Israel needs our prayers.

However, Israel today is a secular society despite its Jewish heritage.  Only the ancient Israelites had a true theocracy.  Hence, this prophecy is only partially filled.  Furthermore, most Jews do not accept Jesus, which in essence is a rejection of God.  But God is faithful and He will keep His promise in these verses.

Ezekiel 37 says that first the Jews will gather together and then God will put His spirit in them.  God is not done with His people yet.

Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to obey the law, offer sacrifices, and believe in its power to atone and to understand another would come.  Under the New Covenant, we only have to believe in Jesus as the Savior; we don’t have to do anything.  How full of grace is our God!

We see God pleading with His people through Moses to choose Him.  We can see God pleading with His people through Jesus to believe in him.  We see God telling His people to love Him, listen to Him, and hold on to Him.  He is our life.

God makes it simple:  understand (mouth), believe (heart), and obey His word.  Paul says the same thing when he quotes this passage in Romans 10:6-10:  Confess Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart he is the Savior.  And you will be saved.  Period.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 4: Deuteronomy 29

Summary of passage:  Moses again tells the people to follow the covenant and the people will prosper.  He warns against turning away from God as disaster will follow.  If they worship idols, God will abandon the covenant and curse them.

Questions:

7)  That God is their God and they are His people.

8 )  Not to turn away from God and worship idols.

9a)  The secret things are secret; we don’t know what they are.  It’s the knowledge, wisdom, judgments, and paths of God that we He had not revealed to us.

b)  God’s law

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is inevitable.  Even the best of us sin (Moses).  But God forgives that sin.  That God is faithful.  He is the provider.  He is there always.

Conclusions:  I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of Moses’s repetition and warnings.  Ok, fine, we get it.  Obey or face God’s wrath.  We all know the Israelites didn’t obey and were punished by God despite Moses’ 10,000 warnings.  At least Moses can say, “I told you so.”  It makes these passages very dull reading.

End Notes:  This is the confirming of the the Covenant with the new generation that Moses had performed back in Exodus 24:7-8 with the old generation.

As we’ve seen, seeing miracles hasn’t changed the hearts of the people.  They need a miracle of the heart.

There is no peace for the sinner for God will turn His back on them.

God’s judgment on His people if they sin will be an example to all nations of what happens with disobedience and an example to all generations as well.

God reveals only what we need to know.  Therefore, we must embrace this knowledge and live it in our lives.  That is His desire for us.  It’s like a parent.  We do things for our kids for reasons they cannot understand at different ages in their lives.  The same with God.  We trust God like we trust our parents.  We love God like we love our parents.  We have faith that they have our best interests in their hearts for us.  Just like God does.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 3: Deuteronomy 28

Summary of passage:  If the Israelites obey all of the Lord’s commands, they will be blessed in everything:  food, livestock, children, defeat of enemies, and everything they lay a hand on.  They will be His holy people.  If the Israelites disobey, they will be cursed in everything they touch, defeated by their enemies, and scattered throughout all the nations (the Diaspora).

Questions:

5)  Obey God and you will be blessed.  Disobey God and face the consequences.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation.”

b)  After Joshua died, Samaria, Israel, Assyria, Babylon, and the Roman empire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably all areas of my life.

Conclusions:  Granted, there was nothing new here we haven’t read already.  Moses is repeating himself.  Still, this is the first time I can remember in a long time where my answers are one-liners.  I was stumped on 6c.  Too broad.  All I know is I’m a sinner and can improve in every aspect of my walk with Him.

End Notes: The Israelites must decide if they will be cursed or blessed.  Nothing is hidden here.  If you obey and are blessed, you receive everything.  If you disobey and are cursed, you receive nothing.

The consequences of disobedience are almost overwhelming here.  This is purposeful.  Moses was trying to scare the people to obey because disobedience would not be a pretty picture.

The book of Lamentations is the grief suffered after Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Lamentations 4 describes the hunger and starvation that resulted in women eating their own children.  How tragic.

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 72 AD was horrendous.  Starvation from the siege.  Jewish people were sold into slavery.  There was in-fighting.  Even Christians persecuted the Jews especially in the Middle Ages, mistakenly applying this passage to themselves as being God’s instrument  who should curse the Jews.  The Diaspora.

Yet, God is not done with Israel.  No other nation on earth has lasted as long.  The greats are gone:  Egypt, Rome, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Assyria, etc.  Only Israel still stands.  They shall always be His chosen people.  As such, we need to pray for them.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 2: Deuteronomy 27

Introductory Notes:  Each day is a chapter so much more manageable than last week.  Still, give yourself some time to complete each lesson.

Summary of passage:  Moses commands the people to write the law onto stones and set them upon Mount Ebal once they cross into the Promised Land.  Build an altar on Mount Ebal and offer sacrifices to God.  Moses said the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin will stand on Mount Gerizim and offer blessings to the people.  The tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali will offer curses to the people from Mount Ebal.

The curses are:  anyone who carves a graven image or idol, one who dishonors his mother or father, one who moses his neighbor’s boundary stone, one who leads the blind man astray, one who withholds justice, one who commits adultery, one who has sex with animals, one who sleeps with his mother-in-law, sister, or daughter, one who kills, one who accepts a bribe, and one who doe not uphold the law by carrying them out.

Questions:

3a)  Set up some large stones coated with plaster and write on them the law.  He also commanded them to set up an altar to offer sacrifices to God.

b)  To rejoice in the presence of God, to thank Him for bringing them to the land, and to remember the laws.

4a)  Moses them commanded the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin will stand on Mount Gerizim and offer blessings to the people. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali will offer curses to the people from Mount Ebal.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No specific times come to mind but just reading the Bible daily imbues life lessons and warnings that I carry around in my heart that I hope arise when needed.

Conclusions:  Reading easy, but I wish we’d just get on with it and enter the Promised Land!  Again, repetition and warnings to obey God’s commands faithfully.  This seems to be the most important thing God wants from the people.  Obey Him.

End Notes:  Joshua carried out Moses’s instructions for these blessings and curses in Joshua 8:30-35.  Mount Ebal had special significance for the Israelites who believed that Abraham first worshipped God near here after receiving the original promise of the land (Genesis 15).

By commanding no iron tools be used, God was ensuring all the glory went to Him and none to the stone-carver.

Deuteronomy is a contract between the king and His subjects.

The command to curse and bless the people was also fulfilled by Joshua in Joshua 8:32-35.

Amen means “so be it.”  Hence, when someone was cursed, this was uttered.

Note that the altar is built upon Mount Ebal, which is the mountain from which curses are pronounced.  Why not build an altar on Mount Gerizim, the mountain of blessings?  Because even in our sin, there is God, waiting for us to repent with a sacrifice and come to Him.  Awesome!

Note now we cannot be cursed–Jesus took all of our curses upon himself.  God does not punish nor curse us under the New Covenant.  What grace!