Introductory Note: This lesson is a doozy so start early and don’t wait till the last minute. A careful reading of Deuteronomy will cement all of the last 25 weeks into your mind as we review all the major events through the eyes of Moses. Good stuff that you don’t want to miss, but it will take time!
Summary of passages: Deuteronomy 1: God tells the people to break camp and move into the Promised Land. Moses tells them how he had chosen leaders from each tribe when he needed help (Exodus 18 or Numbers 11). Moses tells them how they sent out spies when they arrived at the Promised Land (Numbers 13) and the people refused to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14) so God said they would not live to see it except Caleb and Joshua.
Moses blamed the Israelites for his not seeing the land either (Numbers 20). You rebelled again (Numbers 14) and were punished by the Amorites and stayed in Kadesh.
Deuteronomy 2: Moses tells the people how God directed their wanderings in the desert while awaiting the old generation’s death. How God was with them always. God told Moses who to attack and who not to attack. So they defeated Sihon and took his land.
Deuteronomy 3: God handed over Og king of Bashan to the Israelites as well. Moses gave this conquered land to the Reunites, Gadgets, and half tribe of Manasseh in return for their help in taking the actual Promised Land God had given them. Moses tells Joshua not to be afraid in taking the Promised Land for God is the one fighting for them. Moses pleads with God to let him cross over into the Promised Land, but God refuses.
3) The Israelites are at Horeb in Moab, waiting for the command to leave camp and take the Promised Land. It has been 40 years since they left Egypt and they had just defeated King Sihon and the Amorites and Og king of Bashan. Moses is speaking the new generation, telling them of their history that some of them might not remember, reminding them of the importance of obeying God’s laws.
4) Remember about themselves: That the leaders were chosen by them to have authority over them (Deut 1:15-18). That they sent out spies and they rebelled against the Lord afterwards. They had no faith in God and they caused God to cursed them. They would not listen and caused their hardships (Deut 1:22-46)
Remember about himself: Moses did as they asked–picking out the spies. He warned against not entering the Promised Land and it is their fault that God became angry with him and would not let him enter the Promised Land (Deut 1:22-46; 3:26). They would not listen to him (Deut 1:43) and they caused their own defeat.
Remember about God: “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.” (Deut 2:7)
“I [God] will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you.” (Deut 2:25).
“The Lord your God himself will fight for you.” (Debut 3:22).
Trust in God is pivotal; it is what saves you (Deut 1:32). Otherwise, lack of trust results in disobedience.
Conclusions: It’s interesting to see the differences in the passages, and I wish we had read this alongside the corresponding Numbers passages because it’s hard to remember and time-consuming to go back. I definitely see an angry Moses with a condescending attitude towards the people and a father chastising his kids when they did wrong. He’s definitely got the blame game going on, forgetting all about his lack of faith in God. Moses boils their history down in 3 chapters.
End Notes: The Book of Deuteronomy: Deuteronomy means “Second Law” as this is the giving of God’s laws for the second time to the Israelites. Moses felt he had to review the law as all the people were very young or not even born yet when the law was first given on Mount Sinai.
Deuteronomy is a book of Sermons by Moses to the people. His was a passionate plea to them to obey God or they will end up just like the first generation after leaving Egypt. He is preparing them because he won’t be able to lead them into the Promised Land, and we feel Moses’s sorrow at this.
Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 3 times when he was tempted by the devil. Deuteronomy is quoted over 80 times in the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 1: The 11 days mentioned by Moses here is significant. It took the Israelites only 11 days to journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea. But at Kadesh Barnea the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land; hence, it took them 40 years to return here again.
Moses mentions the defeat of Sihon and Og because these kingdoms would have been defeated 40 years ago if the Israelites had only had faith. When the generation of belief was ready, God was ready.
NOTE: Horeb and Sinai are the same place, just different names and Moses uses both interchangeably.
God pushes the Israelites when they are ready. They spent a year at Mount Sinai, but it was time to move on. We are never meant to stagnate in our Christian walk.
Moses’s second recounting of the sending out of the spies is starling; one can almost feel his regret. We see clearly that this was not God’s plan but the people’s, and in a rare instance, Moses went along with the people’s suggestion for once. Moses glosses over the results of the report, which lead to the wandering period. Perhaps he didn’t want to re-open an old wound.
Same word: “But” used in Numbers 13:28 and here. We were asked about this on our questions. Little word; powerful impact.
Satan causes us to forget when we should remember. And he is the one who brings up all of our past sins and the guilt from those.
Moses’s point: unbelief kept the people out of the Promised Land. Sin can be atoned for and remedied. Unbelief is a heart matter that is much, much more difficult to remedy and takes much, much longer (like 40 years) to fix if ever.
Scholars do believe Moses’s role in sending out the spies contributed to his exclusion from the Promised Land (Numbers 14) because God says only Caleb and Joshua are spared, before the events of Numbers 20 occurred. Or God in His omniscience knew what Moses would do and said this as a revelation.
Moses was the law-giver. Joshua (Hebrew name for Jesus) was the one to lead them into the Promised Land. God accepts no excuses for willfully wrong behavior. The Israelites half-heartedly tried to correct their mistake, but God accepts no half-hearts. That is why they were defeated and punished. God would wait for their whole hearts.
Deuteronomy 2: The Israelites were probably stronger than the Edomites and could have taken their land. But they obeyed God and didn’t. And in the end God showed the Israelites how to show grace.
Edomites–descendants of Esau. Moabites–descendants of Lot. The Ammonites also occupied land not intended for the Israelites. They too were passed by.
Fun Fact: Most famous Edomite: Herod the Great. Most famous Moabite in Bible: Ruth.
God did say to fight the Amorites because they were refused passage. God hardened Sihon’s heart, but his heart was already evil and God merely allowed the evil to come out. Here, God uses the Israelites to execute judgment on the Amorites.
Note the obedience displayed by the Israelites. They let those alone whom God said and conquered those whom God said. Result? Success. Great lesson for us here!
Deuteronomy 3: Og of Bashan is also no relationship to the Israelites. They are Canaanites. God gives them to the people, and they see first-hand how easy it was and how easy it would have been 38 years ago.
His “bed” is better translated as sarcophagus.
Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past is key for living in faith in the present and the future.
We see a great example of prayer and pleading here from Moses. Even though he had been punished, Moses asks God to relent–something God did with Miriam with the leprosy and and with the people several times in their sin when He didn’t destroy them. This is right for us to do as well. God is influenced by prayer, and we can ask God to alter our path. We might get denied (like Moses did), but it never hurts to ask!
Note the repetition of the number 40 here: 40 years of Moses life in Egypt. 40 years he tended sheep. 40 years in the desert.
Moses being so close to God was expected to be more. But when he struck the rock twice, thereby ruining the picture of Christ as the rock and not speaking words of faith (all that is required of us for saving grace), he was punished severely and God would not reverse this.
Pisgah is the place Moses will see the Promised Land and die. This happens at the end of Deuteronomy. Therefore, the whole book of Deuteronomy is a testament of Moses–his beliefs, his faiths, his hopes, his disappointments. The law-giver will give his last to the people. This includes training his replacement, Joshua to lead. This must have so encouraged the people when they discovered Moses would die–that Joshua would be carrying on Moses’s work.
Mount Nebo and Pisgah seem to refer to the same mountain peak. Because several mountain tops afford the same view, scholars are not sure which peak is the one Moses climbed. However, today one peak has been designated at Mount Nebo and you can visit it in Jordan and look out over the Promised Land. There are many memorials there including one to Moses and a replication of the serpent on the staff. Official Website is HERE
Map of Mount Nebo: http://www.keyway.ca/gif/nebo.gif
Time Fact to complete this lesson: 2 mornings for a total of 3 hours.