As we get begin the study of Deuteronomy, please consider this:
(1) Rudy Ross and I hope to make this book understandable to people at all levels of their Bible knowledge.
Rudy has seven years of Hebrew school and 30 years of Bible study to help inform our understanding of this book. His insights can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
(2) In some ways Deuteronomy is like the foundation that supports the building – the prophets and the New Testament.
Our goal is to connect the fifth book of the Old Testament to the further record of God’s activity with people in the New Testament.
(3) We will surface some difficult problems for modern readers to understand in this book. Rudy and I will tackle some of those questions and hopefully provide some help in understanding them.
You Are Here
Like an information sign at the shopping mall, the opening words of Deuteronomy tell us where we are in the story of God’s work with his people.
— Verse 1 – These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan—in the wilderness, on the plain opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.
— Verse 3 – In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the Israelites just as the Lord had commanded him to speak to them.
— Verse 5 – Beyond the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to expound this law as follows.
The answer to the “You Are Here” sign is this:
(1) God delivered the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt 40 years before Moses gave this speech.
(2) “God so loved the world . . .” is just as true of this time as it was when John 3.16 was written.
God loves people and he gave Moses instructions that insure people live in a love relationship with him and with each other. These instructions are God’s wisdom and guidance for the best life possible.
The instructions did not originate with Moses, but were from God. Moses was the mediator.
(3) After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the people arrived in the land of Moab and were ready to enter the promised land.
The photo below will help you visualize the 100 mile trip from Egypt and the wandering of God’s people in the wilderness.
The Promised Land
After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the time came for God’s people to possess the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses told them that they were the people of God, who were granted the privilege of fulfilling the promise.
“See, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land that I swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them” (Deuteronomy 1.8).
Let’s notice what God did for his people.
(1) He delivered 1.5 million people from slavery in Egypt through his mighty hand.
(2) We will soon read in Deuteronomy that God cared for the people during their 40 years of their wandering in the desert.
(3) He brought them to the promised land and was going to deliver the land into their hands.
What did God expect from his people?
Much of Deuteronomy details what God expected from his people. Let’s remember that what God required was designed to keep people in a love relationship with each other and himself.
At this point the book, the thing that God required of the people was their effort to conquer the land. They were not to be passive, but active in this process.
2021 – You Are Here!
Each of us has a “You Are Here” opportunity. God has an Exodus for us, which involves freedom from sin and self.
There is a promised land for followers of Jesus, too. Just as the Hebrew people were not able to enter the promised land apart from God, neither can we experience God’s best apart from him.
Jesus promised an abundant life. He said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10.10b).
We have a role to play in experiencing his abundant life. Just as in Moses’ day, God’s love and our response to it is at the heart of the relationship.
Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15.12-14).
The ability for love to overcome self-centered striving and to live the Jesus-kind-of-life is at the heart of abundant life. The abundant life is not what we possess or achieve in life. It is who we are as humans.
Jesus offers us the opportunity to become new people. Our promised land is located within our inside condition – one that loves God and other people.
Just as Moses had commandments and instructions to guide God’s people in the way of love, so does Jesus. As we follow Jesus, he grants us his the power to become new people.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a video that covers this material. Rudy has a tremendous understanding of Deuteronomy. I hope you will watch our video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
I have been reading Peter Craigie’s commentary on Deuteronomy. His excellent insights challenge me and are quite valuable for my blog articles.
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