Category Archives: Deuteronomy
Well, today is our final day in Deuteronomy which also marks our final day in the Books of the Law.
In chapter 34, Moses finally passes away, and the final verses of the entire book speak to the service that Moses had performed for Israel and God.
Deu 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
Deu 34:11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
Deu 34:12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.
There were a lot of prophets who would come down the road in Israel. However, Moses was the only one who literally knew God face-to-face. He led the nation of Israel through what was one of the most difficult times in their history, and he almost always did what God told him to do.
The final verse stood out to me as well. Moses might have been a powerful man on earth, but he still showed God all the respect that He deserved. He was able to keep his perspective and recognize that all of his power came directly from God. He knew that he was blessed, and he knew that he had a subsequent responsibility to follow God’s will.
I just have a few takeaways then as we depart from the first five books of the Bible.
I have been struck by the synergy between these books and the New Testament. Obviously, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ changed everything in terms of the sacrificial system, but at the same time, many of the same attitudes of praising God, living rightly and loving other people have been almost identical to their New Testament counterparts.
I know that it can be easy to fall into the trap of somehow believing that the Old Testament is not important. After all, Jesus is what really matters, and He is in the New Testament.
I would argue however that I have tried to point you to clear references to Jesus from all of these books. By reading the whole Bible, we can have a better understanding of the entire character of God. We still cannot comprehend the entire character of God, but the Old Testament, and particularly these five books, have helped me so far.
Deuteronomy 33 was obviously written far before the birth of Jesus, but I found a passage that felt very much like it could have fit into the New Testament with a few modifications.
Deu 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
The modification that I was referring to is obviously the fact that we can all be people saved by the Lord now. The gift of salvation is available to Jews and Gentiles.
Because of the similarity, I think that we can see a very important truth. We are people saved by the Lord, so we should be happy. We all try to pursue happiness in a variety of ways, but God is the only one who can provide unlimited and eternal happiness.
Isa 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Now, if we combine my previous thought with this verse from Isaiah, it is possible to conclude that the happiness that we receive from being a child of God is also satisfaction.
I think that this is an important distinction.
In earthly terms, there are always more things that we could want. We might want a new house, a new car or really anything else.
However, when we are saved by God, we have all of God that we will ever have. We will definitely learn to recognize the will of God more strongly, but God is with us all the time. It is not like we can want to have more of Him. That is why God can be satisfying.
So, even though the verse I gave you from Deuteronomy was speaking to the children of Israel, we can think about the same thing today. God brings us happiness, and we should not be trying to find that same feeling anywhere else.
I like how God essentially issues a challenge in the middle of Deuteronomy 32. He obviously knows that He is the only God, but not everyone believed that.
Deu 32:36 For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
Deu 32:37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
Deu 32:38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
Deu 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
This is very much like Elijah and the prophets of Baal. In a similar way, he challenged them to actually have their own gods answer their requests. Needless to say, they did not respond, and when Elijah prayed to God, He did respond.
In verse 39, it is also interesting that God holds life and death. That encompasses the whole of the human experience. We really don’t have any other option. Therefore, it logically follows that there is nowhere we can go and not have God with us.
Now, that can be a comfort for those of us that know and love Him.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
He is not just one of many gods. He is the only God.
Deuteronomy 31 is the beginning of a transition. Moses is beginning to hand over the leadership of the Israelites to Joshua, but he has a few words to say before he is actually done with his mission.
Deu 31:2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
Deu 31:3 The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said.
I like this passage because it speaks directly to the number one problem plaguing Israel and the reason that they had not already claimed the Promised Land.
They were afraid. Even though God had promised them a long time ago that they would have this inheritance, they continued to doubt and worry about everything.
Moses is saying here that you cannot do that anymore. In verse three, he is saying what God will do. Notice that there is no doubt there. He is not talking about what God might do. He knows that God will do it, and he knows that the people of Israel will have their inheritance.
We also have promises from God, and there are hundreds of them interspersed throughout the Bible. Therefore, we do not need to fear either. God does indeed have a plan for our lives. How do I know that?
He promised it. Given His track record on fulfilling promises, I have no reason to doubt.
Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
I read the Bible through about three years ago, but I have to admit that I did not remember anything special about Deuteronomy 30. I wish I had because I think I just found some of my favorite Bible verses.
Deu 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
Deu 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
Deu 30:12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Deu 30:15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
The reason that I love this passage so much is because it speaks to one of the biggest misconceptions about Christianity.
God tells us everything we need to know to make a decision. We know the truth about Jesus, we know what He came to do and we know what our response needs to be.
We are not operating with incomplete information. Yes, there are certain things that are hard to wrap our heads around. For example, we know that God is an infinite being, but we really cannot comprehend infinity. In our world, everything has a definite beginning and end. It is hard to think about something that is defined as being undefined.
It is even hard to comprehend the concept of the Trinity. We know that there is a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, it is a little bit harder to think about how there are three distinct beings who also operate as one.
Our salvation is not predicated on the fact that we understand infinity or comprehend the exact nature of the Trinity though. There are certain things that we will probably not understand, but that is okay. Look back at verse 10. The important part for us is to listen to God, keep His commandments, and follow Him with all of our hearts.
We are not judged on unfair criteria. Everything that we need to know in order to accept the free gift of salvation is in the Bible. That decision will determine our eternal home. If you want to know a little bit more about this particular decision, you can check out my newest page. It is the most important decision you will ever make.
God doesn’t mess around. Particularly, He gets incredibly angry when people begin to follow other gods. This is illustrated pretty clearly in Deuteronomy 29.
Deu 29:24 Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?
Deu 29:25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:
Deu 29:26 For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:
Deu 29:27 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:
I wrote a piece a few days ago about how it is important to keep your promise to God, and it really should be a serious and intentional commitment rather than just a flippant phrase.
That is what is happening here. God is saying that if the people of Israel do not follow through on the promise they made to Him, all of the curses listed back in chapter 28 could very well fall on them.
I know what you’re probably thinking. How could a loving God do this? Why would He ever punish anybody?
Part of the answer to that lies in the fact that God is just. He needs to follow through on His word, and it needs to apply to everyone equally. If anybody, even His chosen people of Israel, starts messing up, the consequences are the same.
If He was not just, then it would be impossible for Him to be the Judge of all eternity.
Another part of this answer lies in the fact that it any type of punishment would be the people of Israel’s own fault. There was definitely a way that they could follow God and avoid all of these problems. It isn’t like they had to guess what God wanted. Through the first five books of the Bible, God communicated His law to the people of Israel.
This also shows the justice of God again. The people of Israel really had to decide what they wanted, but they were working with very complete information. They could follow God, or they didn’t have to. They knew the consequences of both.
Deuteronomy 28 is an incredibly long chapter, and if I was an Israelite, I think I would have been pretty terrified.
The first roughly 14 verses explain what will happen if the people follow God and do not wander off. The final 54 verses talk about what will happen to them if they don’t pay attention to God, and it does not sound pretty.
I am going to give you the middle few verses where we transition from the blessings to the curses.
Deu 28:13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
Deu 28:14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
Deu 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
What is obviously the difference between receiving the good and bad outcomes?
Listening to God makes the difference. We can see this over and over again through many Bible stories. When people listen to God, He blesses them. For example, when Jonah finally decided to listen to God and go preach in Nineveh, his ministry was so blessed that the entire city was saved from destruction.
What happened when Peter listened to Jesus to walk to Him on the water? While he was listening and trusting God, he was able to do it. He then started to fall because he lost his focus, but while he was only paying attention to God, he was blessed.
Now, unfortunately, the other side is just as true for the same two men. When Jonah didn’t listen to God, he was eaten by a giant fish for temporary correctional services. When Peter didn’t listen to Jesus and denied him at Jesus’ trial, he was understandably upset. He would not have had to experience that pain if he would have listened to God.
The Bible is overflowing with people who either listened to God and were blessed or failed to listen and suffered because of it. I think that we all would prefer the list of blessings rather than the list of curses. You know how to make it happen.
Deuteronomy 27 is not a very uplifting chapter. Essentially, it is a list of curses that will be held against people if they commit certain types of offenses. I want to pull out one in particular for you today because I think that there can be a few applications drawn from it.
Deu 27:18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
I do have to think that the original intent of this verse was literal. If people cannot see a where they are going, it is not nice or helpful to try to divert them from that path.
However, I can’t help but think about those who are spiritually blind.
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
There are millions of people who are spiritually blind in the world, and I can’t help but think how much worse it is to lead them off of the path. The path I’m referring to is naturally Jesus Christ who is the Way.
As Christians, we are supposed to be guides that help people find God. If people ask us questions, we are supposed to point them towards salvation through the death of Jesus Christ.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Now, if you’re blind, you are surrounded by darkness. You cannot see anything. However, if you were to get your vision back, light would probably be the first thing that hit your eye.
It is not that hard to see how this all fits together. We need to make sure that we are leading people the right way. It is not a good thing to drive people away from God. In fact, when they see the way we live, they should notice that there is something different. Even though this passage is probably talking about literal blindness, we need to consider what we are doing for those who are spiritually blind.
Deuteronomy 26 is a chapter based around tithing. However, it is not just about giving our money to the church. It should be done with a certain attitude as well.
Deu 26:5 And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
Deu 26:6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
Deu 26:7 And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
Deu 26:8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
Deu 26:9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
Deu 26:10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:
We need to understand why we are worshiping God in this way but also in general. The people of Israel understood that they would have been in Egypt forever if God had not intervened and helped them. Also, everything that had been given to them since was a direct gift from God.
They realized that because of all the great things that God had done in their lives, it was appropriate to offer a portion of it back.
Now, I know that some of you are probably thinking that your life is not so great. Maybe things are not going quite as well as they went for the Israelites. Maybe you do not feel particularly blessed right now.
Keep in mind that even though this passage highlights some great things that happened to the Israelites, they also had their own share of difficulties. After all, they wandered around in the desert for 40 years. It was because of their stubbornness, but it still must have been a challenging time.
I hope that we can persevere through as this passage suggests. I hope that we are always cheerful and thankful as we give to God. It could be about tithing, but it could be about giving our time or anything else
It is so interesting how the Bible is so theoretical yet so practical at the same time. In Deuteronomy 25, it seems as if God realizes that people will often times cheat for any advantage they can.
Deu 25:13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
Deu 25:14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
Deu 25:15 But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
God wants us to treat people fairly. If we agreed to sell someone 10 yards of fabric, our yardsticks better be 36 inches long. We can’t try to shave a little off and give our neighbor is 35.5 inches. That wouldn’t be ethical.
Even if the other person doesn’t notice that we did this, if we act with the intent to cheat them out of something that should rightfully be theirs, it is our problem.
To tie this to a slightly larger theme, think about what Jesus told the people about paying their taxes to the Roman Empire.
Mar 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
Again, we are supposed to give to the people who own what we have. Paying taxes is part of our obligation as citizens, so we need to be honest with them. Even more importantly though, we need to give God what He deserves.
God essentially deserves everything in our lives, so that it is tall order. However keeping with this theme of this post, we need to be fair with everyone. That includes God.