Series: Thru the Bible
On the Banks of this Jordan
Okay…well it’s become a bit of a tradition to begin each new book in the Bible with an overview from The Bible Project.
This group of dedicated men and women have made engaging, eye-catching, fast paced videos which provide a 10,000 foot view of each book in the Bible. While we do not always 100% agree with all that is said, we have found them to be both helpful, enjoyable and insightful!
Our church is NOT affiliated in any way with The Bible Project, though we do give to them from time to time, but we very much believe in what they are doing. If you enjoy the videos below, we encourage you to visit their site by following the link above and even consider making a donation by following this LINK. The Bible Project is a donation based non-profit, which is how they are able to provide such excellent material for free on YouTube.
The Book of Deuteronomy and its Purpose
The name “Deuteronomy” means = Greek Deuteronomion , literally “second law,” from deuteros “second” + nomos “law” (see numismatics).
This is really the key to the book and its focus & purpose.
Deut. 1:1-5, HCSB “(1) These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel across the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. (2) It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. (3) In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the LORD had commanded him to say to them. (4) This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei. (5) Across the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law, saying:…”
Horeb: This, if you remember was the location Israel had camped for nearly a year before they began their journey into the wilderness (as is revealed in the 6th verse).
Kadesh Barnea: This was the place where, in Num. 13:1-33; Num. 14:1-45, Israel believed the report of the unfaithful spies and rebelled against God, refusing to go into the Promised Land.
After defeating the Midianites, Moses honored the request of the Tribes of Reuben, Gad & Manassah by giving them that land on the wilderness side of the Jordan across from the promised land. This was the last major battle Israel had before entering the land promised to them THROUGH Abraham.
This was all in the 40th year of their journey SINCE leaving Goshen in Egypt but was their 39th year since they left the mountain and began their wilderness journey.
It was in this 40th year, on the 1st day of the 5th month is when Aaron died.
So our book of Deuteronomy begins 6 months later, camped across from the promised land near the River Jordan, on the first day of the 11th month.
For Moses this brought his journey full circle. For it was in Midian that he used to be a shepherd over the flock of his father-in-law Jethro and it is also where he received his call to “set God’s people free”…and it is here, that Moses will end his own journey, by declaring to all of Israel the words which God gave him to say before going in to possess the land under the leadership of Joshua and Eleazar.
This is a basic outline of what God said to them through Moses in this book:
- A recounting of their sordid past – All of Israel’s rebellion
- Reviews the laws and explains them to this second generation
- Encourage them to love & obey the laws
- Then in chapter 28 is the famous chapter of the blessings and curses that will come on them relative to their obedience to the law.
- He explains that the basis for their disobedience are self-centered and stoney hearts which God will one day remove and replace with a heart responsive to His will and ways.
Second law / new command
This “second law” was to a new generation, which were going to enter the rest and so they are a parallel to New Covenant Christians who also, leave their own works and enter into God’s rest. Both the second law and the new command are about the condition of the heart – not just the obedience of the flesh.
In fact, once that new heart condition was about to be available due to Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection Jesus added a new commandment to this third and final generation.
- John 13:34, “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
This was appropriate because now human beings would be made one with God and therefore the law to Love the Lord their God with all their hearts would by extension require the same love for the brethren!
So, it is no wonder that it was John who repeated these words in his writings, saying…
- 1Jn. 2:7-8, “Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.”
- 2Jn. 1:5, “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.”
Good Advice and a Treacherous Journey Begins
Deut. 1:6-46, KJV “(6) The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. (7) Resume your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites and their neighbors in the Arabah, the hill country, the lowlands, the Negev and the sea coast–to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon as far as the Euphrates River. (8) See, I have set the land before you. Enter and take possession of the land the LORD swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their descendants after them.’ (9) “I said to you at that time: I can’t bear the responsibility for you on my own. (10) The LORD your God has so multiplied you that today you are as numerous as the stars of the sky. (11) May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand times more, and bless you as He promised you. (12) But how can I bear your troubles, burdens, and disputes by myself? (13) Appoint for yourselves wise, understanding, and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will make them your leaders. (14) “You replied to me, ‘What you propose to do is good.’ (15) “So I took the leaders of your tribes, wise and respected men, and set them over you as leaders: officials for thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, and officers for your tribes. (16) I commanded your judges at that time: Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge rightly between a man and his brother or a foreign resident. (17) Do not show partiality when rendering judgment; listen to small and great alike. Do not be intimidated by anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too difficult for you, and I will hear it. (18) At that time I commanded you about all the things you were to do.”
If you remember it was in their third month after leaving Egypt that Moses follows the advice of his Father-in-law Jethro (w/ the approval of God) and appointed judges from every tribe to help him his task of maintaining order throughout Israel and 9 months later that they began their journey.
It was during this time that the following events took place:
- Golden Calf incident
- The Giving of the 10 Commandments
- The Building of the Tabernacle
- The Establishing of the Levitical tribe as separate unto God
- The Establishment of the Priesthood
- The Sacrificial system
- The Feasts
- The first census
There are times when there can be tremendous progress even though there is little forward momentum. Yet, God never allows us to stay idol in momentum long and He knows when we have spent “long enough” around a particular mountain in our lives, and God has given us spiritual leaders and His Own precious Holy Spirit to let us know when that is.
The First Example of their Rebellions
“(19) “We then set out from Horeb and went across all the great and terrible wilderness you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, just as the LORD our God had commanded us. When we reached Kadesh-barnea, (20) I said to you: You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. (21) See, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. (22) “Then all of you approached me and said, ‘Let’s send men ahead of us, so that they may explore the land for us and bring us back a report about the route we should go up and the cities we will come to.’ (23) The plan seemed good to me, so I selected 12 men from among you, one man for each tribe. (24) They left and went up into the hill country and came to the Valley of Eshcol, scouting the land. (25) They took some of the fruit from the land in their hands, carried it down to us, and brought us back a report: ‘The land the LORD our God is giving us is good.’ (26) “But you were not willing to go up, rebelling against the command of the LORD your God. (27) You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘The LORD brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites so they would destroy us, because He hated us. (28) Where can we go? Our brothers have discouraged us, saying: The people are larger and taller than we are; the cities are large, fortified to the heavens. We also saw the descendants of the Anakim there.’ (29) “So I said to you: Don’t be terrified or afraid of them! (30) The LORD your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. (31) And you saw in the wilderness how the LORD your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. (32) But in spite of this you did not trust the LORD your God, (33) who went before you on the journey to seek out a place for you to camp. He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel.”
If you remember it was in Numbers 13 that this incident is recorded and while the people did request it, God is the One Who told Moses to do it.
Num. 13:1-20, HCSB “(1) The LORD spoke to Moses: (2) “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” (3) Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran at the LORD’s command. All the men were leaders in Israel. (4) These were their names:…. (17) When Moses sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up this way to the Negev, then go up into the hill country. (18) See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. (19) Is the land they live in good or bad? Are the cities they live in encampments or fortifications? (20) Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not? Be courageous. Bring back some fruit from the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes.”
Rebellion quickly followed by more Rebellion
“(34) “When the LORD heard your words, He grew angry and swore an oath: (35) ‘None of these men in this evil generation will see the good land I swore to give your fathers, (36) except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land on which he has set foot, because he followed the LORD completely.’ (37) “The LORD was angry with me also because of you and said: ‘You will not enter there either. (38) Joshua son of Nun, who attends you, will enter it. Encourage him, for he will enable Israel to inherit it. (39) Your little children who you said would be plunder, your sons who don’t know good from evil, will enter there. I will give them the land, and they will take possession of it. (40) But you are to turn back and head for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea.’ (41) “You answered me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ Then each of you put on his weapons of war and thought it would be easy to go up into the hill country. (42) “But the LORD said to me, ‘Tell them: Don’t go up and fight, for I am not with you to keep you from being defeated by your enemies.’ (43) So I spoke to you, but you didn’t listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and defiantly went up into the hill country. (44) Then the Amorites who lived there came out against you and chased you like a swarm of bees. They routed you from Seir as far as Hormah. (45) When you returned, you wept before the LORD, but He didn’t listen to your requests or pay attention to you. (46) For this reason you stayed in Kadesh as long as you did.”
Notice if you will that ALL of this was due to a lack of faith.
Many people today really hate it if they are told that the results they are experiencing in their lives is due to a lack of faith, but historically this is true of God’s people and their troubles! …and as a counterpoint to this, having faith is the #1 reason Jesus gave to people who experienced God’s miraculous intervention in their lives. So whether we like it or not, faith is at the root of EVERYTHING!
Remember what the New Testament tells us about all these failures?
1Cor. 10:1-14, HCSB “(1) Now I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, all passed through the sea, (2) and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (3) They all ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. (5) But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. (6) Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil as they did. (7) Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play. (8) Let us not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in a single day 23,000 people fell dead. (9) Let us not tempt Christ as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes. (10) Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. (11) Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. (12) Therefore, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall! (13) No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it. (14) Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
So what does idolatry and disobedience have to do with faith?
Heb. 3:7-19, HCSB “(7) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, (8) do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the desert, (9) where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works (10) for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with this generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” (11) So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.” (12) Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. (13) But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. (14) For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. (15) As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. (16) For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it really all who came out of Egypt under Moses? (17) And with whom was He “provoked for 40 years”? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? (18) And to whom did He “swear that they would not enter His rest,” if not those who disobeyed? (19) So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”
I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.
We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.
You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!
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