“Listen, Israel! The Eternal is our True God—He alone. You should love Him, your True God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength.Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.”
~The Shema~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Voice)
What’s Going On?
The time has finally come for the people of Israel to go in and conquer the land that had been promised to them four hundred years earlier. Moses knows he will be leaving them before they enter the Promised Land and realizes the need to gather the people together and remind them of what has led them to this point. The adults who came out of Egypt have all died except for Joshua and Caleb who were the two scouts who trusted the Lord to lead them into the land when they had been there forty years earlier. Since the majority of the people had chosen not to trust God, the Israelites have been wandering in the desert for forty years until that generation had died and the children had grown up. They have been following the cloud by day and fire by night, which has now led them to the east side of the Jordan River in the land of Moab. At the heart of the book of Deuteronomy is the retelling of their history and the absolute insistence that the Law continue to be their central focus once they enter their new homeland. Now that the people will actually be settling in the land, the need for the structure and guidance that the Law brings will take on a new importance. There will be a need for order for the next generations as they will be living with only the Law, the statutes, the traditions, the holy days, the feasts and festivals to set them apart from the foreign nations as Gods chosen people, long before the land will become the Nation of Israel with their own King. Moses, who was hesitant to accept the call of God on his life to lead the people because he felt he wasn’t a great speaker, has now developed into a very powerful speaker as he emphatically calls on the new generation of Israelites to remember God’s covenant given to all Israel and to not be afraid this time when they go in take over the land. While Moses has been their leader, he reminds the people that God is actually their leader and He will be with them long after Moses is gone.
When and Where Are We?
It’s about 1400 BC and the people are camped in the territory of Moab on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho.
- Moses – Prophet, Deliverer, Law-Giver
- Joshua – One of the twelve spies who trusted the Lord, he will follow Moses as the new leader
- Caleb – One of the twelve spies who trusted the Lord
- Eleazar – Aaron’s son and current High Priest
“Love the Lord your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always.” Deuteronomy 11:1 (NIV)
Weekly Reading Assignment:
- Monday: Deuteronomy 1-3
- Tuesday: Deuteronomy 4-6
- Wednesday: Deuteronomy 7-9
- Thursday: Deuteronomy 10-12
- Friday: Deuteronomy 13-15
- Saturday : Deuteronomy 16-18