Deuteronomy 1

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 14, 1998


The name Deuteronomy means "second law".

It is Mosesí final address to the people. It covers the last 1 Ĺ months of Mosesí life. Heís 120 years old. He can still see and hear very well.

Heís rehearsing the work of God in Israelís past history. Many of the people were born in the wilderness. Many did not sea the parting of the Red Sea. Many did not have the memories of the and being delivered out of Egypt.

This is all taking place in the last 40 days of Mosesí life.

I see two purposes for Deuteronomy Ė

1) Encouragement for the people in crossing over and taking the Promised Land. Weíll see this heavily in the first couple of chapters.

2) A review of Godís laws, retold for the next generation.

Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were in some ways written more for the Levites, as they contain specific instructions for the priests and Levites in their ministries.

But Deuteronomy is written for the entire nation.

One of the major themes weíre going to see through the book is that of Godís love for His people.

The word "love" or one of its forms is found 22 times in this book.

Along with this, the word "heart" is found 43 times in the book.

Deuteronomy 1

:1 on this side Jordan in the wilderness

They are on the eastern side of the Jordan, about to cross into Jericho.

:2 There are eleven days' journey from Horeb

Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai.

They have taken 40 years to cover an 11 day journey.

Part of the journey was legitimate. It takes time to get to Horeb from Kadeshbarnea.

Much of it was illegitimate.

Analogy with the Christian life.

Egypt is the life of the world. Slave, flesh, typical of the old life.

The Promised Land is a picture of the glorious life and victory of the life in the Spirit.

The Wilderness is that time of growing we go through as we learn to live by faith, in the power of the Spirit.

Living by my own strength keeps me in the wilderness.

Itís only when I learn to live under the power of the Spirit (Rom.8) that I cross the Jordan.

God doesnít want you spending your whole life in the wilderness. He wants to get you into the Promised Land.


Be quick to believe.

The key to entering into the Promised Land is faith.

They didnít enter in because they werenít willing to trust the Lord.

Stephen even rebuked the Jews in his day about their slowness to trust the Lord:

(Acts 7:51 KJV) Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

There is a sense in which the quickness of the real growth in our spiritual life depends upon our willingness to trust God to work.

:3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month

It took about two years to get from Egypt to Sinai, and then from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea. Theyíve spent 38 years wandering.

The eleventh month would be around January Ė February.

:5 began Moses to declare this law, saying,

Thus the name "second law", or "Deuteronomy"

The word "declare" means to "explain", to "make clear".

:8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land

Godís promises are for us to possess, not just dream about.

Heís placed them before us.

:14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.

Moses had been trying to handle everything all by himself. His father-in-law, Jethro, gave him this advice,

(Exo 18:18 KJV) Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.

Moses set up the seventy elders, teaching them the law, so they could in turn take care of the needs of the people.


A key to conquest is delegation.

I think this is one of the important things facing us as a church. There is still a sense in which too many things are resting in my hands.

We need to work at raising up skilled leaders to spread the load.

(skip to verse 19)

:21 fear not, neither be discouraged.

Donít be afraid.

Keep in mind, God will say the same thing 40 years later, but by that time theyíre ready to listen.

:22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land

Here the request seems to have come from the people.

In Numbers, it was Godís idea.

Which is right? Theyíre both right. Sometimes God uses the people to speak to us!

:27 Because the LORD hated us

A horrible thing to say about the Lord. There is nobody who loves you more.

BKC Ė This illustrates how deliberate, defiant sin corrupts oneís view of God.

:28 The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven

The Anakims were the giants.

Notice the two things that discouraged them:

1) There are giants.

2) The cities are great and walled up.

:31 thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son

Look how God cared for them even in the wilderness, even in the midst of their unbelief.

:32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,

The tragedy of unbelief.

This is the reason they did not enter into Godís Promised Land.

(Heb 3:17-19 KJV) But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? {18} And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? {19} So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

(Heb 4:1-2 KJV) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. {2} For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

We can hear about Godís promises for deliverance, but if we donít believe that God will do it, the promises wonít do anything for us.

:33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in

God prepared the way for them in the wilderness. Even as the twelve spies were sent out to "search out" the land, as the people have wandered in the wilderness, God has consistently gone before them, preparing each spot for them.

:37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.

This was at Meribah, when the people had run out of water for a second time. They came complaining to Moses for water, and Moses angrily went to God. God had told Moses the first time to strike the rock and water came out, but this time God tells Moses only speak to the rock. Moses leaves Godís presence and angrily yells at the people, striking the rock.

(Num 20:12 KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

What had Moses done? He had misrepresented God.

God wasnít angry with the people this time, but Moses was.

Also, Moses blew the analogy of Jesus, who would be first smitten for our sins, after which we only need to speak to Him to receive refreshment.

Why such a harsh punishment, keeping Moses from his lifeís dream, the Promised Land?

Because he was a leader. I think the Lord has a higher level of accountability with leaders because they are the ones setting the example for others to follow.

:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children

One of the reasons the people were afraid was because of their families.


Donít use your children as an excuse.

Donít misunderstand me, I believe that we need to have a high priority for our families. But if our families are keeping us from growing in the Lord, then the family has become too important.

The ironic thing is that sometimes our own kids can outpace us in the Lord. Weíre a little reluctant to obey, but kids can jump right in and walk with the Lord.

:41 We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight

The people decided to change their minds, but it was too late.

Sometimes thereís a time limit to Godís promises.

We talk about Godís salvation as if it is always going to be there, as if we can stop and choose it any time we like. But the fact is, there will be a day when itís too late.