Deuteronomy 1:19-32

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 22, 2001

Introduction to Deuteronomy


Deuteronomy is the last of the five books that were written by Moses.  The five books are called the “Pentateuch”, the “Torah”, of the “Law”. The name “Deuteronomy” means “Second (deutero) Law (nomos)”.

This book is basically a series of messages that Moses gave to the nation of Israel during the last month and a half of his life.

The first message is chapters 1-4, recapping Israel’s history in the wilderness
The second message is chapters 5-26, reviewing the Law itself
The third message is chapters 27-30, giving the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience
The book ends with a Song of Moses (ch. 31-32), prophetic blessings on the tribes (ch. 33), and the death of Moses (ch. 34).


This may be a surprise, especially considering that this is a book of the “Law”, but one of the special themes of the book of Deuteronomy is “love”, God’s love for us and our love for God.  The word “love” or a form of it is found 26 times, the word “heart” is found 47 times, the word “soul” is found 18 times.

Jesus liked Deuteronomy

When Jesus was tempted by Satan after having fasted for forty days, Jesus responded to each of Satan’s temptations by quoting a Scripture.

When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread,
(Luke 4:4 KJV)  And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3

(Deu 8:3 KJV)  And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

When Satan offered to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would follow Satan,
(Luke 4:8 KJV)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13

(Deu 6:13 KJV)  Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

When Satan tempted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple,
(Luke 4:12 KJV)  And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16

(Deu 6:16 KJV)  Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

The point is that Jesus seemed especially fond of the book of Deuteronomy.  He spent time in the book, He even had it memorized.  Perhaps we ought to pay attention to it as well.


With God’s help, Moses has brought Israel out of Egypt and led them for forty years in the wilderness.  During the first year in the wilderness, they had camped out at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments as well as the design of the Tabernacle, the instructions for sacrifices, and many other things.  This was when the content of the books of Exodus and Leviticus were given.  The history of their wanderings in the wilderness were recorded in the book of Numbers.  Now at the end of their wilderness wanderings, it’s time for a review, hence the “Second Law”.

There are a couple of reasons why a “review” is necessary –

1 – The people have changed
The generation that heard the Law the first time has mostly passed away, and it’s time for the current generation to hear God’s truths.
2 – The times have changed
The people have been wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  Now they are finally about to come into the Promised Land.  Some of the Laws were intended specifically for use in the Promised Land and they haven’t been in the forefront of people’s minds for forty years.  Some of the Law will see new application as they are about to cross over the Jordan.


Keep reading God’s Word

The reasons for reading and re-reading God’s incredible Word are the same for us.
1 – You change

I am not exactly the same person as I was a couple of years ago.  I am growing in the Lord, I am slowly changing.  As I go through my own “stages” of development in my Christian life, I need to be reminded over and over again of God’s Word.

2 – Circumstances change

As I am growing, my circumstances change just like I do.  I may not always be “wandering in the wilderness”.  Each time I go through God’s Word, I learn more and more from it, sometimes simply because my own life’s circumstances force me to look at God’s Word from another perspective.

Deuteronomy 1:19-32

:19  we came to Kadeshbarnea.

This is the border town on the southern edge of the Promised Land; 91 miles southwest of Jerusalem. This town would forever be known as the place of decision, the place of deciding to do the wrong thing, the place of turning away from what God had for them.

:21  the land before thee

God’s people are presented with the treasure that God has for them, they are encouraged to take what God has given to them.


God has good things for you

For Israel, God’s plans included a physical piece of geography.
God has plans for each of us.
(Eph 2:10 KJV)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Long before any of us were born, God designed special things for each of us.

God’s plans are good.
(Jer 29:11 KJV)  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
God wants you to have all that He plans for you.
Just like Israel, God beckons you to go in and start receiving the things He has for you.
How do I find God’s plans for me?
The Monk
A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to  the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, "My car broke down. Do you think  I could stay the night?"
The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, even fix his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound. The next morning, he  asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, "We can't tell you. You're  not a monk." The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about  his merry way. 
Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of the same monastery. The monks accept him, feed him, even fix his car. That night, he  hears the same strange noise that he had heard years earlier. The next  morning, he asks what it is, but the monks reply, "We can't tell you. You're  not a monk."
The man says, "All right, all right. I'm dying to know. If the only way I can  find out what that sound was is to become a monk, how do I become a monk?"  The monks reply, "You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When you find these numbers, you will become a monk."
The man sets about his task. Forty-five years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. He says, "I have traveled the earth and  have found what you have asked for. There are 145,236,284,232 blades of grass  and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth."
The monks reply, "Congratulations. You are now a monk. We shall now show you  the way to the sound." The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the  head monk says, "The sound is right behind that door."
The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked. He says, "Real funny. May I have the key?"   The monks give him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is  another door made of stone. The man demands the key to the stone door. The  monks give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. He  demands another key from the monks, who provide it. Behind that door is  another door, this one made of sapphire. So it went until the man had gone  through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, amethyst... Finally, the monks say,  "This is the last key to the last door." The man is relieved to no end. He  unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is amazed to find  the source of that strange sound .....
But I can't tell YOU what it is, because YOU'RE not a monk.
Does it ever seem like finding out God’s will is something you’ll never find out?  It doesn’t have to be.
Finding out God’s plan and starting to live in it comes when we buy into the process of letting Him lead us and change us.  It involves yielding to Him.
(Rom 12:1-2 KJV)  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

When you make is your life’s goal to continue to yield to God and not be shaped by the world, you will find God’s will being worked out in your life, all on it’s own.  You will prove that God’s will for you is good, acceptable, and perfect.

:23  I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:

The original twelve spies were sent out.

:24  came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.

Eshcol is located in the hills south of Jerusalem, near the city of Hebron.

:25 And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands

Part of what the spies brought back was a huge cluster of grapes, so big it took two men to carry it.

(Num 13:23 KJV)  And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

I wonder if the two men that carried the grapes weren’t Caleb and Joshua.  Caleb would later be the one to conquer Hebron, the city near Eshcol.

:26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled

rebelledmarah – to be contentious, be rebellious, be disobedient towards

God had commanded them to go and take the land, but they said, “No.”

:27  ye murmured … Because the LORD hated us

murmuredragan – to murmur, whisper; backbiter (participle)


Spoiled children

In a way, the Israelites are acting just like spoiled children.  They are acting like children who always get their way and don’t want anyone to tell them what to do.
I think that sometimes we have this notion that the only things that are “loving” to us are the things that we like. 
I like Twix ice cream, so if you give me a bowl of Twix ice cream you must therefore love me.  I don’t like criticism, so if you criticize me, you must not love me.
The problem is, sometimes I don’t really like the proper things. Too much Twix ice cream will make me fatter and plug my arteries with lots of goo.  Criticism may not be fun, but sometimes I can’t see what’s really wrong in my life and if I’m going to get any further down the road I am going to find that someone, sometime, is going to need to criticize me, for my own good.
For the Israelites, they saw that there were going to be tough times ahead, and they jump to the incredible conclusion that God must not love them.
Yet in reality, just the opposite was true.
(Deu 7:8 KJV)  But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

:28  moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

The Israelites saw two basic problems in taking the Promised Land.

The cities were fortified – they had high walls.

There were giants in the land – the “sons of the Anakims” was a term referring to a race of giants living at that time.


Giants in the land

The truth is that even though God has wonderful promises for us, there will also be “giants” in the land.
Almost every good thing has some challenge attached to it.
If you are a person who is always looking for the easy way out, you will probably rarely see much of the treasures that God has for you.
Growing as a Christian
I think this is one of the aspects of coming into the “Promised Land”, whether or not we will learn to deal with the “giants”.
One of the greatest giants we face is that of our own personal “discipline”, the kinds of things that we do or don’t do to help our relationship with Jesus grow.
We can fall into a trap of thinking that because we have certain sins we’re personally enslaved to, that all the people we see God using must have the same secret sins as well.  It’s not necessary to really get serious about these things because after all, everybody has these problems.  I’ve got news for you – many of the people that God uses and continues to use, have learned to get God’s victory over those secret sins.
I used to think that the concept of daily spending time with God was a little overblown.  I used to think, “I’ll bet Chuck Smith doesn’t really spend all that much time reading his Bible or praying.”  Wrong.
Daily Devotions
When it comes to spending time daily reading God’s Word and praying, I have found that there are three types of people.  And it’s all about GIANTS.
1)  “It’s too hard”

For most people, they have all sorts of reasons lined up as to why they can’t spend time every day reading God’s Word and praying. 

Sometimes it’s because they don’t think they know the Bible enough to just read it.  Yet how else are you going to learn about the Bible if you don’t read it?

Sometimes it’s because a person thinks they’re too busy.  I have learned that when I give God a portion of my time, my day ALWAYS goes much smoother.

Sometimes it’s simply because they don’t realize that they have the ability to discipline themselves to read every day. We don’t have problems remembering to eat food, why do we think we can’t discipline ourselves to eat spiritual food?

These are the people who say, “There’s GIANTS in the land”

2)  “It’s all I do”

Every once in a while you will run into a type of person who over-does it.  They spend the entire day reading their Bible and hiding from real life. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s GREAT to be reading your Bible, that’s what I want to encourage.  But if you aren’t taking care of the rest of your responsibilities like working and taking care of yourself and your family, then there’s something wrong.

This too is a “giant” problem but the “giants” are the ones out in the world and instead of facing the giants and tackling life, this person runs from life into what seems “spiritual”, but is really a running away from their life.

3)  The Giant Killers.

This is the person who finally gets around to realizing that they can’t make any more excuses.  It’s not always easy to get to this point.  You usually spend lots of time tripping yourself up and falling on your face, but that happens any time you go out to slay giants.

Best of all, this is the person who is beginning to enter into the Promised Land.  This is the person who is beginning to learn to hear God’s voice.  This is the person who is beginning to learn to find God’s help and strength.

:30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;

It’s not like God had never done anything for the Israelites.  All they had to do was think back over the last two years and they would remember that they had seen God do INCREDIBLE things!!!  There were the plagues in Egypt.  There was the night of the Passover when all the firstborn of Egypt died, except for those covered by the blood of a lamb.  There was the parting of the Red Sea.  There was the miraculous manna and water in the wilderness to feed them and quench their thirst.

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


It’s all about trust

The writer to the Hebrews tells us,
(Heb 3:19 KJV)  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 God’s promises for deliverance, but if we don’t believe that God will do it, the promises won’t do anything for us.

Are you going to trust God to help you or not?  Are you going to trust God that His ways are better or not?

I had a single person share with me once that they were sharing an apartment with a person of the opposite sex.  They were wondering what I thought of that.  I said that it didn’t sound like a very good idea to me.  The Bible says,

(1 Th 5:22 KJV)  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

They shared with me that there was a group of Christians they had met and who offered to let them move in, but it would cost a couple of hundred dollars more a month than their current place.

This person was faced with a choice:  Should they do what was easier and cheaper, or take a step of faith and obey the Lord?

It’s all about trust.  Do you trust that God’s ways are best?  Even if it might be more inconvenient or cost you a little more?  You bet.


The gospel

For some of you, there has been a major wall between you and God.  It is called “sin”.  It’s a problem that we all have. The Bible says that if you are going to take care of this problem, a price has to be paid, and the price for sin is “death”.
You can choose to pay for your own sin by dying and going to hell.  But God doesn’t want you to pay that way.  God sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay for your sins by dying on a cross.  We just read, the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Heb. 4:2).  If you want to know God, you need to ask for His help, you need to trust in Jesus.