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Deuteronomy 1-4


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                                          
Thru the Bible in a Year
         The title Deuteronomy means repetition of the law and is taken from 17:18. The Hebrew title (taken as always from the first word) is debarim or words. Most of the book was probably written by Moses (the report of his death being an obvious exception), and the theme may be summarized as an emphasis on commitment to the God who loves Israel in worship and conduct by the People who are His.
         The setting is Moab at the point where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, and the occasion is just before Moses’ death and the beginning of the conquest of Canaan. The Covenant is renewed in several different ways, and the people are prepared for the transition in leadership from Moses to Joshua.
         In the first four chapters, Moses reviews their progress from Mount Horeb (Sinai):  the delegation of authority to administer the community, the spies sent into Canaan, the refusal of the people to obey God and conquer the Land, the wandering in the desert, the defeat of Heshbon and Bashan, the division of the Land among the tribes (for later conquest), and the Lord’s judgement that Moses would not enter the Promised Land.
         Now Moses reviews God’s commands with the people, emphasizing the prohibitions against idolatry and the unique place of God, then reminds them of the Cities of Refuge and prepares them to hear the Law once more.
         God spends a great deal of time providing us with standards, values and rules for living. Our natural tendency is to see them as restrictive; however, the true effect is freedom:  from uncertainty regarding how the world works, fear that we don’t know how to please God, and ignorance concerning the way to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering in our own lives. The Law is a road map which shows the way, saving time and trouble en route.
         Our lives involve some detours just as those of the Israelites did. Do we continue to follow and trust God even when the way is difficult and His standards unpopular?  Do we ever grumble that we would be better off if we did not have to concentrate so much on His judgments and could make a few more of our own?  Do we ever wish we did not have such high standards in a world that never seems to care and in fact often seems offended by them?
         Today, ask yourself what you can do to make God more central in your thoughts and decisions. List 5 standards you have learned from reading the Bible which are a blessing to you and those you know. Add up the pluses and minuses of following His way, and renew your own commitment to follow Him more faithfully.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2011