Deuteronomy 1, The Rest of the Story: 5. New Commands and a New Covenant (9/10/12)
Deuteronomy is Moses’ remembrance and explanation for what has happened during the 40 years that he has been leading the children of Israel. It’s an important book that we have read only a few verses of in the past five and a half years, so here in The Rest
of The Story, we’re going to read portions of it in parallel with The Story
’s readings from Exodus and Numbers. Exodus and Numbers show the action during Moses’ time of leadership; Deuteronomy is Moses’ reflection when he’s about to pass the torch to Joshua.
Two jokes from a Jewish website
- Why did the Jews spend 40 years in the desert? Because Moses refused to ask for directions!
- Why did the Jews spend 40 years in the desert? Because Moses wanted to go to Canada, but he stuttered (Exodus 4:10), and God thought he meant Canaan.
The second one makes no sense, because God could have gotten him to Canaan in two weeks (Deuteronomy 1:2), so I have rewritten it:
- Why did the Jews spend 40 years in the desert? Because Moses thought God said, “Canada.”
However, the real
reason that the Jews spent 40 years wandering around in the desert is that they were such whiners
. After seeing all the works of power that God performed on their behalf in Egypt, after being fed and clothed and protected, after having the pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire, they still
didn’t have confidence that God could give them the land promised to Abraham. They were still afraid that God couldn’t protect them. God couldn’t work with them, and since they were determined to die in the desert, God finally said, “Fine. Die in the desert” (Numbers 14).
Now that that whole generation is dead (which the exception of Caleb, Joshua, and Moses), the Israelites stand at the door of Canaan. Moses begins the book of Deuteronomy by reminding them of why it took them 40 years to get there.
Deuteronomy 2, The Rest of the Story: 5. New Commands and a New Covenant (9/11/12)
After spending long enough in the desert that the fearful generation had died away, the children of Israel finally made it to the promised land—a trip that should have taken about two weeks on foot. Even then, they couldn’t go by the most direct route, because the lands belonging to the descendants of Esau and Lot were in the way, i.e., Edom and Moab. Esau was Abraham’s grandson, and Lot was his nephew, and God put their lands off-limits. Anybody else who got in their way was defeated. Here’s a map
Deuteronomy 3, The Rest of the Story: 5. New Commands and a New Covenant (9/12/12)
My first thought was to take out most of the verses in this reading that list a lot of places that (1) we’ve never heard of, (2) we can’t pronounce, and (3) we don’t know the location of.
Then I remembered, wait! We have a map
! And, thanks to a tremendous effort by fellow-reader and volunteer Rob, we also have an index
! There are also links to the map and index from the home page
Moses is reminding the children of Israel where they’ve been and where they are going. Taking out all the place names would miss the point. Your homework assignment is to find the following places on the map: Lands of Bashan, Lands of Amorites, Mt. Hermon, Lands of Reuben. That will be enough to get the hang of it; by that time you will probably want to find all the other places, too.
Deuteronomy 4:1-14, 32-40, The Rest of the Story: 5. New Commands and a New Covenant (9/13/12)
In his oration, Moses has reached the point of reminding the people about the circumstances under which they were given the Law. He makes several points:
Deuteronomy 5:1-21 (Exodus 20:1-17), The Rest of the Story: 5. New Commands and a New Covenant (9/14/12)
- Our Law came directly from God, and that was a frightening, impressive day.
- Do we have a Great Law, or what?
- Our God is near to us at all times and pays attention to what we are doing.
- Having been given a great Law directly from God, and having seen the power and might of this God who is paying attention to what we are doing, you should take my advice and obey the Law.
Now, we all know that the Ten Commandments were given to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, at Horeb, shortly after they left Egypt, as recorded in Exodus 20. In his last instructions to the people, Moses repeated the Ten Commandments almost verbatim, as recorded in Deuteronomy 5. Very important stuff—that’s why it is repeated.
More of the Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time
Copyright 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
The woodcut of Mt. Sinai is from a Bible in a family collection.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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