Deuteronomy 1: Previously, on “The Torah”

Here we go everybody! Four of the five Torah books are DONE!!! Only one more and we get a nice break with some pleasant, pastoral reading in Joshua.

But I admit, I am a little nervous about this one. Why?

I can’t ever remember how to spell “Deuteronomy.”

Does the “E” or the “U” come first? I’m going to have to be writing this word for the next month and a half. Someone please make up a little memory song that will help me. Like “I before E except after C.” or something like that.

What Is Deuteronomy?

Well, from the looks of it, Deuteronomy is Moses’ “I’ve been to the Mountain Top” speech to the Israelites. 10 points for you if you get that joke.

They are about to finally go into the Promised Land. Moses has gathered them all together to give them one last reminder of who they are and what they are about.

I was expecting to jump right in to the laws, but Moses went in a different direction.

He reminds the people of their story.

He reminds them where they have been and where they came from.

Which is good, since none of them were actually there when it started. None of these people were in Egypt. None saw the plagues. None experienced that first passover. Many have known nothing save for wandering in a desert their entire lives.

Great, this nation is made up entirely of former slaves or nomads.

That is a strange way to start a nation if you ask me.

What Parts of The Story Do You Tell?

So Moses has a captive audience and wants them to know their story. What parts does he tell? What do they absolutely need to know?

There was a Journey.God led them from Horeb to the hill country of the Amorites. He was about to give them the land he had promised.

They had leaders. Rather than one all-powerful king, authority was spread out among the tribes. Wise, discerning, and reputable people were selected to justly and fairly lead the Israelites.

They Scouted the Land. People went ahead to see what the land was like and what route they should take to conquer it.

There Was a Rebellion. Those who went ahead discouraged the people from wanting to come into the land. They said “The LORD hates us,” and that the people of the land would surely destroy them.

They were punished. Because of that, not one person who left Egypt was to enter the Promised land (save Joshua and Caleb). This included Moses himself.

A new leader was appointed. Joshua would take up the mantle of Moses and lead the people into the land.

There was another rebellion. This time, the people rebelled by trying to get it right. They attacked the Amorites but unlike before, God was not with them. They were defeated.

That’s all we get in chapter 1. We’ll see how Moses continues in chapter 2.

10 responses

  1. Basically Moses is telling them if they don’t know their history they are doomed to repeat it. Which they do, but I’m getting ahead of you.

  2. “And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch God’s children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I’ve been to the Mountain Top” speech!

    I like the linkage!! Somehow though, based on what we know about Moses he sadly didn’t deliver a speech quite like King I would imagine :-/

    Oh and on remembering Deuteronomy… is it weird that I call on the help of good ‘ol Ace Ventura? You know how he says ‘b.e.a.UTIFUL!!?
    I say Deuteronomy in the same tone(except count De as if the b, u as if the e and ter as if the a… does that make sense, it’s hard to type an explanation for the sound)… De.u.ter.ONOMY!! LOL, probably made no sense – but if it did I hope it helps!!

  3. Hi JBen,
    Thanks for all your posts. I’m loving them! But I feel I have to correct you on something, since it is really sticking out to me as I read the Israelite’s story. Some of the people Moses is addressing were there in the beginning. Some did see the plagues and the Passover in Egypt. Some did cross the Red Sea. God forbid anyone 20 and over from entering the Promised Land, but not the ones 20 and under.

    He reminds us in 1:39 that He gave the Promised Land to the innocent children. This verse reminds me of Jesus promising the Kingdom of Heaven to those that are like little children.

    Yes, the babes wouldn’t have remembered much, but I’m guessing all those that were between 5-20 remembered a lot! Their entire world view and faith was shaped while watching God at work.

    Those children are now between the ages of 40-60. That means Israel is being led by people who watched with child eyes God doing amazing things, and learned what it meant to follow and what happened when you didn’t.

    I can’t help but think that this is significant.

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