Well, we’re coming to the end of the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, and Moses knows he will die before they cross over to the Promised Land. The book of Deuteronomy is all about Moses’ last words to the Israelites before he dies and they make the significant crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land. He isn’t talking to the generation that lived in bondage to the Egyptians and saw God’s great deliverance. He is talking to their children and their children’s children.

Imagine yourself, near death, knowing that your entire extended family was about to embark on a dangerous but exciting journey to a new home. The God you know so intimately they know only as a shadow. What would you say to your family? How would you communicate the goodness of your God? How would you instill in them the faith they would need to meet the challenges ahead.

Moses’ Three Sermons 
That is the task of Moses in Deuteronomy, and he accomplishes it by preaching three distinct sermons. In the first one (Deuteronomy 1:1-4:43), he reminds the Israelites of their history with God, concluding with this passage:

32“Search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now. Then search from one end of the heavens to the other. See if anything as great as this has ever happened before. 33Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire-as you did-and survived? 34Has any other god taken one nation for himself by rescuing it from another by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, awesome power, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your very eyes.

35“He showed you these things so you would realize that the LORD is God and that there is no other god. 36He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it… 39So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other god! 40If you obey all the laws and commands that I will give you today, all will be well with you and your children. Then you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

          Deuteronomy 4:32-41

Reading Deuteronomy is good for my soul! It is good for me to remember what God has done for me. It is good for me to be reminded that I could search all of history and never find a God as great as my God. He is the Lord of both heaven and earth and there is no one else like Him.

Moses second sermon (Deuteronomy 4:44-28:68) takes up most of the book, and it expands on the law, teaching the Israelites how to live in relationship to God and one another. Beginning with the Ten Commandments (5:6-21), the sermon ends with a long list of blessings associated with obedience to the Lord (28:1-14) and curses associated with disobedience (28:15-68). In between, if your Bible has .headings, you’ll find that many of them include the words “Remember…” and “A Call to…” Moses is urging the people to remember where they have come from, how they have acted toward God and how He has responded to them. He is also lifting them toward their destiny, calling them to higher things as they move closer and closer to entering the Promised Land.

Finally, Moses preaches his last sermon (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20), in which he calls this new generation of Israelites into covenant with the God who made a covenant with their ancestors. Read some of his closing words

11“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. 12It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ 13It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’

19“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! 20Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
          Deuteronomy 30:11-13, 19-20

May Moses’ words pierce our hearts as we read them! May we hear the Lord urging us to choose life!

Moses’ Postscript and His Death 

There is a bit of a postscript to Deuteronomy in chapters 31 through 34. Moses installs Joshua as the Israelites’ new leader with the words “Be strong and courageous” (31:23). He writes and sings a song to the Israelites (32:1-47) and he gives them a final blessing (chapter 33) Finally, Moses dies and Deuteronomy ends with this epitaph:

10There has never been another prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. 11The LORD sent Moses to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and his entire land. 12And it was through Moses that the LORD demonstrated his mighty power and terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.
          Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Deuteronomy is a great conclusion to the Pentateuch. I know that some of you have found Numbers and Leviticus a bit difficult to read. Look forward to reading Deuteronomy, friends. I am confident that God will speak to you as you read through the book.

Be blessed!

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