Read Deuteronomy 1:1-46
“Deuteronomy”…With five syllables, that word is a mouthful! But the word’s Greek/Latin roots reveal some of how the respective translators viewed the book. The name, you see, indicated “second law.” They viewed this book as a restatement or perhaps summary of the other books of Moses . . . especially Exodus through Numbers. Indeed, we will see that along the way.
“Sefer Devarim” . . . Probably you are like me in that you struggle even more to pronounce that! This Hebrew title for the book means “these are the words.” This book contains the final words of Moses (including five discourses and poems) to the people of God.
These words were given at an important time and place in Israel’s history. The time was 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt. Although God had promised His people great lives in the Promised Land, after spying out the land, they felt intimidated by the potential opposition rather than empowered by their omnipotent Father.
As a result, they refused to enter the land (vv. 19-36) and God punished them to 40 years of wandering. An entire generation would die before they would enter. Those years and that generation had passed. Soon, the people were to enter.
The place was also important. They were now on the east side of the Jordan. Only a river stood between them and the land God wanted to give them. Only a river separated them from the promise of God. Unfortunately, it was a river that Moses would never cross. He had experienced His own episode of disobedience. (See v. 37, Numbers 20). As a result, the far side of the river was as close as he would get.
And so, “these were the words.” These were the final words that Moses would share with people who were to experience something he would not. These words of summary were ones they would have to note if they were to experience the blessing of God in the land He was to restore to them. These were words they would do well to obey. Their history had demonstrated that disobedience has its downside. Attention to these words would lead them to blessing.
It’s no different for us. Disobedience has its downside. Obedience is coupled with blessing.
Which will you choose today?