By now, you probably know the drill. If you are new to this, this series, as you may have deciphered, is an outline of the entire Bible, book by good ol’ book.
Part 5.1 | Deuteronomy 1-11 – In the beginning section of Deuteronomy, the journey from Mt. Sinai is recounted in a way that describes in detail the Lord’s purpose for all that the Israelites had been through. Through all the struggles and trials that the Israelites endured, the Lord revealed to them that He alone is God and that He alone deserves all of their love and heart and soul and might!
DEUTERONOMY – In Numbers we saw the children of Israel go through a great journey from Mount Sinai to the promised land. Along the way however, we witnessed the unfaithfulness, worry and complaining of the Israelites that so vividly describes much of our lives even to this day. The biggest of these moments of unfaithfulness was when they trusted in the bad reports of spies over the promise of God. Because they refused to enter the land that God had promised to give them the Lord cursed them to wander through the wilderness for 40 years, and He vowed that those above a certain age would never enter the promised land. Deuteronomy begins after the 40 years. The Israelites have again arrived at the promised land, and this time it is a new generation that needs to hear and/or remember their history. They need to be reminded of the law that has the power to grant them a relationship with a holy God, and they need to prepare themselves to conquer the land that was promised to God’s own nation.
- Deuteronomy 12 – 13 | Seek the Lord in the place He chooses, and completely abolish all else: As Deuteronomy continues, the importance of following the Lord with all of our hearts is reiterated. In fact, Deuteronomy 12 goes on to say this:
Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. | Deuteronomy 12:32
We also read (12:28) that doing what the Lord commands is essential “so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever”. It is interesting to think that following the Lord has eternal repercussions. These two chapters focus on 2 very important truths. First, we must come to the place He chooses (for them it was the sanctuary, and for us? – the cross) in order to worship Him because He alone is God. Second, we must be wary of being ensnared by the idols of this world. To the Israelites the idea of “utterly destroying” the strange customs of cultures that they dispossessed was constantly repeated time and time again. Since the very same applies to us, the children of God in this wicked world, I stand humbled at the amazing lengths the Lord goes to to help me understand that I must relinquish all idols and all distractions and follow Him alone.
- Deuteronomy 14 | Clean and unclean animals, and tithing of produce: In Acts chapter 10 Peter has a vision regarding the common and unclean, and the Lord exclaims to him “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Acts chapter 10 is a revelation from the Lord that breaks the distinctions of old from clean and unclean animals to Jew and Gentile, and both Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 describe the law regarding clean and unclean animals. At the end of the chapter, the tithing of all produce is described. This tithe was required to be given both to the Lord and to the Levite, and interestingly, the tithe of the produce given to the Lord wasn’t to be wasted. It was to be enjoyed with thankfulness before the Lord in the place that He chose, which brought Him glory!
- Deuteronomy 15 | The “Sabbath Year” is every 7 years, service of slaves for only 6 years or the awl through the ear for permanency, and the firstborn: In Deuteronomy 15, there are many laws that are described, and as we continue reading in Deuteronomy, we will see Moses run through various laws and rules for living unto the Lord. In this chapter, we read that every seventh year is the Sabbath year, which releases everyone of their debt! Wow! Would that even be possible in today’s society??? The Lord warns them of taking advantage of such a provision, and He asks for their obedience as He promises them great things. In the same fashion, a slave (or bondservant) would be set free on the 7th year of service. Often times bondservants were treated as part of the family, and this chapter we also see that if they desired to stay his master would pierce an awl through his ear, which would signify that he is bondservant forever. That symbolic gesture brings up a practical question of who has pierced our ear? Who are we bondservants of? The Lord? Or to the world?
- Deuteronomy 16 – 17 | The Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Booths, the importance of justice, worshipping other gods, justice upheld by Priests and Judges, setting a king: As the book of Deuteronomy continues, we continue to see many laws and rules listed regarding the blessed life of the holy nation of Israel. In chapter 16 we read of the importance of remembering their salvation from Egypt by taking part in the Passover during the month of Abib. The chapter continues by describing three Feasts: of Unleavened Bread, of Weeks, and of Booths, that are designated to remember the Lord and rejoicing in His blessings. The chapter goes on to describe “righteous judgement” that should not be perverted. At the end of chapter 16 and into chapter 17, we read that judges, officers, and Levitical priests are designated to uphold righteous judgement. So, all matters requiring judgement are to be brought and resolved by them. Interestingly, intertwined into the discussion of righteous judgement is the law concerning the worship of other gods. This abomination was strictly condemned, and if confirmed, was punishable by death. As chapter 17 ends, we read that the Lord allows the appointing of a king from among the people. This king must not be a foreigner, know and study the law completely, and above all, fear the Lord and keep His commandments all the days of his life.
- Deuteronomy 18 | The inheritance of the Levites and the priesthood, abolishing the spiritual practices of conquered nations, and the promise of a new prophet: In chapter 18 it is reiterated that the Levitical priests have no inheritance as promised to the other tribes, instead it is stated that “the Lord” is their inheritance, which is interesting because through Christ we are now a royal priesthood. The only promises we have are through Him! The Levites gain provision from the offerings of the Israelites to the Lord. Chapter 18 then goes on to condemn the “spiritual” practices of conquered nations as detestable. We also see that the Lord promises a prophet, like Moses, to continue to convey the word of the Lord to the congregation of Israel, and He condemns anyone that falsely acts in that manner.
- Deuteronomy 19 | Cities of refuge, the law of boundary and the law of two or three witnesses: In chapter 19 we learn of the cities of refuge that had previously been described in Numbers 35. These cities protect manslayers [who did not intentionally commit murder] from the law that requires man’s blood to be shed when blood is shed by man. This provision protects innocent blood from being shed. This chapter also protects boundaries of neighboring territories, and it goes on to discus the law of two or three witnesses, which requires evidence of two or three witnesses to confirm any accusation of sin or iniquity. The law of two or three witnesses is a key concept when considering Christ because the account of His life is confirmed through the witness and documentation of 4 individuals!
- Deuteronomy 20 | Law regarding warfare: I enjoy this chapter because there are many concepts that directly relate to the spiritual warfare that we face today. The chapter documents the “pep talk” of the priests before a war:
He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ | Deuteronomy 20:3-4
The chapter goes on to describe many other rules regarding war and seeking peace. The Lord calls for the Israelites to utterly destroy the people of the cities that He has promised to them so that the foreign nations would not cause the Israelites to sin against the Lord. For other nations He calls the Israelites to offer terms of peace. If those cities reject peace, the Israelites were charged with striking down all the men, and all the women, children, animals, and spoils were kept by the Israelites. The end of the chapter protects fruit bearing trees from destruction when besieging a city.