Hopefully, each book we have covered so far has given us special insights into our God and his desire to draw us near to himself. Deuteronomy is no different. It recounts the history of the nation, its highs, and lows, to a new generation of Israelites who were not there to witness the miracles of God.
After 40 years wandering in the wilderness, the people stand on the precipice of the Promised Land. Yet, they don’t know God or his promises. All but three (Moses, Joshua, and Caleb), have died in the wilderness and they are not ready (emotionally or spiritually) for the challenge that stands before them.
This retelling of the story of Israel and God’s laws have led many to disregard the book as secondary. They seem to conclude that since the material was already covered, in some form, it is not important. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most of the Old Testament quotes of Jesus are connected to this wonderful book.
The book of Deuteronomy is a book for the average person.
A warm-hearted, forward-looking book filled with hope and expectation. It contains everything needed (under the old covenant) to live a full and blessed life in the eyes of God. It truly contains all the secrets of living a life totally committed to God.
The book was written for a new generation, a new challenge, a new leader, and a new message. A new generation arose that needed to learn about God. A new challenge would also arise for this new generation. Once they conquered the land they would inherit land, homes, vineyards, animals; wealth in every sense of the word, and they needed to know how to deal with it. A new leader was also appointed to replace Moses, the man of God, and this new leader needed the people to stand with him as they struggled for the land.
Deuteronomy also stands out because it offers a new message for us. The book directly deals with the heart of obedience and faith in God. In fact, the word “love” is used over 20 times in the book. Love is presented from a new perspective. Previously the story emphasized God’s love and faithfulness for his people but now the people need to understand that love is a two-way street. Deuteronomy 5:29 tells us that the word must be in their hearts. Deut. 6:6 tells us that sin begins in the heart.
Repeatedly, God reminds them that love, success, and life is built on love for God and each other. For the people to possess and enjoy the land, their hearts had to be filled with love for God and his word. What a great message for today’s church!