Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Deuteronomy 1-11 - "Moses' Pep Talk"|
Chapter: Deut 8
Passage: Deut 8:1-10
A. Find Out:
1. What 4 things are promised to follow obedience? v.1
2. What, in general terms, had the Lord done with them? v.2,5
3. How had he done that, specifically? v.3,4
4. What 3 things are they then instructed to do? v.6
5. What is the Lord going to give them? v.7-9
6. What are they to do when they have received all that? v.10
1. How are verses 2 to 4 supposed to encourage them?
2. How are verses 7 to 9 encouraging?
3. What is the point behind all this?
Moses is coming again and again to exhort and encourage Israel to keep the Lord's commands. In fact, more than that, he exhorts them not only to keep God's commands but learn His ‘ways' (the ways God works with them, the things He expects, the responses He gives) and also to ‘revere' Him (v.6). To revere means to honour, esteem, exalt. When they do this they will be responding correctly to God's greatness and that will help them maintain right actions and keep out of trouble! Both revering and walking in His ways are expressions specifically of a right relationship with God, and that is all important. You can keep the rules (commands) but still have a bad attitude.
To encourage them to work these three things through, Moses first (v.1) reminds them yet again that keeping God's commands will a) allow them to live and not be judged and condemned, b) increase and prosper, c) enter into the land, and d) possess the land. Achieving these things is conditional on doing what God says! Next he reminds them of their past (v.2-4) and provided for them, even in the midst of a disciplining process. Finally (v.7-9) he details the goodness of the land they are going to take. All of these things should act as powerful motivators to help them follow the Lord in the way they enter, the way they take the land, and the way they live in it. If only!
1. The Lord is constantly seeking to encourage us in His ways.
2. If the Lord says, “Do this,” it is to bring blessing to us.
Chapter: Deut 8
Passage: Deut 8:10-20
A. Find Out:
1. What are they to do and not do? v.10,11
2. What does Moses anticipate happening? v.12,13
3. What does he then fear could happen? v.14
4. What does he remind them the Lord did? v.15,16
5. What does he fear they might say? v.17
6. What have they got to remember? v.18
7. What does he warn could happen? v.19,20
1. What is the temptation Moses is warning against?
2. What will be the truth?
3. How is verse 10 an antidote to that?
Moses has just been recounting (v.7-9) the goodness of the land into which they are going and, anticipating that they will follow God's command, he further anticipates that they will prosper, and in that he sees a great temptation – of coming to a place of complacency where they assume that they are well off because they have worked hard and achieved it.
No, says Moses, you must realise and continue to realise that any affluence you have is because of the Lord's blessing. If they fall into that way of thinking they will cease to be grateful and their relationship with the Lord will falter, they will stop keeping his commands (v.11) and may even fall into idolatry (v.19), and if that happens then they will receive the wrath of the Lord and be destroyed like any other false-idol worshipping people.
What is the remedy for this? It is first to remember all that the Lord has done for them. They are to remember the Exodus and they are to remember the way the Lord has kept them in the desert, providing for them there. The second thing is that they are to maintain a sense of praise for the Lord. When that diminishes in them, they will know that they are on a slippery slope to proud complacency!
2. Do we maintain a spirit of praise?
Chapter: Deut 9
Passage: Deut 9:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. What is the task before them? v.1,2
2. Why don't they need to worry? v.3
3. What wrong assessment might they make? v.4a,b,5a,6a
4. Why IS the Lord doing this? v.4c,5b
5. Why also is He doing this? v.5c
6. What is His assessment of them? v.6b
1. What does v.3 teach us about WHO is going to clear this land?
2. How may Israel make themselves over important?
3. What is the reality of the situation?
This is a passage of sharp reality! Talk about being put in your place! Moses starts with an awesome picture – of the land and peoples that they are just about to take. Stronger nations, big cities, sounds bad! But don't worry, he carries on, the Lord is going to sort them out so that you can clear them out. There is a partnership here: the Lord will destroy them but Israel will clear them out. The Lord will undermine the confidence of these peoples so that Israel can easily deal with them.
The trouble with all this is that the Lord's work is invisible and so Israel , after they have cleared them out might start patting themselves on their backs and start thinking how good they were. More than that, they will start reasoning that they must be good for God to have chosen them to do this job.
No, says the Lord through Moses, it's nothing like that. Actually you're a stubborn people who are difficult to handle. No, it's simply that God wants to bring judgement on the terrible things these nations are doing and it just so happens that it coincides with His plan to give you this particular land. Oh no, it's not you! If anything it's because He simply promised this land to Abraham long back and He's simply fulfilling His promise to His friend.
1. Everything we have is by the mercy of God. Worship Him.
2. Everything we achieve is by the grace of God. Thank Him
Chapter: Deut 9
Passage: Deut 9:7-17
A. Find Out:
1. How does Moses summarise their past activity? v.7
2. What had Moses been doing up Mount Sinai ? v.9-11
3. Meanwhile what had the people done? v.12
4. What had the Lord apparently wanted to do? v.13,14
5. How did Moses confirm the Lord's words? v.15,16
6. What had he done in his anger? v.17
1. How do these verses flow on from the previous ones?
2. Why do you think Moses is recounting this episode?
3. Why do we sometimes need such reminders?
Moses has recently warned the people against complacency and pride once they enter the land ( 8:17 ), has said that it is not because of their righteousness that the Lord is using them (9:4-6), for indeed they are a stiff necked people (9:6). Thus he now proceeds to justify this claim (we suggest) to help them keep perspective about themselves and keep on a right relationship with the Lord.
He proceeds to remind them that they have been like this from the moment they left Egypt right through to the present (v.7). He then starts to give illustrations of this and starts with the account of what had happened back at Horeb (Sinai). He had gone up the mountain to receive the most precise and succinct law ever given to man, the Ten Commandments, but while this incredible thing was happening the people down below were already making an idol.
They were aware of God on the mountain but preferred to have some poor animal representation of Him that could be handled. Already they were showing signs of their rejection of Him even at the very meeting with Him! For this they nearly received the death penalty. Indeed when Moses himself had seen with his eyes this crass stupidity his anger carried him away and he smashed the very stone slabs that had been a gift from God. Could anything have displayed their sin-based stupidity more?
1. The presence of sin in us leads us to do the most stupid of things.
2. Our need of a saviour is very obvious. Abide in him today.
Chapter: Deut 9
Passage: Deut 9:18-29
A. Find Out:
1. What 3 things had Moses done? v.18-21
2. Where also had they angered the Lord? v.22
3. When next had they failed? v.23
4. What was his summary of them? v.24
5. On what 2 past grounds did he intercede? v.25-27
6. On what future grounds did he intercede? v.28,29
1. How many failures does Moses mention in this passage?
2. What is the main incident he is speaking about?
3. How had he saved them?
Continuing his point that they will never be able to take pride and call themselves a righteous people, Moses continues to recall the saga of the episode at Sinai. Having smashed the two tablets of stone he went back up the mountain and spent a further miraculous forty days praying and fasting, interceding for the people and for Aaron. The Lord had so revealed His anger that Moses feared for their future. Had God really intended to destroy Israel ? No, otherwise He would have done it. What appears more likely is that He wanted to convey to Moses, and subsequently the people, the awfulness of the situation as a result of their behaviour. As Moses interceded, the nature of what he prays shows us the dynamics of God's plans.
He reminds the Lord (if He needed reminding!!! – but Moses did!) they Israel are His chosen people, the people He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a people who are to reveal the glory of the Lord to the rest of the world. For these reasons the plan must go ahead – but is was at the cost of the lives of all over the age of 20 except Moses and Caleb. These he speaks to now had all been under 20 then. He also reminds them of 3 other failures and the failure to enter the land originally. Oh no, there will be no grounds for this people to think they have done this because they are special. It's because of grace & mercy!
1. Remind yourself: I am what I am because of the Lord alone.
2. I am alive simply because of the mercy and grace of God.
Chapter: Deut 10
Passage: Deut 10:1-11
A. Find Out:
1. What had the Lord told Moses to do? v.1,2
2. So what happened? v.3-5
3. What event does he then note? v.6
4. What further did the Lord do? v.8,9
5. What does Moses go back to, to explain what? v.10
6. What was still the Lord's intention? v.11
1. What could have happened back at Sinai?
2. Yet how would you describe what did happen?
3. What hope does this give us?
At first sight this seems a fairly mundane area of Scripture, but on reflection we will see in it great hope and encouragement. Moses has just reminded Israel of one of the worst acts of stupidity in their incredibly short history. At a human level they could have expected only total rejection by God for rejecting Him.
He could have just abandoned them and left them to their own devices, or He could have destroyed them outright – but He didn't! He gave then another chance. He persevered with Moses and allowed him to go up the mountain a second time to receive the Ten Commandments. He then took them on through the desert to the Promised Land, on the way setting up the priesthood to maintain a long term relationship with Himself. Everything He did was saying I want this thing to work!
He hadn't even condemned the older generation to die in the wilderness – that only came when they refused to enter the Promised Land. The ‘party-goers' had been killed but not the rest of the people. The picture is actually of a God of reluctant judgement. Judgement each time is limited to the actual people involved, not to the nation as a whole. Today, when we fail, we have a Saviour who intercedes on our behalf (1 John 2:1,2). Where there is repentance there is ALWAYS forgiveness and cleansing. God does NOT relish death but looks for repentance (Ezek 18:23 ,32)
1. God does bring judgment but prefers repentance that brings mercy.
2. Forgiveness is always available. It just requires repentance.
A. Find Out:
1. What requirement was now being reiterated? v.12,13,
2. What was the first reason given for obedience? v.14,15
3. What also were they told to do? v.16
4. What second reason was given? v.17
5. What further thing were they to do? v.19,20
6. What third reason is given? v.21,22
There are three instructions given here and three sets of reasons. The first instruction (v.12,13) has four aspects to it: to fear God (have a right reverential attitude towards Him), to love Him (give Him your heart), serve him (be available to Him), and to obey Him (follow His commands). Their future prosperity could be therefore summed up in the four words: perspective, heart, activity & environment (think about those). The reason given for following the Lord like that is that He is the Creator of all things and knows best and He chose them.
The second instruction (v.16) is to cut away the protective, self-centredness of their hearts and simply obey God, no longer being stubborn. That has been their problem in the past and if they want to prosper in the future, they need to deal with that. The reason given for that is that God is head over all, He knows best, but He doesn't show favouritism (so won't wink at their sins).
Following this, comes the third instruction. Because the Lord, in compassion, also looks after the weak and the stranger, they too need to look after strangers who come to live with them. After all, He reminds them, they were once strangers in an alien land. Finally he reiterates part of the third instruction to fear the Lord, remembering that He is the Mighty One who delivered them miraculously.
A. Find Out:
1. What is the first instruction here? v.1
2. Why are they to do that? v.8,9
3. What, in general, had their children not done? v.2
4. What were the early specifics of that? v.3,4
5. What were the later specifics of that? v.5,6
6. Who had seen it all though? v.7
1. Why do you think Moses is talking about their children?
2. So what point is he making specifically to them and why?
3. What is the overall point of this passage?
Again and again in these chapters, Moses is calling Israel to make sure that when they go into the Land they obey the Lord. The point is that he is not going to go in with them and so he wants to ensure, to the best of his ability, he has prepared them before he leaves them. Thus, yet again he exhorts them to both love and obey the Lord. He keeps on doing that in different ways.
Now his exhortation is accompanied by a reminder of who it was who has seen all the amazing things the Lord has done. He does this by making the point that it was NOT their children who saw all these things. Now this probably has a twofold purpose. First, it emphasises that it is they, the older generation that he is addressing, who saw these things. Therefore they have them in their memories and they should not allow themselves to forget. Second, it may be a subtle reminder that their children will need teaching these things (remember 4:9 & 6:7,20,21) because they don't have those memories. But they, the adults, HAD seen them and so they will have no excuses.
The call again, therefore, is to obey the Lord, and yet again that is linked with their success. IF they obey THEN they will be able to go in and take the land AND live long in it. Obedience is specific and practical and it has specific and practical out-workings.
1. What we have experienced is in our memories to strengthen us.
2. Being obedient always brings blessing. Let's make sure we are.
A. Find Out:
1. How had they carried out agriculture in Egypt ? v.10
2. How was the new land going to be different? v.11,12
3. So what is he calling them yet again to do? v.13
4. What will the Lord do if they do this? v.14,15
5. What would interfere with that? v.16,17
6. So what are they to do, for what result? v.18-21
1. What distinction is the Lord giving between Egypt and the new land?
2. What indication is there that this is prophecy, the Lord talking?
3. How are ‘natural events' seen to be His working?
A number of times Moses has spoken about the Land into which they will soon be going, and largely as an incentive to obey the commands of the Lord. Now he adds to that incentive by more fully describing the Land. When you were in Egypt , he says, you had to dig irrigation channels from the rivers to water your seed, or even carry it in by foot, but when you enter this new Land, you will find it is a land of both mountains and valleys that are well watered by the rain. Indeed there are two seasons of rain that will make it especially verdant.
At this point in the narrative, it seems to have a prophetic edge and it seems to be the Lord specifically speaking now (v.14,15). Why might this be? Possibly because He wants to emphasise that it is HE who will bring the rain and bless the Land; it will not be a mere natural thing. Moses then takes over again (v.16), warning them not to turn to idols, because if they do that, the Lord will show His anger by withholding the rain. The message is clear: once you see how good the Land is, don't take it for granted, it still depends on your relationship with the Lord!
Finally Moses repeats an exhortation he has already given (6:6-9) to ensure that they really hold on to all these words and not forget them. Indeed, more than that, they are to teach them to their children so that they will always live by them as well.
1. The Lord rules – over nature as well as all else!
2. Blessing is directly linked to relationship. Remember that!
A. Find Out:
1. What again did he lay before them? v.22
2. What was the promise if they did that? v.23-25
3. What two things was he putting before them? v.26-28
4. What are they to do with them, and when? v.29
5. Where was he talking about? v.29,30
6. What was his final instruction? v.31,32
1. What was Israel 's prime responsibility?
2. What would be the Lord's response?
3. What do you understand by blessings and curses?
We draw near to the end of this block where Moses exhorts faithfulness to the Lord. In winding up (before he moves on the stipulate specific laws he is leaving with them – see separate set of studies) he reiterates, first of all, his primary call to Israel: to keep all God's laws, to love Him, to follow His ways, and stick close to Him. This he has said again and again. He links this as being the condition for the Lord to do His side of things: to enable them to drive out the present occupants and take possession of all the land. Their part will be to go to war against any who remain in the land, and the Lord's part will be to put terror into the minds of the inhabitants so they can easily be conquered if they stay.
In summing this up, he declares that this is all coming as a combination of blessings and curses, the detail of which you can find in chapters 27 and 28 of Deuteronomy. A blessing is simply a decree of good from heaven. A curse is simply a decree of bad from heaven. Thus, in general, if they obey the Lord He will decree good for them. If they reject the Lord and do evil, He will decree bad for them. It is as simple as that. When they get into the land they are to pronounce the blessings and curses publicly. They will be basis of the relationship between the Lord and Israel for the future. All else can be explained by them. Watch Israel 's future, think of these and you will understand what follows.
1. Obedience to God always brings His decree of good.
2. Disobedience always brings His decree of bad (discipline!).
RECAP - "Maintaining a Right Perspective" - Deut 8-11
In this final group of 10 studies we have seen Moses, east of the Jordon, speaking to Israel about:
- remembering how the Lord humbled them (8:1-5)
- explaining that it is a good land they're entering (8:6-9)
- warning against complacency in the land (8:10-20)
- the Lord destroying the occupants for them (9:1-3)
- the temptation to assume they were righteous (9:4-6)
- their folly back at Sinai (9:7-29)
- how he had to receive a 2nd set of tablets (10:1-5)
- [an insert about Aaron and the Levites (10:6-9)]
- how he had been on the mountain again (10:10,11)
- their call to love the Lord (10:12-22)
- the fact that their children had not seen Egypt (11:1-9)
- how good the land was going to be (11:10-17)
- how they were to hang on to these instructions (11:18-21)
- how their obedience will receive God blessing (11:22-25)
- the blessings and curses being bestowed (11:26-32)
In chapters 8 & 9 Moses picks up on two potential dangers once Israel enter the land. The first is the danger of complacency and becoming proud when they enjoy the fruits of the land. The second is the danger of thinking there must have been something good about them for all this to have happened to them. For the rest of chapter 9 and the first part of chapter 10, Moses reminds them of their failures of the past. No, it is all the sovereign will of God. The remainder of chapter 10 and the whole of chapter 11 is about fear, loving and obeying the Lord. It's a clear call!
1. Beware complacency when you are blessed. Remember the Lord.
2. Beware self-righteousness when you are blessed. It's all God's grace.
3. The call is to a right attitude, a right heart and right behaviour.
Ask the Lord to help you constantly remember these lessons and live your life accordingly.
In these chapters we have seen:
1. "The Historical Context" Deut 1 - 3
Moses reminding Israel how:
2. "Instructions for Holiness" Deut 4 - 7
Moses speaking to Israel about:
3. "Maintaining a Right Perspective" Deut 8 - 11
Moses speaking to Israel about:
Because of the nature of these chapters, these concluding notes are to encourage further study, and will be unusually long. The messages of these early chapters of Deuteronomy are many and powerful and we really do need to heed them.
The chapters basically fall into two clear parts:
The notes that follow are mostly in respect of this second part.
A large part of chapters 4-11 are made up of instructions, and we would do well to note their nature:
“Hear” – a call for Israel to pay attention (see 4:1, 5:1, 6:3,4, 9:1). Again and again we need the exhortation to listen to what the Lord is trying to say to us. It is so easy to get distracted.
“Observe” / “Follow” / “Keep” / “Do” / “Walk” / “Obey” – a call to DO what God says (4:1,6,40, 5:1,32,33, 6:3,18, 7:11,25,26, 8:1,6, 11:1,8,13,22,32) – and there are also a number other specific instructions. The call to us is not merely to gain head knowledge but to actually be watching out for the Lord's commands, following His instructions, keeping to His ways, doing what he says, walking in righteousness, obeying everything He has said to us in His word. It is crucial that we do all of this.
“Be careful” / “watch” – (4:9,15,23, 5:32 , 6:3,12, 7:11 , 8:1, 11:16 ) – a call to take care to avoid drifting or forgetting or being seduced away. Not only is it easy to become distracted and cease to hear the Lord, but it is also easy to become side-tracked so that you cease doing.
There are also three other specific areas of instructions that should be noted:
“Love the Lord”/ “fear the Lord” – (6:5, 10:12,20, 11:1,13,22) – the call is not to merely adhere to God's rules but to obey them out of a heart relationship, a relationship that holds God in a right perspective, recognising His greatness but also having a heart attachment. We need to check ourselves again and again to see that we have not degenerated in our relationship to a cold, formal religiosity.
avoid idolatry – (4:16,23,25, 5:8, 6:14, 7:4,25, 8:19, 9:16, 11:16,28) – a call in virtually every chapter to avoid making substitutes for God. An idol is anything we substitute for the Lord, something that we put before Him. In a materialistic world, it is imperative that we check ourselves to see in whom or in what we put our trust!
teach your children – (4:9, 6:2,7,20, 11:19)– a call to ensure that all this is passed on to future generations. The Lord is concerned that we pass the truth on to our children.
2. Motivation from the past
Again and again Moses reminds Israel what has happened in the past, as a means of establishing them in the present – 4:3,4,9-15,20-22,32-37,44-49, 5:2-5,22-31, 6:10,21-23, 7:7,8.18,19, 8:2-4,14-16, 9:8-29, 10:1-11, 11:3-6,10. Our faith is founded in the truth about God's activities in the past. Thus it is essential that we are constantly reminding ourselves of these truths, and reading His word.
3. Motivation by Blessing in the Future
Similarly Moses uses promises of blessings in the future that will be consequences of obedience to encourage his people on – 4:1,6,10,40, 5:33, 6:2,3,18,24 7:12-15, 8:1,7-9, 11:8,9,14,15,23-25 – again and again reiterating, if you obey God, this blessing will follow. Our faith is very practical in that in our relationship with the Lord, blessing DOES follow obedience; the Scripture is quite clear on that!
4. Additional Lessons
The lessons of chapters 8 and 9 are also well worth noting:
Complacency – the warning (8:10,12) is against becoming proud and complacent when you feel affluent, not to feel that you are all right and you don't need the Lord with your sense of material well-being. It is a much needed warning in the West in the twenty first century.
Self-righteousness – the warning (9:4-6) is against the temptation to believe that you must be good or special to have warranted God's blessing. No, it is all of His grace. Do we need reminding, like Israel, of our past follies? Will we have to be shown our feet of clay, before we realise the wonder of God's grace in our lives.
Above these two lessons, there is one lesson that must be highlighted before we conclude this set of studies: the folly of Sin! These chapters of Deuteronomy are remarkable! They remind Israel how they have come to this point and they are then full of exhortations to Israel to follow the Lord in the years to come. These exhortations are many and various, but when we look at Israel 's subsequent history, you wonder why Moses bothered to write and speak out these many warnings!
When they went into the land, they did not persevere and did not completely remove the occupants. The history of the book of Judges is a history of a people who kept on turning away from the Lord and kept on falling under the domination of the pagan peoples until the Lord sent a deliverer. It wasn't until David and Solomon that Israel really entered into the blessing of their inheritance, and that was very soon squandered by Solomon of all people. No, there is absolutely no question about it: Israel had every warning and every encouragement possible – and they blew it – again and again!
Now here comes the warning: don't go feeling superior! Modern history shows us that Christians are just as liable to be stupid and drift from the Lord and squander their inheritance. That is how powerful Sin is, even when we've had its power broken by Jesus on the Cross, and when we came to salvation. The final warning must be, take heed lest you fall because you under-estimate the power of sin and the enemy.
Reread these notes here in the conclusion and take them to heart. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Eph 6:14)!