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Themes Of Moses In Deuteronomy

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CHAPTER 1 Apr. 18 
God Tells Israel to Leave Horeb
These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah over against Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea. 3In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that Yahweh had given him in commandment to them, 4after he had struck Sihon the king of the Amorites who lived in Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth, at Edrei. 5Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses began to declare this law saying, 6Yahweh our God spoke to us in Horeb saying, You have lived long enough in this mountain; 7turn, and take your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all the places near there, in the Arabah, in the hill country, in the lowland, in the South and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 8Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, to give to them and to their seed after them.
Leaders Appointed
9I spoke to you at that time saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone; 10Yahweh your God has multiplied you and behold, you are this day as the stars of the sky for multitude. 11May Yahweh the God of your fathers make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as He has promised you! 12How can I myself alone bear your encumbrance and your burden and your strife? 13Take wise men of understanding and well known according to your tribes and I will make them heads over you. 14You answered me and said, The thing which you have spoken is good to do. 15So I took the heads of your tribes, wise men and known, and made them heads over you, captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, captains of fifties and captains of tens and officers, according to your tribes. 16I commanded your judges at that time, saying, Hear cases between your brothers and judge righteously between a man and his brother and the foreigner who is living with him. 17You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike; you shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me and I will hear it, 18I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do. 
Spies Sent to Explore the Land
19We travelled from Horeb and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw, by the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as Yahweh our God commanded us, and we came to Kadesh Barnea. 20I said to you, You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which Yahweh our God gives to us. 21Behold, Yahweh your God has set the land before you; go up, take possession, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Don’t be afraid, neither be dismayed. 22You came near to me every one of you and said, Let us send men before us that they may search the land for us and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities to which we shall come. 23The thing pleased me well and I took twelve men of you, one man for every tribe. 24They turned and went up into the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and spied it out. 25They took of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which Yahweh our God gives to us. 26Yet you wouldn’t go up, but rebelled against the commandment of Yahweh your God, 27and you murmured in your tents and said, Because Yahweh hated us He has brought us forth out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 28Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our heart melt, saying, ‘The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to the sky, and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there’. 29Then I said to you, Don’t dread, neither be afraid of them. 30Yahweh your God who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31and in the wilderness, where you have seen how Yahweh your God carried you as a man carries his son in all the way that you went, until you came to this place.32Yet in this thing you didn’t believe Yahweh your God, 33Who went before you in the way, to seek you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night to show you by what way you should go, and in the cloud by day. 34Yahweh heard the voice of your words and was angry and swore saying, 35Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land, which I swore to give to your fathers, 36except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it and to him I will give the land that he has trodden on, and to his children, because he has wholly followed Yahweh. 37Also Yahweh was angry with me for your sakes saying, You also shall not go in there. 38Joshua the son of Nun who stands before you, he shall go in there; encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39Moreover your little ones, whom you said should be a prey, and your children, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there and to them will I give it, and they shall possess it. 40But as for you, turn, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.41Then you answered and said to me, We have sinned against Yahweh; we will go up and fight, according to all that Yahweh our God commanded us. Every man of you put on his weapons of war and presumed to go up into the hill country. 42Yahweh said to me, Tell them, ‘Don’t go up, neither fight, for I am not among you, lest you be struck before your enemies’. 43So I spoke to you and you didn’t listen, but you rebelled against the commandment of Yahweh and were presumptuous and went up into the hill country. 44The Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you, as bees do, and beat you down in Seir, even to Hormah. 45You returned and wept before Yahweh; but Yahweh didn’t listen to your voice, nor gave ear to you. 46So you stayed in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you remained.


1:2 It is eleven days’ journey- It took Israel 38 years to complete this journey, but it was only 11 days if they walked directly. Their exit from Egypt through the Red Sea represents our baptism into Christ (1 Cor. 10:1,2), and the wilderness journey is the prototype of our walk to God’s Kingdom. We tend to walk around in circles as Israel did, rather than perceiving our end destination clearly and keeping our focus upon it.
1:3 In the fortieth year- Moses was now at the end of his life; Israel stood on the borders of the promised land, which he was disallowed from entering. He now gives his swansong, perhaps in the last month or even day of his life he gave Israel the address transcripted for us as ‘Deuteronomy’, literally ‘the second [giving of] the law’. He repeats some of the laws he had previously given them, with some additional comments and clarifications, and shares with them his reflections upon their journey. In this book, therefore, we perceive a man at the point of spiritual maturity.
1:7 The river Euphrates- This was the boundary of the land promised to Abraham. But sadly Israel lacked the spiritual ambition to even go there, let alone settle and inherit the land. It may well be that we inherit the Kingdom, but not to the extent that we could do. We in this brief life are deciding the nature of how we will spend eternity.
1:22 The sending out of the spies was a concession to human weakness; Num. 13:17-20 says that they were sent in order to find out whether the land of Canaan was a good land, and the feasibility of overcoming the people who lived there. But God had categorically given assurances on these points already; yet Israel preferred to believe the word of men than that of God. However, God made a concession to their weakness, and gave the command to send out the spies (Num. 13:2). But when Israel heard their faithless tales of woe, they decided they didn’t want to inherit the Kingdom prepared for them. When we make use of concessions to human weakness, we often end up in situations of temptation which we find too strong for us. The best way is to simply go straight forward in faith in God’s word of promise rather than relying on human strength.
1:25 This is a very positive perspective on what the spies said; they said that Canaan was a good land, but the inhabitants of the land were far too strong for Israel, effectively calling God a liar. Moses is very positive about Israel in Deuteronomy. It’s a sign of spiritual maturity that we impute righteousness to others and seek to focus on the positive rather than for ever dwelling on the terrible failures of God’s people.
1:43 These Israelites who had crossed the Red Sea (cp. our baptism) and were now rejected from God’s Kingdom, because they themselves had said they didn’t want to inherit it, now wanted more than anything else to be there. This is a major Biblical theme- that the rejected will desperately ask to be allowed in to God’s kingdom; the foolish virgins will knock on the closed door begging for it to be opened (Mt. 25:11; Lk. 13:25). Our ultimate destiny is to stand before the Lord wanting to enter His Kingdom with every fibre in our being. But this must be our attitude now, for then it will be too late to change anything.