Richard Agee

Deuteronomy 1-3: Lessons from Exodus, Numbers for the next generation

The first few chapters of Deuteronomy recount events previously recorded in Exodus and Numbers. However, key lessons for the new generation about to enter the Land were to trust God despite the seemingly invincible adversaries and remember His protection of the first generation out of Egypt and long before.

The Hebrew title for this book comes from the first phrase:

אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל

Eyleh ha-d’varim ’asher dibar Moshe el-kol-Yisra’el.
These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Israel.

Devarim (דברים, Strong’s lexicon No. H1697) means words. Moses spoke to a new generation of Israelites — preparing to go into the land — reminding them of Israel’s history so they would learn from it and exercise greater faith than their forefathers’. 

In chapter 2, Moshe recalled the crossing of the Red Sea (Deut. 2:1). Israel at that time had assembled at סוף Suph (Strong’s H5489). This is not an area of reeds. Rather, suph is a marine plant akin to seaweed, an area with lots of vegetation near the shore. 

Israel’s trial, which had been ongoing for 40 years, was coming to an end. Moses went up to the mountain twice to receive God’s law for 40 days each. Yeshua was in the wilderness for 40 days enduring the Temptation. Likewise, people often reach a point of decision at the age of 40, either toward clarity in life or confusion. 

Moses told the Israelites to select “wise men of understanding” to adjudicate their disputes (Deut. 1:16–18). This is very important and the people agreed to it. Moses told these new judges that they had to be impartial in their judgments, not playing favorites between rich and poor or between the native and the alien. They were also reminded that the ultimate judge was God and His standard. 

In going into the Land, Moses told them not to be afraid or discouraged (Deut. 1:20–21; 3:22) Moses encouraged (sprinkled with rebuke) Israel by recalling briefly the history of the sons of Esau and the sons of Lot, who had to conquer their own giants to possess their lands (Deut. 2:1–15). Yet God gave Esau, Ammon and Moab an inheritance and God will give Israel an inheritance but just as Esau, Ammon and Moab had to fight the giants, Israel will have to fight too but just as God was on Esau, Ammon and Moab’s side, He will be on their side too. 

The previous generation of Israelites were not that brave or courageous and that is why they had to wander in the wilderness in the first place. Moses reminded them of this history so they would exercise greater faith than their forefathers. 

God led them with a cloud by day, like a kippah, which protected them from the hot sun. They were also lead by a pillar of fire by night, which produced warmth in the evening. 

All of the men who gave the evil report about the land were dead, only Joshua and Caleb, who gave an honest, faithful report about the land were still alive to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. 

God told the Israelites that the occupants of the land of Canaan was evil and corrupt. He sent the people of Israel in to cleanse the land of the sin and corruption. He gave the children of Israel the strength to be able to accomplish it. They had 40 years in the wilderness to learn what God considers clean and unclean, including unpunished murder, etc. He said they had to be holy just as He is holy. 

The first country the children of Israel had to fight was the kingdom of Hesbon, ruled by Sihon, a very formidable leader (Deut. 2:26–37). The children of Israel prevailed against Heshbon, clearing out all the inhabitants and taking over all their cities and villages. 

Next, the children of Israel fought against the people of Bashan (Deut. 3:1–7). Their king, Og, was a literal giant, yet the children of Israel were able to complete defeat the people of Bashan too. 

God has no “Plan B.” There is always only one plan of salvation. 

Speaker: Richard Agee. Reader: Dave De Fever. Summary: Tammy.


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