Studies in Torah

Deuteronomy 9: The Lord is a consuming fire

Deut. 9 starts with the refrain “Hear O Israel.” This time God is not declaring His own unity, or telling the children of Israel what they need to do. This time, God is telling the children of Israel what He will do for them: “Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you.” (Deuteronomy 9:3 NASB)

Thought Questions

  • Deut. 9:1 starts with the familiar phrase, “Hear, oh Israel!” What does the LORD want us to hear?
    • What does God want us to build because of difficulty?
    • For whose benefit do we learn through difficulties and via the statutes, judgments and commandments?
      • What is the creation anxiously waiting for, as mentioned in Rom. 8:17-25?
      • How is that expectation related to the statutes, judgments and commandments of God?
    • What did Israel face when they cross over the Yarden (Jordan) River?
      • How powerful were they compared to the seven nations?
      • How do we face similar challenges?
    • What does “do not think in your heart” (Deut. 9:4) sound like something Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) said in Matt. 5:17-20?
    • When God is a “consuming fire” (Deut. 9:3), what does that mean?
      • What did it mean for Israel’s enemies?
      • How many times did Moshe (Moses) remind Israel that they will conquer the land but aren’t capable in and of themselves?
    • What did Israel have to remember before they crossed into the Promised Land? (Deut. 9:7)
      • How did Israel anger God?
      • Which is worse, wickedness or rebellion?
        • Who was more culpable for their actions, the wickedness of the people of Canaan or the rebellion of Israel?
        • What did Messiah Yeshua say about this in Matt. 25:14-30?
          • What are the “talents” God gives us to be used for?
  • Why is it important for Moshe to let the people know he was with God getting the tablets for 40 days and 40 nights?
    • What was he doing for the next 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain getting the second set to tablets?
    • How is this connected to Messiah’s 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness after his immersion? (Deut. 18:15-22; Matt. 4:1-11)
      • What pain did God feel before the Flood? (Gen. 6:5-13)
      • What was Noach (Noah) doing for 40 days and 40 nights during the rainfall of the Flood?
      • What suffering did Messiah feel in the wilderness?
      • Why did Messiah and Noach have to suffer? For whose benefit?
    • Is God out to destroy your “spirit” during times of difficulty?
    • What is He out to do with us, then?
  • What does “stiff-necked people” (Deut. 9:13) mean?
    • Were Moshe, Yehoshua (Joshua) and David stiff-necked?
    • If God knows the end from the beginning, doesn’t He know people were going to go bad?
      • How is this connected to the decreased lifespan after the Flood?
  • What does a bull symbolize in the Bible?
  • Moshe recounts three shameful incidents from Israels recent history — Taberah, Massah, Kibrot haTavah — in Deut. 9:22?
    • What happened at Taberah (Num. 11:1-3)?
      • How many times did God allow complaints from Israel during the travels between the exodus from Egypt and the entry into the Promised Land?
      • What happened after the 10th time?
      • What happened with the 10th plague in Egypt?
    • What happened at Massah (Ex. 17:1-7)?
      • What provoked God, complaints about no water or the claim God wasn’t with them?
    • What happened at Kibrot haTavah (Num. 11:4-35)?
      • Who was complaining in this case?
      • What was so bad about the “bread from Heaven,” called manna in Hebrew or “What is it?”?
        • What happens when times are hard and you make a complaint, then you receive an abundant blessing?
      • When did God decide to send the plague with the quail banquet?
        • Would it have made a difference if Israel repented?
  • When did Moshe go before the LORD again for 40 days and 40 nights? (Deut. 9:23-29; Num. 13:26-33)

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