David Pawson - Deuteronomy Pt1 (英文发音,中文字幕) 

Thoughtful Thoughts 22 March 2019

Deuteronomy Part 1  -  The Background to Deuteronomy.

The picture this week shows what Moses saw from Mount Nebo, looking across into the land of Canaan that God promised to the Israelites. It was on the plains below that Moses preached his last three sermons. Those sermons we call “Deuteronomy”.

Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy more than a thousand years after it was written, as do other New Testament writers, so we can’t just dismiss Deuteronomy as being too hard to bother with.

Paul tells us that our faith is a branch that grew out of the vine God established with the Jews. In that sense, this is our history too, as it is Jewish history. This book is part of “His Story”.

Deuteronomy means “Second Law”. Moses gave the Israelites the law for a second time. Why? Because the law that we read about in Exodus and Leviticus was given to the first generation who had escaped from Egypt who refused to enter the Promised Land, out of fear of the locals. That first generation were all dead now, and of course the new generation had grown up who had not heard the law. Having heard it, they were required to keep the law in Canaan.

The last week of Moses life.

Moses is now an old man in his last week of life. He wasn’t allowed to enter Canaan with the others, as he too had disobeyed God whilst leading the first generation out of Egypt. Because of that, God’s punishment was to stop him from entering  Canaan as well. What happened was, Moses was told to speak to a rock to produce water for the people. In fact someone worked out that it would require two million gallons of water a day to meet the basic needs of over two million people and their animals. As I write this, it is “World water day”, and so Auckland Council’s water provider is advertising that it provides 365 million litres (96.5 million gallons) of water a day for Auckland, which has a population of just 1.6million people.

God wanted the people to see for themselves, the miracle of providing all the water they needed in the desert, being made to flow out of a rock, all at God’s command - (using Moses’ voice for the people hear). If Moses had obeyed, the people would have seen how God was providing miraculously for them. The importance of the instruction that God gave Moses was lost on him, and so instead he struck the rock in his anger at the people’s constant complaining.

This shows the importance of doing things God’s way.

Moses’ time is almost up, as the people are about to enter Canaan. God lets Moses know he has one more week left of his long 120 year life. Moses uses that week to write down and preach three very long sermons, going through the details of the law that he had once given to their parents. In Deuteronomy we have those last three sermons all written out. Moses knew the people would quickly forget his sermons, and so he wrote down all the laws for them, and the future generations.

Moses also informs the people that God has chosen Joshua to be their next leader after he died.

Moses is allowed to go up Mount Nebo to view the Promised Land, as he is not allowed to enter it. Moses died on Mt Nebo aged 120, and an angel is sent to bury his body. Jude 1:9 tells us that Satan tried to take Moses’ body, but an angel prevented him. Satan tried to argue that Moses belonged to him. (Remember Moses had killed a man). Instead of arguing with Satan, the angel said, “The Lord rebuke you”, and went ahead and buried Moses’ body in a secret place; see Deut 34:5-6. Regarding Moses killing a man, Moses was defending a slave from an Egyptian taskmaster who was thrashing the living daylights out of him. Moses then spent 40 years in the desert, after which God called him. The commandment which says, “Thou shalt not murder” is often misquoted as “Thou shalt not kill”. But God did require the killing of some. Cliff Richard was once asked about how negative the 10 commandments were, - to which he replied, “It’s very positive for the person who is not being murdered!” King Alfred the Great of England made the 10 Commandments the first laws of England after he became a Christian, and was the first ruler in the world to do so outside of Israel. He was also the only king in England to prevent the Vikings taking over his kingdom. God says He honours those who honour Him.

Deuteronomy chapter 34 about Moses’ death would have been added by Joshua as he was Moses’ right hand man, right up to the time of Moses’ death. Until chapter 33 it would have been Moses last will and testament for future generations.

Next week we will look at what was so important for Moses to share, that he used up his very last week on earth to write out these three sermons, which we know as “Deuteronomy”.  

I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.

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