Deuteronomy

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When Jenelle and I were dating, at that time I worked for my dad, and part of my job was to visit local car dealerships and hadn out business cards and desk calendars and that sort of thing in way of marketing so that the car dealers maybe would send some business our way. Jenelle was with me one day when I visited the local Chrysler dealer. And they had just received a delivery of the very first PT Cruiser. Remember the PT Cruiser? I don’t know about where you live, but where I lived, it was a big deal. It was really one of the first cars to do the retro design.
So the sales manager invited us back to the shop to show us this car, they had literally just unwrapped. It was purple. Then the sales manager said, want to take it for a drive? I’m not sure if she thought I would buy it, I wasn't really interested in that car, but to be the first to drive what may have been the first PT cruiser in ND, I wasn’t going to turn that down. So we drove around town, went over to the office to show them, and people started following me around. Several people followed me into parking lots so that they could see this car.
Maybe you remember something new. I remember as well the first person I ever saw with an iphone, when they were first released. It was a coworker named Axel. And we all huddled around as Axel showed us how you could pinch to shrink a photo or blow it up. It was something so new, so amazing to all of us. Most of us today if we had to use that original iphone would find find it too slow, and lacking features. But when it was first introduced, it was mind blowing.
We love it when something comes around and is new and exciting. Just as people followed me when I drove that PT cruiser, just as coworkers gathered around Axel as he showed us that new iphone, we get excited when something is new and fresh. Not many people think the PT cruiser is so great anymore. It was produced for less than a decade and then the model was retired. Maybe too many other car companies got into the retro game, the novelty died off.
In the arena of thinking or philosophy, some people are always looking for new ideas. When Paul spoke at the Areopagus, scripture tells us Acts17.21
Acts 17:21 ESV
Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
Sadly, many Christians today are always looking for something new. It’s as though learning God’s Word, and learning how to live it out, that simply isn’t enough. People want something new.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 ESV
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
They will gather around for their ears to be tickled. You want to get a crowd at church? Tell them what they want to hear. Tell them they are good and don’t need to change a thing. Tell them God loves them just the way they are, so there really is no need to turn from sin. Tell them that God exists to make you healthy or rich. Tell them you have figured out what the Mark of the Beast is. Tell them God speaks to you with special words that aren’t found in the Bible. Tell them you know when Jesus is coming again. Oh, the people will gather then!
People want to hear something new. They want to hold onto something new. There is a reason the PT Cruiser faded away, and there is a reason why Apple puts out a newer version of their products every year. People want the newest, the most innovative, they want a feature now one else has, or a color of phone that let’s everyone know this is the newest model.
And this sort of thinking is very prevalent in the church, where people are always seeking something new. The Bible doesn’t seem new. The Old Testament, some people think, is a waste of time. We should just focus on the New Testament. And we should be careful even there, to make the text relevant. And we should make it relevant, but sadly, for many people, being relevant isn’t defined the way I would define it. I want scripture to be relevant to you so it changes you, but many say it should be relevant in a way that changes scripture to suit you.
In many churches, then, people would hear that the preacher was embarking on a series from Deuteronomy and they would say “no! That’s old! Give me something new!” Yet, when we look at this book, I think you are going to find that in looking it over, it speaks of Jesus. It serves as a marker of sorts, the bridge between the early redemptive history found in Genesis - Number with the rest of redemptive history found in the rest of scripture. Deuteronomy is quoted or alluded to at least 200 times in the Old Testament. Jesus quoted it and applied it. So if Jesus found Deuteronomy useful for teaching, if all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work, then there must be something here for us to gain wisdom by.
Today we begin a series on Deuteronomy. At the beginning of a series like this, I will be honest, it can be hard to figure out how to start. Do we begin with a dissertation on the origins of the book, spend an entire sermon or two on the history? Or do we just get right into the text. Well, in this case, a little of both. So we will being with verses 1-8, and as we go through that this morning, we will hopefully glean something from it that we can use in our spiritual growth.
Deuteronomy 1:1–8 ESV
These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the Lord had given him in commandment to them, after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying, “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’
So first off, you may wonder where the title Deuteronomy comes from. Maybe you don’t really care. It literally means “second law”. But that is a bit misleading, because it isn’t really a second law, it really is an explanation or exposition of the law given in Exodus - Numbers. The name Deuteronomy comes from Deut17.18
Deuteronomy 17:18 ESV
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.
The English title for the book of Deuteronomy is taken from the Greek translation of Deut 17:18, which spoke of the king having “a copy of the law.” However, both the Greek Δευτερονόμιον (Deuteronomion) and its rendering into English meant a “second law,” hence the English name of “Deuteronomy.” But it would be more accurate to say—based on the original Hebrew text—that it was a renewal or a copy of the covenant made at Mount Sinai/Horeb with Moses. The Hebrew name for this book, following the ancient Jewish practice of naming a book by its opening line, is Debarim, the “Words,” for the book began with “These are the words …” (אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים, elleh haddevarim).
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. “Deuteronomy, Book of.” Ed. John D. Barry et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary 2016: n. pag. Print.
So instruction is here given for future kings of Israel. They were to write for themselves a copy of this law. From this word, copy, we get the word deutero, which means copy or second.

It is not so much a ‘second law’ as a preaching, or reapplication, of certain laws given in the preceding books of the Pentateuch.

In the very first verse, we get a sense of the author of this book. Remember the author may not be the same one who wrote it down, in this case, it is likely that the words of Moses were recorded by scribes. Deut1.1
Deuteronomy 1:1 ESV
These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
I would perhaps have used a map, but I don’t think our screens up here are big enough for you to be able to see it, but Moses spoke these words at the end of the 40 years of wandering in the desert. I may put out a blog and give you a little more there, but for now we will not spend much time on the geography.
Deuteronomy 1:2–3 ESV
It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the Lord had given him in commandment to them,
I read these 2 verses together for a reason. There is a very big lesson here. It is eleven days journey from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea. Horeb is Mt. Sinai, where Moses met with God and received the commandments. it is an 11 day journey from there to Kadesh Barnea. 11 days journey, and it is 40 years later. This is the cost of the people of Israel’s discontent, it is the cost of their sin. And of course, before we get all high and mighty about their failures, let us ask ourselves this question. Have we taken 40 years to make 11 days of progress? Unfortunately, many Christians are in the same boat. Maybe it isn’t always 40 years, but can any of us truly say we advanced in our faith at the pace we ought to have advanced? I heard long ago and often say it, that some Christians have 1 year of growth…40 years in a row.
While it is often our temptation to read in scripture about someone who seemed not to learn their lesson, we would be served far better if we were to ask ourselves where we might be doing the same. Or better yet, ask God to reveal to us our shortcomings. If you are able to be in a safe relationship with a fellow believer, you may even ask them to show you your blind spots.
Deuteronomy 1:3–4 ESV
In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the Lord had given him in commandment to them, after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei.
So here is some more context about when Moses said these things. Now, there have been some attempts, particularly in the last 200 years or so, for folks to question not only the dating of Deuteronomy, but whether Moses even had anything to do with it. And I read an awful lot about these theories, but like a lot of those theories out there that try to disprove the Bible, they come up short. I think the more compelling evidence is that this was written shortly after Moses had said these things.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary Content and Structure

There are three different approaches commonly used to explain the structure of Deuteronomy:

1. Deuteronomy consists of three farewell speeches of Moses.

2. Deuteronomy is an exposition on each of the Ten Commandments in order.

3. Deuteronomy is modeled after ancient Near Eastern treaties.

Deuteronomy 1:5 ESV
Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying,
I love this part. Moses undertook to explain this law. Throughout scripture, we see that there is value in having someone explain things to us. I used these examples just recently, but they are fitting once again. Neh8.8
Nehemiah 8:8 ESV
They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
Acts 8:35 ESV
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.
Luke 24:27 ESV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
There are many more examples in scripture, but let us consider this. We are always in need of a teacher. We can be thankful for the Word, that we can hold it in our own hands, and read it, and the Holy Spirit does in deed help us make sense of it, but we need a teacher, one who will, like Moses, undertake to explain the law. Like the priests in Nehemiah, to give the sense of it, so that people understand. Like Philip, helping those desperately seeking the scriptures to find Christ in them. Like Jesus, interpreting in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
We have an obligation to learn and to provide opportunities for believers to learn. So this book of Deuteronomy is about Moses further explaining the law. This book takes a look behind, at what has already happened in the history of Israel, and it looks forward, to what would be fulfilled in Christ. I believe that there is a lot to learn from this book. It will refine some of the ideas found in Exodus and other books, and it will point towards Christ. Remember, the entire Bible is about Jesus. Over the coming months, as we look at this book together, we must keep that as our main focus. What does it tell us about Jesus? And what does it tell me about myself? What does it tell me to do?

1:5. When Moses expounded these words, Israel was east of the Jordan in … Moab. The word expound is significant for it means that Moses did all he could to make God’s Word clear to the Israelites. The word bā’ēr is used only here and in 27:8 (where it is rendered by the adverbs “very clearly“) and in Habakkuk 2:2 (“make it plain”). Basically the verb means “to dig” (e.g., to dig a well; “well” is be’ēr).

In the course of these speeches Moses sought in various ways to instill an obedient spirit in his audience. He used the threat of judgment, the promise of reward, and appeals to God’s graciousness to seek to accomplish that goal. The word translated Law actually means “instruction,” not merely a body of laws in the modern sense. It is instruction in how to walk with God.

Deuteronomy 1:5–6 ESV
Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying, “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.
After Moses had received the law, God told them they had stayed long enough at the mountain. They had witnessed the power of God, seen Him work miraculously, but they were not to stay in the shadow of that mountain forever, because he had something for them. Next week, we will see more of the story, but you probably already know it. The land was there for them to possess, but they valued their status quo over the promise.
Deuteronomy 1:7–8 ESV
Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’

This emphasis on the “land” is unusually strong in Deuteronomy, for this word occurs almost 200 times.

Are we willing to go on the journey the Lord has set us on?
Where is God taking you? Where is He asking you to go? What is He asking you to do?
Where is He taking Oasis Church? Where is He asking us to go? What is He asking us to do?
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