Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Feb 27, Dt 1-2

Today's readings are Dt 1-2

Deuteronomy means "Second Law." The book reviews the teachings and events of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers as a precursor to Israel's taking of the Promised Land, Canaan. The people gathered on the banks of the Jordan are reminded of God's faithfulness, grace, and love, but also warned of His wrath. Throughout the book, we repeatedly see two Scriptural truths; there are blessings for faithfulness, and there are curses for unfaithfulness.

In Dt 1-2, 40 years have passed since the first generation refused to enter Canaan resulting in their wandering until that generation died out. The long voyage from Sinai is complete, local tribes outside the borders of Canaan have been defeated. Israel’s armies are equipped and ready to go to war for the Promised Land. Yes! Sometimes God's promises require devotion, commitment and perhaps even battle!

It’s good that God tells Moses to pause here. Israel has just experienced a few major victories, and their promised land is across the river. The people need to reflect on how they got here and to whom they should be thankful. One of the things we’ll hear in Deuteronomy is how easy it is for godly people to forget or neglect God when things seem to be going well. Deuteronomy shows that God is serious about His people understanding the role He plays in their lives.

It’s also a book of transitions. Deuteronomy starts out with the words of Moses, spoken to a nomadic nation. It will end with a new leader, Joshua, taking Israel to their new home in a new land. While the change in location is crucial and the change in leaders is significant, perhaps even more pertinent is the depiction of the end of the first era of the Bible.

Deuteronomy marks the final book of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch documents creation, the fall of man, his ejection from his home in the garden and the beginnings of God’s gracious plan to restore Adam’s descendants to a new home. By the end of the Pentateuch, God’s children are about to start a new life and celebrate a new beginning. These five books are a template for the larger narrative of the Bible. The locations, leaders, and eras will change but God, the one consistent foundational element of every book in the Bible, never changes.

In Dt 1, Moses assembles Israel to teach and exhort them, reminding them of their heritage and God’s goodness toward them. God's promises have been kept in spite of perceived obstacles and overwhelming odds. He has moved over a million people through the wilderness for 40 years, providing for them, protecting them, teaching them -- refining them every step of the way.  We hear more detail of what happened the first time they approached Canaan when they refused to enter and were sentenced to wander for 40 years.

In the chapters that follow we will see an overview of God’s abundant provision for His people and His grace as He deals with them. Deuteronomy should be a reminder and encouragement that He blesses us and is patient with us in the same ways He is with Israel.

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