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22. Deuteronomy 17 – 34 and Psalm 91

A Chronological Daily Bible Study of the Old Testament
7-Day Sections
with a Summary-Commentary, Discussion Questions, and a Practical Daily Application

Week 22

Sunday (Deuteronomy 17-19)

17:1 You must not sacrifice to him a bull or sheep that has a blemish or any other defect, because that is considered offensive to the Lord your God. 17:2 Suppose a man or woman is discovered among you – in one of your villages that the Lord your God is giving you – who sins before the Lord your God and breaks his covenant 17:3 by serving other gods and worshiping them – the sun, moon, or any other heavenly bodies which I have not permitted you to worship. 17:4 When it is reported to you and you hear about it, you must investigate carefully. If it is indeed true that such a disgraceful thing is being done in Israel, 17:5 you must bring to your city gates that man or woman who has done this wicked thing – that very man or woman – and you must stone that person to death. 17:6 At the testimony of two or three witnesses they must be executed. They cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 17:7 The witnesses must be first to begin the execution, and then all the people are to join in afterward. In this way you will purge evil from among you.

Appeal to a Higher Court

17:8 If a matter is too difficult for you to judge – bloodshed, legal claim, or assault – matters of controversy in your villages – you must leave there and go up to the place the Lord your God chooses. 17:9 You will go to the Levitical priests and the judge in office in those days and seek a solution; they will render a verdict. 17:10 You must then do as they have determined at that place the Lord chooses. Be careful to do just as you are taught. 17:11 You must do what you are instructed, and the verdict they pronounce to you, without fail. Do not deviate right or left from what they tell you. 17:12 The person who pays no attention to the priest currently serving the Lord your God there, or to the verdict – that person must die, so that you may purge evil from Israel. 17:13 Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and not be so presumptuous again.

Provision for Kingship

17:14 When you come to the land the Lord your God is giving you and take it over and live in it and then say, “I will select a king like all the nations surrounding me,” 17:15 you must select without fail a king whom the Lord your God chooses. From among your fellow citizens you must appoint a king – you may not designate a foreigner who is not one of your fellow Israelites. 17:16 Moreover, he must not accumulate horses for himself or allow the people to return to Egypt to do so, for the Lord has said you must never again return that way. 17:17 Furthermore, he must not marry many wives lest his affections turn aside, and he must not accumulate much silver and gold. 17:18 When he sits on his royal throne he must make a copy of this law on a scroll given to him by the Levitical priests. 17:19 It must be with him constantly and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out. 17:20 Then he will not exalt himself above his fellow citizens or turn from the commandments to the right or left, and he and his descendants will enjoy many years ruling over his kingdom in Israel.

Provision for Priests and Levites

18:1 The Levitical priests – indeed, the entire tribe of Levi – will have no allotment or inheritance with Israel; they may eat the burnt offerings of the Lord and of his inheritance. 18:2 They will have no inheritance in the midst of their fellow Israelites; the Lord alone is their inheritance, just as he had told them. 18:3 This shall be the priests’ fair allotment from the people who offer sacrifices, whether bull or sheep – they must give to the priest the shoulder, the jowls, and the stomach. 18:4 You must give them the best of your grain, new wine, and olive oil, as well as the best of your wool when you shear your flocks. 18:5 For the Lord your God has chosen them and their sons from all your tribes to stand and serve in his name permanently. 18:6 Suppose a Levite comes by his own free will from one of your villages, from any part of Israel where he is living, to the place the Lord chooses 18:7 and serves in the name of the Lord his God like his fellow Levites who stand there before the Lord. 18:8 He must eat the same share they do, despite any profits he may gain from the sale of his family’s inheritance.

Provision for Prophetism

18:9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 18:10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, 18:11 one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer. 18:12 Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord and because of these detestable things the Lord your God is about to drive them out from before you. 18:13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 18:14 Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.

18:15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you – from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. 18:16 This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God any more or see this great fire any more lest we die.” 18:17 The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. 18:18 I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. 18:19 I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.

18:20 “But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 18:21 Now if you say to yourselves, ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’ – 18:22 whenever a prophet speaks in my name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”

Laws Concerning Manslaughter

19:1 When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is about to give you and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and houses, 19:2 you must set apart for yourselves three cities in the middle of your land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession. 19:3 You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent of your land that the Lord your God is providing as your inheritance; anyone who kills another person should flee to the closest of these cities. 19:4 Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live, if he has accidentally killed another without hating him at the time of the accident. 19:5 Suppose he goes with someone else to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose from the handle and strikes his fellow worker so hard that he dies. The person responsible may then flee to one of these cities to save himself. 19:6 Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him, and kill him, though this is not a capital case since he did not hate him at the time of the accident. 19:7 Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities. 19:8 If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors and gives you all the land he pledged to them, 19:9 and then you are careful to observe all these commandments I am giving you today (namely, to love the Lord your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities to these three. 19:10 You must not shed innocent blood in your land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty. 19:11 However, suppose a person hates someone else and stalks him, attacks him, kills him, and then flees to one of these cities. 19:12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger to die. 19:13 You must not pity him, but purge out the blood of the innocent from Israel, so that it may go well with you.

Laws Concerning Witnesses

19:14 You must not encroach on your neighbor’s property, which will have been defined in the inheritance you will obtain in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

19:15 A single witness may not testify against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 19:16 If a false witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime, 19:17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges who will be in office in those days. 19:18 The judges will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if the witness should prove to be false and to have given false testimony against the accused, 19:19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge evil from among you. 19:20 The rest of the people will hear and become afraid to keep doing such evil among you. 19:21 You must not show pity; the principle will be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.

Prayer

Lord, You are a holy God and anything associated with the enemy is an offense to You. May I never compromise with witchcraft or anything like it.

Scripture In Perspective

The Israelites were reminded that all sacrifices were to be from the first and the best, the unblemished. They were also reminded of the various festivals.

The Lord God provided for a system of justice, one that was to be free of bribery and/or favoritism, and for the right of appeal to a higher court from among the Levitical priests.

If the Israelites should insist upon a king like the nations around them, God must choose that king; however, that king was not to enrich himself nor marry multiple wives else he would turn away from God and the people.

The Israelites were reminded to provide for the Levites as they surrendered all for the service of the priesthood for the rest of Israel.

The Lord God condemned all forms of witchcraft; divination, omen reading, soothsaying, sorcery, casting spells, conjuring up spirits, practitioners of the occult, or necromancy (trying to speak with the dead). He also, again, condemned casting children into the fire of sacrifice.

Moses communicated God’s intention to raise up another prophet, like himself, to guide them as to the instructions of the Lord God, and that God would punish those who disrespected or disobeyed the prophet. He further informed them that if a prophet predicted something that did not happen then they were not speaking from God and were not to be feared as they had broken from God in an act of disobedience.

The necessity of the cities of refuge was revisited, with the provision that if a person hunted and killed another then hid in one of the cities then the elders were to remove them and turn them over to the relatives of the murdered Israelite to be killed.

Israelites were to honor the lands of one another as they were distributed to them by the Lord God.

The requirement for more than one witness was reaffirmed.

The principle of an eye for an eye was also reaffirmed as a reference-point for proportional punishment for a crime.

Interact With The Text

Consider

Saul and David and Solomon were the first kings of Israel and all of them violated God’s limitations on the king and all of them harmed Israel as a result. Essentially, everything that we might generally refer to as the occult was condemned by the Lord God as evil and repulsive to Him and anyone who honored Him.

Discuss

Why did God place such a high priority on the people listening to His anointed prophet and for them to reject even the most subtle elements of the occult and false teaching?

Reflect

A system of justice, respect for the property of one another, and certain consequences for those who chose to commit crimes against their fellow Israelites was important to God.

Share

When have you discovered elements of the occult drifting into your life or somewhere within the families within your fellowship? Was the problem addressed? What was the response and the result? Based on the teaching in today’s Deuteronomy text, which was re-affirmed by Jesus and the authors of the New Testament, would God have been pleased?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any element of the occult in your life or that of your family and friends.

Act

Today I will partner with the Holy Spirit to purge my life of even the smallest elements of the occult, and I will prayerfully and respectfully implore others to do so as well. If I have any question about something I believe to be of the occult I will consult one or more who meet the Biblical qualification of an elder.

Be Specific ________________________________________________

Monday (Deuteronomy 20 - 22)

Laws Concerning War with Distant Enemies

20:1 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry and troops who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you.

20:2 As you move forward for battle, the priest will approach and say to the soldiers, 20:3 “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, 20:4 for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.”

20:5 Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you has built a new house and not dedicated it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else dedicate it. 20:6 Or who among you has planted a vineyard and not benefited from it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else benefit from it.

20:7 Or who among you has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else marry her.” 20:8 In addition, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you is afraid and fainthearted? He may go home so that he will not make his fellow soldier’s heart as fearful as his own.” 20:9 Then, when the officers have finished speaking, they must appoint unit commanders to lead the troops.

20:10 When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace. 20:11 If it accepts your terms and submits to you, all the people found in it will become your slaves. 20:12 If it does not accept terms of peace but makes war with you, then you are to lay siege to it.

20:13 The Lord your God will deliver it over to you and you must kill every single male by the sword. 20:14 However, the women, little children, cattle, and anything else in the city – all its plunder – you may take for yourselves as spoil. You may take from your enemies the plunder that the Lord your God has given you. 20:15 This is how you are to deal with all those cities located far from you, those that do not belong to these nearby nations.

Laws Concerning War with Canaanite Nations

20:16 As for the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing to survive. 20:17 Instead you must utterly annihilate them – the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites – just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 20:18 so that they cannot teach you all the abhorrent ways they worship their gods, causing you to sin against the Lord your God.

20:19 If you besiege a city for a long time while attempting to capture it, you must not chop down its trees, for you may eat fruit from them and should not cut them down. A tree in the field is not human that you should besiege it!

20:20 However, you may chop down any tree you know is not suitable for food, and you may use it to build siege works against the city that is making war with you until that city falls.

Laws Concerning Unsolved Murder

21:1 If a homicide victim should be found lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you, and no one knows who killed him, 21:2 your elders and judges must go out and measure how far it is to the cities in the vicinity of the corpse.

21:3 Then the elders of the city nearest to the corpse must take from the herd a heifer that has not been worked – that has never pulled with the yoke – 21:4 and bring the heifer down to a wadi with flowing water, to a valley that is neither plowed nor sown. There at the wadi they are to break the heifer’s neck.

21:5 Then the Levitical priests will approach (for the Lord your God has chosen them to serve him and to pronounce blessings in his name, and to decide every judicial verdict) 21:6 and all the elders of that city nearest the corpse must wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley.

21:7 Then they must proclaim, “Our hands have not spilled this blood, nor have we witnessed the crime. 21:8 Do not blame your people Israel whom you redeemed, O Lord, and do not hold them accountable for the bloodshed of an innocent person.” Then atonement will be made for the bloodshed.

21:9 In this manner you will purge out the guilt of innocent blood from among you, for you must do what is right before the Lord.

Laws Concerning Wives

21:10 When you go out to do battle with your enemies and the Lord your God allows you to prevail and you take prisoners, 21:11 if you should see among them an attractive woman whom you wish to take as a wife, 21:12 you may bring her back to your house. She must shave her head, trim her nails, 21:13 discard the clothing she was wearing when captured, and stay in your house, lamenting for her father and mother for a full month. After that you may have sexual relations with her and become her husband and she your wife.

21:14 If you are not pleased with her, then you must let her go where she pleases. You cannot in any case sell her; you must not take advantage of her, since you have already humiliated her.

Laws Concerning Children

21:15 Suppose a man has two wives, one whom he loves more than the other, and they both bear him sons, with the firstborn being the child of the less loved wife. 21:16 In the day he divides his inheritance he must not appoint as firstborn the son of the favorite wife in place of the other wife’s son who is actually the firstborn. 21:17 Rather, he must acknowledge the son of the less loved wife as firstborn and give him the double portion of all he has, for that son is the beginning of his father’s procreative power – to him should go the right of the firstborn.

21:18 If a person has a stubborn, rebellious son who pays no attention to his father or mother, and they discipline him to no avail, 21:19 his father and mother must seize him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his city. 21:20 They must declare to the elders of his city, “Our son is stubborn and rebellious and pays no attention to what we say – he is a glutton and drunkard.” 21:21 Then all the men of his city must stone him to death. In this way you will purge out wickedness from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.

Disposition of a Criminal’s Remains

21:22 If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse on a tree, 21:23 his body must not remain all night on the tree; instead you must make certain you bury him that same day, for the one who is left exposed on a tree is cursed by God. You must not defile your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Laws Concerning Preservation of Life

22:1 When you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep going astray, do not ignore it; you must return it without fail to your neighbor. 22:2 If the owner does not live near you or you do not know who the owner is, then you must corral the animal at your house and let it stay with you until the owner looks for it; then you must return it to him. 22:3 You shall do the same to his donkey, his clothes, or anything else your neighbor has lost and you have found; you must not refuse to get involved. 22:4 When you see your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen along the road, do not ignore it; instead, you must be sure to help him get the animal on its feet again.

22:5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor should a man dress up in women’s clothing, for anyone who does this is offensive to the Lord your God.

22:6 If you happen to notice a bird’s nest along the road, whether in a tree or on the ground, and there are chicks or eggs with the mother bird sitting on them, you must not take the mother from the young. 22:7 You must be sure to let the mother go, but you may take the young for yourself. Do this so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.

22:8 If you build a new house, you must construct a guard rail around your roof to avoid being culpable in the event someone should fall from it.

Illustrations of the Principle of Purity

22:9 You must not plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed; otherwise the entire yield, both of the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled. 22:10 You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. 22:11 You must not wear clothing made with wool and linen meshed together. 22:12 You shall make yourselves tassels for the four corners of the clothing you wear.

Purity in the Marriage Relationship

22:13 Suppose a man marries a woman, has sexual relations with her, and then rejects her, 22:14 accusing her of impropriety and defaming her reputation by saying, “I married this woman but when I had sexual relations with her I discovered she was not a virgin!”

22:15 Then the father and mother of the young woman must produce the evidence of virginity for the elders of the city at the gate. 22:16 The young woman’s father must say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man and he has rejected her. 22:17 Moreover, he has raised accusations of impropriety by saying, ‘I discovered your daughter was not a virgin,’ but this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity!” The cloth must then be spread out before the city’s elders. 22:18 The elders of that city must then seize the man and punish him. 22:19 They will fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, for the man who made the accusation ruined the reputation of an Israelite virgin. She will then become his wife and he may never divorce her as long as he lives.

22:20 But if the accusation is true and the young woman was not a virgin, 22:21 the men of her city must bring the young woman to the door of her father’s house and stone her to death, for she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by behaving like a prostitute while living in her father’s house. In this way you will purge evil from among you.

22:22 If a man is caught having sexual relations with a married woman both the man who had relations with the woman and the woman herself must die; in this way you will purge evil from Israel.

22:23 If a virgin is engaged to a man and another man meets her in the city and has sexual relations with her, 22:24 you must bring the two of them to the gate of that city and stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry out though in the city and the man because he violated his neighbor’s fiance; in this way you will purge evil from among you. 22:25 But if the man came across the engaged woman in the field and overpowered her and raped her, then only the rapist must die. 22:26 You must not do anything to the young woman – she has done nothing deserving of death. This case is the same as when someone attacks another person and murders him, 22:27 for the man met her in the field and the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.

22:28 Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and overpowers and rapes her and they are discovered. 22:29 The man who has raped her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife because he has violated her; he may never divorce her as long as he lives.

22:30 (23:1) A man may not marry his father’s former wife and in this way dishonor his father.

Prayer

Lord, it was a primitive time in history yet as You provided strong orders for conquest and tough regulations to preserve civilization, You also injected grace. May I remember that when I exert authority to be a person of grace. Lord, You call upon us to be caring and ethical participants in the community of faith-in-You, You said so for the ancient Israelites, and You have said so Christians. May I be found faithful in both caring and ethical in all of my dealings with fellow believers.

Scripture In Perspective

The Lord God, through Moses, reminded the Israelites to not fear the difficult challenges ahead as they dispossessed great armies of large nations from the Land; He promised to go ahead and assure their victory, even as He gave permission to release from service those men who are recently engaged, fearful, have recently build but not dedicated a new home, or whose new vineyard has not seen its first harvest.

They are instructed to offer terms of peace to a city they approach, if accepted all of the people become their slaves, otherwise they take it and kill all of the adult males and take the rest as slaves along with their valuables as plunder.

They were to obliterate the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites as they were implacable enemies of God. They were to be sure to not participate in any of their pagan practices, but as they stormed the cities they were to be wise stewards, preserving the trees which produced edible food and destroying only those non-food trees necessary to the war effort.

Where there was an unsolved murder the elders of the nearest city were given a ritual to demonstrate that they neither committed the crime nor knew who did.

A captured woman must mourn her family and then may be taken as a wife. If the captor-husband changes his mind he is to release her wherever she chooses as he has already humiliated her once.

The firstborn received honor and a double-portion as an inheritance, even if he was the child of the less-loved of two wives. If any son was rebellious and a lazy glutton he was to be brought to the elders and if they found him unrepentant he was to be stoned to death so that he did not spread his evil ways to others.

One executed by hanging was to be buried before nightfall so as to not be cursed by God, and so that the curse did not extend to the people. (Generations later faithful Jews were quick to remove Jesus from the Cross. Judas, on the other hand, hung himself and his death and decay were unknown until his body was found on the ground.)

The Lord God set the standard for a successful civilization, one that was healthy, and one that was sustainable. He instructed His people to care about the well-being of one another and to be helpful and ethical in all of their dealings.

Cross-dressing was prohibited, one was not to remove a mother bird from the babies – leaving them to die unattended – but it was OK to take the babies and eggs, and a guard rail was to be placed around the roof-edge so that people up there might not fall (many roofs were flat and were used for social gatherings).

They were not to mix types of grape seed together as they would cross-pollinate and change the nature of the grapes, and they were not to put an ox and donkey together in harness as the ox would drag the donkey around until it injured or killed it.

Continuing the illustrations of purity; they were not to mix wool and linen - this was an unethical way to make material less expensively, wool and linen hold and release moisture differently and wool is less likely to feel moist whereas linen would – possibly leading to misjudging dry linen and dry-feeling wool as truly dry – leading to the early rotting of the linen, and some have speculated that wool and linen handle static electricity differently leading to potential skin reactions.

A man must treat his new wife with honor. If he falsely accused her of not being a virgin at marriage he was to be fined, the money to be given to her father, and could never divorce her. If it proved true that she was not a virgin then she was to be stoned to death at her father’s doorstep.

Adultery between a man and the wife of another required both to be stoned to death.

If a man sexually assaulted a woman in the city and she failed to cry out and be rescued then both are to be stoned to death – as there was the assumption that she was in-agreement. If the same occurred in the fields then only the man was to be stoned as she was unable to cry out and be rescued. If the virgin is not engaged the man must pay a fine to her father and marry her and may never divorce her.

A man may not marry his father’s former wife. [The text is unclear as to whether the woman was a widow or divorced, but while the text does not specify the father’s memory, only his father, one may reasonably (but not exclusively) postulate that it is his living father who would be dishonored by the son’s action. (Note: Later in the history of Israel David’s son Absalom deliberately sexually-assaulted his concubines in public in order to dishonor him and symbolically claim the throne.) The text also does not state that the son is adopted, the child of a different woman by his father, or the biological child of both father and mother – but the implication of the text is the latter – making the action one of incest.]

Interact With The Text

Consider

Destroying the cities and their places of false worship would break the history of the presence of the displaced people, executing or enslaving the males (if they surrendered) would prevent rebellion and intermarriage, and taking the rest as slaves and their valuables as plunder fit the prophesied role of the pagan nations. They were only allowed in the promised land to labor in anticipation of God giving them, and the product of their labors, to His chosen people. Healthy family and healthy neighborhoods have always been essential to healthy civilizations.

Discuss

Why would the Lord God feel that it was necessary to warn the Israelites over and over to avoid any involvement with the local pagan religions? Why and/or how might confusion as to gender identity, intimate relationships, and social roles undermine the well-being of a civilization?

Reflect

Disobedience in the matter of religious practices or of a child was taken very seriously to protect the health of the whole community. The Lord God applied wisdom not only to human interactions but also to the consequences of mixing crops, unequally-yoking work animals, and mixing fabrics so that there was an unmistakable consistency to His teaching about balance and intentional integrity in all things.

Share

When have you been blessed by the grace of God in a difficult situation? When have you discovered that wisdom taught in the Old Testament applied to your life in a very practical way today?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you may bless someone with an act of grace and to reveal to you an opportunity to care about and to serve another believer.

Act

Today I will begin the day with a prayer for an opportunity to allow God to pour His grace through me into the life of someone who is having a difficult time and to show me an opportunity to notice a fellow believer in need and to meet that need as He has provided. I will remain alert and sensitive to His guidance so that I am both aware and wise.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Tuesday (Deuteronomy 23 - 25)

Purity in Public Worship

23:1 A man with crushed or severed genitals may not enter the assembly of the Lord. 23:2 A person of illegitimate birth may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation no one related to him may do so.

23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so, 23:4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you. 23:5 But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam and changed the curse to a blessing, for the Lord your God loves you. 23:6 You must not seek peace and prosperity for them through all the ages to come. 23:7 You must not hate an Edomite, for he is your relative; you must not hate an Egyptian, for you lived as a foreigner in his land. 23:8 Children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.

Purity in Personal Hygiene

23:9 When you go out as an army against your enemies, guard yourselves against anything impure. 23:10 If there is someone among you who is impure because of some nocturnal emission, he must leave the camp; he may not reenter it immediately. 23:11 When evening arrives he must wash himself with water and then at sunset he may reenter the camp.

23:12 You are to have a place outside the camp to serve as a latrine. 23:13 You must have a spade among your other equipment and when you relieve yourself outside you must dig a hole with the spade and then turn and cover your excrement. 23:14 For the Lord your God walks about in the middle of your camp to deliver you and defeat your enemies for you. Therefore your camp should be holy, so that he does not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.

Purity in the Treatment of the Nonprivileged

23:15 You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you. 23:16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages he prefers; you must not oppress him.

Purity in Cultic Personnel

23:17 There must never be a sacred prostitute among the young women of Israel nor a sacred male prostitute among the young men of Israel. 23:18 You must never bring the pay of a female prostitute or the wage of a male prostitute into the temple of the Lord your God in fulfillment of any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the Lord your God.

Respect for Others’ Property

23:19 You must not charge interest on a loan to your fellow Israelite, whether on money, food, or anything else that has been loaned with interest. 23:20 You may lend with interest to a foreigner, but not to your fellow Israelite; if you keep this command the Lord your God will bless you in all you undertake in the land you are about to enter to possess. 23:21 When you make a vow to the Lord your God you must not delay in fulfilling it, for otherwise he will surely hold you accountable as a sinner. 23:22 If you refrain from making a vow, it will not be sinful. 23:23 Whatever you vow, you must be careful to do what you have promised, such as what you have vowed to the Lord your God as a freewill offering. 23:24 When you enter the vineyard of your neighbor you may eat as many grapes as you please, but you must not take away any in a container. 23:25 When you go into the ripe grain fields of your neighbor you may pluck off the kernels with your hand, but you must not use a sickle on your neighbor’s ripe grain.

24:1 If a man marries a woman and she does not please him because he has found something offensive in her, then he may draw up a divorce document, give it to her, and evict her from his house. 24:2 When she has left him she may go and become someone else’s wife. 24:3 If the second husband rejects her and then divorces her, gives her the papers, and evicts her from his house, or if the second husband who married her dies, 24:4 her first husband who divorced her is not permitted to remarry her after she has become ritually impure, for that is offensive to the Lord. You must not bring guilt on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

24:5 When a man is newly married, he need not go into the army nor be obligated in any way; he must be free to stay at home for a full year and bring joy to the wife he has married.

24:6 One must not take either lower or upper millstones as security on a loan, for that is like taking a life itself as security.

24:7 If a man is found kidnapping a person from among his fellow Israelites, and regards him as mere property and sells him, that kidnapper must die. In this way you will purge evil from among you.

Respect for Human Dignity

24:8 Be careful during an outbreak of leprosy to follow precisely all that the Levitical priests instruct you; as I have commanded them, so you should do. 24:9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam along the way after you left Egypt.

24:10 When you make any kind of loan to your neighbor, you may not go into his house to claim what he is offering as security. 24:11 You must stand outside and the person to whom you are making the loan will bring out to you what he is offering as security. 24:12 If the person is poor you may not use what he gives you as security for a covering. 24:13 You must by all means return to him at sunset the item he gave you as security so that he may sleep in his outer garment and bless you for it; it will be considered a just deed by the Lord your God.

24:14 You must not oppress a lowly and poor servant, whether one from among your fellow Israelites or from the resident foreigners who are living in your land and villages. 24:15 You must pay his wage that very day before the sun sets, for he is poor and his life depends on it. Otherwise he will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

24:16 Fathers must not be put to death for what their children do, nor children for what their fathers do; each must be put to death for his own sin.

24:17 You must not pervert justice due a resident foreigner or an orphan, or take a widow’s garment as security for a loan. 24:18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do all this. 24:19 Whenever you reap your harvest in your field and leave some unraked grain there, you must not return to get it; it should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow so that the Lord your God may bless all the work you do. 24:20 When you beat your olive tree you must not repeat the procedure; the remaining olives belong to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. 24:21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard you must not do so a second time; they should go to the resident foreigner, orphan, and widow. 24:22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; therefore, I am commanding you to do all this.

25:1 If controversy arises between people, they should go to court for judgment. When the judges hear the case, they shall exonerate the innocent but condemn the guilty. 25:2 Then, if the guilty person is sentenced to a beating, the judge shall force him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of blows his wicked behavior deserves. 25:3 The judge may sentence him to forty blows, but no more. If he is struck with more than these, you might view your fellow Israelite with contempt.

25:4 You must not muzzle your ox when it is treading grain.

Respect for the Sanctity of Others

25:5 If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead man’s wife must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husband’s brother must go to her, marry her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 25:6 Then the first son she bears will continue the name of the dead brother, thus preventing his name from being blotted out of Israel. 25:7 But if the man does not want to marry his brother’s widow, then she must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me!” 25:8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I don’t want to marry her,” 25:9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brother’s family line!” 25:10 His family name will be referred to in Israel as “the family of the one whose sandal was removed.”

25:11 If two men get into a hand-to-hand fight, and the wife of one of them gets involved to help her husband against his attacker, and she reaches out her hand and grabs his genitals, 25:12 then you must cut off her hand – do not pity her.

25:13 You must not have in your bag different stone weights, a heavy and a light one. 25:14 You must not have in your house different measuring containers, a large and a small one. 25:15 You must have an accurate and correct stone weight and an accurate and correct measuring container, so that your life may be extended in the land the Lord your God is about to give you. 25:16 For anyone who acts dishonestly in these ways is abhorrent to the Lord your God.

Treatment of the Amalekites

25:17 Remember what the Amalekites did to you on your way from Egypt, 25:18 how they met you along the way and cut off all your stragglers in the rear of the march when you were exhausted and tired; they were unafraid of God. 25:19 So when the Lord your God gives you relief from all the enemies who surround you in the land he is giving you as an inheritance, you must wipe out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven – do not forget!

Prayer

Lord, You have consistently called upon us to walk before you in integrity and to treat one another with honor. May I intentionally pursue integrity in my life and treat fellow believers with honor.

Scripture In Perspective

Limitations upon access to the tabernacle were placed upon those who opposed the Israelites on their way to the promised land and on those who served in pagan rituals (the reference to altered genitals, or castration). [Note: The NET translators observe that this text does not restrict access to God for those with birth defects or injuries.]

Personal hygiene was part of the ritual cleanliness of the Israelite soldiers as they entered battle if they were to expect the Lord God to be among them.

A runaway slave was not to be forcibly returned to his master but allowed to remain. [The text is unclear but the overall prior context suggests this may refer only to slaves of non-Israelites.]

Israelites were forbidden to participate in pagan temple prostitution and no money belonging to them was ever to be brought into the tabernacle.

Israelites were not allowed to charge one-another interest on a loan, if an oath (promise) was made it had to be kept to avoid sin, and one was permitted to eat of a neighbor’s grain or grapes while passing through his property but one was not allowed to fill a container or use a tool to harvest.

A man was allowed to divorce his wife and she was then allowed to remarry, but if her second husband died or divorced her she was not permitted to return to the first.

A newlywed military-age man was allowed to stay at home with his wife for a full year before serving in the military.

Because a millstone was necessary to grinding grains to eat they were not allowed to be taken as security on a loan.

Kidnapping and selling a fellow Israelite was punishable by death.

One was not permitted to enter a person’s home to collect the item offered as security but rather respect his home and wait outside.

If a poor Israelite used a warm outer garment as security for a loan the garment was to be returned each night so that he’d be warm. A poor person was to be paid on time as they were dependent on the money to survive.

Each Israelite was to receive punishment for their own crime/sin; a father was not to be punished for the sin of the son nor the son for his father.

They were reminded that they were once slaves so they were to treat resident foreigners and orphans with justice the same as an Israelite and an Israelite from an intact family. A widow’s garment was not to be taken as security for a loan.

So that a poor resident foreigner, widow, or orphan might have something to eat the harvesting of crops and vineyards was to allow a little to remain for them to harvest to survive.

Controversies not resolved among Israelites were to be brought to a judge. If one was judged guilty one would lie on the floor to receive a flogging, but not more than 40 strikes as that would be so severe as to imply disrespect for a fellow Israelite as a member of God’s chosen people, rather than a corrective punishment to encourage changed future behavior.

If a man died his brother was to marry his widow and their first-born son was to take his deceased brother-in-laws name to continue the family name. If he refuses then the widow was to bring him to the elders and if he still refused he would be socially-disrespected. [The text does not at this place specify any further remedy for the widow, either presuming that the social pressure would force compliance, or that she would remarry and take her inheritance out of her dead husband and uncooperative brother-in-law’s family.]

The use of dishonest weights and measures in the marketplace to cheat customers was forbidden. Israelites were to deal honestly with one another in all things.

Once the Israelites completed their conquest of the promised land they were to obliterate the Amalekites who had attacked them on their travel from Egypt.

Interact With The Text

Consider

Integrity, justice, and mutual respect were required of the Israelites by the Lord God. The continuance of biological family lines within the tribes was unique to the Old Testament, it is not a New Testament/new covenant value, multiplication of believers without regard to family history is instead.

Discuss

Why would God deem it necessary to regulate so many elements of Israelite life?

Reflect

While other peoples worshiped false pagan gods who emphasized greed and power the Lord God attended to the details of caring and integrity and justice. Ethical treatment of Israelites in the legal system, marketplace, and relationships reflected their unique standing as the people of God.

Share

When have you been blessed by a fellow believer who was a conduit of God’s grace? When have you been mistreated by a fellow believer, or observed another being mistreated? How did that impact the well-being of the fellowship and/or your sense of community and social safety?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you an opportunity to pour caring and respect into the life of a fellow believer.

Act

Today I will seize the opportunity given me by the Holy Spirit. I will share His blessings, encourage the downtrodden, and promote equal value for all in the family of believers.

Be Specific _________________________________________________

Wednesday (Deuteronomy 26 – 28:14)

Presentation of the First Fruits

26:1 When you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you occupy it and live in it, 26:2 you must take the first of all the ground’s produce you harvest from the land the Lord your God is giving you, place it in a basket, and go to the place where he chooses to locate his name. 26:3 You must go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord promised to our ancestors to give us.” 26:4 The priest will then take the basket from you and set it before the altar of the Lord your God. 26:5 Then you must affirm before the Lord your God, “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor, and he went down to Egypt and lived there as a foreigner with a household few in number, but there he became a great, powerful, and numerous people. 26:6 But the Egyptians mistreated and oppressed us, forcing us to do burdensome labor. 26:7 So we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and he heard us and saw our humiliation, toil, and oppression. 26:8 Therefore the Lord brought us out of Egypt with tremendous strength and power, as well as with great awe-inspiring signs and wonders. 26:9 Then he brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 26:10 So now, look! I have brought the first of the ground’s produce that you, Lord, have given me.” Then you must set it down before the Lord your God and worship before him. 26:11 You will celebrate all the good things that the Lord your God has given you and your family, along with the Levites and the resident foreigners among you.

Presentation of the Third-year Tithe

26:12 When you finish tithing all your income in the third year (the year of tithing), you must give it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows so that they may eat to their satisfaction in your villages. 26:13 Then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred offering from my house and given it to the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows just as you have commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten your commandments. 26:14 I have not eaten anything when I was in mourning, or removed any of it while ceremonially unclean, or offered any of it to the dead; I have obeyed you and have done everything you have commanded me. 26:15 Look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us, just as you promised our ancestors – a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Narrative Interlude

26:16 Today the Lord your God is commanding you to keep these statutes and ordinances, something you must do with all your heart and soul. 26:17 Today you have declared the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commandments, and ordinances, and obey him. 26:18 And today the Lord has declared you to be his special people (as he already promised you) so you may keep all his commandments. 26:19 Then he will elevate you above all the nations he has made and you will receive praise, fame, and honor. You will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he has said.

The Assembly at Shechem

27:1 Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Pay attention to all the commandments I am giving you today. 27:2 When you cross the Jordan River to the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must erect great stones and cover them with plaster. 27:3 Then you must inscribe on them all the words of this law when you cross over, so that you may enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, said to you. 27:4 So when you cross the Jordan you must erect on Mount Ebal these stones about which I am commanding you today, and you must cover them with plaster. 27:5 Then you must build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones – do not use an iron tool on them. 27:6 You must build the altar of the Lord your God with whole stones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. 27:7 Also you must offer fellowship offerings and eat them there, rejoicing before the Lord your God. 27:8 You must inscribe on the stones all the words of this law, making them clear.”

27:9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel: “Be quiet and pay attention, Israel. Today you have become the people of the Lord your God. 27:10 You must obey him and keep his commandments and statutes that I am giving you today.” 27:11 Moreover, Moses commanded the people that day: 27:12 “The following tribes must stand to bless the people on Mount Gerizim when you cross the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 27:13 And these other tribes must stand for the curse on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

The Covenant Curses

27:14 “The Levites will call out to every Israelite with a loud voice: 27:15 ‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or metal image – something abhorrent to the Lord, the work of the craftsman – and sets it up in a secret place.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:16 ‘Cursed is the one who disrespects his father and mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:17 ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:18 ‘Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:19 ‘Cursed is the one who perverts justice for the resident foreigner, the orphan, and the widow.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:20 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his father’s former wife, for he dishonors his father.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:21 ‘Cursed is the one who commits bestiality.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:22 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his sister, the daughter of either his father or mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:23 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:24 ‘Cursed is the one who kills his neighbor in private.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:25 ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 27:26 ‘Cursed is the one who refuses to keep the words of this law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’

The Covenant Blessings

28:1 “If you indeed obey the Lord your God and are careful to observe all his commandments I am giving you today, the Lord your God will elevate you above all the nations of the earth. 28:2 All these blessings will come to you in abundance if you obey the Lord your God: 28:3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the field. 28:4 Your children will be blessed, as well as the produce of your soil, the offspring of your livestock, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. 28:5 Your basket and your mixing bowl will be blessed. 28:6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. 28:7 The Lord will cause your enemies who attack you to be struck down before you; they will attack you from one direction but flee from you in seven different directions. 28:8 The Lord will decree blessing for you with respect to your barns and in everything you do – yes, he will bless you in the land he is giving you. 28:9 The Lord will designate you as his holy people just as he promised you, if you keep his commandments and obey him. 28:10 Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to the Lord, and they will respect you. 28:11 The Lord will greatly multiply your children, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil in the land which he promised your ancestors he would give you. 28:12 The Lord will open for you his good treasure house, the heavens, to give you rain for the land in its season and to bless all you do; you will lend to many nations but you will not borrow from any. 28:13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always end up at the top and not at the bottom, if you obey his commandments which I am urging you today to be careful to do. 28:14 But you must not turn away from all the commandments I am giving you today, to either the right or left, nor pursue other gods and worship them.

Prayer

Lord, You remind us of Your blessings and our responsibilities in our covenant relationship with You – then in the Old Testament and now in the New Testament/new covenant. May I never forget what You have done for me and may I live more intentionally-obedient before You every day. You never keep us in the dark about the consequences of our choices. May I pause and pray and reconsider, as Your Holy Spirit guides, before making decisions which consequences I am in any way in doubt.

Scripture In Perspective

Moses reviewed the history of the Exodus, the importance of surrendering the first-fruits in recognition that everything good was a gift from God, and the need to be faithful to receive continued blessings.

Moses instructed the Levites to call out the covenant curses for disobedience and the people to echo them.

The Lord God had Moses remind the people of all of His covenant promises to bless them.

He concluded the recitation of blessings with the conditional “... if you obey his commandments which I am urging you today to be careful to do. But you must not turn away from all the commandments I am giving you today, to either the right or left, nor pursue other gods and worship them.”

He then followed the list of blessings, and the condition of obedience to continue to receive them, with the corollary reverse-blessing list of curses which would befall them should they choose to violate their covenant with God.

Interact With The Text

Consider

The desire of God to bless His created humankind has not ceased since the Garden of Eden, neither has our propensity to rebel.

Discuss

Can you think of any way the Lord God could have made the consequences of obedience versus disobedience more plain to the Israelites? What would be the value of the Levites reciting the covenant curses and the people repeating them back?

Reflect

The list of curses should have frightened anyone and everyone into the obedience that results from enlightened self-interest if the list of blessings had not drawn them into grateful obedience.

Share

When have you known that the consequences of two choices represented radically opposite good and bad experiences for you and you still chose to risk the bad?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of blessings God has given to you and to reveal to you a specific blessing, and a curse, which face you in choices you will have to make.

Act

Today I will pause to take the time to recall the many ways that the Lord God has blessed me. I will share that testimony with a fellow believer and together we will praise the Lord. I will partner closely with the Holy Spirit to investigate carefully and fully the decision ahead for which the consequences are extreme and opposite. I will submit to His gift of wisdom, despite the desires of my flesh, and choose His best path for my life. I will share this experience with a fellow believer as an encouragement to them to do the same, and as a praise report of the loving-care of God in my life.

Be Specific ________________________________________________

Thursday (Deuteronomy 28:15 - 30)

Curses as Reversal of Blessings

28:15 “But if you ignore the Lord your God and are not careful to keep all his commandments and statutes I am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force: 28:16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the field. 28:17 Your basket and your mixing bowl will be cursed. 28:18 Your children will be cursed, as well as the produce of your soil, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. 28:19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

Curses by Disease and Drought

28:20 “The Lord will send on you a curse, confusing you and opposing you in everything you undertake until you are destroyed and quickly perish because of the evil of your deeds, in that you have forsaken me. 28:21 The Lord will plague you with deadly diseases until he has completely removed you from the land you are about to possess. 28:22 He will afflict you with weakness, fever, inflammation, infection, sword, blight, and mildew; these will attack you until you perish. 28:23 The sky above your heads will be bronze and the earth beneath you iron. 28:24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; it will come down on you from the sky until you are destroyed.

Curses by Defeat and Deportation

28:25 “The Lord will allow you to be struck down before your enemies; you will attack them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions and will become an object of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 28:26 Your carcasses will be food for every bird of the sky and wild animal of the earth, and there will be no one to chase them off. 28:27 The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, eczema, and scabies, all of which cannot be healed. 28:28 The Lord will also subject you to madness, blindness, and confusion of mind. 28:29 You will feel your way along at noon like the blind person does in darkness and you will not succeed in anything you do; you will be constantly oppressed and continually robbed, with no one to save you. 28:30 You will be engaged to a woman and another man will rape her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not even begin to use it. 28:31 Your ox will be slaughtered before your very eyes but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be stolen from you as you watch and will not be returned to you. Your flock of sheep will be given to your enemies and there will be no one to save you. 28:32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while you look on in vain all day, and you will be powerless to do anything about it. 28:33 As for the produce of your land and all your labor, a people you do not know will consume it, and you will be nothing but oppressed and crushed for the rest of your lives. 28:34 You will go insane from seeing all this. 28:35 The Lord will afflict you in your knees and on your legs with painful, incurable boils – from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. 28:36 The Lord will force you and your king whom you will appoint over you to go away to a people whom you and your ancestors have not known, and you will serve other gods of wood and stone there. 28:37 You will become an occasion of horror, a proverb, and an object of ridicule to all the peoples to whom the Lord will drive you.

The Curse of Reversed Status

28:38 “You will take much seed to the field but gather little harvest, because locusts will consume it. 28:39 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them, but you will not drink wine or gather in grapes, because worms will eat them. 28:40 You will have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with olive oil, because the olives will drop off the trees while still unripe. 28:41 You will bear sons and daughters but not keep them, because they will be taken into captivity. 28:42 Whirring locusts will take over every tree and all the produce of your soil. 28:43 The foreigners who reside among you will become higher and higher over you and you will become lower and lower. 28:44 They will lend to you but you will not lend to them; they will become the head and you will become the tail!

28:45 All these curses will fall on you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping his commandments and statutes that he has given you. 28:46 These curses will be a perpetual sign and wonder with reference to you and your descendants.

The Curse of Military Siege

28:47 “Because you have not served the Lord your God joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have, 28:48 instead in hunger, thirst, nakedness, and poverty you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. They will place an iron yoke on your neck until they have destroyed you. 28:49 The Lord will raise up a distant nation against you, one from the other side of the earth as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 28:50 a nation of stern appearance that will have no regard for the elderly or pity for the young. 28:51 They will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil until you are destroyed. They will not leave you with any grain, new wine, olive oil, calves of your herds, or lambs of your flocks until they have destroyed you. 28:52 They will besiege all of your villages until all of your high and fortified walls collapse – those in which you put your confidence throughout the land. They will besiege all your villages throughout the land the Lord your God has given you. 28:53 You will then eat your own offspring, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the severity of the siege by which your enemies will constrict you. 28:54 The man among you who is by nature tender and sensitive will turn against his brother, his beloved wife, and his remaining children. 28:55 He will withhold from all of them his children’s flesh that he is eating (since there is nothing else left), because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict you in your villages. 28:56 Likewise, the most tender and delicate of your women, who would never think of putting even the sole of her foot on the ground because of her daintiness, will turn against her beloved husband, her sons and daughters, 28:57 and will secretly eat her afterbirth and her newborn children (since she has nothing else), because of the severity of the siege by which your enemy will constrict you in your villages.

The Curse of Covenant Termination

28:58 “If you refuse to obey all the words of this law, the things written in this scroll, and refuse to fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, 28:59 then the Lord will increase your punishments and those of your descendants – great and long-lasting afflictions and severe, enduring illnesses. 28:60 He will infect you with all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will persistently afflict you. 28:61 Moreover, the Lord will bring upon you every kind of sickness and plague not mentioned in this scroll of commandments, until you have perished. 28:62 There will be very few of you left, though at one time you were as numerous as the stars in the sky, because you will have disobeyed the Lord your God. 28:63 This is what will happen: Just as the Lord delighted to do good for you and make you numerous, he will take delight in destroying and decimating you. You will be uprooted from the land you are about to possess. 28:64 The Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. 28:65 Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair. 28:66 Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be terrified by night and day and will have no certainty of surviving from one day to the next. 28:67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’ because of the things you will fear and the things you will see. 28:68 Then the Lord will make you return to Egypt by ship, over a route I said to you that you would never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

Narrative Interlude

29:1 (28:69) These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.

The Exodus, Wandering, and Conquest Reviewed

29:2 Moses proclaimed to all Israel as follows: “You have seen all that the Lord did in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, all his servants, and his land. 29:3 Your eyes have seen the great judgments, those signs and mighty wonders. 29:4 But to this very day the Lord has not given you an understanding mind, perceptive eyes, or discerning ears! 29:5 I have led you through the desert for forty years. Your clothing has not worn out nor have your sandals deteriorated. 29:6 You have eaten no bread and drunk no wine or beer – all so that you might know that I am the Lord your God! 29:7 When you came to this place King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to make war and we defeated them. 29:8 Then we took their land and gave it as an inheritance to Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh.

The Present Covenant Setting

29:9 “Therefore, keep the terms of this covenant and obey them so that you may be successful in everything you do. 29:10 You are standing today, all of you, before the Lord your God – the heads of your tribes, your elders, your officials, every Israelite man, 29:11 your infants, your wives, and the foreigners living in your encampment, those who chop wood and those who carry water – 29:12 so that you may enter by oath into the covenant the Lord your God is making with you today. 29:13 Today he will affirm that you are his people and that he is your God, just as he promised you and as he swore by oath to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29:14 It is not with you alone that I am making this covenant by oath, 29:15 but with whoever stands with us here today before the Lord our God as well as those not with us here today.

The Results of Disobedience

29:16 “(For you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we crossed through the nations as we traveled. 29:17 You have seen their detestable things and idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold.) 29:18 Beware that the heart of no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you turns away from the Lord our God today to pursue and serve the gods of those nations; beware that there is among you no root producing poisonous and bitter fruit. 29:19 When such a person hears the words of this oath he secretly blesses himself and says, “I will have peace though I continue to walk with a stubborn spirit.” This will destroy the watered ground with the parched. 29:20 The Lord will be unwilling to forgive him, and his intense anger will rage against that man; all the curses written in this scroll will fall upon him and the Lord will obliterate his name from memory. 29:21 The Lord will single him out for judgment from all the tribes of Israel according to all the curses of the covenant written in this scroll of the law. 29:22 The generation to come – your descendants who will rise up after you, as well as the foreigner who will come from distant places – will see the afflictions of that land and the illnesses that the Lord has brought on it. 29:23 The whole land will be covered with brimstone, salt, and burning debris; it will not be planted nor will it sprout or produce grass. It will resemble the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord destroyed in his intense anger. 29:24 Then all the nations will ask, “Why has the Lord done all this to this land? What is this fierce, heated display of anger all about?” 29:25 Then people will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 29:26 They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods they did not know and that he did not permit them to worship. 29:27 That is why the Lord’s anger erupted against this land, bringing on it all the curses written in this scroll. 29:28 So the Lord has uprooted them from their land in anger, wrath, and great rage and has deported them to another land, as is clear today.” 29:29 Secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those that are revealed belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we might obey all the words of this law.

The Results of Covenant Reaffirmation

30:1 “When you have experienced all these things, both the blessings and the curses I have set before you, you will reflect upon them in all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you. 30:2 Then if you and your descendants turn to the Lord your God and obey him with your whole mind and being just as I am commanding you today, 30:3 the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he has scattered you. 30:4 Even if your exiles are in the most distant land, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 30:5 Then he will bring you to the land your ancestors possessed and you also will possess it; he will do better for you and multiply you more than he did your ancestors. 30:6 The Lord your God will also cleanse your heart and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love him with all your mind and being and so that you may live. 30:7 Then the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hate you and persecute you. 30:8 You will return and obey the Lord, keeping all his commandments I am giving you today. 30:9 The Lord your God will make the labor of your hands abundantly successful and multiply your children, the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For the Lord your God will once more rejoice over you to make you prosperous just as he rejoiced over your ancestors, 30:10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him with your whole mind and being.

Exhortation to Covenant Obedience

30:11 “This commandment I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote. 30:12 It is not in heaven, as though one must say, “Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 30:13 And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, “Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 30:14 For the thing is very near you – it is in your mouth and in your mind so that you can do it.

30:15 “Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. 30:16 What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are about to possess. 30:17 However, if you turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods, 30:18 I declare to you this very day that you will certainly perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. 30:19 Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live! 30:20 I also call on you to love the Lord your God, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Prayer

Lord, You never keep us in the dark about the consequences of our choices. May I pause and pray and reconsider, as Your Holy Spirit guides, before making decisions which consequences I am in any way in doubt. You bless us as much as we damaged vessels may hold, and You hold us accountable for our choices. May I seek Your healing from my imperfect faith that this vessel may be useful to You in pouring Yourself in and through me to others. You know that we are often foolish and chronically-rebellious. May Your Holy Spirit find me teachable that I may learn to live by Your wisdom and follow Your path for my life.

Scripture In Perspective

The Lord God had Moses remind the people of all of His covenant promises to bless them.

He concluded the recitation of blessings with the conditional “... if you obey his commandments which I am urging you today to be careful to do. But you must not turn away from all the commandments I am giving you today, to either the right or left, nor pursue other gods and worship them.”

He then followed the list of blessings, and the condition of obedience to continue to receive them, with the corollary reverse-blessing list of curses which would befall them should they choose to violate their covenant with God.

Moses, at the Lord God’s prompting, reminded the Israelites of what He had done for them.

He then reminded them that God had not yet given them “... an understanding mind, perceptive eyes, or discerning ears”, not because He did not want that for them, their rebellious natures made them unsuitable vessels.

God had caused Moses to assemble the entire nation of Israel because He wanted to make it clear that the covenant was not only with Moses or even the elders but with every Israelite no matter his or her age, gender, or social status.

The Lord God warned than no one among His covenant people must rebel and worship false Gods or else trouble would come to all.

Moses describes for the Israelites God’s willingness to restore them if, due to their disobedient rebellion they find themselves scattered and in captivity, and reminds them that God’s condition; they must then “... turn to him with your whole mind and being.”

The Lord God communicated to the Israelites that they were without excuse; not able to claim that the expectations of them were hidden in Heaven or across the sea, but that they had full knowledge of His expectations “What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances.”

He reminded them of His desired blessings and His certain punishment and then a remind as to Who He was to them “... he gives you life and enables you to live continually in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Interact With The Text

Consider

The desire of God to bless His created humankind has not ceased since the Garden of Eden, neither has our propensity to rebel. The choices of each member of the nation of Israel had an impact upon the others. The Lord God warned them that their future depended upon their future choices.

Discuss

Can you think of any way the Lord God could have made the consequences of obedience versus disobedience more plain to the Israelites? What may have been reaction to the sudden and profound sense of accountability and conviction when everyone was informed that God’s covenant, for blessing or curse, was made directly with each of them? (Prior to this time the people had rationalized that Moses was their intermediary and therefore they could make poor choices and he would intervene on their behalf.) With all that God had done, and this very clear warning, how could any Israelite not obey – if not in loving gratefulness then in abject terror?

Reflect

The list of curses should have frightened anyone and everyone into the obedience that results from enlightened self-interest if the list of blessings had not drawn them into grateful obedience. There are some things that are secrets that belong to God alone, we don’t need to know all the answers to submit to His perfect Lordship. How different are we, knowing that God sees all, we still rebel and make ourselves poor vessels for blessing?

Share

When have you known that the consequences of two choices represented radically opposite good and bad experiences for you and you still chose to risk the bad? When have you been in a fellowship where the impact of the unrighteous choice(s) of one of your fellow members had a profound impact? When have you known the right thing to do and the probable consequences of the wrong choice yet you persisted in doing what was wrong? What happened?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a place in your life where your poor choices are having a negative effect on your family, your friends, and/or your fellowship.

Act

Today I will partner closely with the Holy Spirit to investigate carefully and fully the decision ahead for which the consequences are extreme and opposite. I will submit to His gift of wisdom, despite the desires of my flesh, and choose His best path for my life. I will share this experience with a fellow believer as an encouragement to them to do the same, and as a praise report of the loving-care of God in my life. I will repent of my unrighteous choice(s) and partner with the Holy Spirit to purge them from my life. I will share this challenge with one other believer, or as-appropriate with a small group, and ask them to pray in-agreement for my faithfulness and to help hold me accountable. I will confess and repent of my wrong choice and allow the Holy Spirit to restore me to a more-whole relationship with Him.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Friday (Deuteronomy 31 - 32)

Succession of Moses by Joshua

31:1 Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 31:2 He said to them, “Today I am a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about, and the Lord has said to me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’ 31:3 As for the Lord your God, he is about to cross over before you; he will destroy these nations before you and dispossess them. As for Joshua, he is about to cross before you just as the Lord has said. 31:4 The Lord will do to them just what he did to Sihon and Og, the Amorite kings, and to their land, which he destroyed. 31:5 The Lord will deliver them over to you and you will do to them according to the whole commandment I have given you. 31:6 Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!” 31:7 Then Moses called out to Joshua in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you will accompany these people to the land that the Lord promised to give their ancestors, and you will enable them to inherit it. 31:8 The Lord is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”

The Deposit of the Covenant Text

31:9 Then Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carry the ark of the Lord’s covenant, and to all Israel’s elders. 31:10 He commanded them: “At the end of seven years, at the appointed time of the cancellation of debts, at the Feast of Temporary Shelters, 31:11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses, you must read this law before them within their hearing. 31:12 Gather the people – men, women, and children, as well as the resident foreigners in your villages – so they may hear and thus learn about and fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the words of this law. 31:13 Then their children, who have not known this law, will also hear about and learn to fear the Lord your God for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

The Commissioning of Joshua

31:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The day of your death is near. Summon Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting so that I can commission him.” So Moses and Joshua presented themselves in the tent of meeting. 31:15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud that stood above the door of the tent. 31:16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “You are about to die, and then these people will begin to prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land into which they are going. They will reject me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 31:17 At that time my anger will erupt against them and I will abandon them and hide my face from them until they are devoured. Many disasters and distresses will overcome them so that they will say at that time, ‘Have not these disasters overcome us because our God is not among us?’ 31:18 But I will certainly hide myself at that time because of all the wickedness they will have done by turning to other gods. 31:19 Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths so that this song may serve as my witness against the Israelites! 31:20 For after I have brought them to the land I promised to their ancestors – one flowing with milk and honey – and they eat their fill and become fat, then they will turn to other gods and worship them; they will reject me and break my covenant. 31:21 Then when many disasters and distresses overcome them this song will testify against them, for their descendants will not forget it. I know the intentions they have in mind today, even before I bring them to the land I have promised.” 31:22 So on that day Moses wrote down this song and taught it to the Israelites, 31:23 and the Lord commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will take the Israelites to the land I have promised them, and I will be with you.”

Anticipation of Disobedience

31:24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 31:25 he commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. It will remain there as a witness against you, 31:27 for I know about your rebellion and stubbornness. Indeed, even while I have been living among you to this very day, you have rebelled against the Lord; you will be even more rebellious after my death! 31:28 Gather to me all your tribal elders and officials so I can speak to them directly about these things and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 31:29 For I know that after I die you will totally corrupt yourselves and turn away from the path I have commanded you to walk. Disaster will confront you in the days to come because you will act wickedly before the Lord, inciting him to anger because of your actions.” 31:30 Then Moses recited the words of this song from start to finish in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel.

Invocation of Witnesses

32:1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;

hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

32:2 My teaching will drop like the rain,

my sayings will drip like the dew,

as rain drops upon the grass,

and showers upon new growth.

32:3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;

you must acknowledge the greatness of our God.

32:4 As for the Rock, his work is perfect,

for all his ways are just.

He is a reliable God who is never unjust,

he is fair and upright.

32:5 His people have been unfaithful to him;

they have not acted like his children – this is their sin.

They are a perverse and deceitful generation.

32:6 Is this how you repay the Lord,

you foolish, unwise people?

Is he not your father, your creator?

He has made you and established you.

32:7 Remember the ancient days;

bear in mind the years of past generations.

Ask your father and he will inform you,

your elders, and they will tell you.

32:8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,

when he divided up humankind,

he set the boundaries of the peoples,

according to the number of the heavenly assembly.

32:9 For the Lord’s allotment is his people,

Jacob is his special possession.

32:10 The Lord found him in a desolate land,

in an empty wasteland where animals howl.

He continually guarded him and taught him;

he continually protected him like the pupil of his eye.

32:11 Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

that hovers over its young,

so the Lord spread out his wings and took him,

he lifted him up on his pinions.

32:12 The Lord alone was guiding him,

no foreign god was with him.

32:13 He enabled him to travel over the high terrain of the land,

and he ate of the produce of the fields.

He provided honey for him from the cliffs,

and olive oil from the hardest of rocks,

32:14 butter from the herd

and milk from the flock,

along with the fat of lambs,

rams and goats of Bashan,

along with the best of the kernels of wheat;

and from the juice of grapes you drank wine.

Israel’s Rebellion

32:15 But Jeshurun became fat and kicked,

you got fat, thick, and stuffed!

Then he deserted the God who made him,

and treated the Rock who saved him with contempt.

32:16 They made him jealous with other gods,

they enraged him with abhorrent idols.

32:17 They sacrificed to demons, not God,

to gods they had not known;

to new gods who had recently come along,

gods your ancestors had not known about.

32:18 You have forgotten the Rock who fathered you,

and put out of mind the God who gave you birth.

A Word of Judgment

32:19 But the Lord took note and despised them

because his sons and daughters enraged him.

32:20 He said, “I will reject them,

I will see what will happen to them;

for they are a perverse generation,

children who show no loyalty.

32:21 They have made me jealous with false gods,

enraging me with their worthless gods;

so I will make them jealous with a people they do not recognize,

with a nation slow to learn I will enrage them.

32:22 For a fire has been kindled by my anger,

and it burns to lowest Sheol;

it consumes the earth and its produce,

and ignites the foundations of the mountains.

32:23 I will increase their disasters,

I will use up my arrows on them.

32:24 They will be starved by famine,

eaten by plague, and bitterly stung;

I will send the teeth of wild animals against them,

along with the poison of creatures that crawl in the dust.

32:25 The sword will make people childless outside,

and terror will do so inside;

they will destroy both the young man and the virgin,

the infant and the gray-haired man.

The Weakness of Other Gods

32:26 “I said, ‘I want to cut them in pieces.

I want to make people forget they ever existed.

32:27 But I fear the reaction of their enemies,

for their adversaries would misunderstand

and say, “Our power is great,

and the Lord has not done all this!”‘

32:28 They are a nation devoid of wisdom,

and there is no understanding among them.

32:29 I wish that they were wise and could understand this,

and that they could comprehend what will happen to them.”

32:30 How can one man chase a thousand of them,

and two pursue ten thousand;

unless their Rock had delivered them up,

and the Lord had handed them over?

32:31 For our enemies’ rock is not like our Rock,

as even our enemies concede.

32:32 For their vine is from the stock of Sodom,

and from the fields of Gomorrah.

Their grapes contain venom,

their clusters of grapes are bitter.

32:33 Their wine is snakes’ poison,

the deadly venom of cobras.

32:34 “Is this not stored up with me?” says the Lord,

“Is it not sealed up in my storehouses?

32:35 I will get revenge and pay them back

at the time their foot slips;

for the day of their disaster is near,

and the impending judgment is rushing upon them!”

32:36 The Lord will judge his people,

and will change his plans concerning his servants;

when he sees that their power has disappeared,

and that no one is left, whether confined or set free.

32:37 He will say, “Where are their gods,

the rock in whom they sought security,

32:38 who ate the best of their sacrifices,

and drank the wine of their drink offerings?

Let them rise and help you;

let them be your refuge!

The Vindication of the Lord

32:39 “See now that I, indeed I, am he!” says the Lord,

“and there is no other god besides me.

I kill and give life,

I smash and I heal,

and none can resist my power.

32:40 For I raise up my hand to heaven,

and say, ‘As surely as I live forever,

32:41 I will sharpen my lightning-like sword,

and my hand will grasp hold of the weapon of judgment;

I will execute vengeance on my foes,

and repay those who hate me!

32:42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,

and my sword will devour flesh –

the blood of the slaughtered and captured,

the chief of the enemy’s leaders!’”

32:43 Cry out, O nations, with his people,

for he will avenge his servants’ blood;

he will take vengeance against his enemies,

and make atonement for his land and people.

Narrative Interlude

32:44 Then Moses went with Joshua son of Nun and recited all the words of this song to the people. 32:45 When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel 32:46 he said to them, “Keep in mind all the words I am solemnly proclaiming to you today; you must command your children to observe carefully all the words of this law. 32:47 For this is no idle word for you – it is your life! By this word you will live a long time in the land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

Instructions about Moses’ Death

32:48 Then the Lord said to Moses that same day, 32:49 “Go up to this Abarim hill country, to Mount Nebo (which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho) and look at the land of Canaan that I am giving to the Israelites as a possession. 32:50 You will die on the mountain that you ascend and join your deceased ancestors, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and joined his deceased ancestors, 32:51 for both of you rebelled against me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the desert of Zin when you did not show me proper respect among the Israelites. 32:52 You will see the land before you, but you will not enter the land that I am giving to the Israelites.”

Prayer

Lord, You know our hearts, and so You know the foolish rebellion that resides within. May I not be so foolish as to imagine that I can hide anything from You but to instead live in Your truth. You have been so patient with Your people, then and now. You forgive and reconcile and restore, but that does not remove the scars of our rebellion. May I not stray far from You.

Scripture In Perspective

Moses informed the Israelites that he would not be traveling into the promised land with them but that Joshua would lead them in that next phase of their national history. He reminded them of what God had done to remove enemies from their path in the path as he encouraged them to not fear any who stood in their way.

Moses wrote down the covenant that he had been communicating to them from the Lord God and placed next to the Ark of the Covenant and instructed them to read it in seven years when God summoned them to a gathering place.

The Lord God called Moses and Joshua together at the Tent of Meeting where He commissioned Joshua and informed them both that once the Israelites had successfully conquered the promised land they would become careless and drift into the ways of the pagans and He would withdraw from their presence – resulting in all of the curses falling upon them.

He gave to Moses a song of encouragement for the people to share when they were scattered and in captivity. Moses recorded it and then he gathered the elders and warned them that God knew the hearts of the people contained the seeds of rebellion, that their rebellion would result in disaster, and then he taught them the song God had given him.

Moses recited, in a poetic/song form, a history of God’s faithfulness in contrast to the unfaithfulness of the people.

He told them of God’s great power, exercised to bless and protect them, and the consequences of their rebellion which caused Him to withdraw from them.

He told them of God’s forgiveness and grace and mercy, His desire to reconcile and restore, and His intent to punish those who attack and abuse His people.

Moses reminded the people to teach the story to the children so that none would forget.

The Lord then called Moses to the mountain where he could view the promised land but could not enter as he has disrespected God before the people in the desert when angrily and pridefully taking credit for bringing the water from the stone on the second such occasion.

Interact With The Text

Consider

God did not simply ask the Israelites to trust Him but to remember His past faithfulness and then to trust in His future promises. The Lord God reminds the people that when they draw near to Him they are blessed and when they move away from Him they suffer.

Discuss

What kind of love already provides a path to forgiveness and mercy, reconciliation and restoration even though it already knows the rebellion is coming? Why was the disrespect shown God by Moses significant enough to block him from entering the promised land?

Reflect

Even knowing that the Israelites would rebel God intended to keep His promise, His part of the covenant, and bring them into the promised land. At the same time God warned the people that their rebellious hearts would lead them away from His blessings He also promised them hope – if they turned back to Him He would rescue them.

Share

When have you told someone that even if they make wrong choices you would still love them and that you would still come to the line of reconciliation? When have you observed the consequences of a leader abusing authority for their own benefit?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where there is a seed of rebellion against God in you and to reveal to you a place in your life where you have drifted from the Lord and are suffering ill-consequences.

Act

Today I will recognize and confess that weak place in my life that the Holy Spirit has revealed. I will partner in prayer and repentance with the Holy Spirit, and one who is Biblically qualified as an elder, to walk through the process of purging my heart and mind of one dark place in me. I will share the testimony of God’s cleansing-healing of me with a new or stuck believer as an encouragement to them. I will confess, request and receive forgiveness, and repent (turn away) from my rebellion, however small it may seem to me. I will ask a fellow believer to partner with me, and the Holy Spirit, in accountability and prayer as I more-fully surrender to the Lordship of Christ through the Holy Spirit in this troubled area of my life.

Be Specific _____________________________________________

Saturday (Deuteronomy 33 – 34, Psalm 91)

Introduction to the Blessing of Moses

33:1 This is the blessing Moses the man of God pronounced upon the Israelites before his death. 33:2 He said:

A Historical Review

The Lord came from Sinai

and revealed himself to Israel from Seir.

He appeared in splendor from Mount Paran,

and came forth with ten thousand holy ones.

With his right hand he gave a fiery law to them.

33:3 Surely he loves the people;

all your holy ones are in your power.

And they sit at your feet,

each receiving your words.

33:4 Moses delivered to us a law,

an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob.

33:5 The Lord was king over Jeshurun,

when the leaders of the people assembled,

the tribes of Israel together.

Blessing on Reuben

33:6 May Reuben live and not die,

and may his people multiply.

Blessing on Judah

33:7 And this is the blessing to Judah. He said,

Listen, O Lord, to Judah’s voice,

and bring him to his people.

May his power be great,

and may you help him against his foes.

Blessing on Levi

33:8 Of Levi he said:

Your Thummim and Urim belong to your godly one,

whose authority you challenged at Massah,

and with whom you argued at the waters of Meribah.

33:9 He said to his father and mother, “I have not seen him,”

and he did not acknowledge his own brothers

or know his own children,

for they kept your word,

and guarded your covenant.

33:10 They will teach Jacob your ordinances

and Israel your law;

they will offer incense as a pleasant odor,

and a whole offering on your altar.

33:11 Bless, O Lord, his goods,

and be pleased with his efforts;

undercut the legs of any who attack him,

and of those who hate him, so that they cannot stand.

Blessing on Benjamin

33:12 Of Benjamin he said:

The beloved of the Lord will live safely by him;

he protects him all the time,

and the Lord places him on his chest.

Blessing on Joseph

33:13 Of Joseph he said:

May the Lord bless his land

with the harvest produced by the sky, by the dew,

and by the depths crouching beneath;

33:14 with the harvest produced by the daylight

and by the moonlight;

33:15 with the best of the ancient mountains

and the harvest produced by the age-old hills;

33:16 with the harvest of the earth and its fullness

and the pleasure of him who resided in the burning bush.

May blessing rest on Joseph’s head,

and on the top of the head of the one set apart from his brothers.

33:17 May the firstborn of his bull bring him honor,

and may his horns be those of a wild ox;

with them may he gore all peoples,

all the far reaches of the earth.

They are the ten thousands of Ephraim,

and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

Blessing on Zebulun and Issachar

33:18 Of Zebulun he said:

Rejoice, Zebulun, when you go outside,

and Issachar, when you are in your tents.

33:19 They will summon peoples to the mountain,

there they will sacrifice proper sacrifices;

for they will enjoy the abundance of the seas,

and the hidden treasures of the shores.

Blessing on Gad

33:20 Of Gad he said:

Blessed be the one who enlarges Gad.

Like a lioness he will dwell;

he will tear at an arm – indeed, a scalp.

33:21 He has selected the best part for himself,

for the portion of the ruler is set aside there;

he came with the leaders of the people,

he obeyed the righteous laws of the Lord

and his ordinances with Israel.

Blessing on Dan

33:22 Of Dan he said:

Dan is a lion’s cub;

he will leap forth from Bashan.

Blessing on Naphtali

33:23 Of Naphtali he said:

O Naphtali, overflowing with favor,

and full of the Lord’s blessing,

possess the west and south.

Blessing on Asher

33:24 Of Asher he said:

Asher is blessed with children,

may he be favored by his brothers

and may he dip his foot in olive oil.

33:25 The bars of your gates will be made of iron and bronze,

and may you have lifelong strength.

General Praise and Blessing

33:26 There is no one like God, O Jeshurun,

who rides through the sky to help you,

on the clouds in majesty.

33:27 The everlasting God is a refuge,

and underneath you are his eternal arms;

he has driven out enemies before you,

and has said, “Destroy!”

33:28 Israel lives in safety,

the fountain of Jacob is quite secure,

in a land of grain and new wine;

indeed, its heavens rain down dew.

33:29 You have joy, Israel! Who is like you?

You are a people delivered by the Lord,

your protective shield

and your exalted sword.

May your enemies cringe before you;

may you trample on their backs.

The Death of Moses

34:1 Then Moses ascended from the deserts of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the summit of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. The Lord showed him the whole land – Gilead to Dan, 34:2 and all of Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the distant sea, 34:3 the Negev, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of the date palm trees, as far as Zoar. 34:4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it, but you will not cross over there.”

34:5 So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab as the Lord had said. 34:6 He buried him in the land of Moab near Beth Peor, but no one knows his exact burial place to this very day. 34:7 Moses was 120 years old when he died, but his eye was not dull nor had his vitality departed. 34:8 The Israelites mourned for Moses in the deserts of Moab for thirty days; then the days of mourning for Moses ended.

The Epitaph of Moses

34:9 Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had placed his hands on him; and the Israelites listened to him and did just what the Lord had commanded Moses. 34:10 No prophet ever again arose in Israel like Moses, who knew the Lord face to face. 34:11 He did all the signs and wonders the Lord had sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, all his servants, and the whole land, 34:12 and he displayed great power and awesome might in view of all Israel.

Psalm 91

91:1 As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign One, and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty king –

91:2 I say this about the Lord, my shelter and my stronghold, my God in whom I trust –

91:3 he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter and from the destructive plague.

91:4 He will shelter you with his wings; you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.

91:5 You need not fear the terrors of the night, the arrow that flies by day,

91:6 the plague that comes in the darkness, or the disease that comes at noon.

91:7 Though a thousand may fall beside you, and a multitude on your right side, it will not reach you.

91:8 Certainly you will see it with your very own eyes – you will see the wicked paid back.

91:9 For you have taken refuge in the Lord, my shelter, the sovereign One.

91:10 No harm will overtake you; no illness will come near your home.

91:11 For he will order his angels to protect you in all you do.

91:12 They will lift you up in their hands, so you will not slip and fall on a stone.

91:13 You will subdue a lion and a snake; you will trample underfoot a young lion and a serpent.

91:14 The Lord says, “Because he is devoted to me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he is loyal to me.

91:15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him. I will be with him when he is in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him honor.

91:16 I will satisfy him with long life, and will let him see my salvation.

Prayer

Lord, You are a faithful and loving God across the generations. May I praise You name and trust You always.

Scripture In Perspective

Moses, just prior to his death, reviewed for the Israelites the blessings that the Lord God had promised and delivered to the Israelites, specifically to each of the tribes.

In his summary of general blessings upon the Israelites he intentionally used the title “Jeshurun”, which the NET translators define as meaning “be upright” - so that there was a clear understanding that God’s blessings were for an obedient people.

The Lord God showed Moses the promised land, from the mountaintop across the Jordan River, and then Moses died at 120 years of age and was buried in Moab.

Moses was the last prophet to have a nearly face to face level of contact with God. Joshua assumed leadership and the people generally followed him along the path Moses had announced from God.

The Psalm of praise of Moses reflects the nature of his intimate relationship with the Lord God and the love and reverence that flowed from it.

Interact With The Text

Consider

Moses made certain that before he died, and Joshua led the people into the promised land, they remembered what God had promised and had done for their tribes and for their nation as a whole.

Discuss

Imagine being a member of a tribe of Israel and hearing Moses recite the blessing of God that was specifically promised to your tribe – what honor, sense of purpose, and value would that create and what willingness to sacrifice as He might ask?

Reflect

Joshua’s credibility with the people would flow from God’s anointing, Moses’s affirmation, and from his role as God’s tool in fulfilling His plan to bring them into the promised land.

Share

When have you been commissioned to lead others in the fulfillment of a mission to which they had agreed and in which they found a lot of shared-value? Was your task made easier, in contrast to leading people without a clear vested self-interest in the project, as a result?

Faith In Action

Pray

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you some way that you may be useful in His great plan.

Act

Today I will joyfully receive the call of the Lord and prayerfully seek wisdom as to how I may serve Him. I will consult one who meets the Biblical definition of an elder for prayer and Biblical perspective to be certain that I have heard rightly from the Holy Spirit.

Be Specific _________________________________________________

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated - http://bible.org

Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.

Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.

Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2012 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study. Prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in August of 2012. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.