What does “Deuteronomy” mean?
- It means “the Law repeated”
What happens in the book?
- The Israelites had now been wandering for 40 years in the wilderness
- They were not far from the Promised Land
- The Law had originally been given to the older generation of Israelites
- They had now all died out due to lack of faith in God
- Moses repeats the Law of God to the new generation – Chapters 5-26
- Then Moses lists the blessings that Israel will receive if they follow his law, and the curses that will come upon them if they do not – Chapter 28
- Finally Moses blesses the Israelites, encourages them, and appoints his successor, Joshua
- Moses dies in the wilderness, up a mountain, where he views the Promised Land that he will never enter
Why was the Law repeated?
- A key theme in the book is that of remembering
- The repetition emphasised that they must not forget God’s Laws like their forefathers
- God loved his people and wanted them to keep the faith:
- “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” – Deuteronomy 7:6
- In later years, many Jews kept God’s Law with them by wearing phylacteries – little boxes containing scripture on their foreheads
- This is a reminder to us to keep God’s word in our hearts at all times
Jesus and Deuteronomy
- Jesus took this lesson to heart – he quotes from Deuteronomy on many occasions
- In particular when he refutes the Temptations, he used Deuteronomy each time:
- “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” – Deuteronomy 8:3
- This book is a reminder of why we have decided to follow God:
- “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil…therefore choose life…loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days.” – Deuteronomy 30:15, 19, 20
Next time: watch out for more Bitesize Bible study!