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soldier at war memorial wall March 14 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Deuteronomy 1, 2, 3

Remembrance and Restoration

It is not quite Memorial Day in America, but the idea of it suits today's theme. On Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day), we especially remember our fallen soldiers and the supreme sacrifices they made for the United States. Hopefully, we will also remember some of the lessons of war; what we did right and what we did wrong. Deuteronomy is a book of remembrance. In fact, the name of the book in Latin means “second law”; which was for the Israelites a reminder of their laws and ordinances. It was also a reminder of the trials and victories they experienced.

In going from the book of Numbers to the book of Deuteronomy, we move from the first generation of Israelites who were delivered from Egyptian slavery to the second generation of Israelites, many of whom had not experienced it personally. The first generation rebelled against God at the southern border of Canaan (the Promised Land) at Kadesh Barnea. Because they were fearful of the inhabitants, they would not go into the land and conquer it. For this revolt they died wandering in the wilderness. Now their children and grandchildren were given an opportunity to enter the Promised Land. They waited by the Jordan River to go in and conquer it. While not perfect, they had repented and were learning to trust God. If we want to be restored we must do the same (more...).

The structure of Deuteronomy is significant. It's format is a treaty similar to the near eastern treaties of that day. The Suzerain Treaties were between a king (the Suzerain) and a vassal nation (more…). God provided this treaty because it had been nearly forty years since the first one was instituted ( Deuteronomy 2:14). Apparently, the family leaders and priests were too rebellious to pass on God's laws and statutes to their children. Though it is written in the form of a treaty, the book of Deuteronomy is also a collection of Moses' sermons just before his death (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 260). He needed to admonish the Israelites to keep the laws of God with their stipulations so that they would be successful in the new land. Here is a principle for us: If people desire restoration and favor, they need to remember how good things were before they got into trouble, what got them into trouble, repent, and then commit themselves anew to conform to whatever behavior God expects of them. This is also the purpose of Deuteronomy.

Another feature about the the book of Dueteronomy is the change in relationship between God and the Israelites. In the book of Exodus God says, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD [from the Hebrew word translated, ‘Yahweh’] I did not make myself known to them” (Exodus 6:1, NIV). “Yahweh” means He is the ever present, covenant keeping God. The covenants were promised to the patriarchs but were unfulfilled. The Israelites did not experience God as LORD until after they had been in Egyptian bondage for 400 years. Moses' initial announcement that God was indeed present and concerned about them was a great comfort to them. Through many plagues on the Egyptians and in the face of their “gods” which were supposed to protect them, Yahweh personally delivered the Israelites out of bondage and brought them to the Promised Land.

From “Yahweh” in Exodus and Numbers we move to the book of Deuteronomy, where personal pronouns are connected to God over 443 times. Why? First of all, God was the Suzerain (king) of the covenant. Second, and more practically, Moses wanted the second generation to own a relationship with God, and so he spoke of him as their LORD. The Israelites needed to own their relationship with the true God because they were going into a land that served many false gods. Moses wanted their loyalty to be with the one true God, who personally delivered them from bondage. Is our relationship with God personal? Is he our God, our LORD and our Savior? We need the confidence of a personal relationship with God to fight spiritual battles in our lives. A personal relationship with God is possible through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2; John 14:6; 20:17; Romans 8:15; 1Corinthians 1:3). Jesus is the only one who can provide spiritual healing and restoration (more...).

Before the people entered the land of Canaan, God gave Israel two significant military victories. The purpose of these victories according to Deuteronomy 2:25 and 3:21-22,24 was to strike fear in the hearts of other nations. Suddenly this huge nation, this sleeping giant, this strange, downtrodden, horde of shepherds wandering aimlessly in the wilderness for almost forty years, awoke and won two big military victories! The victories gave courage to the people of Israel that their God would help them win. Those who would be restored need the encouragement of some victories. Nothing changes your attitude like winning. To win you must learn to trust God, be obedient, and act in faith.

After the military victories, God gave the land east of the Jordan River to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh as Moses promised. According to the agreement, they would build cities and fence their pastures, and then leave their women and children and aged there while they led the fight for the liberation of the Promised land. After it was conquered, they could go home and enjoy their inheritance (Deuteronomy 3:18). To win you must keep your promises.

Lessons to live by:

  • If we want to be restored we must truly repent and start learning to trust God.
  • If people desire restoration and favor, they need to remember how good things were before they got into trouble, what got them into trouble, repent, and commit themselves anew to conform to whatever behavior God expects of them.
  • A personal relationship with God is possible through Jesus Christ (more...). Ultimately, Jesus is the only one who can help people become restored.
  • Those who would be restored need the encouragement of some victories. Nothing changes your attitude like winning. To win you must learn to trust God, be obedient, and act in faith.
  • To win you must keep your promises.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Deuteronomy 1:30 “The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes,” (NIV).

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