After the sins of Israel and their rejection of God’s promises and the wilderness wanderings for 40 years, and that wicked generation dying off in the wilderness, it was time for a new generation to arise and enter the land God had promised. The book of Deuteronomy means “second law.” It is a book in which we read of the restating of the law of Moses. The generation that had left Egypt had been given the 10 commandments at Mt Sinai and they accepted the covenant and agreed to live by it. They failed and were punished. Now a new generation that did not know the hardships of Egypt like the previous generation, and knew of wandering through the wilderness hear Moses’ last speech to the nation. Moses said, “Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us,’” (Deuteronomy 1:26-27). Moses wants this new generation to avoid the sin and mistakes of their fathers.
He reminds them of the 10 commandments (Deuteronomy 5). He commands them to love the Lord and teach their children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Moses reminds them that they had seen with their own eyes the punishment God had inflicted upon the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 11:7). Much of Deuteronomy gives details pertaining to the Law of Moses—the laws which governed their worship, diet, national festivals, and justice system.
Also, there were some dire warnings that Moses prophesied to Israel that needed to be heard. He told them if they would obey God, they would be blessed and have a permanent place in the promised land (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). However, if they disobeyed then they would be cursed and removed from the land (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Moses accurately describes and warns Israel of the consequences of disobedience, ending in captivity from foreign nations—the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.
Since Moses had sinned, he was prevented from entering the promised land. So Joshua was the appointed leader to take Israel into Canaan and conquer the land (Deuteronomy 31:23). Yet, Moses also referred to another prophet that would come after him—a prophet that would be greater than Moses. This prophet would be a Hebrew, sent by God, speaking the words of God (Deuteronomy 18:18). This was a prophecy of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:22; 7:37)! Moses told the people to listen to the Messiah, their Deliverer! He would be a prophet sent in the name of the Lord and would turn the people to God. We would do well to listen to Moses’ prophecy as well. Blessings await us if we obey God, but God will also punish those who are disobedient to His will. Salvation is through Jesus Christ if we will heed the words and teachings of Jesus Christ!
by Sean P. Cavender