On the brink of the promised land, Moses reminds God’s people of God’s law - and the theme of his sermons? LOVE

Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy is a book about Love – God’s love for his people and the command for God’s people to love him.

Unlike Exodus and Numbers, which are books that cover many years, Deuteronomy is a book that covers just one day – in fact just one sermon! It’s Moses' last sermon. And it’s a sermon preached to a new generation of God’s people.

  • The old generation has died in the wilderness – the book of Numbers taught us that.
  • And the new generation is about to enter into the Promised Land – the book of Joshua will teach us that.
  • But before they enter the Promised Land they need to be reminded of God’s amazing love for them and they need to be called to love God in return.

God loves his people – that’s mentioned many times in Deuteronomy.

  • It’s undeserved – Israel were unimpressive when God called them first and have been unfaithful since.
  • It’s kind – in God’s love he gives his people what they need: laws to live by and leaders to care for them.

As you read about God’s love for Israel, think what this teaches us about God’s greatest expression of love in the Lord Jesus.

God commands his people to love him.

The command to love God is summarised in the Shema…

  • Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV 2011)

This love is to be devoted, obedient and exclusive.

The command to love God is fleshed out in the laws in Deuteronomy. Laws which make Israel radically different from the neighbouring nations. Laws which will put God’s glory on display for the nations to see as God’s people love him.

As you read the commands to love God, think about how they compare to Jesus' commands, especially in the Sermon on the Mount.

Structure

The book is structured in three parts:

  • Chapters 1-11 map out…
    • The story of Israel from the Exodus until now (1-3)
    • A call for God’s people to be faithful to him (4-11)
  • Chapters 12-26 are a collection of laws
    • Laws about worship (12-16a)
    • Laws about Elders, Kings, Priests and Prophets (16b-18)
    • Laws about life as a nation (19-26)
  • Chapters 27-34 are Moses' final speech
    • It’s urgent – he pleads with them to love God
    • It’s disappointing – he knows they’ll fail
    • It’s hopeful – he knows God will finally circumcise their hearts, giving them power to love God as they ought

Summary

Deuteronomy is a book about Love – God’s love for his people and the command for God’s people to love him.