Which is your favorite book in the Bible? What about the Old Testament? Which was Jesus’ favorite book in the Bible (He only had the Old Testament then). We can’t know for sure but a strong case can be made for Deuteronomy – a book none of us would ever say was our favorite!
Three times Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy when tempted by Satan. When asked to summarize the whole law in one statement He chose Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
Deuteronomy is a special, but often overlooked book. It doesn’t contain hardly anything that hasn’t been written before, but it does look at the Jew’s and their history in a different way. It is the last book in the Pentateuch, the most special books for the Jews in their Bible. It consists of Moses’ final messages to the new generation before they entered the Promised Land. He doesn’t want them to disobey like their parents’ generation did, so he challenges them to learn from their past.
Historians tell us that mankind doesn’t learn from history but keeps making the same mistakes over and over. Learning from the mistakes of others can be a great time-saver! It saves a lot of pain as well! Moses, in speaking the messages recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, uses the phrases “remember” an “obey” over and over and over.
Moses starts by reviewing their journey from Mt Sinai to their present location on the Plains of Moab. Then he applies what happened to them so they will learn from it and not make the same mistakes themselves. The first generation died in the desert, never reaching the Promised Land, because they didn’t obey God and trust His Word. Moses want’s this new generation to learn from their mistakes and obey God’s instructions.
As Moses tells about their history and reviews God’s law to them he applies it in such a way that they see the importance of trusting God’s promises and walking by faith. The book isn’t a history lesson, it is more a series of sermons encouraging them to not make the same mistake their parent’s did. How often we find ourselves making the same errors, even sins, that our parents’ did.
Moses has a lot to say about love in the book of Deuteronomy as well. He says they are to love God with their whole heart, soul and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). He talks about love 21 times, because he wants this to be their motive for obeying God. Obeying out of fear or guilt is not nearly as good as obeying out of live in response to God’s love for us. Why do you obey God? Because you must or because you love Him in response to His great love for you?
After hearing these messages from Moses the people recommitted themselves to obeying and following God. They promises to remember God’s promises and to not follow the example of the first generation who walked by sight and didn’t obey.
What about you? Do you learn from the mistakes of others? Do you learn from your own mistakes in the past? Or do you keep finding yourself in the same situation over and over? Take a few minutes to write down several truths that you have learned about living for God (“walking by faith”) over the years of your life. You’ll be surprised how helpful it is to have these written down where you can read over them from time to time. Learn from your past.