11. A Solemn Reminder

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Introduction

Throughout our study we have continually seen God demonstrate His faithfulness to His covenants and His gracious disposition towards humanity and His creation. In the garden He spoke the redemptive promise Adam and Eve. When humanity’s sin was too much to bear God spared Noah and his family. When God scattered the nations at Babel He also graciously called Abram from among the nations to bless the nations. The descendants of Abraham grew to become the twelve tribes of Israel and seeking refuge from famine they settled in Egypt under the care of Joseph. Then, however, “a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8) and Israel was enslaved there for four hundred years. God, remaining faithful to His covenant, delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt and yet they were dissatisfied and often longed to return to slavery than continue to rely upon the provision of their God. The situation climaxed at Kadesh Barnea when Moses sent spies into the land of Canaan and the people of Israel rebelled because they feared the inhabitants of the land (Numbers 13-14).

I. Deuteronomy in Context

Deuteronomy begins forty years after the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea. During those forty years the entirety of that rebellious generation except Moses, Caleb, and Joshua perished in the wilderness. “A wholistic reading of Deuteronomy presents us with a series of speeches in which Moses presents Israel about to enter the Promised Land with the continuity of covenant and promises, graciously extended by the Lord to the new generation, and urges them to respond to Yahweh in faith and obedience for the sake of the future generations.”[59]

II. Deuteronomy in Outline

  • Remembering Israel’s Rebellion and Subsequent Judgment (1-3)
  • Covenant Obligations, Blessings, and Curses (4-26)
  • A Command to Respond (27-30)
  • Joshua Commissioned to Lead Israel (31)
  • The Song of Moses (32)
  • Moses’ Blessing upon Israel and Death (33-34)

III. The Message of Deuteronomy

What is Deuteronomy teaching us? What is it’s central thrust and message?

Deuteronomy demonstrates God’s unwavering faithfulness to His promises in spite of rebellion and subsequent judgment God’s purposes stand and He will bring about their fulfillment.

IV. Deuteronomy as Eschatology

Unlike the Adamic, Noaic, and Abrahamic Covenants this covenant and the Mosaic are conditional. There are blessings and curses attached to them that depend upon Israel’s obedience or disobedience. Yes, God will fulfill His promises to Adam, Noah, and Abraham but as we saw with the generation that perished in the dessert this generation may or may not enjoy the blessing of covenant fulfillment. Deuteronomy 28:62-63 presents this generation with this staggering reality. Will the land be theirs? Will they enjoy God’s presence and protection? Will they continue to increase? Or will they forsake their God and leave these blessings for future fulfillment?

Conclusion

How is the central thrust and message of Deuteronomy an encouragement to us?

[59]VanGemeren, The Progress of Redemption, 140.

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