Study Notes and Personal Bible Study Activities
for the Book of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy Chapter 1-8
Deuteronomy (“Second Law” literally) repeats the laws given 40 years before for a new generation about to enter the promised land. In Deuteronomy, the phrase “LORD your God” is repeated almost 300 times. Why? (Hint – what was to motivate God’s people then and today to keep God’s law? Law threat, or God’s love and what he had done to save his people?)
Moses continues to recount for a new generation the wonders of God in the past. What has God done for you that he would have you share with the ‘younger’ crowd?
The 10 commandments are repeated. Note 4:9 - How may we do that today? And note what we are to do with all that God has done for us (6:20-24). What difference would there be if we did these ‘little’ things?
‘Holy War’ is a term that strikes terror in our hearts today as it is something carried out by religious extremists. Is that what God is advocating in this reading? Recall who the People are and Who would one day be born through them. Salvation of mankind was on the line. Therefore, those who threaten to destroy Israel or would lead them astray spiritually were not to be tolerated. Chapter 7:26 leaves an interesting question in our hearts “What abominable things are we to cast out of our houses?” Chapter 8:1-20 still reminds us not to forget the Lord our God who brought us up out of great slavery.
Deuteronomy Chapter 9-25
Moses continues to recite the history of the people. Remember who goes before you; don’t think you are the ones who achieved what is being done among you and don’t fall back into spiritual prostitution (and that in all its ugliness is exactly what idolatry is, ) and rebellion against God.
Chapter 10:12-22 describes what God’s people do then and now : remember who God is and what he has done for us, and worship him by our behavior. Make an intentional mental note or write down these questions and your answers:
Who is God?
What has he done for you? (List everything you can think of.)
What can I do to worship God? (Hint: the answer to this question is more than going to a weekly church service.) Listen to the song: “Life Song” by Casting Crowns.
In chapter 12, Moses commands the Israelites to rejoice. Paul echoes that command in Philippians 4:4. Do you find it easy to rejoice when things aren’t going so great? Whatever your circumstances are today, ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you with His presence and His promise - that you are His.
God gives various laws concerning tithes, releasing one from debt and how to deal with ones indebted to a person. What is the lesson here about the kind of heart we are to have toward those in need?
The feasts of Passover, Weeks (Pentecost) and Booths are reiterated. Moses then deals with how to deal with those who worship other gods. The death penalty for such idolatry sounds harsh to us, but remember – this is the people of God through whom the Messiah would come – threats to that promise were not to be tolerated.
What guidelines are laid out for God-pleasing servant-leadership?
In chapter 18:15, we have a ‘type of Christ,’ a foreshadowing picture of the coming Savior from sin. In the New Testament, Stephen mentions this verse in Acts 7:17.
Meditate on chapter 20:1-4. How can you apply these verses to your life today? Listen to the song “God is For Us.”
What do the laws governing practical matters given in chapters 20-25 reveal to us about God, His justice and His mercy? Note the Lord’s concern for people’s dignity and His compassion for the poor.
Deuteronomy Chapter 26-34
Chapter 26 begins with a good lesson in thanksgiving. How may we do similarly today?
Verse 4 of chapter 29 presents a really difficult and profound truth. Israel, in general, saw God’s goodness and grace with its eyes but didn’t “see” it with its heart, the eyes of faith. The verse doesn’t blame the LORD for their failure to see; rather it shows how it’s impossible for man to “see” without the LORD and, in fact, when a person does “see” it is a miracle of God’s grace alone. (Compare Ephesians 2:8,9) How then does a person come to “see”? Only by having the LORD’S word brought before them as Moses does in these verses so that He can open their eyes. “Faith comes from hearing the message…” (Romans 10:17)! Pray this song: “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”
Chapters 31 and 32 are powerful as they present faithfulness and frightfulness! The faithfulness of the LORD and the frightfulness of what happens when God’s people despise His faithful grace. God gives Israel a song to sing filled with warning, a prediction of what will happen when they forget Him and stubbornly fail to follow Him. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will open each of our eyes to see how these words apply to us – either personally or as a congregation. How can we respond to these words, personally and together in a way that is pleasing to the LORD and profitable for us, His people?
(“Jeshurun” in 32:15 means “the upright one”, a reminder that they had been His dearly loved people.)
The foolishness of God’s faithless people continues to be contrasted with the faithfulness of God Himself. His faithfulness provides hope for the faithless when they turn to Him. See especially Chapter 32:36: when we are empty, then the LORD can fill us. Prayerfully read Chapter 32: 46 & 47 – then pray a prayer for yourself, your family, your congregation, and the people of God in all places.
Isn’t it fitting that Moses, who was graced by God to be the God-directed leader of His people, fitting that his final words are framed as a blessing for those difficult but precious people?! Find special strength and hope in applying the words of Chapter 33:26-29 to yourself and to us.
While we may have some human sentimental thoughts about Moses not setting foot on and enjoying the promised land of Canaan; consider what God’s grace gave him instead.