Story of Second Law
2 Timothy 2:2 – Hear, Entrust, Teach, Multiply!
Forty years of wilderness wandering resulted from Israel’s refusal to trust God and take the Promised Land as their own. Moses overstepped his authority and was denied the opportunity to cross the Jordan River and enter Eretz Yisrael. There are natural consequences for immediate actions. Sometimes good. Sometimes not. Negative consequences, however, are not an indicator of God’s love or affection. Discipline is a consequence of bad behavior meted out by a loving parent.
God disciplined His Chosen People because of His great love for them. Israel did not (still doesn’t) deserve God’s affection. I don’t. You don’t either. God loves Israel, me, you, and everyone else because of who He is, not because of who we are.
At the end of the forty years of wilderness wandering, everyone who was twenty years of age and older had died, except for Joshua, Caleb, and Moses. The book of Deuteronomy chronicles how God reminded a new generation of Israelites about the covenant relationship they had with Him. Moses retaught the Israelites the Law given to him on Mt. Sinai. It was not another law code. It was the same code taught to the second generation.
Despite their history of mumbling and complaining, God demonstrated grace towards Israel by fulfilling His covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all Israel. A new generation would follow the Lord and Joshua in the conquest of Canaan. That, my friends, is grace!
What is grace? A gift given to someone who is entirely undeserving is a gift of grace. Time and time again, the Bible points to God demonstrating His grace towards the unworthy. As the “Wandering” portion of our Talk Thru the Bible” journey ends, this lesson illustrates two of these grace gifts.
Israel – Light to the Nations
God intentionally chose Israel to be an example nation to the other people of the world. Reading the Bible, it is easy to see that the people God chose were deeply flawed. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, even Moses were all sinners selected and saved by God’s grace. The people around them were also sinners. But, God.
“Is it too small a thing that You should be My Servant, to raise the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel. I will make You a light to the nations So that My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6
Israel was assembled east of Canaan, beyond the Jordan River, on the plains of Moab. The complaining and grumbling Exodus generation was dead. The Joshua generation was just as flawed as their parents. But, because of unmerited grace, God reconfirmed His covenant relationship with all Israel.
“The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it, and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover, the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” – Deuteronomy 30:5-6
Not because of merit but because of God’s gracious nature, the entire world would see the covenant-keeping God of Israel and make Him their own. Israel is a light to the world’s nations about what people in a relationship with God look like and how He cares for them, despite their obvious sin.
Moses, the Friend of God
Even Moses, the friend of God, was fatally flawed. He overstepped his authority at Meribah. The people were thirsty in the wilderness, and complaining broke out once again. Moses was frustrated with the people.
“Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock.” – Numbers 20:8-13
God told Moses to speak to a rock, and water would flow from it, enough for all the people. But in his anger, Moses struck the rock. Two times!
Just one uncontrolled outburst brought unimaginable consequences on Moses. “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them (Numbers 20:12). Moses’ anger prevented him from leading Israel into the land.
But what about God’s grace?
Following three long teaching sessions on Moab’s plains, Moses climbed the last mountain of his life. On Mt. Nebo, opposite Jericho on the Jordan River’s eastern side, the Lord showed Moses all the land promised to his people. Then Moses died, and the Lord buried him. To this day, the view of the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo is stunning! I have stood on this mountain many times and marveled at God’s grace towards Israel, Moses, and me.
Years later, Moses stepped on the ground of the Promised Land for the first time. Wait, didn’t Moses die? Even though Moses died, he still lives! Just before Jesus was crucified, Moses met Him on another mountain, Mt. Hermon. Read Matthew 17:1-8. Moses didn’t deserve that gift. God gave it nonetheless. You can have that gift as well.
Moses saw Eretz Yisrael from Mt. Nebo. He walked on it at Mt. Hermon, when he also talked with the Prophet like himself, the Prophet promised in Deuteronomy 18:15-19. In the Millenial Kingdom, Moses will return from heaven, receive his glorified body, and live in the Promised Land with his King for 1,000 years!
“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:16-17
Talk Thru the Bible – OT Lessons
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Read Deuteronomy 1:1-6:25, 29:1-34:12
- The Exodus generation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, one year for each day the spies were in the Promised Land. During that time, everyone 20 years and older when they left Egypt died. At the end of the 40 years, a new generation, the Joshua generation, was assembled on Moab’s plains, ready to take the Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel).
- Deuteronomy means “Second Law.” In three long sermons, Moses taught them the Mosaic covenant received on Mt. Sinai. It was not a different law code that Moses taught. It was the same law code taught a second time to the children of the Exodus generation.
- In preparation for his death, Joshua was appointed the new leader of the tribes of Israel.
- Moses had disobeyed God in a fit of anger at Meribah (Number 20:2-13). The consequence for his public action was that he would not enter the Promised Land with the people. However, he was able to look into the land from the top of Mt. Nebo. He was able to see the length of the land, from north to south. After viewing the Promised Land, Moses died and was buried by God.
- Deuteronomy takes place in the land of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. This area is occasionally referred to as “Transjordan” today. It is in the country of Jordan.
- Who were the Moabites? Do a little research to find out where they came from, what their origins are.
- In Deuteronomy 2:4-5a, Israel is told that the Edomites “will be afraid of you. So be very careful, do not provoke them.” Who are the Edomites? What are their origins? Why might the Edomites, Moabites, and other nations be fearful of Israel?
- Moses lived for 120 years. We are introduced to him in Exodus. Moses was credited with writing the first five books of the Bible. However, Moses was not an eyewitness to the events before his life. What sources of information could Moses have relied upon in the writing of Genesis?
- The last chapter of Deuteronomy covers the death of Moses. It appears to have been written sometime later. What verses in Deuteronomy 34 lead to that conclusion? If Moses didn’t write Deuteronomy 34, who might have?
Make an “I will” Statement.
- Based on your Second Law study, what will you think, say, or do differently starting today?
- Who will you tell your “I will” statement to that will hold you accountable.