Deuteronomy: a book of faith

July 12, 2021

By Editorial Team

River Jordan

River Jordan in Israel today

"Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven. The Lord your God is going over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; So you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly" Deut 9:1, 3

"Be strong and of a good courage. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, I have given it to you. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life" Deut 11:24,25, 31:7

The book of Deuteronomy is four speeches by Moses just as the children of Israel reach the last point on this side, the brink of Jordan.

  1. The first speech (Chap 1-4) summarizes the route map and the 40 years of wilderness journey, and God’s faithfulness
  2. The second speech (chap 5-26) is the summary of the Law for the benefit of younger folks in the camp, it is also the Constitution for the New nation and the Rule book covering personal and social life. It has Ten Commandments, miscellaneous commandments, Hygienic foods to eat and what to avoid, Marriage and divorce laws, Military rules, Environmental laws, Judges and their behavior, appointment of Kings and their duties and pitfalls
  3. The third speech is Chap 27-30, Blessings and Curses on the nation, to be said out loud from the top of Mt. Gerizim (Blessings) and Mt. Ebal (curses)
  4. The fourth speech, is a closing blessing on the 12 tribes and the details of Moses’ death

Deuteronomy, literally means Second Law, named so, for it is the Second time the Law was given, and also the Second time Moses makes a Covenant between the people and God' the Sinai Covenant being the first. Many of you also know that the Book of Deuteronomy has profoundly influenced the drafting of Modern Constitutions of many nations.

Now Moses is 120 years old, the wilderness journey has ended for Israel; Moses’ life is ending too. Last few months, he had won two critical battles against Sihon - king of Amorites and Og - king of Bashan, and also distributed the conquered territory to the tribes of Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh. A few kilometres more to pass and they would hit the Jordan river. As you know 3500 years ago, Jordan then was really a full river spanning many kilometres, and you could neither attempt to cross it by boat or by swimming or such stunts. Also as the Bible says, that was the harvest season and Jordan overflew all its banks (Josh 3:15). Perilous to cross, either the Lord parts the River or they would have drowned or enemies killed them and the story would have ended. Our lives in many situations are like that. We come to the Jordan and wonder what next? HOW to cross the River?

Let’s look at Joshua and the Israelites. I would imagine them being so full of anxiety and fear about their future. It concerned their very existence as a people. Moses is going to die, and their toughest battles lay ahead, and a huge river to cross yet again. Here is where the Holy Spirit takes over. Once every few verses in Deuteronomy, Ol’ Patriarch Moses affirms that they will cross over and will settle down in Canaan, that the LORD will fight their battles. About 50x or more (directly and indirectly) he tells them, YOU WILL CROSS OVER, ONCE YOU CROSS OVER, ONCE YOU SETTLE DOWN, AFTER YOU SETTLE DOWN DO THIS, etc etc. I can’t tell you how much it would have meant to them that Moses was reaffirming this and emphasizing this and repeating this. Coming from a man, who was friends with God for 40 years, whose God never failed them even for a single day during the 40 years, it is 100% believable. Their daily morning cereal breakfast Manna and the evening Quail meat was proof

Many times when we are about to cross the Jordan, we need our Moseses. We need to stand on the shoulders of someone else to see into the Promised land. It could be a friend, an elder cousin, a senior man of God, just a praying partner, whoever it is. When our faith isn’t enough, we need to climb on someone else shoulders. Timothy grew on Paul’s faith, David took refuge in Samuel’s company when he was fleeing Saul.

This is an individual world today, of TV preachers, online Churches and social media Christianity. Real relationships are so absent, and hence the Church is becoming worse day by day. If the Church in this generation has to deliver something meaningful to the world, one last time before the Lord comes, we got to forge godly friendships. We got to pray together, We got to listen to godly authority and counsel. We got to talk scripture with each other when we meet. Even house conversations have to go back to discussing scripture.

Remember Joshua and the children of Israel would never have made it through the river, but for Deuteronomy. Without that book, there is no Kingdom, no crossing over and no Joshua or David, no prophets. (Many of us are so impressed with Joshua Chapter 1, and rightly so, for many battles in human history have been won just because the General read Joshua 1, including World War-II battles. In Joshua chapter 1, Holy Spirit reminds Joshua of what Moses told him a few days ago in Deut!) Even Jesus needed a launch pad - John the Baptist. If you want to cross your Jordans, stand on someone else’s shoulders and only then you can see the Promised land. You won’t make it alone, you were not designed to be that way.

And lastly, Moses was not speaking of his own. He was an intimate friend of Christ. Jesus manifest presence was with the Israelites all through. The Pillar of Cloud was God’s literal presence. Moses instituted the sacrificial offerings, all of which point to the Cross and the lamb of God. Moses even saw Jesus’ back parts (Ex 33:20-23). Bible scholars says that Jesus showed him his stripes on back. He heard the voice of Christ, and even saw his form (Num 12:4-8)

Depend on those that are real friends of Christ. God depended on Moses, and Moses depended on God. Such friendship. He was a unique prophet, so much that God knew that the Jews would go awhoring on his sepulchre, hence he was the only man who God buried with his hands (Deut 34:5,6). And Jesus said, If you believed Moses, you would believe me for he wrote of me (John 5:46). Read your scriptures with Christ in clear view. Any other view is a waste. I repeat, Preaching without Jesus in view, is a total waste

Stand on the shoulders of someone and you will cross the Jordan.

The royal wedding- Guide me O thou great redeemer

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