My Come, Follow Me studies this week took me to the book of Deuteronomy. The lesson concentrated on chapters 6-8; 15; 18; 29-30, and 34. The children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years. When the time was right, the Lord raised up a man named Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.
After leaving Egypt, the children of Israel experienced numerous problems: they were up against the Red Sea, and they had no food or water. The Lord performed numerous miracles to care for His people. He caused a wind to blow all night, which caused the Red Sea to divide and make a dry path on which the Israelites to travel to other side of the sea. They were without water, and the Lord instructed Moses to strike a rock, causing water to gush out. They were hungry, and the Lord sent quail and manna to feed them.
Even though they saw evidence that the Lord would take care of them, the children of Israel had a challenging time putting their trust in Him. They traveled from Egypt to the border of the Promised Land in a period of months. When they allowed fear to replace faith in God, the Lord refused to let them enter the Promised Land. Instead, they were to wander in the wilderness for forty years, long enough for every person in the older generation to die – except for Caleb and Joshua who were faithful.
The lesson is titled “Beware Lest Thou Forget the Lord,” and it was introduced with the following information.
Moses’s earthly ministry began on a mountain when God spoke to him from a burning bush (see Exodus 3:1-10). It also ended on a mountain, more than 40 years later, when God gave Moses a glimpse of the promised land from the top of Mount Nebo (see Deuteronomy 34:1-4). Moses had spent his life preparing the children of Israel to enter that promised land, and the book of Deuteronomy records his final instructions, reminders, exhortations, and pleadings with the Israelites. Reading his words makes it clear that the real object of Moses’s ministry – the preparation the people needed – wasn’t about wilderness survival, conquering nations, or building a community. It was about learning to love God, obey Him, and remain loyal to Him. That’s the preparation we all need in order to enter the promised land of eternal life. So, while Moses never set foot in the “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8), because of his faith and faithfulness, he did enter the promised land that God has prepared for all those who follow Him.
The book of Deuteronomy tells of the Israelites coming again to the border of the Promised Land. The Lord told Moses that he was not going to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, so Moses did what he could to prepare the people to go into the land. Deuteronomy contains a retelling of all the commandments of God. In Deuteronomy 6:7, Moses commanded the children of Israel to teach the words of the Lord to their children.
One of the principles taught in this lesson is “Beware lest thou forget the Lord.” The people who were allowed to enter the Promised Land had been twenty years old or younger when the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land the first time. Now, the older ones were nearing the age of sixty. However, many of the Israelites allowed to enter the Promised Land did not witness the plagues in Egypt or the crossing of the Red Sea. They did not have a personal testimony of those miracles. Moses understood that the current Israelites and future generations would need to know about and remember God’s miracles and God’s laws IF they were to remain God’s people. Here is some of Moses’s counsel to the Israelites Deuteronomy 6:4-12, 20-25:
, O Israel: The our God :
And thou shalt the thy God with all thine , and with all thy soul, and with all thy .
And these , which I command thee this day, shall be in thine :
And thou shalt them diligently unto thy children, and shalt of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt them for a upon thine hand, and they shall be as between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the of thy house, and on thy gates.
And it shall be, when the thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
And houses full of all good which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
beware lest thou the , which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
when thy son thee in time to come, saying, What the , and the statutes, and the judgments, which the our God hath commanded you?
Then thou shalt say unto thy , We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
And the shewed signs and wonders, great and , upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
And the us to do all these statutes, to the our God, for our always, that he might us alive, as at this day.
And it shall be our , if we to do all these commandments before the our God, as he hath commanded us. [Emphasis added.]