The wayyyyyy too brief overview of Deuteronomy
The book of Deuteronomy is the long-awaited season finale of the Israelites 40-year journey into the promised land. Think Avengers: Endgame or Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt. 2. It features fulfilled promises of hope, warnings with fear, and even stars the death of one of our beloved main characters (R.I.P Moses 🙁 ).
Unlike the Avengers or Twilight though, the truth of God’s mighty power and grace over His people never ends.
While Deuteronomy may close out the five-part feature films of the Pentateuch (first books of the Bible), it also offers a new beginning for the people of Israel. Check out this quick overview:
God decides that Moses’s journey is over, and he is destined to die in the mountains of Nebo. Moses accepts his fate and decides to remind the Israelites of all the wonderful things the Lord has done for them. In doing so, Moses also gives people a choice to obey God or disobey Him.
Two major outcomes are emphasized on what will happen according to how the Israelites chose to serve God:
– Those who choose to obey the Lord will have their riches doubled beyond their wildest dreams! (Deuteronomy 30:5).
– He will fight the enemies against His people and keep them safe from harm (Deuteronomy 30:7).
– Most importantly, no matter how lost and far away one becomes, the Lord will bring them back into the land of promises as long as they obey Him (Deuteronomy 30:4).
– Ultimate death and destruction are near (Deuteronomy 30:17-18). Yikes!
With the Lord’s promises to Abraham finally being fulfilled, the Israelites are now set in motion with a new leader, Joshua, and the sole laws of obeying and loving God no matter what.
And that’s a sweet and short summary of Deuteronomy. You can also check out Overview Bible, which has loads more helpful info on every book of the Bible.
Now let’s jump into how to relate this book and its messages to our everyday lives as young adults in the 21st century!
Big Takeaway #1 – With the power of God, you can fight any battle.
Deuteronomy 1:28-30 – “They say, “The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakities there.” Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you.”
In this verse, the Lord is hurt by the actions of His people, not believing in Him. Even after delivering them from slavery in Egypt and giving them food and safety in the desert.
Imagine being in a 10-year relationship with someone and giving everything you possibly can to show how much you love them…only for them to accuse you of cheating and still not trusting you.
That would suck, right?
This is exactly what God has dealt with since the beginning of humanity.
We’ve all wavered in our faith in trusting God despite how much He has done. This is where we must ignore the doubts of our flesh and delve deep into the spirit the Lord has given us to understand He truly can overcome anything.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Deuteronomy 1:28-30
No matter the size of the trial you’re facing (financial bankruptcy, divorce, drugs, failing college, struggling with weight) God can and will fight for you!
With only a mustard seed of faith, He can deliver you from your trials. No challenge is too great for God. You may feel the mountain ahead is too big to climb, but we serve a God who towers over the entire universe.
Sometimes you don’t need faith in yourself but just faith in who He is.
Big Takeaway #2 – You’re not going to win every reward.
Deuteronomy 4:21-22 “The Lord was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the Lord has given you as your inheritance. I will die in this land. I will not cross the river; but you are about to cross over and take possession of the good land.”
Here we can see Moses in remorse over his disobedience to God. To give a little context: God commanded Moses to speak to a rock (in front of all the Israelites) and demand it bring forth water. Moses disobeyed and not only hit the rock with his staff, (disobedience) he tried to steal God’s glory by saying he was the one with the power to make the water pour out (arrogance).
God is instantly displeased and sentences Moses to death! Still, there is a silver lining, as Moses is able to see the people receive a beautiful blessing from the Lord.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Deuteronomy 4:21-22
Sometimes you can do everything right, and still don’t see the fruits of your labor.
It’s like building a huge mansion on an island for your entire life only to die after painting the last room! As discouraging as that may seem, the final outcome isn’t always about you.
It’s about God’s mission and the greater good of those around you!
The Lord wants to work through you not just to make your life better (which He will do) but to make others better as well. You may never set foot in that finished mansion you’ve built, but hundreds of people who need shelter may find a home in it and see what God can do for His people. Rejoice in knowing the Lord called your name to serve out His noble mission and glorify the kingdom.
Big Takeaway #3 – In good times or bad, lean on the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 – “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
The riches in the land of Canaan have not come from the Israelites perseverance, victorious bloody battles, or Moses’s leadership. The glory of wealth can only belong to God. Period.
Moses makes it clear to the Israelites never to get conceited in their blessings. The promises of wealth were already put in place generations before by the hands of the Lord and the Lord only.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Deuteronomy 8:17-18
From humble beginnings come great endings.
As young adults, once we taste success, it’s easy to believe it’s because of our youth, hard work, and greatness. A lot of us figure we’re invincible and become super cocky. But there is not an ounce of truth in those self-absorbed beliefs.
As soon as we stumble and scrape our knees on the pavement, we realize how much we need God’s help to dust us off and keep us in the race.
God reminds us of our humble beginnings, starting off weak and helpless, to show us who was there to make us strong and successful. We can never forget His blessings along the journey that makes our destination-worthy. From the greatest human achievements to just being able to take a deep breath of air through healthy lungs every minute, all glory comes from God.
Evan’s Side Note – I found this scripture so impactful on my life personally as I always would give myself the glory instead of God for my success, that I got this tattooed on the inside of my arm.
I told myself I’d only get a tattoo if something meaningful happens to me. And after reading this scripture, I knew it was something I needed to remind myself every single day of my life.
Big Takeaway #4 – You can’t add to God’s word or subtract from it based on your own beliefs.
Deuteronomy 12:32 – “See that you do all I commend you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
Throughout Deuteronomy, the Lord gives specific laws for the Israelites to follow after coming into the new land.
These are laws concerning how best to love and obey Him with tithes, offerings, clean eating, etc. God has already carefully calculated the perfect way for His people to live and expects nothing to be added or subtracted.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Deuteronomy 12:32
Many times in our modern lives, we make excuses for ourselves of why it’s okay to sin a little here and there or to break certain laws. “Oh, I can do this (Netflix & chill, just one puff, lie on your taxes) since everyone else is doing it. All I have to do is ask for forgiveness later.”
The reality of this is we become accustomed to justifying our wrong actions by taking advantage of the Lord’s grace.
Yes, the Lord gives us a snowy-white, clean slate when we come to Him in forgiveness.
But He still sees the truth in our hearts. We cannot bend His will in our favor. God has specific rules in place because He loves us and knows what’s best for us. Why would you want to trust your own desires over the most flawless, powerful, loving being to ever exist anyways?!
Up Next – Joshua
Exciting new beginnings are on the way for the people of Israel! Follow along with the next book, Joshua, here!