Deuteronomy 1:1-530m | Sep 3, 2023
The sermon audio cuts off about 30 minutes in- here is the conclusion of the message: "While the world might try to convince us that it isn't nice, kind, or even Christian to be so exclusive, to be so committed to holiness, to be so exacting and precise about the revelation of God in His Word, to call people to repentance and faith, to be firm, resolute, unshakeable and immovable in our devotion and obedience to God- the truth, as Deuteronomy makes clear, is that "...the LORD is God; there is no other besides Him..." [Deuteronomy 4:35] and the gods of the nations are in fact, "...demons that are no gods..." [Deuteronomy 32:17] and that allegiance to false gods and idols provokes the LORD to anger as Deuteronomy 32:21 states.
All that God speaks and reveals in Deuteronomy will, I hope, compel and inspire us to leave off caring about the pressures put on us by the world to give in, to conform, to celebrate its idols- and help us to be more aware of the ways the world has already conformed us into its image in so many areas, from the hyper-sexual clothes many of us wear, to the idolatry of self we simply assume our right, to the many other compromises we've made with the world to fit in.
I pray that our time in Deuteronomy will embolden you and I to be the separate, distinct, holy, uncompromising, sojourners and exiles God calls us to be during our time here. So, now, with all of that said, let's spend the rest of our time looking at the opening lines of the book to situate the author, the occasion, the place, the style and the content of Deuteronomy.
We begin in vs. 1, "These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Disahab."  A few introductory points of note here. The author of the book, the first 33 chapters anyway, is Moses. Chapter 34 is a postscript describing the death of Moses after all these things.
If you don't know about Moses, let's just say he is a towering figure in the Bible, and among Christians and Jews even up to this day. Scripture has much to say about this man. Moses was the man to whom God called out from the burning bush, Moses is the man to whom God first revealed His covenant, personal Name- YHWH.
The LORD worked through Moses to deliver the people of Israel out from slavery in Egypt- as he announced to Pharaoh each of the ten plagues or strikes, and ultimately led the nation of Israel through the Red Sea after God parted it for their sake. It was to Moses that God revealed the Ten Commandments after calling Him up Mount Sinai to speak with Him there.
Moses led the people as they wandered through the wilderness, and interceded on their behalf when they rebelled and the LORD threatened to destroy them all and restart everything with Moses. Moses was a man loyal to God's word, who faithfully spoke and preached that word to God's people, God allowed Moses to see a glimpse of His glorious goodness in Exodus 34 as God placed him in the cleft of the rock.
The Word of God says such things as this about Moses, "Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the people who were on the face of the earth." [Numbers 12:3]
After his death Deuteronomy described Moses saying, "...there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel." [34:10-12]
He was one of the figures that appeared on the mount with Christ when He was transfigured in Matthew 17, and is remembered in the letter to the Hebrews as one who was a "...faithful servant in all God's household." [Hebrews 3:2] And he is mentioned upwards of 80 times in the New Testament, more than any other Old Testament figure. This is the author, or the one who man who "spoke to all Israel" 
The word 'speak' here, indicates that Deuteronomy is a series of sermons, and the audience to whom the sermons were preached is "all Israel." The entire nation of Israel has been gathered before Moses, as one unified people, to hear these words. The fact that "all Israel," has been summoned to hear these words stresses the necessity of each and every person in Israel hear and obey because they are all, down to the last person, bound by the covenant- by the words they are about to hear from the LORD through Moses.
No one in the nation, who wants to be a part of Israel can or is permitted to say to any of this law, "Nah, I don't believe that," or "I don't accept that, I'm going to do my own thing- because the LORD and I... we got our own thing going..."
No- this is ALL ISRAEL together summoned and hearing the exclusive, all encompassing Law of God for each and every Israelite as they enter the promised land. The principle remains true for us as New Covenant people, who claim to love, serve and believe in Christ, our charter- God's Word is authoritative, and we are all called and commanded to submit to all that it declares, and not one of us is permitted to say, 'nah... I'm not going to believe or do that...' that option has never been open to the people of God!
So, the author or preacher of the words in this book of Deuteronomy is Moses, the people to whom the words are proclaimed is "All Israel..." and the occasion or timing of these words preached is as Israel was encamped "beyond the Jordan in the wilderness."  To the generation of Israelites about to enter in to take possession of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
To the generation poised to receive the land pledged to them by the LORD centuries earlier when God told Abraham, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever." [Genesis 13:14-15]
Deuteronomy then, is Moses' words to the nation about to inherit the land promise, telling them how to live according to the will and law of God when they finally take possession of it. When you enter in and capture the land, choose life! Love God exclusively, be careful to obey Him in everything, purge evil from your midst, worship Him rightly with all your heart, remember the salvation of God- how he delivered you from Egypt's otherwise iron grip and be His blessed people!
Again, see where Israel is when Moses speaks these words, "Beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Disahab." 
Why were they here? It had been 400 years since God made the promise to Abraham, well a couple of reasons for the delay, first the patience of the LORD with rebels and sinners is quite long, and so instead of immediately conquering and destroying the Canaanites the LORD told Abraham centuries earlier, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgement on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you you will go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." [Genesis 15:13-16]
The sin of the Amorites, a sort of catch all term for the peoples of Canaan has not reached its full measure- it won't for another 400 years and so the conquest and taking of the land must wait for that moment. The Israelites were also here because they had rebelled against God, acting unfaithfully in the wilderness also.
See vs. 2, "It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea." Horeb is another name for Sinai, where God had met with the people and given them the Law through Moses. Under normal circumstances, the journey from Horeb to the shores of the promised land took eleven days- it was a 230 km trek. But it took them much longer than eleven days, as we see in vs. 3, "In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month..."
Why did an eleven day journey take 40 years to complete? It all stems from the rebellion of the previous generation. In Numbers 13, the LORD said to Moses, "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them." [Num. 13:1]
So Moses did as the LORD commanded and sent these spies to Canaan to check out the land. And when the arrived they saw the fruitfulness of the land, and at the end of forty days of spying it out, they returned to the people of Israel with some of the delicious and abundant fruit of the land.
They announced to the Israelites, "We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit." [Numbers 13:27] So far so good right! One might assume these men will rally the people to go in the strength the power and the promise of God to take the land!
After all, these are the very people who witnessed the LORD's mighty strength in delivering them from Egypt, the same God they watched strike Egypt with deadly plagues, the same God who parted the Red Sea so they could walk through, and they closed up that sea upon the Egyptian army- decimating the most powerful army in the world- as Israel looked on- they never had to lift even a single sword! God did it all for them!
And now these same Israelites are told, by 10 of the twelve spies that "...the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And ... we saw the descendants of Anak there." [Numbers 13:28]
Meaning, this is far too difficult a task for us to undertake! The walls are tall, the fighting forces are well trained, and their are giants in the land! And while two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua sought to encourage the people to trust in the LORD, saying "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it!"
The ten faithless spies said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."[Numbers 13:30-31] The nation in that moment had a choice, trust the Word, the power the promise of the God who delivered them from Egypt- or trust the word of the faithless men delivering to them a bad report, seeking to deflate the people because of their own fearfulness.
And the people chose to heed the negative report, and in so doing rebelled against God in the wilderness, going so far as to say, "Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt? And they said to one another, "Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt." [Num. 14:3-4]
And as Moses, Joshua and Caleb all sought to change the peoples minds, the people of Israel "said to stone them with stones." [Numbers 14:10] They were about to kill God's servants! But before they could, the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people, and the LORD, in response said, "As I live, what you have said in My hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and all of your number listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years and shall suffer for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness." [Numbers 14:28-33]
See the grievous yet righteous penalty for their unfaithfulness to and rebellion against the LORD! That entire generation, 20 years old and up would all die before they could once again attempt entry into the promised land! And now, as Deuteronomy 1:3 tells us, it is the fortieth year, and the last of that rebellious generation has died in the wilderness.
After the added years of hardship, lack of comforts, national vagrancy- as a result of the dissent and resistance of the previous generation- this new generation is ready to enter in- and so Moses now speaks the words recorded in Deuteronomyto them.
Deuteronomy means the retelling of the Law, the second telling, the covenant renewal. So in this first day of the eleventh month 3500 years ago in around 1406 B.C. "Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them..." 
Here we note the content of Moses words to Israel- we have looked at the author and preacher of the words in this book, Moses- the people to whom they were spoken, All Israel, the occasion in which the words were spoken, the generation of Israel now poised to enter the promised land, and now we see the content of the book, "all that God had given to [Moses] in commandment to them, [Israel as they enter the land.]" 
Moses here models for all time the task and role of the prophet, to speak according to the LORD's Word, with no alterations, changes or changes- to clearly and plainly instruct the people of God to live according to the will and command of God!
Moses spoke to Israel in tones of prophetic force, exhortation, urgency- in all of these he simply declared the truth of God to the people of God faithfully. And he did so after the LORD provided for the people proof of His power to win the victory! "...after [Moses] had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei." 
The stories of their defeat will be told in Deuteronomy 2 and 3- they are mentioned here to tell as an encouragement to hear God's command and to press on because God has already won and continues to win victories on behalf of His people! After these victories is when "Moses undertook to explain this law..." 
The word for explain here is a preaching word, Moses exposited the Law, he taught it to the people, elaborating on certain points in order to clarify and make it plain to the generation about to enter the land- Moses expounded the Law given in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers to the people- the word for explain is the word from which the Hebrew name for the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah- the teaching, is derived. This is very Nehemiah 8:1-8...
So why Deuteronomy?
Because it was so highly regarded by our LORD Jesus and His Apostles, because it provides some much needed correctives to God's people today- tempted and tested as we are to compromise with and conform to the world we live in, and call us to live holy, separate and distinct lives, to be a picture of life in a world of death.
And in the first five verses of Deuteronomy we are introduced to the author of the book, Moses the prophet and preacher, to the audience- All Israel as they were encamped beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, to the occasion- the rebellious generation barred from the promised land has all died in the wilderness and this generation is now in the precipice of entering into the land and taking possession of it-
...and so the LORD, through Moses retells, and recounts the Law- teaching and instructing them to choose life, revealing to them what it means to live as God's people in the promised land, we see the content of the book being all that God had revealed to Moses to command Israel, and we noted the style in which Moses set down these words of God to the people, Preaching... by exposition, clarification, and making plain all that God had commanded.
And I pray, for the glory of God, that we would respond differently than the Israelites did- who ultimately rejected and abandoned the words of this book in favour of idols- that we, in whom the Holy Spirit resides, would take every word seriously and seek to conform our lives to the LORD's perfect will for His glory and our great Joy. Amen.