Torah: Deuteronomy 1:1–3:22
PROPHETS: Isaiah 1:1–27
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: John 15:1–11
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Words Are Spoken To Be Remembered
The introduction to this book sets us up to hear Moses preaching to the nation poised for entry into the Promised Land.
As with any intro, try to identify the main characters (who), the time references (when) and the setting (where). Moses recounts God’s command a generation ago to leave Horeb (another name for Mt. Sinai) (vv. 6–8) and his lamenting over the heavy burden of leadership while also marveling at the way God was fulfilling His promise to Abraham (vv. 9–11; cf. Genesis 15:5).
Leaders Are Chosen To Be Followed
He then recounts the way he lightened the load of leadership by sharing it with qualified others (cf. Moses appointing judges with authority in Exodus 18:13–26 but also equipping elders with the Spirit in Numbers 11:10–30).
Moses then mentions their journey from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea (v. 19; cf. v. 2) and his call to faith-based obedience (vv. 20–21). Compare (cf.) Deuteronomy 1:17 and John 5:22, 27.
Yeshua’s d’varim (words) are powerful and true because He speaks what He hears from His Father. In the same way, God’s d’varim are made available to you through His Holy Spirit (John 16:13). In what way are you listening, hearing and responding in faith? What “clogs” your ears from hearing His voice?”
Torah 3 & 4
Leaders Are Accountable To God
A seemingly good plan for reconnaissance (1:22–23; cf. 13:2–3 for another description of these events: the people’s faithless request is omitted whereas God’s merciful permission is highlighted) yields a seemingly good report.
Unfortunately, this was the minority position and the people instead follow the bad report.
As usual, Moses pleads with the community to trust their covenant-keeping God.
Unfortunately again, the plea falls on deaf ears (and hard hearts!).
Leaders who had lapsed into faithlessness, and those who willfully chose to follow, would suffer the consequences (vv. 34–35 and 37; but cf. Hebrews 11:24–28). Leaders who trusted God wholeheartedly would enjoy the fruits of their faith (vv. 36 and 38).
Followers Are Accountable For Their Choices
God instructs the people that their children will enter the Promised Land but that they must turn around and go the other way.
Even after a further attempt at correction, Israel does not shema (hear) God’s immediate instruction.
The consequences are not only physical suffering (v. 44) but spiritual strife (v. 45).
Eventually, Israel does follow God’s instruction to turn and go.
What is God leading you to do that you are not heeding? What does faithful obedience look like today? C’mon, get specific!
torah 5 & 6
God Fulfills His Promises
The transition from verse 1 to 2 spans almost forty years! God now commands, “Go north” toward your Promised Land.
This command is coupled with an injunction to respect the boundaries of the land that God sovereignly promised Esau, Jacob’s twin brother (vv. 4–8; cf. Genesis 36:8) as well as the two sons of Jacob’s grandfather’s (Abraham) nephew, Lot (Moab’s portion, vv. 9–15; Ben-Ammi’s portion, vv. 16–19; cf. Genesis 19:36–38 and 13:5–12).
God defending Jacob’s relatives against previous giant inhabitants of trans-Jordanian land (Edomites vs. Horites, Moabites vs. Emmites, and Ammonites vs. Zammzumites) and even against Israel herself (Israel vs. Edom, Moab, Ammon) is intended to encourage the nation to trust that God will defend them against the inhabitants of their promised land as well (Israelites vs. Canaanites).
Moses continues the history lesson by describing the recent fulfillment of God’s defending them against a “Pharoah-like” hardened Amorite King, Sihon (cf. Exodus 10:1–2).
Victory Comes Through Covenant Faithfulness
God’s protection brings swift victory against King Sihon (2:31–37) as well as King Og (3:1–7).
The trans–Jordanian land that God had granted (vv. 8–11) is now divided according to a previous compromise that God allows (vv. 12–14; cf. Numbers 32).
Read 2:7 again and apply it to yourself. Do you believe God has provided you all you need? We often mistake what we “want” as something we “need.” All we really need is only found in Yeshua. What are you seeking?
torah 7 &
Rest For Some
Rest For All
The boundaries and recipients of the land east of the Jordan are continued.
The call for those who have received land to lead the fight on behalf of their brethren was part of the earlier compromise.
Moses now encourages Joshua to lead the nation in trusting God’s covenant faithfulness so that they will exercise faith-based obedience and receive their promised inheritance.
No individual Israelite could “rest” until all were able to do so (v. 20). In the same way, we should never be complacent with our own salvation when others we know are perishing. What would it look like to heed Ephesians 4:15 today by speaking God’s d’varim? How can you apply Hebrews 4:9–11 to your life to “be” at rest while passionately and energetically pursuing ushering others into God’s rest?
A Prophet’s Call For Covenant Faithfulness
Isaiah preached to northern Israel during the divided kingdom before Assyrian captivity. God’s d’varim (v. 1) through Isaiah begin with a lament over His faithless covenant people (vv. 2–9). Could any of these words reflect God’s lament over your life right now?
This is followed by God’s call for covenant faithfulness which has always been a matter of the heart.
Can you apply this call to your own life? Finally, God’s promise of restoration gives hope to all those who trust in Him.
Has God fulfilled any of these things in your life personally? Imagine what it would look like for God to fulfill these things on the world stage in your lifetime? Are you prepared?
The Messiah’s Call For Covenant Faithfulness
Covenant faithfulness means abiding in Yeshua. By abiding in Him, we receive our new covenant priestly inheritance (cf. Numbers 18:20; Deuteronomy 10:9 and 1 Corinthians 2:2). Abiding in Him means following His example and following His lead. Moses and Messiah each preach for the sake of eliciting the same response—covenant faithfulness. What is God speaking to you through His word when you read these verses?
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.