VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY
I began this study with a friend from a parent’s perspective. Circumstances prevented our continuing our study, but I decided to begin this journal with the notes I had prepared on the first chapter from that perspective.
Deut. 1:1 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
- Words of Moses = words of God (cf v3).
- Moses was God’s chosen leader of the people.
- God’s words are more important than our words.
- Parents are God’s chosen authority for their children.
- How did Moses know what to say? – By staying connected to and having a listening heart and obedient spirit before God.
- Our children should know that we want to obey God as we teach them. How do we best do that? Through example.
Deut. 1:2 (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)
Deut. 1:3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them;
- This 11-day journey took 39 years, 11 months, 1day because of God’s judgment of their sin, their lack of faith in Him that resulted in their disobedience.
- Moses begins to review ALL God’s commands with ALL the people.
- His message is one of reminding them of past experience.
- It’s important to teach our family the whole word of God.
- Experience is one of the best teachers.
Deut. 1:4 After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:
Deut. 1:5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,
Deut. 1:6 The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
Deut. 1:7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
- Note that it is after a time of victory that Moses takes the time to teach them in preparation for future victory.
- We need to be aware and take advantage of opportune teaching moments.
- God is directing their movement.
- God desires to direct our steps/our path.
- Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
- Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
- Proverbs 3:6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
- We parents are to direct the paths of our children according to God’s direction through His word and His Holy Spirit.
- “dwelt long enough….” – God knows what is best for us.
- Our children should know that we know what is best for them.
- I’m sure some of the people questioned why the wilderness wanderings had to be so long etc. They certainly whined and complained along the way. Our children will often question the why of our actions as well. We need to stay the course and do what is best for them—not what is easiest.
Deut. 1:8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
- God is the owner/creator of the land; He has chosen to give it to Israel.
- God established the goal – “I have set the land before you…”
- Parents should establish goals for their children.
- God gave the people the responsibility of achieving that goal – “go in and possess…”
- In context, He is going to empower them as they respond in obedience.
- God is a covenant-keeper; He is going to fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- Where God guides, He provides.
- God + me = overcomer/conqueror
- His promise will never fail.
- Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
- Our children should be able to trust our word.
- We should never ask more of our children than we know they can do.
- We should equip them for success to the best of our ability.
Deut. 1:9 And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:
Deut. 1:10 The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
Deut. 1:11 (The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)
Deut. 1:12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?
Deut. 1:13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.
- Moses recognized his limitations.
- Moses didn’t let his limitations keep him from desiring the growth of the nation.
- We need not fear helping our kids excel beyond our own abilities. We need to trust God to provide as needed.
- Moses directed the people to choose leaders from their tribes who were wise and well known (of proven character).
- Moses then invested those chosen with authority as judges.
- Parents should recognize their weaknesses and limitations and seek help when needed from those who are wise and have proven character.
- Our authority as parents has been invested to us by God.
“wise” = intelligent in word and action
“understanding” = separate mentally, discernment
“known” = as knowledgeable, diligent, learned, respected, skillfull, understanding
Deut. 1:14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.
Deut. 1:15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.
Deut. 1:16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.
Deut. 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
- The people understood the wisdom of Moses’ decision.
- The judges were instructed to judge “righteously” whether judging between brethren or strangers.
- All men should be equal before the judge; no favoritism should be shown.
- Judges are representing God.
- When dealing with our children, we need to be “righteous” in assessing difficult situations—w/siblings, playmates, teachers, etc.
- We have been empowered with authority as parents by God.
- We are to function as parents according to His principles.
Deut. 1:18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
- Moses gave both the people and the judges clear instructions as to God’s expectations for them. There was no basis for anyone to declare ignorance of expectation.
- God has given us clear instructions and principles to live by in His Word. We should do no less for our children. They need to have a clear understanding of our expectations of them—clear behavioral guidelines.
- We should also be diligent to teach them clearly regarding God’s expectations of them.
- Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind.
- Obey your parents.
- Love one another.
- Be kind to one another.
- Don’t lie.
- Don’t steal.
- Deuteronomy 6:7 “…thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shalt talk of them.”
Deut. 1:19 And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadeshbarnea.
- Learning from history/experience is important to growth.
- Moses reminded them of their history and experience—to teach them.
- Repetition is important to instilling truth.
- Experience is important to building faith.
- Sharing your own experiences is important to encouraging others.
Deut. 1:20 And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.
Deut. 1:21 Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
Deut. 1:22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
Deut. 1:23 And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:
- They recognized the challenge before them and carefully considered how to approach that challenge.
- The plan to send out spies pleased Moses.
- Was it wrong to send out the spies (to use human logic and reasoning in preparation to acting on God’s command)? No. In the book of Numbers we are told that God told Moses to send the men.
- Numbers 13:1-2 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.”
- Their sin was in disobedience based on the perceived circumstances. They were to walk by faith and not by sight.
- Habakkuk 2:4 “…but the just shall live by his faith.”
Deut. 1:24 And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.
Deut. 1:25 And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us.
Deut. 1:26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:
- The people recognized the truth that God was giving them the land—a good land.
- Their lack of faith resulted in fear and disobedience at Kadesh Barnea.
- Faith without works is dead.
- God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear.
- Head knowledge heart knowledge action is the picture of true faith.
- What would cause our children not to have faith in us?
- Not keeping our word
- These traits in us will feed a disobedient character.
Deut. 1:27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
Deut. 1:28 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
- In their fear, they made false accusation against God.
- We need to teach our children that it is OK to identify fear and admit the need for help instead of casting blame elsewhere to hide our fear.
- They allowed their human perception of the circumstances to overrule their knowledge of the proven power and character of God.
- The lack of faith of the few caused thousands to disobey through lack of faith.
- Children need to understand that their behavior, their testimony influences others (especially younger siblings).
Deut. 1:29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
Deut. 1:30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
- God had miraculously delivered them from Egypt and provided for them during their time in the wilderness.
- We need fear nothing when God is on our side.
- Psalm 56:3 "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”
Deut. 1:31 And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
Deut. 1:32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,
- Still they did not believe God.
- Sometimes we have to accept the fact that our children are going to have to learn some very hard lessons on their own. They will refuse to take advantage of the wisdom we share with them.
Deut. 1:33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.
Deut. 1:34 And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying,
- God prepares the path before us when we are following Him; He lights our way.
- Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
- Psalm 139:3 “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.”
- Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
- God hears us.
- God knows our thoughts and our words before we even speak them.
- Psalm 94:11 “The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man….”
- Psalm 139:4 “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
Deut. 1:35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,
Deut. 1:36 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD.
- Unbelief results in death.
- We cannot judge God based on human perceptions and limitations.
- With God—nothing is impossible.
- Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
- His character never changes.
- Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not….”
- Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
- His word never fails.
- Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
- Isaiah 14:24 “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand….”
- Without faith in God’s word and His provision for us [Jesus], we will die and not be allowed to enter the promised land [heaven].
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Deut. 1:37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
- Moses was human. It is interesting to note that he held the people accountable for his disobedience to God in striking the rock instead of speaking to it that resulted in his not being allowed to enter the promised land.
- We need to guard against blame-shifting and accept responsibility for our own actions.
- Sin always has consequences.
Deut. 1:38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
Deut. 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
- We are to encourage our spiritual leaders because their success affects our success.
- “your children, which…had not knowledge between good and evil” = Those under 20 years of age.
- Numbers 14:29 “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me….”
- The times have greatly changed. Knowledge of good and evil comes much earlier today I’m afraid.
- Is this different from knowing right and wrong? Is it a reference to the age of accountability?
Deut. 1:40 But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.
Deut. 1:41 Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill.
Deut. 1:42 And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.
Deut. 1:43 So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill.
Deut. 1:44 And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.
- The people finally acknowledged their sin.
- Judgment was pronounced; it was too late for a change of heart.
- Without God, they failed.
- Judgment once pronounced must be carried out to be effective.
- You cannot expect success when acting outside the will of God. Without God we can do nothing.
- John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Deut. 1:45 And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.
- The Lord did not pay attention to their tears after the defeat that resulted from their disobedience.
- We are prone to being moved by the tears of our children. Tears should not prevent just punishment.
- What are right responses to tears?
- Providing comfort when needed because of injury or mistreatment by others
- Affirming love before and after administering punishment
Deut. 1:46 So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there.
- The consequences of sin can have enduring impact.
- The consequences of sin are life changing.