DEUTERONOMY 11-26: Living with a purpose

Image source: JesusWalkBibleStudySeries

I am able to think, therefore I exist, is an insight shared 400 years ago by the philosopher Rene Descartes. The most important aspect of our physical life is our ability to think. Our mind is able to reason and ask questions about life and purpose, like “who am I?” and follow up with “why am I here?”, “what is my purpose?”. If you have not asked these questions yet, someday you will. In Deuteronomy Chapters 11-26, Moses explains a little more about the purpose for taking the promised land.

We are in the middle of our study of Deuteronomy. At the start of the study, we saw that the basic outline of Deuteronomy is as follows: (1) Chapters 1-3 the mission to take the promised land is transferred to the new generation (2) Chapters 4-10 remember God’s covenant and laws (3) Chapters 11-26 love God and let it show in how you live (4) Chapters 27-30 consequences for living according to the covenant and for disobeying (5) Chapters 31-34 death of Moses likely added by Joshua.

In Deuteronomy 1-3, Moses reminds the new generation getting ready to enter the promised land, that the mission was for their fathers but they rebelled and the mission got passed on to the kids. In Chapters 4-10, Moses reminds them that the covenant and laws that God gave them, and that their fathers accepted at Mount Sinai, was a call to set themselves apart from the other nations of the world; this call to distinction helped Israel to survive for 1600 years from Moses to the birth of Jesus.

In Deuteronomy 12:29-31 (ESV) (shortened) Moses says: “When the Lord… cuts off before you… the nations whom you go in to dispossess… do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? – that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”

This warning was repeated many times in Deuteronomy 11-26; the seven nations to be cut off because of extreme wickedness (click map), were Girgashites (north, Galilee), Hivites, Perizzites, Jebusites (Jerusalem area), Philistines (west), Amorites (east), and Hittites (south). Israel was to take the promised land, and by their God guided lifestyle, make it a place where God dwells with us. God warned Israel that if they burn their children to the Canaanite gods, he will cut them off too!

Lord, you taught Israel their spiritual purpose, help them discover it again; help us also to learn of our spiritual purpose in the world, Amen!

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