Dave Burnette's Commentary

Deuteronomy Chapter 1

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses 
Date Penned: (1407 BC)
Overview: To Remind and Rededicate Israel to the Lord (c 1-34)
Theme: A Reminder of What God Has Done (c 1-4)
Message: Moses Addresses the Tribes (v 1-46)

Deuteronomy 1 Commentary

(1:1-5) Israel's Heart was Exposed - The Israelites spent 40 years on a journey that should have lasted 11 days. It wasn't distance that stood between them and the Promised Land--it was the condition of their hearts. God's purpose went deeper than simply transporting a huge group of people to a new land. He was preparing them to worship him alone and live in obedience to him once they arrived. What good was the Promised Land if the Israelites were just as wicked as the nations already living there? The journey was a painful but necessary part of their preparation. Through it God taught the Israelites who he was: the living God, the Leader of their nation. He also taught them who they were: people who were fallen, sinful, and prone to rebellion and doubt. He gave his rebellious people the law to help them understand how to relate to him and to other people. Your spiritual pilgrimage may be lengthy, and you may face pain, discouragement, and difficulties. But remember that God isn't just trying to keep you alive. He wants to prepare you to live a life of knowing and loving him and sharing this life with others. The 40 years of wilderness wandering come to an end in this book, The major part of Deuteronomy covers only a week or two of the eleventh month of the fortieth year (43). The twelfth and last month was spent in mourning for Moses (34:8). Then the Israelites entered the Promised Land the first month of the forty-first year after the Exodus (Joshua 4:19).

(1:6-8) Sin Always Complicates Life - The Lord commanded the Israelites to take possession of the land that was promised to them, but it would not just be given to them. They had to travel, face enormous challenges, and settle in and adapt to a new land. When God has called us to a new task, we need to break camp, break inertia, engage the challenges that come, and adapt to change. God requires us to do our part as he fulfills his promises to lead, guide, and provide for us.

(1:6-7) Moses Summarizes Israel's Journey - Notice that Moses summary of Israel's 40-year journey begins at Mount Horeb (Sinai), not in Egypt. Why did Moses leave out the first part of the Exodus? Moses was not giving an itinerary-he was summarizing the nation's development. In Moses' mind, the nation of Israel began at the base of Mount Sinai, not in Egypt, for it was at Mount Sinai that God made his covenant with the people (Exodus 19-20). Along with this covenant came knowledge and responsibility. After the people chose to follow God, they had to know how to follow him. Therefore, God gave them a comprehensive set of laws and guidelines that stated how he wanted them to live (these are found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers). The people could no longer say they didn't know the difference between right and wrong, or what God expected of them. Now that the people had promised to follow God and knew how to follow him, they had a responsibility to do it. When God tells you to break camp and move out to face a challenge he gives you, will you be ready to obey?

(19-13) Moses Shares the Load - It was a tremendous burden for Moses to lead the nation by himself. He could not accomplish the task single-handedly. As nations, organizations, and churches grow, they become increasingly complex. Conflicting needs and quarrels arise. No longer can one leader make all the decisions. Like Moses, you may have a natural tendency to try to do all the work alone. You may be afraid or embarrassed or too stubborn to ask for help. Moses made a wise decision to share the leadership with others. Rather than trying to handle large responsibilities alone, look for ways of sharing the load so that others may exercise their God-given gifts and abilities.

(1:13-18) Moses Outlines Leadership - Moses identified some of the inner qualities of good leaders: (1) wisdom, (2) fairness, (3) courage, and (4) the ability to recognize their limitations. These characteristics differ markedly from the ones that often lead to the selection of leaders today: good looks, wealth, popularity, and willingness to do anything to get to the top. The qualities Moses identified should be evident in us as we lead, and we should look for them in those we choose for positions of leadership.

(1:22) A Reminder to Follow the Instructions - The spies had been sent into the land not to determine whether they should enter but to gain knowledge to determine how they should enter (Numbers 13:17-20). Upon returning, however, most of the spies had concluded that the land was not worth the obstacles. God would give the Israelites the power to conquer the land, but they were afraid of the risks and decided not to enter. God gives us the power to do what he's called us to do, but just as the Israelites were filled with fear and skepticism, we often let difficulties control our lives. When we follow God regardless of these difficulties, we demonstrate a courageous, overcoming faith

(1:23-40) A Reminder to Trust the Lord - Moses retold the story of the spy mission into the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14). When the spies returned with reports of giants and walled cities, the people were afraid to move ahead and began to complain about their predicament. But the minority report of Joshua and Caleb pointed out that the land was fertile, the enemy was vulnerable, and God was on their side. We become fearful and immobile when we focus on the negative aspects of a situation. How much better to focus on the positive-God's direction and promises. When you are confronted with an important decision and know what you should do, move out in faith. Focus on the positives while trusting God to overcome the negatives. Problems don't have to rob you of victory.

(1:28) A Reminder to Trust God's Promises -  Canaan was a land with giants and imposing fortresses. The "sons of the Anakims" may have been seven to nine feet tall. Many of the land's fortified cities had walls as high as 3o feet. The Israelites' fear was understandable but not justified, for the all-powerful God had already promised them victory.

(1:45-46) A Reminder to Wait on the Lord - The Israelites stayed at Kadesh for a long time. They had been disobedient but now were willing to wait on the Lord for direction. At times, we may find ourselves in a "Kadesh moment," simply sitting and waiting to find out what the Lord would have us do next. We may feel as though God refuses to listen to us. We need to encourage each other to remain faithful during these times of waiting.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Let the Lord Fight Your Battles

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we start the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 1 and today we see the beginning of a wonderful book given to us to remind us of what God did for Israel. A book to encourage us to rededicate our lives to Him just as the Israelite's do in the upcoming chapters. Here in chapter 1 we see the Leaders chosen from each tribe, and a familiar Rebellion against God. What catches my eye is verse 29 where - when given the plan of God, the Lord reminds us that He will fight our battles. Be encouraged for the battle is the Lord's and if we stay in His Will we will see Him provide the victory. The key is to do what He says with the eye of faith walking into the battlefield. It reminds me of times where the enemy has risen up against me in Ministry. Doing what the Lord instructed me - I stepped into the battlefield to see the enemy defeated by His Hand. How about you? Have you seen the Lord fight your battles when the enemy rises against you? Let us learn from today's text and let the Lord fight our battles. 


Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy 1

 1These 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.

 2(There are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)

 3And 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;

 4After 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:

 5On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,

 6The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:

 7Turn 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.

 8Behold, 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.

 9And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:

 10The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.

 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!)

 12How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?

 13Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.

 14And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.

 15So 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.

 16And 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.

 17Ye 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.

 18And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

 19And 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.

 20And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us.

 21Behold, 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.

 22And 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.

 23And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:

 24And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.

 25And 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.

 26Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:

 27And 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.

 28Whither 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.

 29Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.

 30The 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;

 31And 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.

 32Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,

 33Who 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.

 34And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying,

 35Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers.

 36Save 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.

 37Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.

 38But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

 39Moreover 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.

 40But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.

 41Then 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.

 42And 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.

 43So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill.

 44And 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.

 45And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.

 46So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there.