Introduction: Are you a student of history? If the answer is, “no,” you need to start studying! We have a new pastor at my church and he was born in Cuba. His father was also a pastor and he was tortured by the government of Cuba for doing God’s will and sharing the gospel with others. Our new pastor knows this history very well. When he sees threats to our freedom from people who think like the leaders in Cuba, he gets very worried. Part of the history that we need to know is the history of God’s people. Moses believed that history was vital and he begins with it this week. Let’s dive into our study of Biblical history!

  1.         A New Beginning

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:3. What message is Moses giving to God’s people? (A message from God regarding what God wanted them to do.)

  1.         Notice the date. What is it? (The first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year.)

  1.         Read Numbers 20:1. When did Miriam die? (In the first month. By comparing the rest of this chapter with our next text we know that this was the fortieth year.)

  1.         Read Numbers 33:38. When did Aaron die? (On the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year.)

  1.         Miriam died in the first month of that year, Aaron died in the fifth month of that year, and now Moses is giving his last message in the eleventh month of that year. How do you think the people viewed this?

  1.         Read Numbers 14:34-35. What was the problem with God’s people forty years before? (They did not trust God.)

  1.         What should the people conclude about what is happening in the fortieth year? (God is trustworthy. He keeps His word. At the end of forty years those who failed to trust God are dead and their descendants are now poised to enter Canaan.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:8. If you were a student of history, and you were among God’s people, what would you do? (Trust God. I would not make the same mistake as my dead ancestors. I would take possession of the land.)

  1.         History of Leadership

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:9-10 and Deuteronomy 1:12-13. Who did Moses trust to choose wise leaders? (The people. The leaders did not choose other leaders. It was the people who chose them.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:14-16. After the people chose leaders, what did Moses do? (He organized them and gave them instructions.)

  1.         What does that teach us, if anything, about church organization today?

  1.         History of Failed Leadership.

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:19-21. What should the people have said in response to this command to take possession? (Yes! Imagine the difference it would have made in the lives of those recently freed slaves. Instead, they died in the wilderness which (verse 19) Moses described as “great and terrifying.”)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:22-23. Moses recalls that he agreed to this scouting proposal. Do you agree that it was the right thing to do?

  1.         If not, why not? (God was leading them. He had been leading them through the wilderness. They did not need this additional information.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 1:24-26. We can see in hindsight that sending the spies was a bad idea. Ask yourself, is there any reason why they should have thought it was a bad idea? I previously suggested that they didn’t need additional information. But, is additional information ever a bad thing?

  1.         Look again at Deuteronomy 1:25. The information the spies brought back simply confirmed what God had promised. Why would they need that confirmation?

  1.         Was that a small sign that they did not trust God as they should?

  1.         Re-read Deuteronomy 1:22 and read Deuteronomy 1:28. Is this report consistent with the task given to the spies? (Yes. They were to map out “the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come.”)

  1.         What should we learn from this? (God has shown that He is long-suffering. But, if we are wise we will be careful in our planning to avoid actions which fail to show trust in what God has commanded us to do.)

  1.         Moses reminds them of the history of the rebellion and the reason they stayed in the wilderness forty years. Read Deuteronomy 1:37-38. What leadership qualities does Moses show? (He admits his mistake. He does not blame others. He supports the man who will take his place. He does not try to undermine him.)

  1.         Getting it Right

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 2:24-25. How does God work in partnership with His people? (He asks the people to move forward. God plants “dread and fear” in the hearts of their opponents.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 2:26-28. Is this a ploy? A trick? (Read Deuteronomy 2:29. Israel had passed peacefully through the lands of Seir and Moab. The message says that their destination is to cross through to the Jordan. Thus, I think they would have passed peacefully through the land of King Sihon. God knew King Sihon would be a hothead and not agree to this reasonable request.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 2:32-34. No survivors were left. How do you reconcile that with the loving God that we discussed last week?

  1.         Read Genesis 15:16. This is a comment made by God to Abraham with regard to the conquest of Canaan. What does this tell us that God is doing? (Last week we discussed judgment in connection with the Flood. This week we reviewed the judgment God made on those who died in the wilderness instead of entering Canaan. This is another example of God’s judgment being executed. King Sihon could have let God’s people pass through without any problems.)

  1.         Read Isaiah 55:6-9. What does this tell us about God’s goals for us and our ability to fully understand God? (God wants us to turn to Him for pardon. God has compassion on the wicked and the unrighteous. At the same time we need to trust the judgments of God because His thoughts and ways are above ours.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 3:1-2 and Deuteronomy 3:4-5. What is remarkable about taking all of these cities? (Read Deuteronomy 1:28. These fortified cities were one of the main reasons why God’s people refused to enter forty years before. Now, they appear to easily defeat well-defended fortified cities.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 2:10-11 and Deuteronomy 3:11. One Bible commentary tells us that this bed was 13.5 x 6 feet or 4. x 1.8 meters and it was made of iron! How tall is this guy? (Unless he just liked a long bed, he was twelve feet tall!)

  1.         Look again at Deuteronomy 1:28. People like King Og are what the spies reported.  Walled cities defended by people who are up to twelve feet tall! What problems in your life are too difficult for God to handle?

  1.         Friend, what does Bible history teach us? It teaches us to trust God. It teaches us that rejecting God is a very bad idea. It teaches us that God has great blessings in mind for those who are faithful to Him.

  1.         Next week: The Everlasting Covenant.