They were so close they could smell it. Just across the Jordan from where the Israelites encamped, they could see with their own eyes the fertile land God had promised them. Almost an entire generation had died out—the one that had witnessed God’s deliverance from Egypt. And now their children, grown and ready to receive God’s blessing, waited at the gate of victory for God’s word to go.
But Moses, old in years and unable to cross over because of past sin, wanted to ready this young and eager people. He had seen how their parents pained the Lord with complaints and unbelief. Their own hardened hearts kept them from seeing, from tasting all of God’s goodness and bounty. Would this new generation remember all of God’s faithfulness? Would they keep their eyes on the One who gave such abundant blessings? Or, like their parents, would they prefer empty pagan ritual and worldly relief?
They needed to remember. God Himself had given His people His laws. He alone served as their king. Huddled together on the brink of their future, God’s people gathered around Moses for one last message, one final word of wisdom before they entered their new world.
What did they need to know? God. The same One who called Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph—the One who raised up Moses and delivered Israel from Egypt—still reigned as their king. They were not wandering people, driven without purpose. They belonged to God as the apple of His eye. With the prosperity ahead also lay plenty of distractions, opportunities to trust or disobey. Their one key to success rested in their past. They had to remember who God had been for them to believe He would still be all they’d need.
Deuteronomy means “second law,” Moses’ book written to remind the people what mattered most to the God they served. Compiled as a covenant, the words implore the people to make a pact with God. He would lead, love and protect them as long as they stayed true to Him. Blessing it, God chose Joshua as the next leader, a prototype of Christ who would lead His people into the Promised Land.