Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor 10:11)
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Rom 15:4)
Deuteronomy 1:2, Eleven days. Horeb (Mount Sinai) was only an 11-days’ journey to the edge of the Promised Land (Kadesh Barnea), yet because of Israel’s bad conduct (disobedience to YHVH’s commands, lack of trust and faith in YHVH’s Word evidenced by complaining, murmuring and even outright rebellion) they were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. What is holding you back from going forward in your spiritual walk? What sin, what fear, what wrong beliefs or false religious concepts are you refusing to let go that are hindering you? If you are serious about serving YHVH, it is time to repent and go onward and upward in Yeshua!
Deuteronomy 1:5, Moses began to declare this law (KJV). This is a poor translation of the Hebrew. A better translation would be: “Moses began to explain this law [Torah]…” (NKJV), or “Moses undertook to expound this law [Torah] … “ (NAS), or “Moses began explaining the Torah …” (ASET). To whom was Moses explaining the Torah? (Read verse 39 and cp. with Deut 6:7). Moses was the dutiful parent faithfully teaching Torah to the younger generation about to enter the Promised Land. How are you preparing the young people in your life to enter into the Promised Land of YHVH’s eternal kingdom?
Deuteronomy 1:11, Add to you a thousand times yourselves. If the children of Israel numbered between several million (there were approximately 600,000 men of fighting age numbered among the Israelites), then when was this prophetic promise of YHVH ever fulfilled in Israel’s history? Where are the several billion Israelites (1000 times two to three million) today? (See Gen 26:4; 32:12; Exod 32:13 cp. Hos 7:8; 8:8.)
Deuteronomy 1:12–13, Choose…men. Choosing leaders to help govern Israel and to maintain the peace was of first priority because the people were prone to strife and complaining. Without a dispute and conflict resolution plan in place, the nation of Israel would have been one of total anarchy, strife and confusion.
Deuteronomy 1:13 and 15, Provide for yourselves distinguished men, who are wise, understanding, and well known … so I took … of your tribes distinguished men, who were wise and well known.Compare the two lists. What character trait is not listed in the second list? Why? The word understanding (biyn, Strong’s H995/TWOT 239) means “discerning, perceptive, discreet, intelligent, observant and prudent.” Why did Moses have such a difficult time finding understanding men to be leaders in Israel? Are people any different today? Only two men out of hundreds of thousands had understanding: Caleb and Joshua.
Deuteronomy 1:26–28, Moving forward in the face of obstacles. Many times in our spiritual walk we are just at the point of spiritual breakthrough, but we receive an evil report about some spiritual giants that is blocking our forward movement and our resolve to advance melts. It seems sometimes that if we could just see what the future holds for us that it would be much easier for us to go forward! Yet Yeshua said, Blessed are those who haven’t seen, yet still believe in YHVH’s promises (John 20:29). Do you have what it takes to go on without being deterred by the world, the flesh and the devil? How can one go forward in faith if one cannot see where one is going? It gets down to personal and intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father, through Yeshua. He directs us through his Spirit. Can you hear his voice with your spirit when he tells you, “This is the way, walk you in it,” (Isa 30:21)?
Deuteronomy 1:29, He will fight for you.How does Elohim fight for us? Let’s look at the example of the children of Israel. We can learn a lot from them (1 Cor 10:11). How many examples are there of the Israelites sitting down and doing nothing while YHVH fought for them? Few if any. What then does YHVH require?
We must do our part, and he will do the rest. What is the part we are to do? That depends. Sometimes it depends on what we we’re capable of doing. Often he requires us to come to the end of our resources and abilities, and then he will step in and finish the fight on our behalf to the victorious end. We also have to fight only the battles he has told us to fight.
Sometimes we choose to fight battles he has not instructed us to fight. This was the case with the Israelites who chose to go up and take the Promised Land when YHVH had told them not to do so. As a result of their disobedience, they were defeated (Deut 1:42–45). YHVH will not support his people in a battle he has not sanctioned.
When YHVH tells us to go to battle, we must fight how he tells us to fight, who he tells us to fight, and when he tells us to fight. For example, if the Israelites had gone up against Jericho using conventional warfare tactics, they would have been defeated because that’s not how YHVH instructed them to defeat that city. The same is true of Gideon’s unconventional method of defeating the vast Midianite army with only three hundred soldiers armed with candles in clay jars and shofars.
YHVH will only fight for us when we submit to his battle plans and fight the enemy his way. For example, the Israelites defeated the Amalakites when Moses stood on a hill with his arms outstretched in a cross-like formation. Likewise, they overcame Jericho by marching around it blowing shofars. Gideon used lamps and shofars to defeat the enemy. David used a slingshot and a pebble. Once the Israel defeated their enemy with the help of the ark of covenant, through prayer and praise.
The biblical list of unconventional methods of YHVH’s people defeating their enemies is a long and inspiring one! What can we learn from all of this? For YHVH to fight for us, we must first do things his way so that he’ll fight for us. This means knowing when and who to fight and how to fight. Often we have to wait on YHVH for the answers to these questions even as a military officer has to wait for headquarters to give him his marching orders. Headquarters won’t back or support the soldier who takes matters into his own hands. Conversely, headquarters won’t tolerate a solider who refuses to obey orders. The same is true of YHVH.
Deuteronomy 1:36, Because he has wholly followed YHVH. What does this statement say about the heart of Caleb? If you check most Hebrew lexicons, you will find that the name Caleb (or Calev) means “dog.” But this is not the whole story. Hebrew is a very flexible language, and one word can have multiple definitions. The Hebrew word kal and lev/cKliterally mean “all heart.” When you think of a dog, what comes to mind? Always happy to see its master, unconditional love, a faithful companion, guarding and protecting its family no matter the cost. How does Calev’s name fit his spiritual characteristics? What can we learn from Calev about what is pleasing to YHVH. (For more on Calev, read Num 13:30; 14:6, 24, 30; 32:12; Josh 14:6–14.) Be inspired by this mighty man of faith.
Deuteronomy 1:39, Little ones…knowledge of good and evil.“Little ones” were those under the age of 20 (see Num 14:29; 32:11). Certainly, children under the age of 20 should have by then, if they were raised properly, have a sense of the difference between good and evil. However, YHVH is extremely gracious. He gives children ample time choose to follow him. By age 20, children will have had enough time to learn the difference between good and evil, and have had enough experience to have made an informed and intelligent choice whether to follow the path of good or evil. Those who reject YHVH at this age can no longer plead ignorance of his ways or inexperience in coming to an understanding the consequences of their actions. If they choose to go against YHVH it’s because they have stiff-necks, and hard and rebellious hearts.