Devarim - דברים - "Words"
These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It is eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the Lord had given him in commandment to them, after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying, “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them. (Deuteronomy 1:1-8)
It is very exciting to get to the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is arguably one of the most important books in the entire Bible; it forces us to reevaluate our priorities so that our lives revolve around God the correct way: His way. More than any other book of the Bible, Deuteronomy provides the foundation for our lifestyle, spirituality and mentality as believers of God. Deuteronomy is more than just a book; it is the contract between Israel and God.
Here's a little known fact about the book of Deuteronomy. The book of Deuteronomy was not always connected to Torah; in fact, it was lost for a while until around 622 BCE when it was found within the temple.
Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.” Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. (2 Kings 22:8-10)
By the time we get to 2 Kings 22, the 10 northern tribes of Israel were already gone and King Josiah ruled over the southern kingdom of Judah. When King Josiah heard the words from the book, his heart was troubled and he sought advice from Huldah, a prophet at the time, and this is what she told Him.
This is what the LORD says: "I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched. Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.” (2 Kings 22:15-20)
Because King Josiah responded humbly to the words written in the book, God showed mercy on Him. In the next chapter, Josiah begins to reform Israel by pledging himself to the covenant written in the book and leading the people in one of the earliest recorded spiritual revival. At that time Deuteronomy was only known as the "Book of the Teachings (“Law” for today's time)" or the "Book of the Covenant." It wasn't until the times of Nehemiah that it officially became the final book of Torah. Later on in the scriptures, Yeshua shows us the importance of this book by using it exclusively to fight off Satan's attacks in Matthew chapter 4 (Matthew 4:4/Deut. 8:3, Matthew 4:7/Deut. 6:16 & Matthew 4:10/Deut. 6:13) and He also shows us that it is the foundation of His doctrine. The contents found in the Book of Deuteronomy are so important that God clearly confirms its importance in 2 Kings 22 and in Matthew 4.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)
The book of Deuteronomy is the most challenging book in Torah because it is where the rubber meets the road. If you are seeking the Face of YHVH, you cannot simply read this book as if it is a history book or some sort of novel because the contents found in this book will challenge your commitment to Him. It takes the commands found from Genesis 1:1 to Numbers 36:13 and packages them into this one contract so that we know where God fits in our lives, what our faith should look like and our daily way of life if we want Him to be our God and for us to be His people. It spells out the terms and conditions of being a part of the commonwealth of Israel.
As we read through this final book of Torah we will see prophecies of Israel being scattered throughout the world, the coming of the "Greater Prophet" whom most people believe is Yeshua, and how God will circumcise the foreskins of our hearts. Since Deuteronomy is also known as the book of the covenant we also see all the penalties, or curses, that come from not following Torah.
Unfortunately, many modern believers do not see the relevance of Deuteronomy in our lives today because they believe that our covenant is only with Yeshua. What most people do not realize is that each of the covenants that we read about builds from the previous one, with the exception of the Leviticus covenant which is for the Levites only. When you accept Yeshua as both your Lord and Savior, you are excepting a total package which includes the Abraham covenant and the Mosaic covenant. The theory that dictates, "The law was only here for a certain time until Jesus/Yeshua arrived," is a false doctrine which is strongly opposed by the book of Deuteronomy.
If you believe that Yeshua is Lord and Savior, but you do not believe that Torah is relevant in our lives today, this book will challenge the tar out of your Biblical beliefs. If you do believe that Torah is the lifestyle for a modern believer, this book will always strengthen your convictions and give you more insight to God. Whether you believe in Torah as a lifestyle or not, if you are seeking God with all your heart, soul and strength, Deuteronomy will affect you one way or the other. Get ready for an exciting ride!