Messages from the Old Testament - Study Guide Week 4
The key to understanding the Bible is to understand the context of a scripture. The context is what is going on at the time. For example, if you are lying on a bed in a room and an unknown person comes in and asks you to undress you will have a different reaction depending on the context. If you were at someone's home and the person was dressed all in black with a ski mask on their face you would probably scream or call 911. If you are in a hospital or doctor's office and the person who comes in is a nurse or doctor you would not be worried.
The context for these verses is very important. The people of Israel have just been delivered from slavery in Egypt by God's mighty power. They are now heading to the promised land. The promised land is the place God had promised them as the place where they would live and possess. It was their destiny and the place of God's blessing for them.
These verses are a bridge between where they were (the past) and where they were going (God's future for them). These verses therefore can be seen as orientation or general principles on how to possess what God has for us. Chapter five of the book of Deuteronomy contains the Ten Commandments. These verses give us the approach to use when reading God's Word. The key point of the verses is doing God's commandments. Moses tells them that if they hear and do what God commands they will receive what God has in store for them.
Some Background Information
The word Deuteronomy literally means second law. The book is a review in more detail of what happened and is recorded in the book of Exodus. The land of Canaan was promised to the people of Israel as their inheritance forever. It was the land of blessing. It had first been promised to Abraham by God in Genesis 12:1-7. In the Bible it is called the promised land because God promised it to Abraham's decedents. The people of Israel ended up in Egypt and became enslaved for over 400 years. God through Moses miraculously delivered them from Egypt (see book of Exodus). Now they are on their way to the promised land and God through Moses gives them instruction on how to live as God's people (10 commandments). These verses are right before the ten commandments and make clear that hearing God's word plus doing God's word will bring us to live in God's blessing. Some similar verses are found in Joshua 1:8 and Matthew 7:24-27.
Moses mentions an incident in verses 3 and 4 that happened in Baal Peor. The full account of that incident is found at Numbers chapter 25 verses 1-9. Some of the men had sexual relations with and married women from Moab who drew their hearts away from God and they started to worship idols. The religion of these people included child sacrifice to the idols. God severely judged and destroyed those who engaged in that. The key point for us is to guard our heart so it will not be drawn away to other things and you forget God and His ways. Adding to God's law or taking away from it is severely condemned in the book of Revelation chapter 22 verses 18-19. The last part of verse 9 talks about teaching children and passing on obedience to God's ways. Proverbs 22 verse 6 also underscores the importance of teaching children to obey.
Digging Deeper Questions
What is your reaction when you hear the word obedience? Why? Is it seen as a positive or negative word in society? Is obedience to God seen as freeing or restricting?
- Read verse 1 and break it down into parts and discuss each part and the relationship to one another of each part.
- What are some examples of ways people add to God's word? What are some ways they subtract from God's word?
- Read over the 10 commandments in chapter 5 verses 6-21. Which ones pose a challenge for you? For people in general?
- Why is it so important to watch your heart? (verse 9 chapter 4) What are practical ways someone can watch their hearts?
- Discuss strategies for teaching children (or adults) to obey and apply God's word.
- What are some of your application points from this study?
This Week’s Victory Challenge
Focus on one area of your life in which you want to grow in obedience to God's will. ask someone to pray for you about that.