THE PROMISE KEEPER
God, show me how You have already been keeping Your promises in my life.
Read Deuteronomy 1:1–18
The Command to Leave Horeb
1 These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan—that is, in the Arabah—opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. 2 (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)
3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the Lord had commanded him concerning them. 4 This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.
5 East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying:
6 The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. 8 See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
The Appointment of Leaders
9 At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. 10 The Lord your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky. 11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! 12 But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? 13 Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”
14 You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.”
15 So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you—as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you. 17 Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.” 18 And at that time I told you everything you were to do.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow many years have you been walking with God?
Even though it should have been an 11-day journey from Horeb (Mount Sinai) to Kadesh Barnea (the entry point to the land), Israel’s lack of faith had made it a 40-year wandering in the desert. Now they were on the doorstep of the Promised Land and Moses was God’s spokesman to get them ready.
For the first few chapters, Moses reviews the story so far. In this section, he takes them back to the beginning of the journey at Horeb. God sent them forth to take the extensive land he had promised to them through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deut. 1:6–8—a land much bigger than Israel had ever occupied).
From verses 9 to 18, Moses describes the challenge of leading this huge crowd of people. Notice two things: first, God was fulfilling his promise to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars (Gen. 15:5). Since God was already keeping that promise, they could trust him to keep all his promises.
Second, the organization of the people would reflect God’s values as they entered the land. That is, God’s people were to be characterized by justice and righteousness. How God’s people live paints a picture of God’s character.
Ask a close, godly friend to share how they see you as a person and follower of Jesus. Is your life a faithful example of Christ? Humbly bring their words to God and ask for his wisdom to live aright.
My King, is my life painting a faithful picture of Your character to watching eyes around me? Make me like You.