Beginning of the End


God Teaches His Law to a New Generation

This chapter is based on Deuteronomy 3 to 6; 28.

The Lord announced to Moses that it was the time to possess Canaan. As the old prophet stood upon the heights overlooking the Promised Land, with deep earnestness he pleaded, “O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.” BOE 229.1

The answer was, “Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.” BOE 229.2

Without a complaint Moses submitted God’s decree. And now his great concern was for Israel. From a full heart he poured out the prayer, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may ... bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd” (Numbers 27:16, 17). BOE 229.3

The answer came, “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And thou shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient” (Verses 18-20). BOE 229.4

Joshua, a man of wisdom, ability, and faith, was chosen to succeed Moses. He was solemnly set apart as the leader of Israel. The words of the Lord concerning Joshua came through Moses to the congregation, “At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation” (Verse 21). BOE 229.5

Moses stood before the people to give his last warnings and important counsel, his face shining with a holy light. His hair was white with age, but he stood straight and his eye was clear and undimmed. With deep feeling he portrayed the love and mercy of their Almighty Protector. BOE 229.6

“Ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live? Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” BOE 230.1

“Because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:8, 9). BOE 230.2

The people of Israel had often felt impatient and rebellious because of their long wandering in the wilderness, but this delay in possessing Canaan was not God’s fault. He was more grieved than they because He could not bring them into the Promised Land immediately and demonstrate His mighty power before all nations. With their distrust of God, they had not been prepared to enter Canaan. If their fathers had yielded in faith to the direction of God, walking in His instruction, they would have been settled in Canaan a long time earlier as a prosperous, holy, happy people. Their delay dishonored God and took away from His glory in the sight of surrounding nations. BOE 230.3

Moses said, “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” BOE 230.4

And he challenged the Hebrew multitude: “What great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” The laws that God gave His ancient people were wiser, better, and more humane than those of the most civilized nations of the earth. God’s law bears the stamp of the divine. BOE 230.5

How must these words have moved the hearts of Israel as they remembered that Moses, who so glowingly pictured the blessings of the beautiful land, had been, through their sin, shut out from sharing the inheritance of his people: BOE 230.6

“The land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven;” “a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper;” “a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:11, 12; 8:7-9). BOE 230.7

“So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full—then beware, lest you forget the Lord.” “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord our God. ... For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” If they would do evil in the sight of the Lord, then, said Moses, “You will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.” BOE 231.1

Moses completed the work of writing all the laws, statutes, and judgments that God had given him and the regulations concerning the sacrificial system. The book containing these was placed for safekeeping in the side of the ark. BOE 231.2