Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 1–2
The word “Deuteronomy” is derived from Latin and means “second law.” The book of Deuteronomy is essentially three sermons from Moses, and the “second law” refers to the second sermon which is the bulk of the book (chapters 5–28). Deuteronomy follows a treaty format common in the ancient Near East, especially among the Hittites: a preamble (with the history), the agreement (including blessings and cursing), and the closing (calling on witnesses to preserve the document). Moses’ three sermons in Deuteronomy follow the same essential outline.
These sermons were a long time in coming. It was only an 11-day trip (Deut. 1:2) that in reality took 14,600 thirsty days (or 40 years). Joshua, Caleb, and Moses were the only warriors left standing, witnesses to the wrath of God on those who refused His mission. What God did to and through His people He did as a sign of what He would do to and through all the nations of the earth. Moses began his last series of sermons by bringing attention back to how all things began: We are to leave what is familiar and go (vv. 6, 7). We are to fulfil the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (v. 8)—the promise that Jehovah will be our God, we will be His people, He will bless us, and through us we will bless all nations. Israel taking the land is necessary for the physical presence of God among a holy people and representative that God will love-conquer all peoples of earth. Everything that the Israelites did (and did not do) in conquering nations physically, then, is exemplary to us regarding what Jehovah wants to do now through us to all the people groups of earth.
Look, the Lord our God has set the peoples of the world before us (v. 21). We are to go to them. The same Jehovah that promised to bless those nations through Abraham’s seed, Jesus, is with us. We should not fear or be discouraged. Let us send missionaries and overcome our excuses to make Jesus famous in all lands and among all peoples (v. 22). Some of us won’t go to unreached peoples because we are rebellious (v. 26). Some of us go and complain all along the way because our ideal of what missions would be like has been crushed (v. 27). Some of us go and don’t stay because we were discouraged and the task seemed to big (v. 28). And to us, even down through the years, Jehovah speaks through Moses: “Do not be terrified, or afraid… The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you…” (vv. 29–30). And for those of us who will trust Him, God carries us as a man carries his son (v. 31).
It’s not an easy thing to be a missionary to the Somali people. The Somali are one of the giants of our day, fiercely resistant to the Lord and His redemption plan. If we don’t reach them, our children will rise up and call us cowards and possess (v. 39) Somalia for Jesus. If we try to reach Somalis in our own strength or in ways not blessed by the holy, truthful Spirit of God, He will not be with us. The odds against reaching Somalis are so great that there is no way we can succeed unless God fights for us (vv. 42–43). And when we fail, when missionaries retire, flee, desert, or die, God says: “Get up and go again. This time, be careful to attack only where I say and to partner well by not meddling in what I assigned to others” (2:2, 4–6, 12). So, we pick up the pieces of broken missionaries and missions—vessels wrecked on Somali shores over and again these last centuries—and we send and go again. As we set our faces resolutely to meet God, as He fights to win the hearts of the Somali, we feel Him smile as we join our feeble steps to His grand ones, and we hear Him say: “I will bless all the work of your hand. I know your trudging through this great wilderness. I the Lord your God will be with you. You will lack nothing” (v. 7). And one more time, we leave the mountain and we go.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 190.