On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 1, Lesson 3

Pastor Ovid Need


NOTE: Time requires I leave in the minor errors, e.g., abbreviations in text, wrong abbreviations, mixed tenses in a sentence (though I have tried to catch all of them), caps, etc. Time prevents correcting and adding to these lessons. There are also some comments at the end of this chapter.

Place your answer in the space provided. Put ANS before each answer. Capitalize, ANS:


Moses is recounting to the new generation all of the mighty works of God. He is rehearsing how and why they have the form of civil government which they do. Now he is going to remind them of why they have been in the wilderness for these many years. He starts at Horeb, where they received the law (according to Deut., some say that Horeb and Sinai are two different places). The timetable here is significant. Notice Moses established Deut. 1:13-18 before he received the law. Check Ex. 18 and Ex. 20. The rebellion and idolatry of the golden calf takes place in Ex. 32. With this in mind, this brings up a point.

When did Moses carry out the establishing of the civil government as commanded in Ex. 18? Did he do it right then? If so, then these rulers of tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands were already in place at Sinai. They were already commanded to judge righteous judgment before the law of Ex. 20 was given.

1. What does this show us concerning God's law, Rom. 1:19, 20?




Next, if these "godly" men were already in place when Ex. 32 took place, then why didn't these men prevent the golden calf? They were to judge a righteous judgment. I believe this would confirm that the leaders only reflect the people. An ungodly people will appoint ungodly leaders, rulers and judges. When the people desire perverted justice, they will choose leaders who will permit or even provide their perverted justice. When God's people are controlled by covetousness, they will insist on covetous leaders, etc., Hosea 7:2; 8:1-4; 13:9; Amos 2:4, 5. Crying out against wickedness in high places is useless without starting in the hearts of God's people.

This brings us to the next point. Godly and good civil government will only come as the result of a godly, good, self-controlled, self-governed population or electorate. Only a self-controlled people will produce self-controlled rulers and judges. Therefore, our responsibility is to extend the self- control of God's word, through Christ in us, to all of those around us. This alone will produce a godly rule.

2. How do we do this, Matt. 28:19, 20?


Deut. 1:19 -- Moses has reminded them of how they received the judges and rulers which they have; now he moves on from Sinai. They went through the terrible wilderness. Many of these whom he is addressing saw this wilderness. Those who were under twenty were still alive.

They came to Kadesh-barnea where Moses instructed them: First, the Lord had given the land to them, and, second, don't be afraid or discouraged. Observe here in v. 21 he uses "...The Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged."

3. Why do you think he said, "The Lord of thy fathers hath said---?"




V. 22, of course, those to whom he is speaking are not the ones who came to him. It was their fathers who died in the wilderness.

4. What did these men who came to Moses suggest should be done?



5. We can find the record of this in Num. 13.1, 2. What kind of men were they?



a. Num. 13:18-20, what did Moses tell them to do?




We see in Ex. 23 that Israel had already been promised victory. Now, here in Num. 13:17-20, we see these men are told to go check on something they had already been promised. They were to go check on the food supply and the strongholds of the enemy so they would know the best way to go in.

b. 13:25-33, what kind of a report did they bring back?



c. Num. 14:1-5, 32:7-9; Deut. 1:28-29. What did this report do to the people?


Human understanding will always do this.

(1) Observe the different response that Joshua had, Joshua 2:8-11; 23, 24. What was the report which Joshua received?


If the report to Moses had been restricted to what was requested in Deut. 1:22, the results could have been quite different. In Deut. 1:25, they knew what God promised, yet they refused to act upon that promise. There are many things which could enter in to this refusal to obey. One of these could be Deut. 29:4. It was not God's time yet. His purpose was not yet fulfilled.

6. What does God do here on this earth, i.e., Dan. 4:17, 25, 32-37, Jonah 1:14?



In v. 26, we see that this generation believed the report of men over the promises of God's word. They knew what God had said, yet they laid that aside for the word of men.


The majority is very seldom right. Democracy will NOT work. Democracy is humanism in action.

Humanist Manifesto's I and II under point,

Eight: We are committed to an open and democratic society. We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the work place and voluntary associations. Decision making must decentralize to include widespread involvement of people at all levels--social, political, and economic. All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives. Institutions should be responsive to expressed desires and needs. The conditions of work, education, devotion, and play should be humanizes. Alienating forces should be modified or eradicated and bureaucratic structures should be held to a minimum. People are more important than decalogues, rules, proscriptions, or regulations.

However, "decentralized" obviously does not mean "decentralizing" the civil government. Note what was said above:

1) "Democracy should be in the economy, the school (the students make the decisions, even passing judgment upon the teachers), the family (each member has one vote, doing away with parental authority), the work place (the employees now get together, expressing their voice on how it should be run), voluntary associations, (this is the church and other such areas. The members decide their destiny, not God's word)." This is also the "congregational" form of church government. The church should be a theocracy—God's man finding God's will from God's word and saying, "let's go."

2) "The conditions, etc..." The conditions of these areas mentioned are to be centered around human needs, not God's requirements.

3) They are very bold as they say "People are more important than decalogues..." (the Ten Commandments are called the Decalogue.) They say here that people are more important than laws, rules, etc.. In other words, rules, laws and regulations are made, broken, or bent however it best serves people. This statement does away with ALL dogmatic standard of right and wrong. The statement is a direct attack against ALL of the laws of God. It says that laws are made and used for the pleasure of man. When man's pleasure changes, so do the laws. Laws, according to this fallen view, are to reflect what men want (and humanist laws do) rather than what God wants.

7. What is wrong with the above corrupted view of law that says they are to reflect the desires of man, 1 Cor. 10:31?


Therefore, we see that Democracy is ungodly, as it and the many simmilar ideas, directly attack God and His law-word. The U.S. was founded as a Republic, under God's laws, not as a democracy under man's laws.

There is a latin phrase, "vox populi; vox Die" -- "The voice of the people is the voice of God." Thus the people are the god of democracy. (Rushdoony, "Law and liberty", 31.) The roots of democracy can be traced to Gen. 3:5, "ye shall be as gods, able to determine for yourselves what is good and evil, right and wrong." The situation with Moses at Kadesh- barnea is democracy in action. It is ungodly, and will lead to God's hand against those who practice it.

8. What kind of government is required, Deut. 4:1-14?




Here we seem to have an inconsistency in thought. It was not time for them to go in yet, but God still held them responsible for their actions. We will find this true throughout Scripture. God's plan for the ages is being worked through Divine Providence. Man will be held responsible for his disobedience and rebellion against His divine word and plan.

The argument which the natural man will now use would be "Why does the Lord God find fault? Who has resisted His will?" Of course, the answer to this would be, "How can man, the creation, call God, his Creator, into question? Does not God have the right to do as He will in the kingdom which He has created out of nothing? Cannot He do whatever He pleases to make known the riches of His glory?" (Rom. 9:18-26.)

There are two great themes in Scripture: First, the total sovereignty of the Tri-Une God over all things, controlling all things by his divine providence for his own glory. Second, man's responsibility and accountability to God for his every action. Obviously, being the creature, man cannot understand how the two themes work together, but they do. (Rom. 11:33-36; Rom. 14:12, etc. Heb. 11:3, "Through faith we understand...")

These ten did not have to give an "evil report". Two did not, and they received a tremendous blessing from God for their stand on His Word. Note the "evil report" was based upon personal judgment that the wicked were more powerful than God's people, and consisted of reporting that God could not deliver the wicked into the hands of the obedient.

Deut. 1:27-28, the "Negative Nellies" will discourage the multitude. They will cause doubt of God's Word.

9. In v. 28, what did the people see?



a. What should they have "seen", vv. 21-25?



b. When we get our eyes off of God and His word, what will we see?



c. What has God chosen to use in the face of the mighty things of this world, 1 Cor. 1:25-31?



(1) Why, 1 Cor. 1:31?



10. Deut. 1:21, Moses warns them against discouragement. Discouragement will prevent what?



a. To help answer this, look at Joshua 1:6-7. What is the purpose of strength and courage (and, might we add, of grace)?



b. As this is done, what will be the results, 1:7b,8?



c. What is the promise as v. 7 is obeyed in 1:9?



d. What is the means of accomplishing v. 7b and 8 today, Eph. 4:13?



11. Where does the strength of God's people lie? How do God's people claim their strength, Rom. 1:17; Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11; Phil. 3:9; Heb. 10:38?


(What is faith?)


An excellent treatment of Rom. 9:18-26 can be found in Hodge's Commentary on Romans (Reprint of his 1835 work by Banner of Truth, Box 652, Carlisle, Pen. 17013, pgs. 315-325). Another easy to read treatment of this is found in C.H. Spurgeon's sermon, ELECTION. Gospel Mission, P.O. Box M, Choteau, Montana 59422.


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