On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 1, Lesson 5


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. As time progresses, we will correct the lessons. There are also some comments at the end of this chapter.

When placing in your answers for each question in the space provided, put ANS: before each answer. Capitalize, ANS:

Lesson 1-5


We have followed the children of Israel through to Kadesh. We have seen their rebellion against God's Word. God told them to move, yet, in their fear they refused. It would be interesting to compare this with Abraham in Gen. 12:1-5 and Gen. 22:1-3 where God tried His faith.

1. Israel's rebellion is used as an illustration in Heb. 3:7-19. Israel's rebellion is contrasted with Abraham's faith with a couple examples: First, Abraham is held up as an example of faith and belief in Rom. 4; Gal. 3; Heb. 11:8, 17 and James 2:21, 22. Reading these passages, we find a consistency about Abraham. He had his problems, and found himself in some bad situations, such as with Hagar the handmaid. Yet what stands out about Abraham? What is it here that Abraham is regarded so highly for? (Hint: God spoke to Him and what did He do?)

Our Lord refers to Abraham in Jn. 8:33-59 in a heated exchange with the religious leaders. Christ refers to the works of Abraham, v. 39. There are probably two things about Abraham referred to here. First, God spoke and Abraham stepped out. Second, as he was about to sacrifice his son, he said, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering (Gen. 22:8)." In this he saw ahead to the day of Christ. We have here obedience to God's word and faith in His promised Son. (Paul clearly tells us that Abraham had the gospel preached to him in Gen. 12:3, Gal. 3:8, and that gospel included the inclusion of the Gentiles into God's covenant people.)

2. Now, let us compare this with these Hebrews, the physical seed of Abraham. What did the people do when God spoke to them?




God tells the people at Kadesh to go in, and promises them victory. Yet they refuse. Now God tells them to turn into the wilderness, and they decide that they want to go into Canaan. Is this not typical of human nature? Whatever God wants us to do, we want to do differently. We really have to keep the flesh under control, or it will control us contrary to God's revealed will as found in his word.

As we have said, all of these things happened to them for examples. Hebrews uses Israel to teach the church not to resist the Holy Ghost, as the Spirit uses the Word to instruct us in our actions.

Hebrews' identifies an evil heart of unbelief as departing from the living God, Heb. 3:9-12. Israel, at Kadesh, did not deny there was a God, nor did they deny the Lord's authority over them to tell them what to do. They were not serving the god's of Canaan, yet the Spirit tells us they departed from the living God.

3. What did they do that is identified here as a departure from the living God?




4. There are a couple of words used quite extensively in the OT to identify the departure from the living God, the departure from His law-word. This word expresses an attitude of unfaithfulness. As we see this word (and a couple of others which express this same attitude) used in the OT, the major usage of it is to describe this attitude of God's people toward God's word. What word does God use to express His peoples attitude toward his command-word here at Kadesh when they refused to obey the Word of God, Num. 14:33?

a. The Spirit is hitting hard at unbelief. In this context, then, what is unbelief identified with (Ja. 2:20)?




Note that neither belief nor unbelief is identified with a feeling. Rather, both are identified with action. Obviously, the Christian religion as revealed in Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, has been replaced with humanism, i.e., feeling controlled actions. The result is that obedience to God's command-word is only required if one feels good about it.

Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, continually refers to rest. What is rest? Is it ceasing from work? The Spirit identifies crossing into Canaan as rest. Did they rest, as we think of rest, after they crossed over forty years later? No. Rest in the Biblical sense of the word is being where God wants us to be—perfect obedience to his desires for, according to the measure of grace given to us by the Spirit, us is our rest.

This is a reference to Matt. 11:28-30. Many by their actions seem to take this passage to mean that once you come to Christ, you rest—just quit doing anything. This is not at all what is being said here. We learn of Him and what He desires for us to do from his word. We act by faith on his word just as Abraham did, and then we leave all worry and concern up to him. We enter into the rest of not having to work it out ourselves, labor. We can now rest in the calm assurance that we have obeyed our God, and he will take care of it, e.g., 2 Chron. 14:11.

He not only does nott expect us to work it out, but He does not want us even to try to work it out. We do it His way, and leave the results up to Him, Ps. 37. Tithing is an example: We give back to him in obedience, and leave the results up to God.

5. Deut. 1, what was the only thing they had to do to claim the land, Num. 13:30?




a. Deut. 1:42 -- He had told them to go, and he would be with them. Now he tells them not to go because he will not be with them. What did they do, v. 43?


6. Presumption. As we read here and in Num. 14:40-45, what would be a definition of the sin of presumption?




a. What was the result of this sin, Deut. 1:44 (compare this passage with Joshua 1:6-9)?




b. What made the difference between Deut. 1:44 and Joshua 1:6-9? One word.




c. Our enemy also is much stronger than we are. What can God do to our enemies, Ps. 9:20; 105:38; Prov. 21:1; 28:1?



7. This leaves us with two things: First, why did Israel refuse to go in? Really, there would be two words here, unbelief and what unbelief leads to, Num. 14:9 (Jer. 38:19).



a. What does this attitude bring about, Prov. 29:25?



This brings us back to Heb. 3:12,13. Our conclusion here would be that unbelief in God's word causes us to lose our confidence in what He can do. This causes us to fear what man can do. This brings snares and causes us to think that God cannot handle the situation for us when actually it was our unbelief (disobedience to God's law-word) which caused the failure.

Presumption results in losing God's power and presence (Num. 14:44).

In closing of Deut. 1, let us look at v. 45. Israel wept before God over the loss, not over disobedience which caused the loss. Did not Esau do the same thing, Gen. 27:34? In Gen. 25:26-34, we find that Esau despised his birthright. Following the record through in chp. 27 (vv. 34-41, esp.), we find that his sorrow was over the results of his despite for his birthright. The result was the loss of the blessing he felt was his. In Heb. 12:16, 17, we see that Esau wept great tears over the physical loss, the blessing, yet his dad would not reconsider what had been done.

8. Esau's attitude is identified again in Heb. 12:16, "any fornicator..." God referring to Esau's physical activity, fornication, or is He referring to Esau's indifferent attitude toward the Lord and his command-word?


The above fits well with Rom. 13:14.

Therefore, we see in Deut. 1:45, that their weeping was not a result of repentance of the sin that caused the loss; rather, their weeping was over the loss itself. We can find Israel's ungodly attitude mentioned throughout Scripture, Isa. 1:15; Jer. 11:7-14; Zech. 7:11, etc.

One may have great tears over the results of sin, but have no tears over the sin which brought about the results. Those tears and cryings are useless before God. One cannot expect the Father to hear those kind of prayers for deliverance any more than Esau's could be heard, or that God would hear those of Deut. 1:45; Ps. 66:18.

When the root sin is repented of, we can claim the mercy of God, Prov. 28:13, 14. If these people of God in v. 45 would have repented of their sin of rebelling against the command of the Lord, the results could have been quite different.

How many of God's people today are missing the blessings of God are available in Christ because they allow the same sin which controlled Esau to control them. Yet rather than deal with the root of the sin, they will weep and wail over the results of the sin. Very few desire to deal with the root. Modern day therapy (humanist) tries to deal with the results of sin, so the root will not have to be dealt with.

God help us to see the root so that our repentance will be over the right thing.


8. The word refers to immorality, "a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse -- (Thayer's p 532). Esau gave up his spiritual birthright in order to satisfy the lusts of the flesh. According to Barnes, "--Many have regarded the word here used as referring to idolatry, or defection from the true religion to a false one -- as the word is often used in the Old Testament -- but it is more natural to understand it literally (emphasis added)." (Heb. p 305.) He goes on to the word profane as the reference to one who treats religion with contempt or even neglect. The church of Paul's day was surrounded with unlawful sex. His warning was to not allow it to enter into the church.

Therefore, both are being referred to here in Heb. 12:16, 17. The word refers to immorality, yet the context (along with Heb. 3) could be a reference to indifference toward God's law-word.

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