The book of Deuteronomy is the fifth and last book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of the first 4 books and picks up exactly where the book of Numbers ends (with the people on the plain of Moab). Therefore, as we set the context for the book of Deuteronomy, it is important that we briefly summarize the theme of the previous books to see how the story of God unfolds.
Genesis describes God’s plan to bless the Israelites and the world through one man named Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). Exodus focuses on God’s loving act by which He rescued the Israelites from Egypt in order to have a covenant relationship with them. Once the children of Israel are redeemed, Leviticus instructs them to live a holy life that reflects the life of their covenant redeemer (cf. Lev. 19). Since the first generation of the Israelites failed to obey God wholeheartedly, the book of Numbers displays a strong contrast between God’s faithfulness and the nation’s failure. That is why the book of Deuteronomy reiterates and expands on the covenant to a new generation of Israelites poised to enter and conquer the Promised Land. The message of the book is centered around two key terms: love and loyalty (Deut. 6:4-5).
Outline of Deuteronomy:
I. Introduction: Moses will explain the law (1:1 – 5)
II. Moses’ First Sermon – a Recounting of the LORD’s Faithfulness (1:6 – 4:43)
III. Introduction to Second Sermon on expositing the Law (4:43 – 49)
IV. Moses’ Second Sermon – an Exposition of the Law Given at Mt. Sinai (5:1 – 26:19)
V. Script for Covenant Renewal Ceremony Once they enter the land (27:1 – 29:1)
VI. Moses’ Third Sermon – a Call to Obedience (29:2 – 30:20)
VII. The Last Acts of Moses (31:1 – 34:12)
Deuteronomy 11 concludes the section concerning the general principles of the covenant which began in chapter 5. In this chapter, Moses commands the Israelites to be loyal and faithful to the Suzerain (Ruler) God for who He is and for all the mighty acts which He has done. Faithfulness in keeping the Covenant requirements would guarantee success in conquering the Promised Land as well as a prosperous and comfortable life. The people were to teach their children to be faithful to the covenant laws in order that the LORD’s blessing would continue. Their faithfulness in living in a self-governing manner, loving and serving one another, would of course create a natural consequence of a safe and prosperous community. Finally, Moses sets the condition for Israel’s destiny in the Promised Land and asks the people to have a covenant-renewal ceremony once they possess the land.
Chapter 11 can be outlined as follows:
• The Call to Love and Obey the Suzerain LORD (Deut. 11:1 – 7)
• Complete Obedience is Required for Possessing the Land (Deut. 11:8 – 12)
• Complete Obedience is Required for Prosperity and Abundance in the Land (Deut. 11:13 – 17)
• Complete Obedience Needs to be Taught to Future Generations (Deut. 11:18 – 21)
• Complete Obedience is Required to be Victorious Over the Nations (Deut. 11:22 – 25)
• The Call to Observe a Covenant-Renewal Ceremony (Deut. 11:26 – 32)