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)
Having just described the LORD’s devastating judgments upon the Israelites that would occur to future generations because of their practice of idol worship (Deuteronomy 29:24 – 29), the LORD then discussed what would occur if Israel, the LORD’s covenant people, then returned wholeheartedly to worshipping and obeying the LORD and Him alone. He would again demonstrate His faithfulness to His word and restore them back to the Promised Land and cause them to prosper.
God chastises those whom He loves, and He loves His people corporately, and individually (Deuteronomy 4:37; 7:7; Proverbs 3:11; Hebrews 12:5-6; Revelation 3:19).
Deuteronomy 30 ends with an admonition for Israel to choose wisely, and choose life (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). God has set before them His law (rule of law) but makes clear that they must choose whether to follow it, and gain the blessings (life) or forsake it and gain the cursings (death).
Deuteronomy 30 can be outlined as follows: