Here is the introduction I wrote for my Ugandan friends . . . .
Deuteronomy: This name means “second law” and is appropriately named because much of the book repeats legislation found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. This book also contains three speeches given by Moses that constitute his farewell to his people. The point of these speeches by Moses, just prior to his death, is meant to speak to future generations of the descendents of Abraham about the nature of God and the uniqueness of their relationship with God. Deuteronomy contains the heart of the Old Testament faith. This heart is summarized in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” This passage, called in Hebrew the “Shema,” is what Jesus says is the greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37.) Deuteronomy was written during or shortly after the time of Moses by an unknown author or authors.
The Book of Deuteronomy can be outlined as follows:
· Deuteronomy 1 – 4 Moses’ first address on the plains of Moab. The first address exhorts the children of Israel to be faithful before the invasion of Canaan.
· Deuteronomy 5 – 28 Moses’ second address. This address contains the repeat of previous legislation (chapters 12-26).
· Deuteronomy 29 – 30 Moses’ third and final address. This address includes the renewal of the covenant and looks to the future.
· Deuteronomy 31-34 resumes the narrative from the end of Numbers.
A vital lesson of Deuteronomy is that God is a moral God. The commands and laws are not arbitrary but are necessary for the purpose of setting God’s people apart from the rest of the world.