Let’s talk about how we’re doing on our reading! We are more than seven weeks into our “Year of the Bible.” Does it seem longer?
How are you finding time to work your reading in? How do you manage it with kids, job, and all your other daily pressures? Maybe the group can share some strategies, tips, or tricks with each other?
This week we’re moving from Numbers to Deuteronomy. We are about to finish up the Torah section of Scripture! How is everybody doing? Are you ahead? Behind? Why don’t we all take this opportunity to sync up? If you are a week or more behind, why don’t you skip ahead and begin Deuteronomy with us this week?
The book of Numbers ends with Israel waiting to cross the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land. Instead of a two-week journey they have wandered for 40 years in the wilderness between Mt. Sinai and the Promised Land because of their disobedience and hard hearts. But now it is time for the next generation to enter the land. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ final discourse to this new generation. He exhorts and encourages them to remember God who rescued their parents from Egypt and has been infinitely patient with them. Later in the book he will recount different parts of the Law God gave them on Mt. Sinai. Here in the opening chapters he recalls just what it is that God has done for them. He rescued them out of slavery. His presence led them through the wilderness. He gave them guidelines for how to live. He again and again showed patience and steadfast love for a people who constantly rebelled. Remember this, says Moses. Remember who God is. He alone did all of these things. Do not be tempted to chase after and worship other, lesser gods. They did not rescue you, they did not feed you when you were hungry, they did not protect and provide for you.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Have someone sum up in a sentence or two the final chapters of Numbers so we can understand the context of the beginning of Deuteronomy.
What do you think Moses’ motivation is for giving Israel these final speeches?
Remember that Deuteronomy is Moses recapping the past 40 years since the Exodus to the now grown up children of Israel. Imagine you are listening to Moses give this final address. All you have known is life wandering in the wilderness. You have heard stories from your parents of what God has done for your people, you have heard the Law. What is Moses trying to remind you and the rest of Israel of?
What would your reaction be to hearing Moses’ final address, encouragements and admonitions?
Read Deuteronomy 6 again. Are there any words or phrases that stand out to you? What is Moses’ tone as he speaks to Israel?
In light of the theme of remembering in this passage, take a minute or two in silent reflection and remember moments of God’s faithfulness in your own journey/story. If it is helpful to write these down feel free to do so. If you can’t point to places where it feels like God has been faithful be honest and write that down.
Share with your small group what the Holy Spirit brought to mind when you reflected on the ways God has faithfully been with you in your journey.
Take an honest look at your life. In what ways are you tempted to diminish the faithfulness of God? Are there times that you have experienced having forgotten God’s faithfulness?
Close your time together by praying prayers of gratitude for the ways God has been with you throughout your story.