Deuteronomy 1

1 The contents of Deuteronomy were probably written by a scribe under the direction of Moses. Other verses indicate that the first five books are attributed to Moses, but some of the language of this book indicates that it was written in third person. The use of a scribe does not make this book any less Moses' nor any less inspired. This opening passage indicates that this entire book was written before Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
6 After God had delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses, He directed them to the Promised Land, which was to be their immediate destination.
11 Moses refers to the promise that God gave to Abraham in Gen 15:5. This was to give the idea that his descendants would be practically "innumerable," not that there would be an exact correlation between the number of Israelites to the number of stars visible either with the naked or aided eye.
13 Moses refers to the counsel of his father-in-law, Jethro, as recorded in Exo 18:13-26. Jethro's counsel was confirmed by God before being put into action. We can and should listen to wise counsel, but all things must be confirmed by God before they are carried out.
15 When appointing people to lead in spiritual matters it is not enough to have willing leaders; they must be wise and knowledgeable as well.
17 Whether judging matters in an official or unofficial way, it is important to do so impartially. It is also important that what is "right" prevails. It is also important to remember that we do not have to make final judgements on anything. In common matters, we should seek higher authorities in matters about which we are not qualified to make decisions. In some matters, even the highest authorities will have to leave things in God's hands. Whether one receives justice on earth or not, God will make all things right in the end.
19 Even during the original short trip from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land, the Israelites thought the wilderness was terrible. When they later disobeyed, their trek through the wilderness was extended to 40 years.
22 The people could have relied on God to lead them into battle, but they wanted to do a reconnaissance mission first. This was agreeable to God, so He allowed it. However, this became a stumbling block for them when they believed the negative reports from the spies rather than God's promises and power.
27 It is unsound reasoning to think that God would pick someone up with the intention of knocking them down again. God wants what is best for us, and He rewards obedience. This does not mean we will never have struggles or setbacks, but when we obey God in the difficult times, He is even more pleased with us. We must also remember that our ultimate reward will be given in the afterlife. Anything we might enjoy during this lifetime pales in comparison to what lies beyond.
29 A good counselor will encourage people to trust in God's promises, even when the people have lost heart.
30 God's past record should encourage us to trust Him during present troubles.
32 Faith in miracles is weak. Miracles are typically one-time events, while God is eternal. If one does not ultimately place their faith in God, their faith will fail.
35 When people are disobedient to God, they become evil. God is good, and, by definition, those who turn away from good are evil. God wanted to give the people the good land, but because they were unwilling to receive it, He withheld it from them.
36 See Judg 1:20.
37 Num 20:1-13 tells how Moses dishonored God by losing his temper with the Israelites.
38 Joshua, along with Caleb, had brought back a good report about the Promised Land and encouraged the people to take the land as God had commanded. Further, Joshua was Moses' aid, and had learned to trust God and lead the people.
39 The Israelites had complained that their children would die if they attempted to take the Promised Land. Ironically, the children would inhabit the land, while their complaining parents would die in the wilderness.
40 The punishment for disobedience was forty years of wandering in the wilderness until all the unfaithful people of that generation had died.
41 Only after their punishment was announced did the people recognized that they had sinned foolishly. Some decided to try to invade the land on their own as if they were obeying God. However, the window of opportunity was past, and God did not give them victory. This taught them to be obedient to the punishment that God pronounced against them. A more important lesson is that we should obey God when He commands obedience. If we forego the opportunity to obey a particular command, we may not get a second chance.
43 Even if God commanded us to do something in the past, if He now says, "do not do it," we must obey the present command. Here we have a negative example of God changing the Israelites' course after they disobeyed. The example of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac is a positive example of how God changed Abraham's course because of obedience (Gen 22:1-12). We must be very sensitive to God's leading, because we do not know when He will want us to change directions.
45 The Israelites were confused because they felt they could dictate when and how they would obey God. They refused to see that "after-the-fact" obedience was really disobedience. They wept, but their tears were futile to gain God's sympathy since their suffering resulted from their open defiance of Him. When God, or another authority figure, tells us not to do something, but we do it anyway, we should not expect him to be sympathetic. He tried to warn us, and we suffer the consequences when we ignore the warning.