March 1 Reading: Deuteronomy 5-7 Commentary

Below is our Deuteronomy 5-7 commentary from our Beginning to End Bible reading program. You can find an email link at the end of this page to share your thoughts or comments with us.

Key Verse(s):

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:4-7)

Deuteronomy 5 – Reviewing the Ten Commandments

commentaryEven though they were well known, Moses takes the time in Deuteronomy 5 to review the 10 Commandments. He reminds the current generation of their privileged position as the ones entering the Promised Land. God made the covenant with them, not their fathers (v. 3) and they would be the ones to receive the blessings of it.

Moses then reminds them how he stood face to face with God on the mountain (v. 4) and served as the mediator between the people and God (v. 5). They were too afraid because of the presence of God and did not go up the mountain.

Moses begins his recitation of the commandments by quoting God: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (v. 6). God was their sustainer and deliverer. The people could never forget that.

The Ten Commandments Revisited

The Ten Commandments are originally listed in Exodus 20. They are repeated with small variations (noted below):

1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” (v. 7)

2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” (vv. 8-10)

3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (v. 11)

4. “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.” (vv. 12-15).

The beginning wording of this command changes from Ex. 20 from “remember” to “observe.” So the principle seems to be remember and actively engage in the present. Additionally, verse 15 adds a call to remember all the Lord did for them in bringing them out of Egypt.

5. “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (v. 16)

6. “You shall not murder.” (v. 17)

7. “You shall not commit adultery.” (v. 18)

8. “You shall not steal.” (v. 19)

9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (v. 20)

10. “You shall not covet…” (v. 22)

God wrote all of these commands on two stone tablets (v. 22)(both of which Moses promptly destroyed in the golden calf incident of Exodus 32).

Fear of God

How awesome is God’s physical presence? Few really know. Jesus knows. Moses knew (he saw God’s back before his death). Maybe Jesus’ disciple John somewhat knew through his revelation of the end times.

The people of Israel saw God’s presence in the form of a burning fire (v. 23). It terrified them to the point they thought they would die (v. 24). They wanted nothing to do with talking with the Lord. So they asked Moses to listen to God and impart His wisdom to them (v. 27).

The sad part was that the people’s hearts did not change even though they were impressed by what they saw (v. 29). Still God encouraged them to obey him. Moses told the people:

“…be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (vv. 32-33).

God, Moses, and the prophets repeated this same message over and over again throughout Israel’s Old Testament history. Sadly, more often than not, the people chose another path.

Deuteronomy 6 – The Greatest Commandment

One of the most important Old Testament passages is found in Deuteronomy 6. In verse 4, we see what came to be known as the Jewish Shema, their basic confession of faith. 

God tells them the greatest commandment is to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Jesus would cite this later when he was asked what was the greatest commandment; and he would add to it a second one, to “…love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

The verse contains three key points:

  1. The people’s relationship with God is defined. “Your God” signifies possession. God came into their lives, saved them from slavery, and provided for them. They were to be in a relationship with none other.
  2. God is supreme. “The Lord is one” means him alone. There is only one God.
  3. Following God requires one’s entire being – heart, soul and strength. In other words, total devotion.
What to Do With the Greatest Commandment

What follows next is the reason Moses wrote Deuteronomy. 

Moses exhorted the people to teach their children about the commands of the Lord so that future generations would never forget all that God had done for them. He said, 

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (v. 6-9)

It’s no coincidence that the greatest commandment is followed by instructions to parents to teach their children. Every successive generation needs to know how God has worked in the generations before. The next generation needs to learn from the victories and mistakes of their parents.

Why is this important? Because one day, the generation to which each belongs will cease to exist. So it’s imperative they pass on their wisdom, knowledge and values to ensure continuance of these things into the next generation.

Put simply, there is no greater legacy that an adult can leave than to impact the next generation for God. It is a calling that cannot be ignored. The stakes are too high.

Related Content: What is Deuteronomy About and Why It Matters For Kids

Prosperity Leads to Disobedience

The last section of Deuteronomy 6 cautions the people against disobedience but not in the way one would think. Instead of being drawn away by idol worship, sexual immorality or some other vice, Moses warns against prosperity. This is how he said it would play out: 

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (vv. 10-12)

If they obeyed, Israel would be prosperous. That prosperity would lead to complacency and forgetfulness. The end result would be sin in some form (most likely idolatry), which would then bring about the Lord’s anger (v. 15).

Israel always was to approach God with a heart of gratitude. The moment they began to think their own hand had led to prosperity, they were in trouble. It had been God and always would be God who provided for them.

Deuteronomy 7 – Blessings for the Chosen

Israel was special. They were a chosen people, a “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (v. 6). They weren’t special for any reason, like being the strongest people group or the most numerous. They were simply loved by God (vv. 7-8).

Because he loved them, he would keep his promises (v. 8). Additionally, he would be merciful “for a thousand generations with those who love him” (v. 9). And he would repay those who rebel against him (v. 10).

For Israel, God wanted their obedience when they came into the land (v. 11). This included doing the following things:

1. Conquering and completely destroying all the nations (v. 2).

2. Making no covenants with the nations (v. 2).

3. Avoiding marriage to other races (v. 3).

4. Worshipping no idols (v. 4).

5. Destroying (cut down) all altars, sacred pillars and wooden images and burn them in the fire (v. 5).

Blessings for Obedience

If Israel chose to obey and follow the commands of the Lord, they would be blessed. What would happen? Verses 12-16 detail the following blessings of God:

1. God would multiply them (in number)(v. 13).

2. They would be blessed in child bearing.

3. Harvests would be plentiful (grain, fruit and oil).

4. Cattle and other flocks would increase.

5. They would be blessed above all other people (v. 14).

6. God would take away sickness and disease (v. 15).

7. They would destroy all the people of the land (v. 16).

No other nation could prosper if Israel obeyed the Lord. He would brings signs and wonders against them (vv. 18-19) and drive them out of the land, “little by little” (v. 22). Israel would have to be patient as God’s plan unfolded. But, in short, no one could stand against Israel if they stood with the Lord (v. 24).

It’s a great lesson for us today. With God on our side, how can we lose? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)

Questions to Consider:

What are you grateful for today? Is there anything getting in your way of loving God with all your heart, soul and strength? 

The single greatest thing any adult can do is to spiritually pour into the life of a child, whether it is their own or not. It’s inevitable that each generation passes away. Godliness will pass away unless we teach it to those that come behind.

Deut. 6 contains the great commandment and the great responsibility of parents. You can love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength, but if you don’t teach kids that also, you’ve missed the point. They need to hear us and see us live it out. Are you doing that?

What other points would you want to know about in our Deuteronomy 5-7 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.