Week 7: From the Wilderness to the Promised Land

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This week, you will read excerpts from Deuteronomy and Joshua that tell how Israel entered the promised land after their exodus from Egypt. You will skip the book of Numbers, since Deuteronomy begins with a summary of the history that is detailed in Numbers.

Filling in the Gaps — Numbers: Numbers is the history of two generations of Israelites after the exodus from Egypt. It begins with more details about Israel’s time in the wilderness of Sinai, then describes their wanderings in the wilderness as they prepare to enter the Promised Land (Canaan). The book is named Numbers because Moses takes two censuses. The first generation refuses to enter the land because they are afraid of the other nations, and God punishes them for failing to trust him. The book ends with the second generation on the bank of the Jordan River across from the city of Jericho in the land of Canaan.

Recommended video: Read Scripture: Numbers by The Bible Project.

Big picture — Deuteronomy: Deuteronomy records speeches given by Moses at the end of his life. Moses explains the law to the second generation of Israelites who had been born and raised in the wilderness and were preparing to conquer Canaan under Joshua’s leadership. (Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Bible.)

Reading & Summaries


Moses retells how God commanded the people to leave Horeb (Mt. Sinai) and take possession of the land he promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses commanded the people to enter the land, but Israel insisted on sending spies in front of them. Although two of the spies (Caleb and Joshua) gave a good report, the others were afraid of the people of the land. Israel rebelled against God and refused to the enter the land. God was angered and swore that the entire evil generation (except Caleb and Joshua) would die in the wilderness, and that their children would enter instead. Moses gives details about the wanderings in the wilderness.

Note: Horeb is another name for Sinai.


Moses urges the people to trust God and enter the land, although Moses himself is not allowed to enter. Moses calls the people to obedience and warns them to serve the one true and living God. The exile of rebellious Israel to foreign lands is foreshadowed.

Recommended video: Read Scripture: Deuteronomy by The Bible Project.


Moses calls Israel to love the Lord and keep the commandments which he graciously gave after delivering them from Egypt. Israel is warned to be holy and stay separate from the perverse nations in Canaan whom they are called to destroy. Moses reassures the people that God will clear the land for Israel, but Israel must not join the nations in their abominations in the process.

Key Verses — Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (The Shema): “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.” Jesus said that this was  the greatest commandment. To this day, The Shema is the most important prayer in Judaism. Christians understand that only through the saving power of Christ is it possible to truly love God and others.


Moses instructs Israel to recommit to the covenant made at Mt. Sinai when they enter the Promised Land. Blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience were to be shouted from facing mounts. God desires to bless his people, but he will not bless over sin.

DAY 5: JOSHUA 1, 23-24

Big picture of Joshua: The book of Joshua tells how Moses’ successor Joshua led Israel in conquering the land of Canaan according to God’s promise. God’s faithfulness is shown as He fulfills his promise to Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:7, 15:18-21, 17:8) and his justice is shown as He uses Israel to punish the Canaanites for their wickedness and idolatry.

Ch. 1: Joshua succeeds Moses as leader of Israel; God calls him to conquer the land.

Filling in the Gaps (Ch. 2-22): Israel enters the promised land and defeat many of the Canaanites in the land, including the miraculous overthrow of the fortress of Jericho. The land is distributed among the tribes.

Ch. 23-24: Joshua charges Israel’s leaders to drive out the remaining nations, be separate from the wicked peoples, and keep their covenant with God. Joshua calls the people to choose whom they will serve—the one true God or the false gods of the Canaanites—and the covenant is renewed. Joshua dies and is buried.

Recommended video: Read Scripture: Joshua by The Bible Project.

Study Exercises

  1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?
  2. Read Numbers 21:4-9, a story from Israel’s time in the wilderness. In light of John 3:15-16, how did the bronze serpent point to Jesus and what God requires of us in order to be saved?
  3. Prayer exercise: When Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan, only two (Joshua and Caleb) returned with a good report. The others focused on all of the dangers of the land instead of its blessings. Are you the kind of person who rejoices in God’s blessings or do you tend to only see the bad in things? Pray and ask God to reveal any critical attitudes in your heart. Ask him to give you a positive, thankful attitude.
  4. What does Deuteronomy 6:5 command us to do? What does Jesus say about this commandment in Matthew 22:34-40?
  5. What does Deuteronomy 6:6-9 teach us about how to raise children who love the Word of God?
  6. In Deuteronomy 8, highlight each verse where Moses warns Israel about the danger of forgetting who God is or what He has done. How does this compare to what Peter says in 2 Peter 1:8-9? In light of these verses, how can we avoid backsliding (drifting away from or rebelling against God)?
  7. Read Deuteronomy 18:15-22. Moses predicts that God will raise up a new prophet like him from among the people. According to Stephen’s sermon (Acts 7:37) and Peter’s sermon (Acts 3:22), who is this great prophet that declares God’s Word and calls us to repentance?
  8. How are Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (esp. verse 19) and Joshua 24:15 similar?