LESSON 43 – The Approach to the Promised Land and the Death of Moses – Deuteronomy Overview

FYI – The book of Numbers covers the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, but Deuteronomy only covers 2 months, counting the 30 days of mourning for Moses. 


  • As the 40 years of wandering come to a close and the book of Deuteronomy opens, we find the Israelites at the eastern boundary of theJordan River.  Be sure to have your map open for this lesson.  You will need a map that shows the route of the Exodus and we will be primarily concerned with the end of the route.  The first few chapters of Deuteronomy recap what has happened over the past 40 years.  Do not read all of the chapters together but instead use the following questions as a guide and have the children look up the references and answer these together:
    1. When Deuteronomy opens, where are the Israelites? (Deut. 1:1 East of the Jordan River)
    2. How long should the journey from Mt. Sinai (Horeb) to Kadesh Barnea (the southern most city of Canaan) have taken? (Deut. 1:2 – 11 days)
    3. How much time has passed since the episode with the spies? (Deut. 1:3 – It is the 11th month of the 40th year – only one month before the 40 years’ judgment is up!)
    4. What promise does Moses remind the people of? (Deut. 1:8 – the Abrahamic Covenant – that He was giving the descendants of Abraham a land for their own.)
    5. What were to be the boundaries of the Promised Land? (Deut. 1:7. Find as many of these places on the map as possible. The northern boundary is Lebanon, the eastern boundary is the Euphrates River, the southern boundary extends through to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula and the western boundary is the Mediterranean Sea.) Has the nation of Israel ever occupied all of this territory? (No, even at the height of Solomon’s Kingdom Israel has never completely controlled the land that God gave them.  This promise will finally be fulfilled in the future during the millennial reign of Jesus on earth. God always makes good on His promises!)
    6. Moses reminds the people the people of their sin against the Lord. Why didn’t the people get to go into the land sooner – why did it take 40 years? (Deut. 1:26-28, 32. They refused to go in because of fear. They didn’t trust in God.)
    7. What was God’s response? (Deut. 1:34-40. He was angry and decreed that everyone except Caleb and Joshua, who had shown faith, would die and their children would be the ones to go into the land.)
    8. NOTE: In Numbers 33 we have an account of the 40 years of wandering. Moses lists the camps during this time. There were 42 stops in all, which means they moved about every 11 months.  The Israelites are finally getting ready to “settle-down”, but it will take a fight!
    9. There are two areas that God tells the Israelites to let alone. What are these two regions and why are they not to conquer them?  (Deut. 2:2-6. Edom is the first. God promised this land to the descendants of Esau. Deut. 2:9, 19. The second is Moab as this land was promised to Lot’s people.) Find these two regions on your map. Your route markers should show Israel passing through Edom and going around Moab, just like God commanded in these verses.
  • Two victories. Deut. 2:24-3:11.
    1. What area does God tell the Israelites to conquer? (Deut. 2:24. Heshbon or Sihon. Check your map). How is God helping the people of Israel? (2:25. The people will fear the Israelites and this will demoralize them.) Recap the battle from verses 30-38. (God caused the king to harden his heart again the Hebrews so when his armies came against them they lost the battle. No one survived – all the people were destroyed including women and children. Only the livestock were preserved.)
    2. Where is the next battle? (Deut. 3:1. Bashan and the king was Og. Check your maps.) How many cities did God give them? (3:4,5. – Sixty walled cities and many unwalled villages were gained.) Again everyone was killed to the last person. What unusual thing became a “museum” piece from this conquest? (3:11 – The bed of Og. Evidently these people were some of the “giants” that the earlier spies referred to because Og’s iron [showing the advancement of this civilization] bed was 13.5 feet long and 6 feet wide! Talk about a king-size bed…)
  • Moses gives three sermons in the book of Deuteronomy (Sermon 1 – chapters 1-4; Sermon two – chapters 5-26; Sermon three – chapters 27-30) that summarize the Laws given to the people. In fact, Deuteronomy means “Second Law”. He is trying to prepare the people for his departure and to introduce and encourage their new leader, Joshua. He recaps the 10 commandments in chapter 6.
    1. Deut 34. The Death of Moses. Where did Moses go and what could he see from there? (34:1-3. Mt. Nebo (check map) and from there he could see much of the Promised Land – all the way to the Mediterranean.) Moses died there on the mountain. Why doesn’t anyone know where the burial spot of Moses is? (34:6 – the Lord Himself buried Moses!) How old was Moses and how long did the people mourn the death of their leader? (34:7,8 – 120 years. They mourned 30 days.) Describe the new leader of Israel. (34:Joshua is filled with the wisdom of God because Moses laid his hands on him. This passing of leadership enabled the Hebrews to accept Joshua’s leadership easily and the passage indicates they were willing and eager to follow him into the land.)
    2. What things are said about Moses at the end of Deut? (3:10,12. No prophet has been like Moses because he knew God face to face, he did many miraculous deeds, and his mighty power was shown to all. Moses is a type of Christ.)


  • In this book Moses repeats the laws given to the children of Israelback in Exodus and Leviticus in series of sermons.  Why would he want to repeat them to everyone?  Haven’t they heard them all before?  Discuss with your child the need to review again and again the stories and statues of God’s Word.  Many times they say, “Oh, we’ve heard this one before!” and then tend to not listen carefully.  The children of Israel, just like us, needed to go over and over the Word so they would know it and do it.
  • Read Deut. 30:11-31:13.Discuss the encouragements and warnings Moses give to his people. Which ones would apply to us today?(I particularly like what Moses says in 30:11-14. The things that God asks of us are not too hard for us. Not because of anything in us, but because He is with us.  The Word is very near us too. That is why we memorize it, talk about it and do it.  If we truly love God, we will be do what He says and not fail!) Christians are not promised a literal land on earth like the Israelites, but we are promised that the Lord will always be with us if we love and honor Him.  The promises of 31:6 and 8 are true for us even though we aren’t called to face Canaanites in battle. We do have a spiritual battle, though, just as tough and destructive.
  • Read Eph. 6:10-17. Why do we need the armor of God? So we can stand firm against sin and the evil in our world. We have the Lord on our side and if we remain true to Him and not stray we are promised victory in our life.  End your time discussing areas of fear your children have and encourage them to give these to the Lord and trust Him, just as Moses encouraged his people.

Digging Deeper

  1. Do a study on the death of Moses, his burial and appearances in the New Testament. Use the following references as a starting point: Deut. 34:5,6; Jude 1:9; MT. 17:2,3; Rev. 11:3-4. Next, check commentaries for help. Describe what the Bible says about Moses, his character and his post death purposes.  End with what you have learned about this important character in the Bible.
  2. Review the interesting law concerning the cities of refuge found in Numbers 35 Deuteronomy 4:41-43; 19:1-10; and Joshua 19:1-10. Write two paragraph. The first will be about them and their historical purpose. The seconde will include the application for Christians today. {Also, include a map of where the cities were located.} Hebrews 6:18 indicates the city of refuge is a type of Christ as the true city of refuge for our souls. Even our unintentional sins must be atoned for by the death of our High Priest. The Levitical cities spread throughout the Land picture the way churches and believers should be today. We need to be strategically scattered throughout the world as light and salt. We have the answers to people’s questions! Are you readily available to share from the word of God with those who are seeking answers? Refer to 1 Peter 3:15.