June 5, 2022 – Deuteronomy 31 – 34

Lesson Date: June 5, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Deuteronomy 31:1-13; 34:1-12

AIM: To lead students to discover the final instructions Moses gave the Israelites shortly before his death, and to evaluate their obedience to those instructions and commit to obeying them in the future.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Deuteronomy 31 – 34 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Be sure you have sufficient Sunday School Member Quarterlies for the new quarter available.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Remind the class of the horrific terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.  Say: “On the morning of September 11, thousands of men and women said goodbye to their spouses and children for the last time.  Since they didn’t know it was the last time, they probably said goodbye much like they did every other day.  If they had known they would never see their spouse or children again, what do you think might have been different about their parting words?”

After allowing time for some responses, tell the students those people might have expressed more love for their family members than they customarily did.  They might have given them some final instructions (“Grow up to be a good boy,” or “Be sure to help your mother around the house,” or “Don’t forget to make the house payment”).  They might have apologized for some wrong they had done or some hurt they had caused.

Tell the class we listen very closely to final instructions because they are usually very important instructions.  In today’s lesson we will learn about the final instructions Moses gave the Israelites.  The title of today’s lesson is Final Instructions.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (choosing to live in a way that God can bless, rather than living in a way that brings curses).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Deut. 30:19).
    • Be sure everyone has a new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the summer quarter.
    • Tell the students that before we get into the books of Joshua and Judges, we will study the closing chapters of Deuteronomy.
  2. Important Promises.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 31:1-2.
    • Ask: “How old was Moses?” (120; he spent 40 years as a prince in Egypt, 40 years as a shepherd in the desert, and 40 years leading the Israelites).
    • Ask: “What had the Lord told Moses?” (he was not going into the Promised Land).
    • Explain the following:
    • Tell the class that next, God made several promises to the Israelites.
    • Read Deuteronomy 31:3-5.
    • Ask: “What promises did He make in verse 3?” (He would go with them, He would destroy the nations currently living there, He would give them the land to possess, and Joshua would lead them).
    • Ask: “What promise did He make in verse 4?” (He would destroy the heathen nations living in Canaan, just as He had done to the nations east of the Jordan River).
    • Ask: “What promise did He make in verse 5?” (He would deliver those nations into their hands).
    • Ask: “In what ways do these same promises relate to us?” (God promises to never leave us or forsake us, regardless of what battles and challenges we might face).
    • Summarize: God promised the Israelites that He would go with them into the Promised Land and subdue all their enemies before them.
  3. Final Instructions.
    • Write the words “Final Instructions” as a heading across the top of the marker board or chalkboard.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 31:6.
    • Explain that Moses was addressing the Israelites in this verse.
    • Ask: “What instructions did God give the people?” (be strong and courageous, and don’t be afraid).
    • Write “Be Strong and Courageous” and “Don’t be Afraid” on the board.
    • Tell the class that next, Moses gave instructions to Joshua.
    • Read Deuteronomy 31:7-8.
    • Ask: “What instructions did Moses give Joshua?” (the same ones He gave the people: be strong and courageous, and don’t be afraid).
    • Read Deuteronomy 31:9.
    • Tell the students that Moses wrote the Law (the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy) and gave it to the elders and the priests who cared for the Ark of the Covenant
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 31:10-11.
    • Explain that in addition to their regular times of corporate worship, every seven years the Israelites were supposed to gather for a special convocation.
    • Ask: “According to the last part of verse 11, what did Moses tell them to do at that gathering?” (read the Bible).
    • Write “Read the Bible” on the board.
    • Read Deuteronomy 31:12-13.
    • Ask: “Who does verse 12 say they were to gather for this special convocation?” (men, women, children, and strangers [non-Israelites] with whom they had influence).
    • Explain the purpose of this gathering was four-fold:
      • So the people could hear the Bible,
      • So they could learn the truths of the Bible,
      • So they would reverently fear and respect the Lord, and as a result,
      • They would do all the things God instructed in His Word.
    • Tell the students this verse summarizes the purpose and goal of Sunday School.
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, who did God especially want to learn these things?” (their children).
    • Stress the fact that it is our responsibility to teach the next generation the things of God.
    • Write “Teach the Bible to Our Family and Others” on the board.
    • Summarize: God used Moses to tell the Israelites to be strong, don’t be afraid, read the Bible, and teach it to others.
  4. New Leadership.
    • Explain the following:
      • In chapter 32, God told Moses to teach Israel a song that would help them remember to be faithful to Him.
      • In chapter 33, Moses blessed the twelve tribes of Israel.
      • Chapter 34 describes the final events of Moses’ life.
    • Read Deuteronomy 34:1-4.
    • Locate Mount Nebo on the Map of the Promised Land.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 34:5-8.
    • Ask: “What does verse 5 say happened to Moses?” (he died).
    • Tell the students verse 6 says God buried Moses in a place unknown to man.
    • Ask: “How long did Israel mourn for Moses?” (thirty days).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 34:9-12.
    • Ask: “Who became Israel’s new leader after Moses died?” (Joshua).
    • Ask: “What does verse 10 say about Moses’ relationship with God?” (the Lord spoke to him face to face).
    • Tell the students verses 11-12 indicate that the greatest event of Moses’ life was when God used him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt with great signs and wonders.
    • Summarize: Moses died without entering the Promised Land, and Joshua became Israel’s new leader.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Use the list on the board to review Moses’ final instructions to the children of Israel:

  1. Be Strong and Courageous
  2. Don’t be Afraid
  3. Read the Bible
  4. Teach the Bible to Our Family and Others

Remind the students of the people who died on September 11, 2001 without having a chance to give final instructions to their loved ones.  Ask: “If someone you loved was at the point of death and gave you some final instructions, would you try to obey them?” (yes, we would probably make it a high priority to obey them).  Tell the students that God used Moses to give important instructions to the Israelites, and to preserve them for us.

Lead the students to consider their obedience to the instructions written on the board, using questions such as the following:

  • “Why do we need to be strong and courageous?”
  • “How does the Lord enable us to be strong and courageous?”
  • “What does it mean to you that the Lord tells us not be afraid?”
  • “Are you reading the Bible as faithfully as you should?”
  • “What are you doing to teach the Bible to your family and to others?”

Ask: “How are you doing at obeying God’s instructions?  What areas need improvement?  Are you willing to ask God to help you?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Encourage them to be honest with themselves and with God.  Urge them to confess any shortcomings, commit to obeying God’s instructions, and ask for His help in doing that.  Voice  closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Deuteronomy 31:12.  Urge them to read the Bible every day and to gather with God’s people every time they come together: Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, and special gatherings.

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