March 6, 2022 – Deuteronomy 1 – 3

Lesson Date: March 6, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Deuteronomy 1:3-8, 25-32; 2:14-18, 30-35; 3:1-3, 21-22

AIM: To lead students to discover that God was always faithful to the Israelites even though they were often unfaithful to Him, and since the same is true of our lives, to commit themselves to trusting God’s promises rather than their own human reasoning.


Before class: Read the notes on Deuteronomy 1 – 3 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Use those notes and the Map of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan to familiarize yourself with Israel’s wilderness travels.  Consider purchasing small, inexpensive journals or notebooks to give your students at the conclusion of the lesson.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the students there is an old expression that says, “Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”  Ask: “What does that mean?”

Tell the class of a time in your past when God taught you a lesson you’ve never forgotten.  This may have come during a time of defeat, discouragement, or trial.  Stress the fact that God was faithful to do exactly what He said, even if you weren’t.  Tell the students you learned a valuable lesson through that experience that you have never forgotten, and how that lesson has helped you in other situations.  (As a variation of this idea, you could enlist a student to tell such a story from his or her life.)  Since the lesson is about learning from the past, be sure the story communicates the fact that a lesson was learned which has been helpful to remember during other times of crisis or need.

Stress the fact that it is important for God’s people to recall His faithfulness to them in the past.  Tell the students the title of today’s lesson is Learn from the Past.  We are going to learn that God was always faithful to the ancient Israelites, even though they were often unfaithful to Him.



  1. Introduce the Book of Deuteronomy.
    • Be sure everyone has a new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the spring quarter.
    • Use the Map of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan to remind the students that God delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and led them to Sinai.
    • While they were there, God gave them the Law and directed them to build the Tabernacle.
    • Eventually, God led them to the east of the Dead Sea into the land of Moab.
    • Read Deuteronomy 1:3-5.
    • Ask: “What was the date of this writing?” (the 1st day of the 11th month of the 40th year since they left Egypt – late February of 1405 c.).
    • Tell the students that the book of Deuteronomy consists of a series of sermons Moses preached to the Israelites while they were camped on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
  2. Moses Reviewed Israel’s Past.
    • Read Deuteronomy 1:6-8.
    • Explain the following:
      • Moses began his first sermon by reminding Israel of their past.
      • God had told the Israelites to leave Horeb (Mount Sinai) and travel to Canaan (locate both places on the Map of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan).
    • Ask: “According to verse 8, why was God giving Israel a new land?” (because He had promised this to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
    • Tell the class God led Israel to Kadesh Barnea (locate on the Map of Egypt, Sinai, and Canaan), from which the Israelites sent twelve spies to study the new land (Num. 13).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 1:25-32.
    • The spies came back and reported that the Promised Land was a wonderful place.
    • Ask: “Why didn’t they go in and possess the land?” (they were afraid; they believed their fears more than they believed God’s promises).
    • Ask: “What did Moses do to try to calm their fears?” (reminded them about God’s faithfulness to them in the past).
    • Ask: “Did Israel trust God and obey?” (no).
    • Summarize: God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them to the Promised Land, but they refused to trust Him and enter the land.
  3. The Cost of Israel’s Disobedience.
    • Ask the students to listen for how God dealt with disobedient Israel, as you read Deuteronomy 2:14-18.
    • Ask: “How long did Israel wander in the wilderness?” (38 years).
    • Ask: “What happened to the adult men of war during that time?” (they all died).
    • Explain the following:
      • At Kadesh Barnea, the Israelites who had once been slaves were poised to take possession of a beautiful and fruitful land.
      • Because of their disobedience, however, God caused them to wander in the wilderness for thirty-eight years!
      • The adults who left Egypt died in the wilderness without entering the Promised Land.
      • Disobeying God carries a high price!
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, where did God lead Israel after their time in the wilderness?” (to the plains of Moab opposite Jericho – locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
    • Summarize: Israel’s disobedience at Kadesh Barnea cost an entire generation their lives and the blessings God had prepared for them in the Promised Land.
  4. God Proved He Could be Trusted.
    • Tell the class God repeatedly proved to Israel that He could be trusted.
    • Read Deuteronomy 2:30.
    • Ask: “What problem did Israel face?” (Sihon, king of Heshbon, blocked their way).
    • Locate Heshbon on the Map of the Promised Land.
    • Read Deuteronomy 2:31-35.
    • Ask: “How did God prove to the Israelites that they could trust Him?” (He told them they would defeat King Sihon, and He enabled them to do so).
    • Tell the class this was the younger generation’s first experience with warfare and the first land God gave the Israelites.
    • Read Deuteronomy 3:1.
    • Tell the students the Israelites continued northward to Bashan (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
    • Ask: “What happened there?” (King Og came out to fight against them).
    • Read Deuteronomy 3:2-3.
    • Ask: “How did God again prove that He could be trusted?” (He told them they would defeat King Og, and He enabled them to do so).
    • Explain the following:
      • This was the younger generation’s second experience with warfare.
      • God was enlarging Israel’s territory.
      • God gave Israel two great victories on the east side of the Jordan River, to help prepare them for years of warfare they would face when they began driving the Canaanites out of the Promised Land on the west side of the Jordan River.
    • Tell the class lessons learned through hard times enable us to face future difficulties.
    • Summarize: God proved to Israel that He could be trusted by giving them two important military victories on the east side of the Jordan River.
  5. An Important Lesson for Joshua.
    • Explain the following:
      • God was not going to allow Moses to lead Israel into the Promised Land because of his disobedience in striking the rock at Meribah (Num. 20:7-13).
      • God had chosen Joshua to be Moses’ successor.
      • Moses knew he would soon die.
      • God determined that Joshua would lead Israel into the Promised Land (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
      • There were many powerful nations living in the Promised Land.
      • God expected Israel to defeat them and drive them out.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Deuteronomy 3:21-22.
    • Ask: “What had Joshua seen with his eyes?” (that God enabled them to defeat the two powerful kings on the east side of the Jordan River).
    • Ask: “What did God want Joshua to learn from this?” (that the Lord his God would do the same to the nations living in the Promised Land on the west side of the Jordan River).
    • Ask: “What did God (through Moses) tell Joshua in verse 22?” (do not fear the inhabitants of the Promised Land.
    • Ask: “Why shouldn’t he fear?” (because “the Lord your God He shall fight for you”).
    • Tell the class it was vitally important for Joshua to learn from past experience that God could be trusted to defeat their future enemies.
    • Summarize: Joshua and the Israelites would face many battles in the future, so God wanted them to remember that He would fight for them.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that there were two big lessons the Israelites could learn from their past.  One of those lessons was about God, and the other was about them.  Ask: “What could Israel learn about God?” (He can always be trusted to do as He has promised).  Ask: “What could they learn about themselves?” (they were not always faithful to fully obey God).  Ask: “Since Israel learned that God can always be trusted, but they often messed up, how should they respond to God’s leadership in the future?” (by believing and fully obeying God rather than doing what they thought was best).

Tell the class this lesson is also true for us.  As we look back over God’s dealings with us in the past, we must recognize that He can always be trusted, but we are often unfaithful.  Realizing these truths should motivate us to always believe and obey God in the future rather than trust our own human reasoning or fears.  Regardless of what battle or challenge lies ahead, we can rest in the fact that God is always faithful.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Encourage them to admit to God that He can always be trusted but they often mess up by not trusting Him.  Ask them to make a commitment to God to believe and fully obey Him in the future.  Allow a few moments of silent prayer time, and then voice a prayer.


CONCLUSION: Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and ask everyone to memorize those verses.  If you have purchased journals or small notebooks for your students, give them out now.  Encourage everyone to begin their journal by writing a history of God’s dealings with them in the past.  Tell them to include in the journal times God has led them, directed their path, and given them victories.  Urge them to add to the journal as God continues to work in their everyday life.  Ask everyone to read Deuteronomy 4 this week and answer the questions in the Sunday School Member Quarterly.

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