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This small group Deuteronomy 33 Bible study guide contains commentary, discussion questions, cross-references, and application to encourage life change. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Deuteronomy 33 Bible Study And Discussion Questions – Moses’ Final Blessing for Israel

Outline

I. God’s care for His people (1-5)
II. Moses’ final blessings on each tribe (6-25)
III. Moses’ final blessings on the whole nation (26-29)

I. God’s care for His people (1-5)

Discussion Questions

• What do these verses show about God’s care for His people?
• What happened at Sinai? At Seir?
• What is the “flaming fire” in verse 2?
• Who are the “holy ones” in verse 3?
• What does it mean that they are in his hand?
• What New Testament verses describe believers as being in the hands of God?
• What are the holy ones supposed to do (3)?
• What is the reference to “king in Jeshurun?”

Cross-References

Hebrews 12:29 – For our God is a consuming fire.

Jeremiah 23:29 – Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Deuteronomy 32:15 – But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Moses’ final blessings on Israel – Chapter 33 records Moses’ last recorded words. It is a blessing for each tribe. However, this blessing is preceded by a reminder of God’s goodness and care.

Moses did not give a self-exalting eulogy to himself. He was not looking for accolades. For many, they would like to trumpet their own horn and remind everyone of their accomplishments. Moses didn’t do that. He didn’t say, “Look how good I have been to you.” Rather, he pointed the nation again to God. The prophet willingly gave God glory instead of taking it for himself.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Moses is a good example for us. From an earthly perspective, he had reasons to be proud of what he had done. But Moses was humble. He knew that he would have accomplished absolutely nothing apart from God’s blessing (John 15:5). While he knew that, he wanted the people to know that as well.

Reflect – If you knew that today was your last day on earth and you were giving a speech to your friends and family, what would you say? What would you tell them of God’s goodness in your life?

Application – Let us strive to give God glory in all we do. Public speaking is an arena that offers many opportunities for turning people’s attention to God. Athletes can point to God before or after their competitions. Those accepting awards can point to God in their acceptance speeches.

But even beyond speeches to large crowds, every interaction with others is an opportunity to point people to God.

Ephesians 5:18-20 – Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider how to turn attention to God and away from yourself when you are praised and complimented.

2. He shone forth – Moses describes God as “dawning” and “shining forth.” He is the Light. The Lord brought light to a nation that was in the darkness. They were enslaved to an idolatrous people. All of the organized religion around them was the spawn of demons (Deuteronomy 32:17). The images of idols were everywhere. Idolatry permeated the culture. In short, they and the Egyptians were in bondage.

Into this sin, deceit, and blindness, God revealed Himself. First, He revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush. Then, He revealed Himself to the Israelites through the words of Moses and supernatural miracles. He continued to reveal Himself by giving them Scripture and even appearing to them in a fire on the holy mountain (Exodus 19).

Some of the best news in the Bible is that God speaks. He is not silent. He does not condemn us to a life of wandering in the dark. He gives light and illumination.

Without light, nothing can live physically. Light brings warmth. It brings energy. It brings sight. The process of photosynthesis causes growth. Darkness is the absence not only of light, but of life itself. On the bottom of the ocean, organisms can live because of the little pieces of life that fall to the bottom of the ocean that receive their life on the surface where there is light.

While in Old Testament times, the Lord gave light to the Jews, He gave more light through Jesus.

John 1:4-5 – In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Hebrews 1:1-2 – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Jesus is the Light of the world. He shines in the darkness and opens our eyes so that we can see!

Application – It is a wonderful thing to be able to see. Let us take a moment and simply appreciate God, who gives us light, both physical and spiritual. The more we appreciate the gift of light, the more we will be motivated to reflect this light to others. Let us shine His light brightly for all to see.

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

3. He loved His people – What a beautiful and simple phrase. Their Egyptian masters exploited, abused, and used them. But the Lord loved them.

Application – Let us thank God for His love!

4. The Lord became king in Jeshurun – The term “Jeshurun” means “upright” or “blessed.” In this verse, it refers to Israel. God became Israel’s king. They were not like the other nations who had a man reigning over them. They were special and unique subjects of the Living God.

This terminology is all the more significant when you consider the Old Covenant. It is written like a Suzerain-Vassal treaty. These treaties were made between a superior ruler (like a king) and his servants (vassals). These formal treaties would outline the duties and obligations of each party. The king was to protect, care for, and administer justice for his people. The vassals were to submit to their king with absolute loyalty and faithfulness.

Deuteronomy has shown us that God made this covenant with the people. He promised to protect and care for them. He promised to bless them abundantly. However, this blessing came with the stipulation that they fulfill their end of the deal and obey His just law.

Thus, in a very real sense, God was their king. This set them apart from all the other nations. We see in verse two that this King is just and righteous. We see in verse 3 that this King is loving. We see in verse 4 that this King gave a law for them to follow. We see in verse 5 that the people accepted God as King over them. They willingly agreed to this arrangement and it was beautiful.

Sadly, they would not keep their end of the bargain. Eventually, they would be unsatisfied with God as their king and ask to be like all the other nations.

1 Samuel 8:7-8 – And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.

Application – Are you willing for God to be your King? What would that look like in your life? What changes would you need to make if you really treated God as your King?

II. Moses’ final blessings on Israel (6-25)

Discussion Questions

• What did Moses pray for Reuben? Why did Reuben come first in these prayers of blessing?
• Why did Judah come second?
• What did Moses pray for Levi?
• What is the Urim and the Thummim?
• Was it good for Levi to “disown his brothers” and “ignore his children?” Why or why not? What does this refer to?
• What were the Levitical duties?
• What was Benjamin called?
• What do you learn from his blessing on Joseph?
• Why did Joseph receive such a beautiful and rich blessing?
• What prophetic threads do you see woven in these verses? Were any of these blessings fulfilled in the future?
• What do you learn from this passage about how to pray for others?
• Should we pray prayers of blessings like this today?
• How often do you pray for others?
• What kind of prayers do you pray for them?

Cross-References

Numbers 27:21 – And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.

Exodus 32:26-27 – Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.'”

Psalms 90:17 – Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Psalms 4:8 – In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Reuben – The prayer is that Reuben will survive as a tribe. Some translations say, “But let his men be few,” while others say, “nor let his men be few.” It is not clear which way to translate this, which is why different translation teams handle it differently. If the prayer is that his men be few, it may be because of Reuben’s sin in sleeping with his father’s wife.

2. Levi – One of the longer prayers is for Levi. Levi was a special tribe. They were dedicated to serving the Lord after the incident of the golden calf (Exodus 32:26-27). When Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, he found the people deep in sin. He asked anyone who was on God’s sign to come to him and then to put to death some of the revelers. Levi responded to the call. Ever since that point, they were chosen to be God’s workers in the nation of Israel.

Application – Do you love people or God more? Those Levites did an incredibly difficult thing, disowning their family members in favor of serving God. We do not face a choice as stark as theirs, but we also face the same choice. Do we live to please the people around us or to please God? Sometimes, pleasing God means incurring the wrath of our families. That is a price we should be willing to pay.

In addition, Levites were tasked to be the teachers of the people and the priests. It is a great calling to share God’s Word with others.

While God gives some believers the gift of teaching, He calls all of us to pass on what we have learned of Him (Hebrews 5:12).

3. Benjamin – The