Deuteronomy begins with a call to justice and a review of how Israel came to be east of the Jordan river in the territory of Moab. In chapters 1-4 Moses reviews Israel’s failures and successes and points out that they owe every success to God. Moses wants Israel to know that God is serious about obedience and reminds them five times that, despite the fact he (Moses) has been with Israel since they left Egypt, he will not get to enter the promised land. The reason is due to his own failure, and Israel’s.
Chapters 5-11 set forth the law of God in an abbreviated form (the Ten Commandments) and calls Israel to obedience. The Ten Commandments serve as a foundation for all the laws of God and all are, in some way, related to one of the ten. The ten commandments were spoken directly to Israel by God, and written by God personally on stone.
Chapters 12-26 provide an elaboration on the Ten Commandments, showing how the commands apply in a broader sense.
Chapters 27-28 list curses for those who do not follow the law of God, and blessings for those who do.
Chapters 29-34 is a final call to faithfulness and concludes with the death of Moses.
Obedience is paramount in Deuteronomy. Israel should obey not “in order to receive” the promises, but to keep from losing them. This is a significant point. The false doctrine of Salvation by works does not just teach that works are involved in salvation. It teaches that by his works one can secure his own salvation. The people of Israel however had already been saved by God’s grace. If they wanted to stay saved, and wanted their lives to go well, they would have to be obedient. The same is true of us. Again, as Peter Craigie puts it: Deuteronomy “provides a paradigm for the kingdom of God in the modern world; it is time for renewing commitment within the New Covenant and turning to the future with a view to possessing the promise of God.”