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Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 29-30

Deuteronomy 29 – Renewing the Covenant

Moses declared and recorded God’s Covenant with Israel in Deuteronomy 5 through Deuteronomy 28. He then challenged the people to reaffirm the covenant they had entered into at Mt Horeb forty years prior (Exodus 24). In doing so, the nation would acknowledge its obligation to obey the LORD’s Laws and Commandments (Deuteronomy 29-30).

The Past (Deuteronomy 29:1-9)

Moses then rehearsed with the people all the LORD had done for them in Egypt. He acknowledged how they had been blind to the ways of the LORD (29:4) and reminded them how God had lovingly sustained and preserved them for forty years in the wilderness (29:5-6). Then, in the place they were that day, the LORD had given them victory over their adversaries and their land on the east side of the Jordan as an inheritance for the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and “the half tribe of Manasseh” (29:7-8).

A Summons to Obey (Deuteronomy 29:10-15)

Reminding the people they were standing “before the LORD,” Moses challenged every member of the nation (its captains, elders, officers, women, children, and servants) to “enter into the covenant with the LORD” (29:10-12). Moses promised the LORD would exalt Israel as a nation and be their God as He was with their forefathers (29:13). The promises of the LORD would not only apply to their generation but to their children and children’s children (29:14-15).

An Admonition (Deuteronomy 29:16-29)

Nevertheless, should a “man, or woman, or family, or tribe” turn from the LORD and worship idols, they would bear the sorrow and bitterness of God’s judgment (29:18). Such might be deluded and believe they might find peace walking after their imaginations. Still, Moses warned, “The Lord will not spare him…and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven” (29:20).

If Israel tolerated wickedness in its midst, Moses warned that the judgment of the LORD would leave the land like the “overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah” (29:23). He prophesied the nations would look upon the desolation of Israel and ask, “Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?” (29:24). Then, men would answer, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt” (29:25).

Deuteronomy 30 – A Promise of Grace and Mercy

An Opportunity of Restoration (Deuteronomy 30:1-10)

Though Israel would reject the LORD and disobey His Law and Commandments, Moses promised He would remember His people and not forget His covenant promises (30:1). While the LORD promised to punish Israel for her disobedience, He also promised to be gracious, merciful, and forgiving if the people would repent of their sins and turn back to Him (30:1-7). Furthermore, should the people repent, God promised to renew His covenant with them and “make [them] plenteous in every work of thine hand…for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (30:9).

Ignorance was Not an Excuse (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

The will and commandments of the LORD were not mysterious or hidden from Israel (30:11-13). Instead, God’s purpose was established, and His will was revealed by His “Word” (30:14).

Two Paths to Choose: Death or Life (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

Deuteronomy 30 concluded with a strong challenge to Israel to know the Word of the LORD was sure. While the path of obedience leads to “life and good,” the way of disobedience leads to “death and evil” (30:15). Choose to keep the LORD’s covenant, and He will bless you. However, disobey God’s Law and Commandments, and you invite His judgment (30:17-18).

So then, summoning heaven and earth to be his witness, Moses warned: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (30:19).

Closing thoughts:

I am reminded that every soul faces the spiritual dilemma of choosing between two paths in life. Faith and obedience are the paths of blessing and eternal life. The way of sin inevitably ends in death and hell. As the shepherd of Israel, Moses longed for the people to love and obey the LORD. After all, that path promised the quality and quantity of life that God alone could provide (Deuteronomy 30:20).

What path have you taken? Are you on the path of obedience and life or disobedience and death?

Questions to consider:

1) Why did Israel need to remember “all that the LORD did” in Egypt and the wilderness? (Deuteronomy 29:2-6)

2) What was the key to Israel’s prosperity in the new land? (Deuteronomy 29:9)

3) What was the condition for Israel to be blessed and fruitful? (Deuteronomy 30:8-10)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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