Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (The Lord Your God Will Circumcise Your Heart)

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Deuteronomy 30:1-10
The Lord Your God Will Circumcise Your Heart

I must admit that there is a progression of thought in this passage that was rather difficult for me to pin down, and there are some clauses within it that took a lot of effort to think through.

A couple of the scholars, Keil and Lange, I read for each sermon had some invaluable insight into the Hebrew that helped me out, but their analyses were so difficult to understand that I spent half my time just trying to make sense of what they were saying.

Get a load of Lange’s comments from a portion of his thoughts about verse 2. And mind you, this is just a short portion of them –

“To put an end to the captivity, to turn the imprisonment. GES., HUPF., as already J. H. MICHAELIS, KNOBEL, in a transitive sense likewise, but questionable (since it gives the Kal the force of the Hiphil); to turn back the captivity, or the captives. שׁבוּת  (שׁבית  as it is alternately pointed by Masoretic punctuators) from שָׁבָה shavah to sweep away, to lead captive, is an abstract form designating the condition. It is impossible, in this connection, to take the abstract for the concrete, since the leading back of the captives, the gathering of Israel from the heathen, appears as the consequence of ‎את־שבותך ושב—. Comp. Jer. 29:14; 30:3, 18. As there the consideration of what had been experienced, i.e., the bringing it back to heart, preceded the return of Israel to the Lord, so now, the leading back of Israel, the gathering of His people out from all the nations, follows upon the return of the Lord to His people. The expression, have compassion upon thee, which as is conceded, appears in the earlier prophets, and has no necessary connection therefore with the Babylonian exile, but as there used refers rather to the time of the Messiah, is moreover satisfactorily explained.”

There are some good insights, but he sure could have stated them in a much easier way. If you think my sermons get complicated, just try to understand what these are saying. As for the passage, despite its complexities, the overall message is rather simple, “You will be restored someday, and the Lord will rejoice over you.”

Who is being referred to, and when is it speaking of? That is what we will go over in detail today…

Text Verse: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:4, 5

Another commentary I read, but which is less worried about the details and more concerned with the overall picture of what is being said is the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary. I didn’t need their comments for the sermon, but I appreciated what they had to say enough to let you hear a portion of their thoughts –

“The hopes of the Hebrew people are ardently directed to this promise, and they confidently expect that God, commiserating their forlorn and fallen condition, will yet rescue them from all the evils of their long dispersion. They do not consider the promise as fulfilled by their restoration from the captivity in Babylon, for Israel was not then scattered in the manner here described—’among all the nations,’ ‘unto the utmost parts of heaven’ (De 30:4). When God recalled them from that bondage, all the Israelites were not brought back. They were not multiplied above their fathers (De 30:5), nor were their hearts and those of their children circumcised to love the Lord (De 30:6). It is not, therefore, of the Babylonish captivity that Moses was speaking in this passage; it must be of the dispersed state to which they have been doomed for eighteen hundred years. … But undoubtedly it will receive its full and complete accomplishment in the conversion of the Jews to the Gospel of Christ.” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown

The Jews are looking for one thing, what they will get is not at all what they now expect. But be sure of this, what they get will be infinitely greater than what they now expect. The commentators are right, it is future to us now, and it is all about Jesus and His relationship with the Jews.

Let’s not insert the church where it does not belong. These verses today have nothing to do with the church. They speak of a day, future to us now, when Israel will again be in a right standing with God. The way the world looks now, that day may not be far off.

We’ll see. For now, great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Lord Your God Will Gather You (verses 1-6)

“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you,

Moses now sums up the contents of Chapters 27-29. A great deal has been spoken forth in those chapters concerning the state of the people in relation to the law that has been given. Chapter 27 referred to the proclamation of the curses upon Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. The final proclamation summed up the entire matter, though –

“‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’
And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’” Deuteronomy 27:26

Chapter 28 defined the blessings and the curses that would come upon the people for obedience or disobedience. However, understanding the all-encompassing nature of those final words of Chapter 27, it appears to be a given that bad times lay ahead for the people, even if the blessings initially came upon them.

In Chapter 29, Moses clearly stated that the covenant was being made not just with the people there before him, but all who would issue from them who are called “Israel.” The binding nature of the law cannot be escaped from by the nation.

In his words, he went from the singular “The Lord would not spare him” (29:20), and he moved to punishment upon the whole land, saying, “when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid upon it” (29:22). The implication is that the entire nation has departed from the Lord.

That is then confirmed in the words, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt” (29:25). As such, the words of cursing finished with, “And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day” (29:28).

With that stated, Moses closed out the chapter with the words, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (29:29).

With that context understood, and with the thought of Israel being in a state of exile from the land, while at the same time the land simmers and burns in the heat of the Lord’s anger and wrath, the beginning words of Chapter 30 include – “when all these things come upon you.”

Moses takes it as an axiom that they will, in fact, come upon them. He does not say “if.” The word signifies “that,” “for,” “when,” and so on. The words “all these things” are exactly what we just detailed. They encompass…

1 (con’t) the blessing and the curse which I have set before you,

Moses acknowledges that all of it would come upon Israel, both the joy of the blessing and the terror of the curse. He has clearly, fully, and in minute detail expressed everything that would come to pass. The words have been presented to them, and they are recorded for all generations to consider.

Nothing needed has been kept secret, but the Lord has revealed the future to them through Moses. Those things that the Lord has kept secret are His alone, but that which has been presented is fully sufficient to alert Israel to what is coming and thus who is to blame when it does. Of these words so far, Charles Ellicott (1819-1905) says –

“The curse is still upon them, and therefore this chapter contemplates the possibility of a restoration still to come. Some would go much further than this. But thus much is undeniable.” Charles Ellicott

This flies in the face of replacement theology. If Israel is still under the curse (which even replacement theologians are willing to admit), then it means that they are still under (bound to) the covenant by which the curse finds its authority. One cannot say “Israel is out” while Israel is still in. It is illogical, incompetent, and inconsistent.

As one can see from Moses’ words though, it is, unfortunately, the case that eventual failure is the expectation, and the curses are to be the anticipated result of the failure. In that state, having received all of the curses, including the state of being in exile…

1 (con’t) and you call them to mind

va’hashevota el l’vavekha – “And you return unto to your heart.” The heart reflects the cognitive thinking of man, the mind. It is that which Israel uses to reflect on their state. It must be noted that all of the words of this verse are in the singular, “you Israel.” This is unlike what occurred in Daniel 9 –

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” Daniel 9:1-3

Daniel called to mind the things that had been written, and he petitioned the Lord because of them. But what is spoken of here is a national acknowledgment of their condition.

Today, there are some Jews that will acknowledge, “Boy, we really got what we deserved,” just as Daniel did. He went on through much of that chapter detailing how deserving they were of all of the calamity that came upon them. For the most part though, Israel of today finds every reason except for their own national failure as to why all the ills they have experienced have come upon them.

Therefore, their return to the land cannot be a fulfillment of what is stated now by Moses. That is solely an act of grace by the Lord, preparing them for what lies ahead. Further, their being in the land now does not negate that a literal fulfillment lies ahead for the next words…

1 (con’t) among all the nations

It is true that Israel has a homeland, and that it is filled with the people of Israel. But it is also true that a majority of them are still not in the land. They are still “among all the nations.” But this is an unnatural state. If they are Israel, they belong in Israel.

A Japanese belongs in Japan. If a person moves to America from Japan, and if that person becomes an American, he is no longer a Japanese. He, and those after him, are Americans of Japanese descent. However, Jews generally identify with their culture first.

There is nothing wrong with this. It is just how it is. Whatever one identifies with most, that is what he is. As a Jew derives his cultural identity from Israel, then it would logically follow that he is in a state of separation when he is not in the land by which he is identified. This is the condition known as exile. For those of Israel who are not in the land of Israel, it is…

1 (con’t) where the Lord your God drives you,

Israel was in the land, they disobeyed the Lord, and they were exiled from the land. From that time on, those who are not in the land are in exile. If this was not so, they would simply do what everyone else does and join to the nation where they now live.

If you go to England, there are people from India, Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, and so on. They came to England over the years, and they have – if they are willing to be a part of the English culture – identified with England. They can be proud of their heritage, but they also identify with England, deciding that is their permanent place to hang their hat.

Jews will also do this. They serve in the military in the US, they identify with the US, and so on. But for many, their primary identification remains being “Jewish.” It is what defines them. This is why they were paraded around with yellow stars in Germany. The bonds of their culture remained at the forefront of who they are. Again, this isn’t right or wrong, it is just how it is.

The Lord anticipated that, and He has, in their continued disobedience, done to them exactly as He said He would, and exactly as Moses affirms would occur. Understanding these things, Moses continues…

and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice,

v’shavta ad Yehovah elohekha v’shamata b’qolo – “And you return as far as Yehovah your God and obey His voice.” The thought and the words are similar to Deuteronomy 4:30 –

“When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice.”

Both there, and here in Chapter 30, the words are in the singular – “you Israel.” And in both, the word translated as “to” is ad. It signifies “as far as” or “even to.” Israel is in exile, they are in distress, it is the latter days, and so on. Over the years, they may have turned from their ways, but not to the Lord.

What Moses is saying in both Deuteronomy 4:30 and again here, is that Israel will someday turn as far as or even to the Lord. In other words, this is a complete returning to Him, not just a turning to Him at some particular point in order to meet a timely need. John Lange says, “including the goal as one attained.”

Relying on their own righteousness, and in heeding the placating thoughts of the rabbis of the past whose words comprise the Talmud, Israel has never come to this point. Someday, they will put all of that nonsense behind them and turn until they attain the goal, coming to the Lord alone. This turning will be…

2 (con’t) according to all that I command you today,

The words refer to everything spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy – every law, every precept, every anticipated event. The expression “I command you today” has been repeated more than twenty times since Deuteronomy 4:40. As such, it must be remembered that this then includes the clear commands concerning the “Prophet like me” spoken in Chapter 18.

That Prophet was clearly presented to Israel, and it is He that fulfilled the Mosaic Code, and then both annulled it and initiated a New Covenant in His blood. But it is only annulled for those who accept that it is so. For those who do not, they remain under the Law of Moses, and thus under the curse of the law.

For Israel, when they turn to the Lord, acknowledging Christ – as is clearly presented in what Moses is conveying – they will then have fulfilled the precepts of the law as now given by him…

2 (con’t) you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,

What is spoken of is a national turning. The word “you” is in the singular. It is undoubtedly not speaking merely to each individual, but to the nation sitting before him now, which is inclusive of “your (singular) children.”

At some point, the nation will have a collective turning, even to (as far as) the Lord, and it will be “in all to your (singular) heart and in all your (singular) soul.” Understanding this timing, the thought which began in this first clause now continues…

that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity,

The words seem simple. One can read them and quickly pass on to the next verse. And yet, the Hebrew is so precise and carefully stated that scholars have lengthy commentaries on it: v’shav Yehovah elohekha eth shevutekha – “And return Yehovah your God your (singular) fortunes.”

Moses introduces a new word here shevuth. It comes from shavah, meaning “to take captive.” Hence, it is generally translated as “from captivity.” Two major translations are given though –

“then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity” (NASB)
“then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes” (ESV)

Keil clearly presents what is being conveyed –

“‘the Lord will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and gather thee again’ את־שׁבוּת שׁוּב does not mean to bring back the prisoners, as the more modern lexicographers erroneously suppose (the Kal שׁוּב never has the force of the Hiphil), but to turn the imprisonment, and that in a figurative sense, viz., to put an end to the distress…”

In other words, whether it is translated as “from captivity” or “restore your fortunes,” it signifies the ending of the distress of the people. This is important because of the continued words of the verse.

As an interesting insight into this verse, the Greek translation says, “and the Lord will heal your sins.” How they came to that is difficult to understand unless they logically understood that the fortunes cannot be restored unless the sins are forgiven. The thought is certainly reminiscent of Romans 11 –

“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.’” Romans 11:26, 27

For now, Moses provides parallelism to confirm the restoration of Israel, saying…

3 (con’t) and have compassion on you,

In the returning of the captivity (restoring the fortunes), compassion is given. The second thought restates but repeats the previous thought. With that noted, Moses then says…

3 (con’t) and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.

Moses repeats the same word as the first clause, v’shav or “and return,” saying: v’shav v’qibetskha mikal ha’ammim – “and return and gather you (singular) from all the peoples.” The words then are a resumption of the thought –

“And return Yehovah your God your fortunes.”
“And have compassion on you.”
“And return and gather you from all the peoples.”

What has happened in these verses is first a turning of the heart of the people in order to obey the Lord’s voice. In turn, the Lord returns to restore Israel. The second is a consequence of the first. The gathering of Israel comes after – as a result of – the turning of the collective heart.

Therefore, what has happened since 1948 is not a fulfillment of these words. The restoration of Israel to the land has happened, that is true, but their true restoration is yet ahead. This gathering of the people is something that will occur after, not before, the tribulation period. That will be seen as Moses continues…

If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven,

The Hebrew reads “the heavens.” Israel will be scattered to the ends of the earth. The words here do not reflect what occurred during the Babylonian captivity. It is clearly a prophecy of a worldwide dispersion. Despite the vastness of the exile…

4 (con’t) from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.

The Lord, through Moses, promises that at the time of their returning to Him as is defined in the law, and which includes the acceptance of Christ as their Messiah, there will be a gathering of the exiles. This is certainly what Jesus is referring to –

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31

The elect Jesus refers to are those Jews who will come to trust Christ during the tribulation period. They have nothing to do with the church which is inclusive of Jews who have already received Christ. Moses is speaking to Israel and Christ is speaking to Israel.

But more, the elect are not necessarily the people who are in Israel now. If they were, Jesus would not have said this just a few verses earlier in Matthew –

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Matthew 24:15-22

If everyone in Israel was “the elect,” there would be no need to address those who heeded His words in Judea, imploring them to flee to the mountains. The elect will heed, those who do not are not of “the elect.”

When the addressees or the dispensations are mixed, error in theology is the natural and inevitable consequence. The restoration of Israel, as spoken by Moses now, is still future to us at this time.

Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it.

It is those who heed the words of Moses, and who thus heed the words of Jesus that will be brought into this land to possess it. This then speaks of the millennial kingdom, not of what is going on in Israel today.

Again, it is true this is the same body of people, obviously, because Jesus tells those who are of this body (meaning Israel), but who are also willing to pay heed to His words (meaning the elect), to flee to the mountains. It is these who are referred to with the words…

5 (con’t) He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

The reference here cannot be speaking of Israel at this time. It is true they are prospering and multiplying, but it is also true that the Lord prospering them (literally “do you good”) more than their fathers is not true at this time.

The state of peace described in Israel at the time of Solomon has never been realized in modern Israel, and that must be taken into consideration along with all other points. This will truly only be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom. What Moses next says clearly reveals this…

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants,

The words of this verse cannot be speaking of the time after the Babylonian captivity. Hence, none of what is said here can. This is speaking to Israel the nation, in the singular, and therefore it can only be referring to them. The promise of circumcision of the heart is the same basic thought as the Lord writing His law on the heart.

The two concepts are set in parallel. One speaks of a change in heart, the other speaks of what that change in heart signifies. It is an action of the Lord, and it is something that only occurs in conjunction with the New Covenant. Thus, replacement theology has no standing. This can only be speaking of Israel, not the church.

It is true that both Moses and Jeremiah tell the people to circumcise their hearts to the Lord, but that is a way of telling the people to turn their minds to Him and to think with clarity concerning Him. However, it is not the same as when the Lord performs the action.

To truly have a circumcised heart is to turn to the Lord in Christ, and then to have Christ convert the heart. To understand this, a logical progression of verses needs to be considered –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Romans 2:28, 29

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11, 12

Paul confirms that the precept of the New Covenant circumcision of the heart applies to Gentiles as well as Jews, but Moses’ words only apply to Israel the nation (you, singular). When the Lord finally does His work in them, because they directed their hearts toward Him (meaning Christ who performs the circumcision), it will finally result in their ability…

6 (con’t) to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

The action of the Lord, His circumcising Israel’s heart, is a result of Israel’s turning the heart to Him in order to obey His voice. In that, they are restored, and in that the heart is circumcised. The result is their ability to love Him with all the heart and all the soul of the nation, (it is singular).

And there is an ultimate reason behind this, which is, l’maan khayekha – “to end purpose your (singular) life.” The wording here brings to remembrance the words that described Jacob (who pictured Israel the people) when he realized Joseph (who pictured Christ) was alive. Literally, it said, “and lives spirit of Jacob.”

What Moses is saying here is not referring to physical life any more than what was said of Jacob. Rather, it speaks of the spiritual reconnection to God that was lost in Adam. Israel as a nation will have that collective revival of the heart, and they will collectively be made alive when they come to Christ – just as was typologically anticipated in the story of Joseph.

Listen to the statutes and the judgments too
Pay heed to the word that you hear
Everything is laid out that you are to do
Keep them with you always; be sure to keep them near

Think on what the Lord is telling you
Consider what needs to be done
Will you trust in your own ability, these things to do?
If so, you must accomplish every single one

Think on what the word is telling you
Consider again what needs to be done
Will you trust in your own ability, these things to do?
Or will you by faith simply trust in His Son?

II. When You Turn to the Lord (verses 7-10)

“Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.

Rather than “curses,” it should say “all the oaths.” Everything that the Lord swore would come upon Israel will instead come upon their enemies. One might say, “This can’t be speaking of the millennial kingdom then.” But that one would be wrong.

One of the promised blessings of Deuteronomy 28 was rain. One of the promised curses was the rain being changed to powder and dust. That is a promise of the millennium –

“And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:17, 18

There will be death in the millennium as well. This tells us that things may be different from our current state, but the evil inclinations of the heart of man will not be changed. Things will continue on in the manner they now exist in that regard.

But even without that, the verb translated as “persecuted you” is in the perfect tense. Those who persecuted Israel will suffer for their actions. That is clearly evidenced in Jesus’ words of Matthew 25 –

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:31-33

This is a judgment of the nations, and it is a judgment directed at the treatment of Israel by those nations. How His people are treated will reflect what the Lord does with them. As for Israel…

And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today.

The word “you” is emphatic – “And YOU…” This sets Israel off from those in the previous verse. “They did this to you, but YOU will…” But what Moses says must now be considered. First, it doesn’t say “again obey.” It says, “And you will return and obey.”

There was never a time when Israel faithfully obeyed all the commandments which Moses commanded them. If there was, they would not have needed Jesus. They would have fulfilled the law. With that understood, what does it mean that Israel will do all the Lord’s commandment which Moses commands them?

One view is that the Law of Moses will again be in effect during the millennium. The temple described by Ezekiel has sacrifices. Isaiah 66 seemingly refers to dietary laws, New Moon and Sabbath observances, and so on during this time. If this is so, then the words of Hebrews that the law is annulled, obsolete, and set aside in Christ are contradictory.

The correct view is that in coming to Christ, who fulfilled the law, Israel is fulfilling all of the laws of Moses. He accomplished for them, and indeed for all who come to Him, everything that the law only anticipates and pictures. A law that is annulled is done with. Israel has not yet learned that. Until they do, they will not be included in what God has done.

The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good.

The verse begins with And. “And the Lord your God will.” There is a mutual aspect to the words. Israel will do this, and the Lord will do that.” Further, the words continue in the singular, just as they have through the entire passage.

Israel will abound in all the ways promised here. It is reflective of the words of the blessing promised in Deuteronomy 28. Everything they set their hand to will be blessed. It will be a time of abundance and prosperity for them –

“Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob;
Israel shall blossom and bud,
And fill the face of the world with fruit.” Isaiah 27:6

It is one of a very long list of the blessings that will be realized during the millennium. And there is a reason for this…

9 (con’t) For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good

Again, the word “again” gives the wrong sense. It says, “For will return Yehovah to rejoice over you to good.” The comparison is to the fathers of the next clause, not to Israel of the past. The Lord will return to rejoice over Israel…

9 (con’t) as He rejoiced over your fathers,

The question that must be asked in order to understand this is, “Who are ‘your fathers?’” The answer is found in the singular. Moses has not spoken in the plural even once so far. Therefore, it is speaking of the fathers of Israel, not the fathers of the people of Israel.

It is a clear indication that the previous verse is not speaking of the people obeying the Law of Moses, but of following Christ who obeyed (and thus fulfilled) the Law of Moses.

The fathers, those before the law – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – who are being referred to here, did not have the law. They lived by faith, just as is recorded in Hebrews 11. In this, the Lord rejoiced over them. It is not observance of the law, but the obedience of faith that pleases the Lord. This is then highlighted in the next words…

10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law,

The word “if” is incorrect. It says: ki tishma – “when (or for) you hear (meaning obey).” It presupposes that this will happen someday, and it is what will bring the state of the Lord’s rejoicing over them.

But it is obvious that if this occurs after the New Covenant that was promised in Jeremiah, as we have already seen that such is the case, then it must mean that the obedience to the commandments and statutes is vicariously applied.

Moses has already said that the Lord will circumcise their heart. This is in response to accepting the work of Messiah, not adherence to the law. That will be shown true, once again, in our closing verse for today…

*10 (fin) and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Again, the word “if” is incorrect. It is not conditional. It says, “when (or for) you turn to Yehovah your God.” The ESV is the closest to what the Hebrew says –

“when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

How does one keep all the words of the Book of the Law? Israel, even in the future, could only failingly do so. The reason why is because the words are written to Israel, the nation. If one person fails to keep the words of the law, then the nation has failed. And it is quite clear that even in the millennium, this will be the case –

“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.” Isaiah 65:20

If there is a sinner in the millennium among Israel, then Israel would fail to keep all of the commandments. Even if the people executed the punishment of the law upon the offender, the words of Moses are in the singular, not the plural. It is an all-or-nothing scenario. Hence, the goal is not the law, but Jesus, who embodies the law.

When, not if, Israel turns to the Lord with all of the heart and all of the soul, Israel will find its rest and will find its peace. This is the lesson of the carefully chosen words of Moses. And it is the same lesson for each individual today – Jew or Gentile.

We cannot find peace without the Lord, and there is no rest for the wicked. Only in coming to Christ is the sin debt cancelled. But when that happens, the peace of God, and the rest which is found in Christ, is made available to that soul.

There is a lot of theology tied up in today’s verses, but the main message is surprisingly easy to understand. God has done the work through Christ, He offers forgiveness by faith in that, and in His forgiveness, reconciliation with Him is realized.

It is all summed up in the gospel. Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again. If you believe that message and call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved. Be sure to do that today.

Closing Verse: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:10-14

Next Week: Deuteronomy 30:11-20 In Him ends the enmity and the strife… (For He Is Your Life) (88th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Lord Your God Will Circumcise Your Heart

“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you
The blessing and the curse which I have set before you
———-as I now do
And you call them to mind among all the nations
Where the LORD your God drives you

And you return to the LORD your God
And obey His voice, to Him your obedience you roll
According to all that I command you today
You and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul

That the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity
And have compassion on you, so He will do
And gather you again from all the nations
Where the LORD your God has scattered you

If any of you are driven out
To the farthest parts under heaven, as He said He would do
From there the LORD your God will gather you
And from there He will bring you

Then the LORD your God will bring you
To the land which your fathers possessed, as He promised to do
And you shall possess it
He will more than your fathers prosper you and multiply you

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart
And the heart of your descendants that to you He does give
To love the LORD your God
With all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live

“Also the LORD your God will put all these curses, so He shall do
On your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you

And you will again obey
The voice of the LORD, so I say
And do all His commandments
Which I command you today

The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work
———-of your hand
In the fruit of your body, let this be understood
In the increase of your livestock
And in the produce of your land for good

For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good
As He rejoiced over your fathers, so He will do
If you obey the voice of the LORD your God
To keep His commandments and His statutes too

Which are written
In this Book of the Law, not in part but in whole
And if you turn to the LORD your God
With all your heart and with all your soul

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

“Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

 

 

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 29:20-29 (The Secret Things)

Deuteronomy 29:20-29
The Secret Things

In our Leviticus 26:14-39 sermon, entitled Assured Curses, we opened with the words of Mark Twain who confirmed the words of cursing that were laid upon Israel the people and Israel the land. It is right to revisit those words in order to understand and remember the truth of what is now presented in Deuteronomy –

Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Where Sodom and Gomorrah reared their domes and towers, that solemn sea now floods the plain, in whose bitter waters no living thing exists—over whose waveless surface the blistering air hangs motionless and dead—about whose borders nothing grows but weeds, and scattering tufts of cane, and that treacherous fruit that promises refreshment to parching lips, but turns to ashes at the touch. Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua’s miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Saviour’s presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye. Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the Holy Cross. The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the “desert places” round about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour’s voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes. Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land? Mark Twain, 1869

Text Verse: “The joy of our heart has ceased;
Our dance has turned into mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this our heart is faint;
Because of these things our eyes grow dim;
18 Because of Mount Zion which is desolate,
With foxes walking about on it.
19 You, O Lord, remain forever;
Your throne from generation to generation.
20 Why do You forget us forever,
And forsake us for so long a time?
21 Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
22 Unless You have utterly rejected us,
And are very angry with us!” Lamentations 5:15-22

Of our passage today, the Jamieson-Faucet-Brown Commentary states the following, somewhat mirroring the thoughts of Mark Twain –

“The picture of a once rich and flourishing region, blasted and doomed in consequence of the sins of its inhabitants, is very striking, and calculated to awaken awe in every reflecting mind. Such is, and long has been, the desolate state of Palestine; and, in looking at its ruined cities, its blasted coast, its naked mountains, its sterile and parched soil—all the sad and unmistakable evidences of a land lying under a curse—numbers of travellers from Europe, America, and the Indies (‘strangers from a far country,’ De 29:22) in the present day see that the Lord has executed His threatening. Who can resist the conclusion that it has been inflicted ‘because the inhabitants had forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers. … and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book?’”

The tragedy of Israel’s past, after their years of glory, was clearly prophesied by Moses. Nothing can be more evident from his words of this passage.

But even though the reason for the first exile was understood by them – having been acknowledged in their own writings – the reason for their second exile appears to be some sort of mystery to them, as if it is somehow an aberration that never should have occurred.

However, they were clearly told – before that exile came – by Jesus and by His apostles exactly what was needed to keep them from the disasters they have faced. Their stubborn refusal to acknowledge Christ as Lord has brought, and will continue to bring, upon them many woes.

The word is written. The land was given to Israel. In their disobedience, they were to be exiled and chased throughout the world. This is the word of the Lord, and it is the guiding document concerning the state of Israel in the world at any given time.

Was the second exile of Israel an aberration? Obviously not. But if it was not, there had to be a reason that it came about. And if there is a reason, the word certainly includes what it is. And it does. Because they have not yet acknowledged what brought it about, it means that troubled times are still ahead for them.

They must be brought through the refiner’s fire in order to make them a people once again prepared for the Lord. When that happens, the Lord – their Lord – will return to them. The secret things, indeed, belong to the Lord. But those things the Lord has revealed belong to His people. All they need to do is to search them out, and they will find Jesus. In Him alone is found salvation for every soul, and in Him alone is found the salvation of Israel.

Great things, such as coming to Jesus to be saved are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

Every Curse That Is Written in This Book

For context, and because the words to come are based on the words that completed the previous sermon, the last verses from last week need to be reviewed –

“I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today 16 (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, 17 and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them—wood and stone and silver and gold); 18 so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; 19 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.” Deuteronomy 29:14-19

With this understood as the immediate context, Moses now explains what the consequences for such an unacceptable attitude will be for this person, saying…

20 “The Lord would not spare him;

The words refer to the person who follows the dictates of his own heart, rejecting the words of the covenant and yet saying, “I shall have peace.”

The idea is that of a self-righteous person. In essence, “I am of Israel, God has called us as His people, and therefore I can do as I please and still find peace. In this, Moses says, lo yoveh Yehovah seloakh lo – “no willing Yehovah pardon to him.”

It is the sin of presumption, and it is an intolerable sin. As such, and using the same word as Moses, the Lord asks the question of Israel through Jeremiah –

“‘How shall I pardon you for this?
Your children have forsaken Me
And sworn by those that are not gods.
When I had fed them to the full,
Then they committed adultery
And assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.
They were like well-fed lusty stallions;
Every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife.
Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord.
‘And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’” Jeremiah 5:7-9

David committed great sin before the Lord, and yet he was forgiven for what he did. It is the exact same sin that Jeremiah addressed in his words, adultery. And yet, when confronted with his sin, David not only acknowledged it, but he was filled with remorse over his actions –

“Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.” Psalm 51:1-4

David not only acknowledged his sin, but he took the time to openly confess it to the world through a psalm. And for 2900 years now, his example has been set forth for all of us to know what is acceptable to the Lord and what is not. The Lord cannot deal graciously with the one who sins presumptuously against Him. Rather, Moses says…

20 (con’t) for then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy would burn against that man,

The Hebrew is active, alive, and emphatic: ki az yeshan aph Yehovah v’qinato ba’ish ha’hu – “for then will smoke nostril Yehovah and his anger in the man the he.” The smoking nostril reminds the hearer of the smoke and terrifying display of fire upon Sinai, the only other time this word has been used –

“Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.” Exodus 19:18

A violation of the law can be forgiven through the allowances of the law. But there is no allowance that can overcome the presumptuous heart that will not abase itself before the Lord. The Day of Atonement was given for forgiveness, but it called for abasement –

“For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” Leviticus 23:29-32

The word twice translated as “afflict” signifies to bow down or afflict in humility. If this provision of the law cannot be met, there is no remedy for that person. Thus, the Lord’s nostril will smoke…

20 (con’t) and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him,

Again, the words are very poignant, purposeful, and emphatic: v’ravetsah bo kal ha’alah ha’kethuvah ba’sepher ha’zeh – “and will lie in him every the oath the written in the book the this.”

The word ravats, or “lie,” comes from a primitive root signifying “to crouch (on all four legs like a recumbent animal)” (Strong). As such, it is as if the entire weight of every oath of the law has lain upon him.

Rather than the curse itself, it is the oath (alah) referred to in verses 12 and 14 that is sworn and leads to the curse. Again, Jeremiah gives the sense of such a man’s thoughts who is filled with this type of presumption –

“They continually say to those who despise Me,
‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace’;
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
‘No evil shall come upon you.’” Jeremiah 23:17

Rather than peace and no evil, there will be terror and the oaths of the law coming upon them. But let us not remove ourselves too far from the One who was willing to take this upon Himself to allow those who are willing to come to God through Him in humility –

“Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6

The weight of the oaths of the law alighted upon Christ for those who will afflict their souls before the Lord. For those of Israel who rejected this, the Lord – through Moses – has another word…

20 (con’t) and the Lord would blot out his name from under heaven.

Rather than “under heaven,” the Hebrew reads “under the heavens.” It means that there will be no remembrance of that person on the earth. His name will be cut off, and the line that issues from him will end. As such, it will be as if he never existed.

21 And the Lord would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity,

The word translated as “adversity” is “evil.” The Lord will bring evil upon the man who so presumptuously acts against Him. Where he finds peace in himself and his actions, they are – in fact – perverse and contrary to the law.

Such a person would be set apart from all the tribes, meaning cut off from the inheritance and the covenant promises. For such a person, there can be no forgiveness. His doom will hang over his head until he is destroyed. The thought is reflective of the words of Jeremiah towards those who had acted this way before the Lord –

“Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them.” Jeremiah 44:27

Again, the promise is explicitly stated that it will be…

21 (con’t) according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law,

Moses’ words are again focused, firm, fixed, and emphatic: kekol alot ha’berit ha’kethuvah b’sepher ha’torah ha’zeh – “according to all oaths the covenant the written in book the Torah the this.” And again, it says “oaths,” not “curses.”

Not all of the curses will fall upon any particular person, but all of the oaths – leading to the curses – will. That which is written in the book of the Law shall be performed according to the word of the Lord who so inspired it through Moses.

So far, in these past few verses, it has spoken of an individual – he, himself, his, I, my, him, that man, and so on. Now, with the coming verse, that begins to change…

22 so that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you,

It is referring to many years in the future, certainly after the Babylonian exile, and even at the time after the Roman exile. The generation of children who would rise up would see the effect of the presumptuous generation and understand…

22 (con’t) and the foreigner who comes from a far land,

Nothing is more certain in the historical record than this. It may be that Jews saw the land and spoke among one another of its state, but the record of foreigners describing the desolation of the land is abundant. Of these groups, they…

22 (con’t) would say, when they see the plagues of that land

The word is makah, coming from nakah – “to strike.” It is the word used to describe the stripes laid upon the back of a person who is punished according to the law. As such, it is as if the land has been beaten with a massive rod, crushing down buildings, houses, fields, and so on. The sense should be that of welts laid upon the land in anger and fury…

22 (con’t) and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it:

v’eth takhalueha asher khilah Yehovah bah – “and diseases which has made sick Yehovah on it.” It is a new word, takhalu. It signifies a malady or disease. It will only be found five times, but the most notable instance that gives the sense of what it signifies is probably that of 2 Chronicles 21, referring to the crummy king Jehoram –

“and it comes to pass, from days to days, and at the time of the going out of the end of two years, his bowels have gone out with his sickness, and he dies of severe diseases, and his people have not made for him a burning like the burning of his fathers.” 2 Chronicles 29:18, 19 (LSV)

Thus, the sicknesses of the land probably refers to the blights and plagues that affected the water, the foliage, and so on. It probably also refers to the sicknesses that became endemic in the land during this period.

And this is true. The land eventually was filled with malaria, trachoma, smallpox, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, high infant mortality, and so on. What is noteworthy is that these are attributed to the hand of the Lord. The land became unusable for certainly two reasons.

The first is that Israel was destroyed, and thus the land was too. It became uninhabited by them because they were exiled from it. But the second reason is equally important. The land was given to Israel. While they were in exile, if the land became productive, it would have been – as it is today – coveted after.

As such, there would have been people who settled in and made it productive. This did not happen. Due to its history, as well as its strategic location, it was fought over, but it was never really occupied in the sense that it became productive. The Lord ensured that the land would someday be filled by Israel once again. And this is exactly what both the Bible prophesied of, as well as what has occurred. Of this land of desolation, the people would exclaim…

23 ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning;

gapherit va’melakh serepha kal artsah – “brimstone and salt, burning all [the] land.” The words give the sense of heat, anguish, and desolation upon the land. Nothing is productive, and nothing apart from the Lord’s favor could make it so. Because of this…

23 (con’t) it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there,

The words now speak of a lack of rain. No one will sow if there is no rain to cause seed to grow. More than that, nothing hardy will even sprout up on its own. And more, even grass – which needs but a short span of rain to come forth – will fail to grow. The land itself will be left ruined because the rains have ceased. It will be…

23 (con’t) like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim,

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is explicitly stated in Genesis 19, but the destruction of Admah and Zeboiim is implied. They were in the same area and the same fate came upon them.

Here, Moses introduces the word mahpekah. It is a noun used to describe the state of being overthrown. What will occur in the Land of Promise is directly equated to what occurred with these four cities…

23 (con’t) which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’

asher haphak Yehovah b’apo u-ba’khamato – “which overthrew Yehovah in nostril and in heated rage.” The words are anthropomorphic, ascribing the actions of a raging man to that of the Lord. The sense is that His nostril is fuming and smoking, His forehead is flushed red with anger, and He lashes down upon the land in His fury.

What is being done in these verses is to equate the entire land to the area around the Dead Sea. In Genesis 13:10, that land was described as idyllic –

“And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.”

That is comparable to the description of Canaan by Moses –

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.” Deuteronomy 8:7-9

However, just as the Lord destroyed the area of the Dead Sea, turning it into an absolute wasteland, so He will overthrow and ruin the good land of Canaan. In this…

24 All nations would say, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this land?

What is apparent is that what has happened will be ascribed to the Lord, meaning the One true God – even if those who ask this don’t know what His name actually is. This will be perfectly evident simply because the land was fully inhabited, from Dan to Beersheba.

There will be (and there remains to this day) evidences throughout the entire land that it was once filled to the brim with people. When people look at the empty cities and lands that once bustled throughout Asia, South America, and elsewhere, the same question arises. “What tragedy did God bring upon this place?”

We ascribe to God the ruin of such places because we know that the hand of God brings such ruin. In the case of Israel, anyone who went through it would see the devastation and know that God (the Lord) had brought about the disaster. In this, the next question arises…

24 (con’t) What does the heat of this great anger mean?’

meh khori ha’aph ha’gadol ha’zeh – “What heat the nostril the great the this?” In whatever way someone perceives the anger of the Lord, it is usually an anthropomorphic thought. As such, to think of Him raging, with fire and smoke coming out of His nostrils and stomping on the land is not an uncalled-for image. The question for such a mental image is, “What does it mean?”

25 Then people would say: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt;

The words in these verses are restated, but still closely repeated by Jeremiah –

“And many nations will pass by this city; and everyone will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this great city?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.’” Jeremiah 22:8, 9

Even in Israel’s exile, there have remained people in the land. It has never been completely barren. Little groups of people were left during the Babylonian exile, as is recorded in Scripture. And small pockets of people remained in the land ever since the exile by the Romans as history has shown.

These would be the people who knew the history and passed it down, or who had a Bible handy and knew the recorded history. As such, they could easily explain the events recorded in this verse, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the verse in the process.

A covenant was made, the promises of blessing and abundance are clearly evidenced in the once filled and productive land, and yet, the land is now destroyed. The covenant was violated by the people and the desolation was brought about by the offended Lord.

What is perfectly evident is that these words indicate both a physical as well as a spiritual state of ruin. The land is clearly destroyed, but the destruction of the land is based on the ruination of the people. The covenant is violated, and the resulting curses have fallen upon both the land and the inhabitants.

It is a clear indication that Israel, being cut off from its land, means that Israel has been cut off from the Lord. This should give Israel of today pause. If they have been cut off from the Lord, they are cut off from the Lord.

Their restoration to the land is an act of grace, not an acknowledgment that they are suddenly right with Him. Such is not the case. If they would simply take the blinders off before reading the word of the Lord, they could come to no other conclusion.

But until they are willing to see that the narrative is not about them, this will never happen. This is painfully evident from what got them into the pickle in the first place…

26 for they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them.

The covenant forbid Israel to do exactly what they did. There is little in their recorded history that does not include this truth. They rejected the Lord and served every possible god but Him. At times, they worshipped Him by using fashioned gods as well. In both, they were guilty of forsaking the word of the Lord and the precepts of the covenant.

Jeremiah clearly speaks of the fulfillment of Moses’ words –

“And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the Lord our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours.’” Jeremiah 5:19

All of these things are true and are undeniable. But this doesn’t explain the transition from the singular person in the earlier verses to the plural – you (plural), they, their, them, etc. Why did Moses do this? The answer is found throughout the writings and the prophets, and it can be summed up with an exacting example –

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.” 2 Kings 21:1, 2

“and I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers—only if they are careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.” But they paid no attention, and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.” 2 Kings 21:8, 9

“Nevertheless the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 And the Lord said, ‘I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’” 2 Kings 23:26, 27

The king is the leader of the people. In the departure of the king from the Lord, the people will naturally follow suit. The two are inextricably tied together in a unique way. As such and because of this truth, Moses continues with the words of those who see what has come upon Israel…

27 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book.

Here, the word “curse” is correct. The oath leads to the curse. The turning of the king brings about the turning of the people, and in their turning, “every curse” that is written in the book is brought upon the land and thus the people.

Moses exactingly predicts what will occur as well as what the verbal response from the people will be when they are asked about the matter. But more, he implies that those who convey what has occurred will, in fact, have a copy of the book to confirm what has been stated by the Lord.

It isn’t that they had to guess. The preservation of the word of the Lord is implied in what is stated in this verse, and that same word is being conveyed to those who had asked the question – meaning the children of the future and the foreigner from the far land.

But who is it that will pay heed to the words of predictive prophecy that are so perfectly fulfilled in the people and in the land? It sure wasn’t those in whom the words were fulfilled…

28 And the Lord uprooted them from their land

v’yiteshem Yehovah meal admatam – “And uprooted them Yehovah from their ground.” Here is a new word, nathash. It signifies to pull or pluck up, or to uproot. It will be used frequently by Jeremiah. Instead of “land,” Moses says, “ground,” thus making a play on the words. They were uprooted as a plant is pulled from the ground, and this was…

28 (con’t) in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation,

b’aph u-b’bekhemah u-b’qetseph gadol – “in nostril, and in heated rage, and in indignation great.” The words are exactingly repeated by Jeremiah –

“I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger and fury and great wrath.” Jeremiah 21:5

Again, the words are anthropomorphic. It is as if a man is in a garden, raging and tearing up the plants with his nostril fuming and his forehead burning with anger. He pulls up the plants…

28 (con’t) and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’

Here, the word is erets, or land. They are pulled up from their ground and cast, not planted, upon another land. With no roots, they will not prosper and can be moved without any effort to and from the lands around them.

The words ka’yom ha’zeh, or “according to day, the this,” mean that during all of their time in exile, and during all the time that the land is barren and destroyed, the saying will be said. “This is what happened, this is why it happened, and this is the result that you now see, even today.”

The shame of the statement is intended to reach out around the world and explain why Israel is broken up into little pockets of miserable people in the lands of their exile. As such…

29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

The Hebrew consists of fewer words. Literally, it reads “The hidden to Yehovah our God, and the uncovered (exposed) to us and to our children until forever to do all words, the Torah, the this.”

The number of ideas as to what is being said here is lengthy. Many scholars abuse the text as it is written. One thing seems likely is that the words include the thought of going into captivity. The reason is that the word translated as “uncovered” (or revealed) is used very often elsewhere and is translated as “captive.”

The reason is because when one goes into captivity, he is exposed or uncovered. Jeremiah, who has used Moses’ words time and again today, uses this word in that way numerous times, such as –

“The cities of the South shall be shut up,
And no one shall open them;
Judah shall be carried away captive, all of it;
It shall be wholly carried away captive.” Jeremiah 13:19

Grammatically, the words “to do” could refer to either the Lord or the people. And so, it must be questioned who the subject is –

“The hidden to Yehovah our God (and the uncovered to us and to our children until forever) [for the Lord] to do all words of this Torah.”

Or

“The hidden to Yehovah our God, and the uncovered to us and to our children until forever [for us] to do all words of this Torah.”

Unlike the rest of the entire chapter, this verse has been presented in the first-person plural – “we Israel.” Moses includes himself in the words, a very rare occurrence in Deuteronomy. Without being dogmatic about it, especially because nobody else even considers this, I would suggest this may be a double entendre.

One meaning then would be that the verse is speaking about the intentions of the Lord. The Lord has concealed (hidden) things concerning the future, even in the word. But He has also given explicit instructions in it which are – on the surface – knowable and expected. Hence, he says, laasot eth kal divre ha’torah ha’zot – that [we] may do all the words of this Law.

As the law is revealed, it is expected to be followed, but the law (through the prophets) will continue to reveal more. Eventually, those prophecies will align with their prophetic fulfillment. As such, the words of the law itself will no longer be hidden. For example, Paul’s words in Romans 10:8 show that Deuteronomy 30:14 was a reference to Christ and His work.

The second meaning would then be that the hidden things are the prerogative of the Lord, but the captivity (being exposed) belongs to Israel forever because they are bound to the law of which they cannot “do.” However, at the time of Moses, in the hidden things of the Lord are included all of His “doing” all of the words of the Torah. Eventually, He came, and He did all the words of the Torah.

If this is a correct interpretation, it is summed up in Jesus’ words –

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18

As such, the choice belongs to all people, even those not under the law. The reason is that the law is God’s standard. Fulfilling the law is God’s mark of perfection. Whether one is under law or not, perfection is the standard.

None apart from the law have the law to attempt to attain perfection, and none under the law have the ability to attain perfection through the law. What all men need is Christ Jesus’ perfection, who fulfilled the law.

In the Hebrew of this verse, there are special points above the words “to us and to our children.” They are known as puncta extraordinaria, or “extraordinary punctuation.”

It is not known what their meaning is, but we can now speculate that this is exactly what is being referred to, meaning Israel’s permanent inability to meet the demands of the law, and for them to look to the Lord in place of it for their justification and their righteousness.

And this is what all people are to do. Surprisingly, God has made a way available to us to be reconciled to Himself. I say, surprisingly because He was under no obligation to do so, and in order to do so, He would have to do the incredible.

The process would be painful, abasing, and impossible for many to even believe. But He did it. The Lord God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth did the unimaginable for His creatures. Let us not turn away from so great a salvation. Let us come to Christ and forever sing praises to the God to whom belong the secret things.

Closing Verse: “I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.” Isaiah 45:3

Next Week: Deuteronomy 30:1-10 This is where your point of righteousness will start… (The Lord Your God Will Circumcise Your Heart) (87th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Secret Things

“The LORD would not spare him; for then the anger of the LORD
And His jealousy would burn against that man, even times seven
And every curse that is written in this book would settle on him
And the LORD would blot out his name from under heaven

And the LORD would separate him from
All the tribes of Israel for adversity
According to all the curses of the covenant
That are written in this Book of the Law, so shall it be

So that the coming generation of your children
———-who rise up after you
And the foreigner who comes from a far land, would say
When they see the plagues of that land
And the sicknesses which the LORD has laid on it that day…

‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning
It is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there
Like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim
Which the LORD overthrew in His anger
———-and His wrath He did not spare

All nations would say, ‘Why has the LORD done so to this land?
What does the heat of this great anger mean? We don’t understand

Then people would say: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant
Of the LORD God of their fathers, and you understand
Which He made with them
When He brought them out of Egypt the land

For they went and served other gods and worshiped them
Gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them
———-and Him they forsook
Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against this land
To bring on it every curse that is written in this book

And the LORD uprooted them
From their land – in anger He did display
In wrath, and in great indignation
And cast them into another land, as it is this day

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God
But those things which are revealed – of which we saw
Belong to us and to our children forever
That we may do all the words of this law

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 “The Lord would not spare him; for then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the Lord would blot out his name from under heaven. 21 And the Lord would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law, 22 so that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, would say, when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it:

23 ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’ 24 All nations would say, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?’ 25 Then people would say: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt; 26 for they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them. 27 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. 28 And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’

29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:10-19 (That He May Establish You Today)

Deuteronomy 29:10-19
That He May Establish You Today

In this passage, we will once again talk about the status of Israel in the world today. People can go too far in one direction or another very easily when considering them and their status before the Lord.

John Hagee says they are saved through adherence to the Mosaic Covenant, and he finds no reason to either evangelize them or otherwise tell them about their need for Christ.

Other preachers say that the church has replaced Israel and that there is no further purpose in the redemptive narrative for them as a people. In other words, Jews – who collectively are Israel – are just like anyone else. They are saved by faith in Christ and that’s it.

There are those that say what Jesus did for individual Jews is different than what He has done for the Gentiles. This means that Jews are saved in one way and by one gospel, and that Gentiles are saved in another way, by another gospel.

There are those Gentiles who think that unless they follow the culture, customs, and law of Israel, they cannot be saved. And, of course, there are those who think the Jews should just be exterminated and that will take care of the world’s problems.

Text Verse: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:16, 17

From our text verse, you could immediately eliminate one or more of the incorrect ideas about the state of Jews in the world today. In fact, if you went to the book of Romans and studied only the verses that include the word “Jew” in them, you could probably resolve almost every wrong doctrine that arises in regard to them that I mentioned, and several others as well.

The problem is that we (meaning we in the church) run ahead with presuppositions about things without knowing – or at least without checking out – the entire story that God has laid before us. Those presuppositions may come from any of countless places. We hear them, we accept them, and we go with what we heard.

From that point on, our minds are made up, and we’d rather jump into the Lake of Fire than admit we are wrong. And this is certainly the case with countless other doctrines as well. It’s just that the sermon today deals with Israel, the Law of Moses, and – inevitably – with the New Covenant.

As such, in looking at the broader picture – but based on the words of the passage for a starting point – we can make correct interpretations that we might be unable to make without studying this passage. This is the beauty of going through the law. We can reinforce correct doctrine, recalibrate our incorrect doctrine, and learn to reject teachers who have faulty doctrine.

So, let’s get into it. Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. That He May Establish You Today (verses 10-19)

10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God:

All of the coming words of this verse are in the plural, and Moses highlights the scope of his words carefully: atem nitsavim ha’yom kulekem liphne Yehovah elohekem – “You stand the-day, all of you, before Yehovah your God.”

By saying everything in the plural, it is more than just “you Israel” being addressed, but “each of you in Israel” is being individually addressed. Each is accountable for what is to occur, and none can say, “I am not a party to this event.”

Further, Cambridge says the verb is probably reflexive, and this certainly seems to be correct – “You (each of you) have taken your stand today.” As such, it is a way of confirming that the action is voluntary and without coercion. With that understood, Moses continues his words, ensuring that absolutely nobody is left out of them…

10 (con’t) your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers,

rashekem shivtekem ziqnekem v’shoterekem – “your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers.” The translation of these words varies. The KJV and some others make it three categories, saying, “your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers.” The NKJV makes it four categories, but it adds in a bunch of “ands” that are not in the Hebrew.

The words clearly specify four categories, saying, “Your leaders, your tribes, your elders, and your officers.” This may seem like niggling, but it is important to understand the all-inclusive nature of what is being conveyed. It is not merely the heads who are being addressed, but rather the heads and also all of those in the tribes along with the elders and officers. This is then explained by the words…

10 (con’t) all the men of Israel,

Moses is speaking to the entire congregation of men. Not a single person is excluded from what is being conveyed. All are of Israel, and Israel is comprised of all. To further confirm this, and to also continue to express the all-encompassing nature of who is being referred to, Moses continues, saying…

11 your little ones and your wives—

As the heads of the households, the males speak on behalf of these. The little ones and the wives are present, and they are – by default – spoken for because of the stand taken by the men. In entering into the covenant, none are excluded.

This is actually referred to by Peter in Acts 2. The Mosaic Covenant now being ratified is inclusive of all that occurs in it. As it includes the promise of a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), then what Peter says in Acts 2 can reasonably be said to be spoken of by him in reference to Moses’ words now –

“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39

As for the Mosaic Covenant now initially being expressed, the rights and the privileges, and the blessings and the curses will apply to all, without exception. That was clearly defined in Chapter 28, but it is noted again now by Moses. But this extends yet further…

11 (con’t) also the stranger who is in your camp,

The words now go to the singular for the rest of the verse, speaking of Israel as a whole: v’gerekha asher b’qerev makhanekha – “and your (sg. Israel) stranger who in midst your camp.” It may be that not every Israelite would have a stranger who performed a menial task, but any in Israel would be included.

When the blessings come, these will participate in Israel’s blessing. When troubled times come, these will not be exempt from what occurs. This is inclusive of those…

11 (con’t) from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water—

mekhotev etsekha ad shoev memekha – “from cutter your trees to drawer your water.” The idea is that of the lowliest in the land. They are the bearers of burden, and yet the covenant applies to them. This then is the reason for Joshua’s inclusion of these categories concerning the Gibeonites –

“And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, in the place which He would choose, even to this day.” Joshua 9:27

A covenant had been cut between Israel and Gibeon. As such Israel was obligated to perform the words of it, but they set the conditions for that by subordinating the Gibeonites to these lowly services henceforth. This is clearly and poignantly highlighted later at the time of Saul –

“Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, ‘It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.’ So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.” 2 Samuel 21:1, 2

The covenant now being set forth by Moses protects the rights of all who come under its auspices. Saul violated those rights of the Gibeonites, and atonement had to be made for what occurred. That process of atonement continues to be described in that chapter. For now, Moses continues with his words…

12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God,

The wording is very precise, and it carries a sort of pun on the word “Hebrew:” l’averekha bivrit Yehovah elohekha – “to your passing over in covenant Yehovah your God.” The word avar, to pass over (or through), is close in spelling to ivrim, or Hebrew, meaning Passer Over.

The idea here is that the Lord’s covenant is set forth and the people must pass over (or through) it. It is as if the covenant is a passage that is taken. These words logically fit with the first clause of verse 10, “All of you stand today before the Lord your God…that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God.”

In essence, “You have made your stand in order that you may now pass through.” The Aramaic Bible inserts the word “not” into their translation –

“That you will not pass over the covenant of LORD JEHOVAH your God and over the oath of LORD JEHOVAH your God which He covenanted with you today:” Aramaic Bible

The reason they have done this is that when a covenant is made, crossing over it implies a violation of it. This has been seen several times already, such as –

“then you shall say before the Lord your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed [lit: crossed over] Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.” Deuteronomy 26:13

However, the Aramaic does not convey the intent at all. One must first cross over (into) the covenant before he can cross over (transgress) the covenant. The Aramaic Bible failed to make this distinction.

The idea is that sin is not imputed without a law. Moses is expanding the laws of the covenant made at Horeb (Mount Sinai) now in Deuteronomy. Therefore, they must first be apprised of the terms before they can be blessed by, or held guilty of, the terms.

12 (con’t) and into His oath,

The word is alah. It signifies a curse, an execration, or an oath. This is the first time it is used in Deuteronomy, and yet it will be seen five times in this chapter and once again in the next chapter. Ellicott defines it as an “imprecation in the name of God.” In this, it will bring a curse upon the party who does not fulfill what is agreed to.

12 (con’t) which the Lord your God makes with you today,

asher Yehovah elohekha koret imekha ha’yom – “which Yehovah your God cuts with you the-day.” The idea of cutting a covenant conveys that of the death of a sacrificial victim. Adam Clarke explains the process well, saying –

  1. The parties about to contract were considered as being hitherto separated.
  2. They now agree to enter into a state of close and permanent amity.
  3. They meet together in a solemn manner for this purpose.
  4. A sacrifice is offered to God on the occasion, for the whole is a religious act.
  5. The victim is separated exactly into two equal parts, the separation being in the direction of the spine; and those parts are laid opposite to each other, sufficient room being allowed for the contracting parties to pass between them.
  6. The contracting parties meet in the victim, and the conditions of the covenant by which they are to be mutually bound are recited.
  7. An oath is taken by these parties that they shall punctually and faithfully perform their respective conditions, and thus the covenant is made and ratified.

If one thinks the symbolism through properly, what Christ has done is quite evident. The New Covenant was cut in His death. The idea is that God and man meet in the Victim, meaning Christ.

He is the God/Man and therefore we come to God passing through His humanity. At the same time, He is fully God, and so God passes through Christ’s deity. Both meet at His cross where reconciliation between the two contracting parties have come together.

The Mosaic Covenant is not itself a means to an end. It is given to show God’s standard. Christ came to live out that standard and then to serve as the greater point of meeting with God because of the failure of Israel to “punctually and faithfully perform their respective conditions.” For now, Moses continues with his purposes concerning the giving of the law. It is…

13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself,

l’maan haqim otekha ha’yom lo l’am – “to end purpose may stand you the-day to Himself to people.” The idea is that there is an end purpose in the cutting of this covenant which is to establish Israel as His own people.

One must question the thinking of people that say that the Lord is through with Israel. If anyone with even a modicum of biblical sense in him is asked if Israel has been under a curse for the past two thousand years, he will answer, “Of course they have.”

Every evil thing that was promised in the previous chapter, saying that it would come upon Israel, has come upon them during that time. Does anyone here today disagree with that? What does that imply? If Israel is under the curse of the covenant, it – by default – means that they are under the covenant, bound to it by obligation.

As this is so, it means that the Lord is also bound to it. That is why He has brought the curse of the covenant upon them. God has no more rejected Israel than He has rejected His promise to Abraham. The covenant stands, and it must be removed from them, or it remains binding upon them.

The words of this verse are all in the singular – “You Israel.” The Lord has established a New Covenant with Israel (again, Jeremiah 31:31). Until they enter into that covenant, they remain bound to the Old. Despite the controversy, this is… without controversy. This is clearly seen in the next words…

13 (con’t) and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you,

The words are closely repeated by the Lord in Jeremiah 31:33 –

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Of this, Charles Ellicott marvelously explains what people to this day cannot seem to understand –

“It must be carefully observed that this is the aspect of the covenant which makes Jehovah responsible for the fulfilment of the whole. ‘He takes all this trouble for the sake of establishing thee in His presence for a people’ (Rashi). The people’s part, as described in this verse, is only to accept the position. And thus the covenant of Deuteronomy 29 is brought into the closest similarity with that which is called the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:8; the form of which is “‘I will’ be to them a God, and ‘they shall’ be to me a people.” God undertakes for the people’s part of the covenant as well as His own. In Deuteronomy the first half of the New Covenant appears here in Deuteronomy 29, ‘that He may be unto thee a God.’ The second part appears in Deuteronomy 30:6-8, ‘The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart . . . to love the Lord thy God.’” Charles Ellicott

The onus is on the Lord in regard to what is stated here. The onus on Israel is to do what the Lord has stated in the law. If they fail, they will suffer the consequences of the covenant, but the Lord’s responsibly goes beyond administering the blessings and the curses to the full performance of Israel in getting through the covenant as a people and entering into the New Covenant as a people.

As this has never happened, the onus is still on the Lord for that to come about. That is the purpose of the predictive prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. They are to remind Israel, and they are to remind replacement theologians, that there is still a plan and a purpose for Israel in the world. This is, again, seen in the next words…

13 (con’t) and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all mentioned together seven times in Deuteronomy. In all six of the other times, they are mentioned in relation to the land of promise. For example –

“See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.” Deuteronomy 1:8

In Chapter 9, the land grant must be inferred from the surrounding context. But that is even the case in this chapter where Israel’s grant of the land is referred to half a dozen times in verses 22-28.

If the land is the promise, and if Israel is still under the covenant, as is testified to in them being under the curses of the covenant, then it must be that the people will be brought back into the land in order to be brought into the New Covenant.

And this is exactly what the prophets testify to time and again as the Old Testament progresses and even as the book of Revelation confirms as well. Understanding this, Moses continues…

14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone,

The words now return to the plural: “with you (all).” In other words, Israel is the collective, but it is not only with those individuals who are standing before Moses at this time. If that were so, then the covenant would end when the last person there died…

15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today

Of this, the John Lange commentary incorrectly states –

“The covenant was to embrace not merely the descendants of those now living, Israel in its generations, but in its true idea and apprehension, all nations—those far off.—A. G.”

This is entirely wrong. The Mosaic Covenant is given to Israel, and to Israel alone. That will be seen more clearly in a moment. For now, almost all of the translations say “but” at the beginning of this verse.

Unless all the clauses are taken together, the word “but” confuses the thought that is being presented. Hence, translators must paraphrase the words of the final clause, saying, “as well as,” “also,” or something like that –

“I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today.”

The word ki is used. It means “for.” Translating it that way brings the proper sense to what is being said –

“And not with you alone I cut this covenant and this oath: for whom being here with us standing today before Yehovah our God, and whom no here with us today.” (CG)

Though my translation is cumbersome because it is more literal, you can see that it is referring to one act. The covenant is cut with Israel, regardless as to when an Israelite enters into the stream of existence. That is why the plural began the words in verse 14.

If you think this through, it shows you the joy, the severity, and the hope of being born into this group. They will be blessed or judged with this group under this covenant, but they also possess the promises granted by it of Messiah and final restoration when they – as a nation – enter into the New Covenant.

Throughout all of the ages, the words of Moses are binding upon those who are born into Israel until they come into the New Covenant. Again, the doctrine of replacement theology fails entirely when the words of Moses are properly considered.

What he is saying has absolutely nothing to do with the inclusion of Gentiles into the New Covenant. It is solely addressed to this group of people and in regard to the covenant now being established. Hence, the New Covenant, which comes forth from the Mosaic Covenant, belongs – first and foremost – to Israel. Again, Jeremiah 31:31 absolutely confirms that.

Having said that, the inclusion of Gentiles into the New Covenant is clearly presented in both the Old Testament as well as the New –

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.” Deuteronomy 32:43

“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49:6

“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13

Admittedly, this type of theology can be mentally taxing and difficult to sort through, but in carefully following Moses’ words of Deuteronomy, you will avoid numerous poor or heretical doctrines that have flooded the church.

Replacement theology, Hebrew Roots, and hyperdispensationalism are all addressed and refuted by what we have looked at today alone. For now, Moses continues forward by looking back…

16 (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by,

The word avar, or “passed through” is used twice. It is very specific, “for you know which we dwelt in land Egypt, and which we passed through in midst of the nations – which you passed through.”

Cambridge claims this is an idem per idem, or tautology, where one expression defines the other with the same thought. This is incorrect. Moses is not defining one thing with the other. He first says, “which we passed through,” and then “which you passed through.”

He is saying that he, along with Israel passed through in the midst of the nations, signifying that they saw how those nations lived, but they – Israel – continued to pass through. The lesson isn’t for Moses, it is for Israel. He will continue to explain this…

17 and you saw their abominations

Moses doesn’t say, “and we saw their abominations.” Rather, he is instructing Israel who will live under this law, and who would be obligated to it. Also, this is a new word, shiquts, meaning a detested thing. Also…

17 (con’t) and their idols which were among them

Moses next mentions the gilul. The word comes from galal, meaning “to roll.” As such they are logs or circular stones that are round. However, it could be that they are idols that are placed on carts and rolled around. Either way, they are…

17 (con’t) —wood and stone and silver and gold);

As such, they are just things. They were laying in the ground and had to be dug up and fashioned, or they were standing as trees and had to be cut down and fashioned. Wherever the materials came from, they had to be worked and fashioned by the hands of man.

Thus, they are not gods are all. They are just worthless, detestable idols that can accomplish nothing and that can save nobody. Moses is contrasting them to the Lord who, in fact, delivered them from Egypt and who then safely brought them through the nations and to the shores of the Jordan.

They had defeated the nations that came against them, and they were ready to enter the land of promise. The Lord had done all of this for Israel. Moses has reminded them of these things…

18 so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations,

Some translations, like the NKJV, make verses 16 & 17 parenthetical. If that is correct, it would read –

“I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today … so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood.”

This is possible. The same word, “oath,” will be used again in verse 19 (translated as “curse”). Thus, it is a warning from having their hearts turn away from the Lord. If they do, the curses will come upon them. Despite this, Moses’ words in Deuteronomy presuppose that the people will turn away from the Lord.

If there is a full stop after 15, with no parenthesis to follow, it would look like this –

“For you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them—wood and stone and silver and gold—so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood…”

In this, Moses’ is saying that in dwelling in Egypt and in being brought through the nations, they were to learn not to turn away from the Lord who led them and performed wonders among them. That is what the author of Hebrews relays, using the same thought as now. The people saw the works of the Lord, and yet they turned away anyway –

“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:12, 13

Without being dogmatic either way, Moses says…

18 (con’t) and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood;

Here, three new words are introduced. The first is shoresh, or root. In this case, it is a figurative root. The next word is rosh, or poison. That comes from rosh, meaning a head. Hence, it is a plant with a poisonous head, like the poppy. And thirdly is the word laanah, signifying wormwood, like the hemlock.

In this, the Hebrew reads “bitterness and wormwood,” not “bitterness or wormwood.” The one root is doubly poisonous. There is first the turning away from the Lord God, and there is then going to serve the gods of the nations. The same root produces both poisons. This verse is used again by the author of Hebrews when he says…

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:14, 15

This is just what Moses is now warning of, meaning the defiling of others when the root comes forth. In verses 19-21, he will refer to the man who so turns from the Lord. And then suddenly in verses 22-28, it will speak of all of the people being uprooted and the land being cursed.

In other words, the actions of one could – and will eventually – affect the entire nation. Though neither of these words is used to describe Manasseh, the effects of his life are exactly the outcome that Moses is now describing –

“Nevertheless the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 And the Lord said, ‘I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’” 2 Kings 23:26, 27

The Lord said this even after the coming of good King Josiah. The good that he did could not overcome the evil of his grandfather, Manasseh. To describe such a person, Moses says…

19 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart,

It is the same word translated as “oath” in verse 14. The oath is that which will bring an imprecation upon the person if it is not adhered to. He hears the words of the oath and ignores the warning. Instead, this person goes on…

19 (con’t) saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—

Here is a new word, sheriruth, meaning “stubbornness.” It comes from sharar, meaning an enemy. In other words, the heart senses what is going on in it is wrong (as if facing an enemy). It is the dilemma that Paul writes about in Romans 7 –

“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7:21-23

Paul at least acknowledges the battle being faced, but this person, though knowing what is going on, still follows after that wrong sense in his heart without a care. With such a corrupt thought in mind, Moses uses an idiom to describe this warped soul…

*19 (fin) as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.

l’maan sepot ha’ravah eth ha’tsemeah – “to end purpose join the watered with the thirsty.” It is a set of words that is widely translated. “This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” (BSB). “This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike” (ESV). “To add drunkenness to thirst” (KJV). “In order that the watered land dwindles away along with the dry [destroying everything].” (Amplified). “Lest the sinner destroy the guiltless with him:” (BST). “You will cause the rest of Israel to be punished along with you” (CEV). “And the drunken may consume the thirsty” (Douay-Rheims).

The general idea is that disaster will come upon all alike when such occurs. Israel is a corporate body, and they will suffer corporate punishment. That was seen in the first verses today. The entire nation, and all who issue from them, and all those who are joined to them, are entered into the covenant.

It is the same general idea expressed by the Lord when He prophesied of the coming destruction upon Israel –

“And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, “Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!” 30 Then they will begin “to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’” 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?’” Luke 23:27-31

Being a corporate body, the innocent would be swept away with the guilty.

We now stand before the Lord our God
To enter with Him into the covenant and the oath too
We shall pass through with our feet shod
Prepared to meet Him; so, we are set to do

O Lord, righteousness belongs to You
This covenant can only bring to us shame of face
Surely, only wickedness we can do
And upon Your glorious name, we will bring disgrace

And so, the curse and the oath will come upon us
Until we turn our hearts back to You
When we call out for mercy through the Lord Jesus
Then You will hear because You are faithful and true

II. Obtaining the Inheritance

In verse 12, it was noted that the covenant was being cut in order to establish Israel as His people so that the Lord would be their God, in accord with the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That was a land promise.

However, the Lord also cut a covenant with Abraham which was based on faith, not on the law that is now being cut. That is recorded in Genesis 15. Paul, using that as a case for salvation through faith and not through the law says the following in Galatians 3 –

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

Paul’s words speak of the inheritance coming by promise and that it was based on faith. Obviously, this is so because this occurred four hundred and thirty years before the giving of the law. God spoke, Abraham believed, and the promise was made.

Paul demonstrates that the law has no part in obtaining the inheritance. If it did, then the promise would have been worthless. But the promise came via a covenant. Abraham did nothing except believe and God made the covenant – only He passed through the parts of the animal.

Therefore, if He failed to give the inheritance by faith, He would violate His own covenant. Such cannot be. This is why Christ came. The land, though seemingly the inheritance, is only a typological representation of it.

This does not negate a literal inheritance of the land of Canaan by Israel. And, indeed, both Isaac and Jacob were promised that the land would belong to their descendants. And so, for corporate Israel, the typology must meet up with the Antitype.

This is why they are back in the land. The gathering of the people in the land will lead to the act of faith in Christ. As Adam Clarke noted, both sides needed to “punctually and faithfully perform their respective conditions.”

The impossibility of Israel performing their side of the covenant has been seen, and will be seen. However, Christ, the true Israel, was able to perform. In His performance, the New Covenant was cut in His death. It is only there, at the cross of Christ, that Israel will find their righteousness. His performance (and thus His righteousness) imputed to them.

The promise to Abraham must stand. It is a promise that was granted based on his faith, not by works. As this is so, then Israel, and indeed all people, must follow in the pattern of Abraham. The law cannot negate what was already established by God in Christ. So let us not ignore that lesson.

Instead, let us find that righteousness, which is not of the law, but which nonetheless comes from the fulfillment of the law. Let us trust in Christ and what He has done, and then – only then – let us live out our works that we were created for in Christ Jesus.

And let us be grateful to God for what He has done all the days of our lives. The wonderment of God in Christ is too spectacular to diminish by falling back on deeds of our own supposed righteousness in order to somehow merit God’s favor.

When we feel our hearts tugging in that direction, let us stop that chatter right away, and let us renew our thanks to Him for Jesus. For Jesus. For our Lord JESUS!

Closing Verse: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord,
‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’” Jeremiah 23:5, 6

Next Week: Deuteronomy 29:20-29 Things hidden even from kings… (The Secret Things) (86th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

That He May Establish You Today

“All of you stand today before the LORD your God:
Your leaders and your tribes as well
And your elders and your officers
All the men of Israel

Your little ones and your wives—
The stranger who is in your camp too
From the one who cuts your wood
To the one who draws your water for you

That you may enter into covenant with the LORD your God
And into His oath, which the LORD your God makes
———-with you today
That He may establish you today as a people for Himself
And that He may be God to you, so I relay

Just as He has spoken to you
And just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac
———-and Jacob too

“I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone
But with him who stands here with us today, so I convey
Before the LORD our God
As well as with him who is not here with us today

(For you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt
And that we came through the nations which you passed by
———-doing as the Lord told
And you saw their abominations and their idols
Which were among them—wood and stone and silver and gold)

So that there may not be among you

Man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today
———-such would not be good
From the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations
And that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness
———-or wormwood

And so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse
That he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace
Even though I follow the dictates of my heart
As though the drunkard could be included with the sober
———-that type of thinking must cease

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water— 12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, 13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today 16 (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, 17 and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them—wood and stone and silver and gold); 18 so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; 19 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.

Deuteronomy 29:9 (I Have Led You Forty Years in the Wilderness)

Deuteronomy 29:1-9
I Have Led You Forty Years in the Wilderness

In Amos 9, and which is referring to Israel, it says –

“‘I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,’
Says the Lord your God.” Amos 9:15

It is one of those verses that simply cannot be spiritualized, and so I like to remind people of it from time to time. It is speaking of a particular group of people, a particular land that they were given, and of an occurrence that can have only one meaning.

That meaning cannot be, “This was fulfilled when they were returned from Babylon.” This is because the people being addressed were sent into exile from their land again after that.

Nor can the meaning be, “This is fulfilled in Christ’s work during His first advent and the church has now replaced Israel.” Only a fool would attempt to make such a claim. The church is not given a land grant to where Israel is today. In fact, it is given no land grant at all.

Either the words are in error, and thus the Bible is not the word of God, or the words – without any other possible meaning – are that Israel the people will be brought back to Israel the land, and when that occurs, they will never be uprooted from the land again.

Any other analysis does damage to the intent of the words. But this should not surprise us that the Lord would bring them back and do this. The reason why is not because of them at all, but because of Him – His glory, His honor, His covenant-keeping.

The keeping of Israel, even through the destruction of Israel, is seen once again in our passage today. It is because of the righteousness of the Lord, and nothing that they have done, that this has come about.

Text Verse: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” Romans 3:21, 22

What is important to understand concerning Israel is that Isaiah said, even before there was a first exile, that there would be a second one –

“It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea. Isaiah 11:11

The return of Israel to the land in our day was clearly spoken of and it is something that will never be needed to occur again. God’s word tells us that this is the case.

The righteousness of God is reflected in the law. That should be taken as an axiom. “This is God’s law, and therefore, it reflects His righteousness.” That isn’t a problem at all. The problem isn’t found in the law. Rather, it is found in our inability to meet the demands of the law. As Moses says to Israel, “Therefore, keep the words of this covenant, and do them.”

If one was actually able to perform as Moses says, what would that mean concerning such a person? Think on that and we’ll find out before we close. Once you realize what the inevitable answer must be, you can see why even thinking it is an utterly crazy notion.

And this is why Paul says, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed.” He then explains what that means, saying, “…even the righteousness of God.” What is it that pleases God? It isn’t our attempts at being righteous, but in trusting in His provision of righteousness.

As Paul says, this is revealed in “the Law and the Prophets.” Israel is promised to never be uprooted from their land again. And this is, according to Isaiah, after a second exile.

That will take some doing. In failing to uphold the law, being uprooted from the land is an inevitable consequence. But we are assured in the word that they will be planted, and they will remain. That can only mean one possible thing as well… Jesus.

It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Words of the Covenant (verse 1)

These are the words of the covenant

The Hebrew Bibles will have this verse affixed to the end of Chapter 28 as a completing thought for the blessings and the curses. But the word translated as “these” does not necessarily speak of either what precedes or what follows. It simply speaks of something in the surrounding text.

In this case, Moses speaks of the covenant in the coming verses. Therefore, this verse is surely rightly fixed as an opening to Chapter 29, as he says in verse 29:12, “that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today.” He again refers to it in verse 29:15.

1 (con’t) which the Lord commanded Moses to make

asher tsivah Yehovah eth Moshe likrot – “which commanded Yehovah Moses to cut.” The word karath signifies to cut off, cut down, etc. A covenant is said to be “cut” because it involved the cutting of flesh and then the parties passing through the pieces of the animal.

As such, it was a witness to the severity of the covenant. One might say, “Just as this animal was cut in order to establish this covenant, so may it happen to me if I violate it.” In the case of this covenant, it is one commanded to be enacted by Moses at the command of the Lord. The other party is next stated…

1 (con’t) with the children of Israel

The Hebrew reads, “sons of Israel,” signifying those who represent the tribes from whom the people issue. Jacob, who is Israel, was the son of promise, and his twelve sons, along with his two adopted sons – meaning the sons of Joseph – comprise the family whom the Lord chose to continue to reveal Himself in the history of redemption. This is next specifically said to be…

1 (con’t) in the land of Moab,

This is now almost forty full years after the reception of the law at Sinai. It is in another country, and it is after an extended period of exile in the wilderness. And yet, the words are being spoken forth as law to which Israel is to be bound to.

The name Moab means, “From Father.” As such, the words anticipate that which comes from God, and which will be carried out by Him in the giving of Christ. For now, one might ask, “Under what authority does the right exist to heap more laws upon the people…”

1 (con’t) besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.

milebad ha’berit asher karath itam b’khorev – “from alone the covenant which cut with them in Horeb.” It is of note that this is the last time the name Horeb is used in Deuteronomy. It means “Arid,” “Waste,” or “Desolate,” coming from kharav, meaning to be dry or dried up.

It was first used in Exodus 3:1 when Moses came to the mountain and the Lord spoke to him from the burning bush. The idea that is being conveyed is that the word of the Lord, meaning that which provides life, is coming from the barren place. The Lord is doing something in the world to bring restoration. That process is uniquely tied into this covenant that was made at Horeb.

The words of the Lord, through Moses, which comprise this part of the law, are specifically said to be “apart” or “besides” those given at Horeb (meaning Sinai). What authority is there to add these words? That will be explained in a moment.

As far as the words here, they are similar to those that ended Chapter 26 of Leviticus. That was the chapter that detailed the blessings and the curses that could be expected to come upon Israel as spoken forth by the Lord.

This first verse of Deuteronomy 29 also follows right after the chapter that detailed the blessings and the curses of this book –

“These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the Lord made between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.” Leviticus 26:46

“These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.”

If the covenant was cut at Sinai, how can it be that more laws can be added to the covenant? The word “besides” is not indicating a new covenant, but that the words are added to the covenant besides that which has already been given.

The answer goes back to Exodus. The covenant was first agreed to in Exodus 19:7, 8 –

“So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

Then, in Exodus 24, the ceremony for the cutting of the covenant was conducted, animals were sacrificed, and the blood was sprinkled. At that time, it said –

“Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.’” Exodus 24:7

The words they spoke, qol asher dibber Yehovah na’aseh v’nishma, mean, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and we will hear.” The word used there, shema, means to hear, but hearing is often associated with obedience, such as “I want you to hear me,” which means “I want you to do as I say.”

However, one cannot be obedient unless he first hears. In the preceding chapter of Exodus, before this covenant rite was conducted, it said –

“Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. 22 But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” Exodus 23:20-22

In other words, despite the covenant being cut in Exodus 24, more words of instruction were already said to be coming from the Lord to which the people must be attentive. This is why the people said the words, “…and we will hear.” They committed to doing even before hearing.

The people didn’t say that they would hear and then they would obey. They said that they would do, and then they will hear – meaning both hear and then do what has been heard. The Book of the Covenant which was presented to them, and which led to the cutting of the covenant, was not the entire body of the law. It is what the entire body of the law was based on.

After that, however, Israel violated that same covenant. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the continued law, the people fashioned the golden calf. In this, they violated the covenant, and the Lord had every right to destroy them based on their disobedience.

However, Moses petitioned for them, and the Lord – full of grace and mercy – forgave their sin –

“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6, 7

It was at this time, while Moses was again on the mountain, that the Lord agreed to Moses’ petition and said to him –

“Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.” Exodus 34:10

The words confirmed that Moses’ request was granted. The Lord said, hinneh anoki koreth berit – “Behold, I cut a covenant.” The Lord was confirming that the covenant would continue.

Israel had broken it and it could have been annulled. As such, they would have been liable to the entire weight of the penalty – meaning death – as pictured in the original shedding of the blood of the animals. But they had found grace.

Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord relented from fulfilling the terrifying terms of the covenant which they had violated. From here on, it is the Lord God that made, or “cut,” the covenant. It is one-sided and therefore if there was any disagreement, Israel would bear the blame. Likewise, if there was harmony between the two, only the Lord would receive the glory.

What occurred in Exodus 34 did not mean that the original covenant was simply reinstated. Nor did it mean that there was a “new covenant.” In the forgiving of the people’s transgressions, the thought “describes rather His future rule as a constant, continuous establishment of a covenant” (Lange).

Therefore, the entire time of His dealing with Israel under the covenant is a transitional phase that only anticipates a New Covenant. This is confirmed many hundreds of years later in the words of Jeremiah –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

The word of the Lord through Jeremiah points back to the covenant that was broken by Israel after being brought out by the Lord. Thus, the law of Moses is a transitional phase of the Lord’s redemptive workings. It only anticipates a New Covenant at some point in the future.

Until that time, the Mosaic Law continued to be added to in Moab, and it was then explained and spoken forth by prophets during the time of its administration, right up until the coming of Christ who would fulfill it, annul it through His blood, and at the same time initiate a New Covenant.

Because of these things, there is no need for sacrifices to confirm the covenant. It is a part of the ongoing covenant that began at Horeb (Sinai). This is confirmed by what was said early in Deuteronomy as well –

“The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.” Deuteronomy 5:2

It is taken as an axiom there that what Moses says afterwards in Deuteronomy is all a part of this same covenant. But an important point concerning this on-going giving of the law is that it anticipates the call of the Gentiles as well as the restoration of Israel. That will be seen later, in Chapter 32 –

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”

Paul cites this in Romans 15 to show that even the Mosaic Covenant anticipated the inclusion of the Gentiles in what God is doing in His redemptive plans. Everything is tied up in the coming of Messiah, everything.

Looked at from this perspective, and understanding what He is doing, it is incredible that people believe the church has replaced Israel. What the Lord has done is for them and through them. The Gentiles are graciously grafted into what is promised to Israel. With this understood, the narrative continues…

The covenant is made, and it will stand
Even if you fail to do your part of it
You may be exiled from your land
But I will keep you always; to this, I commit

When you fail to keep and to do
I will still be sure to uphold My part, My friend
My words, like Me, are faithful and true
And I will perform My word, even to the end

**You, O God, are our only hope, it is true
And to You, O God, shall our praises forever ring
We shall hold fast to the One who is faithful and true
And to Him shall our voices forever sing

II. That You May Prosper (verses 2-9)

Now Moses called all Israel and said to them:

What Moses will do now is comparable to what Joshua will later do in Joshua 24. It is a way of reminding the people of the past so that they will pay heed into the future. In order to do this, he calls together the entire assembly. In their gathering, he says…

2 (con’t) “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt,

The words “You have seen” are emphatic. It is as if he says, “You most certainly have seen.” Although it was forty years earlier, the elders were alive at the time and they can speak for all, witnessing to the truth of Moses’ words.

In this, Moses returns the minds of the people back to Egypt once again. He is doing this to make a point concerning the greatness of the Lord. If He has performed magnificently and fearfully in the past, He is fully capable of doing so in the future as well.

The covenant is what binds the two parties together, and the Lord has the right to judge every infraction against it. If the Lord did the great things that Moses now describes in order to establish His covenant with Israel, then how much more should He do great things against those who trample underfoot the covenant!

2 (con’t) to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— 

The Lord brought plagues against the mighty nation that Israel was in bondage to. Pharaoh ruled over them and yet, the Lord was victorious over him. At the same time, the Lord brought judgment against the servants of Pharaoh while sparing Israel. Likewise, the Lord brought destruction upon the land, and yet He spared the land of Goshen where Israel was.

The judgments were targeted, precise, and severe. Israel, even those before Moses now, saw this with their own eyes…

the great trials which your eyes have seen,

The previous verse was in the plural – “Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You (pl) have seen all that the Lord did before your (pl) eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land.” This verse now switches to the singular, addressing the nation collectively –

“the great trials which your (sg) eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders.” As normally is the case, Cambridge arrogantly denies the words are from a single source, saying that the singular “betrays the composite nature of the passage.”

Anyone adding new verses in, and wanting them to look original, would have consistently used the plural. But when considering this from Moses’ seat as he addresses the people, the change from the plural to the singular is both natural and expected.

Not every person gathered before him was alive during the entire time from the exodus until arriving at Moab. The change to the singular acknowledges that.

As far as the words here, they reflect the sentiment spoken by him in Chapter 4, repeating what he said there to some extent –

“Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” Deuteronomy 4:34

In this he begins with the word massah, meaning testing or trials. It is derived from nasah, to test, or try. This is probably referring to the trials of the people prior to Moses’ arrival. They were in hard bondage, they were afflicted and tested –

“Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” Exodus 2:23-25

3 (con’t) the signs,

The othoth, or signs, are things given to represent something else. The Lord gave Moses three signs to give to Israel – the rod which turned into a snake, the leprous hand, and the water which turned to blood. He also gave signs to Pharaoh concerning what would come upon them as the Lord accomplished His work. Next…

3 (con’t) and those great wonders.

v’ha’mophtim ha’gedolim ha-hem – “and the wonders, the great, the those.” The mopheth, or wonder, comes from yaphah, or beautiful. It speaks of that which is conspicuous and amazing.

This then refers to the plagues which came upon the land. And yet, it also speaks of the fact that Israel was spared at the same time. While Egypt was destroyed, Israel survived through the plagues – each time, it was a wonder in itself. Despite seeing these…

Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive

The words continue in the singular. There are those in the congregation that this doesn’t apply to, like Joshua and Caleb. However, as a whole, Israel is being exactingly described by their leader.

He uses the word yada, meaning “to know.” It is something that is ascertained by seeing. In the Bible, the heart is the seat of reasoning and intellect. But what occurs in the heart must be processed after information has been obtained. Israel has been presented with the sights –

“You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders.”

Despite the sensory input, there is no perception as to the meaning behind what they have seen. This is then explained by the next words…

4 (con’t) and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.

This is not referring to their literal eyes and ears. He has just told them that their eyes saw. In this, he has moved to metaphor and is equating the eyes and the ears to spiritual sensors. This is repeated by Jeremiah where he uses the word “heart” which is translated as understanding, as well as eyes and ears –

“Hear this now, O foolish people,
Without understanding,
Who have eyes and see not,
And who have ears and hear not:” Jeremiah 5:21

This is a theme that carries on throughout the Old Testament, and it is repeated in the New, both when referring to Israel, such as when Paul cites Isaiah in Acts 28 –

“Go to this people and say:
‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’” Acts 28:26, 27

It is also a prayer that Paul made, desiring that his disciples would receive these spiritual sensors –

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:17-21

As with Jeremiah just a moment ago, Paul’s words literally state “being enlightened the eyes of your heart.” The spiritual sensors are to work in accord with the intellect, producing discernment concerning the things of God. However, Moses tells Israel that they still had not arrived at this type of wisdom.

Considering the fact that the time of wilderness wandering is a mirror of the exile of Israel over these past two thousand years, it is evident that Moses’ words are being prophetically directed to Israel today.

After all this time, they still do not understand their role in the redemptive scenario, and they still do not understand that they are, even now, being directed by Moses to look and find Christ –

“But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:14-16

This lack of discernment by Israel is next explained to them beginning in the most basic way…

And I have led you forty years in the wilderness.

The word is holek, to walk. More literally, it says, “And I walked you.” To walk signifies the conduct of one’s life. Israel is walking under the law.

In verse 8:2, it said that “the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness.” Now, Moses unites his words with those of the Lord, “And I have walked (meaning led).” Moses, typical of the law itself, represents the direction of the Lord.

Israel disobeyed the law and the Lord punished Israel. And yet, He led them through their time of punishment. Moses, as the lawgiver, conveyed the punishment that resulted, and Moses continued to lead Israel in their punishment. In other words, the law maintained its authority over them in their exile.

Nothing could be clearer than the typology we are seeing. Israel was punished under the law, Israel remains under the law, and Israel is restored based on the promises of the law – leading them to restoration and rest in Canaan, but in type, it anticipates restoration and rest in Christ.

5 (con’t) Your clothes have not worn out on you,

It is a most interesting set of words. Moses is referring to the salmah, or garment. That ultimately comes from semel, or image. The idea is that the garment takes on the image, or shape, of the person it is on. The image of Israel remained through their wanderings.

The words are to be taken literally. The Lord kept their garments from wearing out. This is the literal occurrence. However, it is to be understood typologically as well. The words have been carefully chosen to reveal what would happen to Israel in the future.

One would think that upon exile, Israel would be disbanded and simply take the image of those around them, like all of the other exiled nations of the world. But this did not happen. The garments not wearing out in the wilderness are typologically given to show us the Lord’s supernatural care of preserving Israel in exile.

This is evident because this verse is a close repeat of verse 8:4 with a specific difference –

8:4 – Your (singular) garment not did wear out on you (singular).
29:5 – Not have worn out your (plural) garments on you (plural).

The people are Israel, and Israel is comprised of the people. We are being instructed in the Lord’s care for Israel. Next, more remarkably, the words now go from the plural to the singular – just to make sure this is understood…

5 (con’t) and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.

It is incorrect. It says, “and your (singular) sandal not has worn out on your (singular) foot.” The sandal is a symbol of authority over the place it rests. The sandal of Israel, on the foot of Israel, has not worn out, even in their exile.

They still retain the authority that was promised to them. Despite rejecting Christ, they will someday rule the world with Christ as their Head –

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:2-4

For now, Moses is still schooling Israel on their lack of understanding…

You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink

Moses tells Israel that they have not participated in three different things during their time in the wilderness.

First, lekhem, or bread, is representative of that which sustains life. It can be used synonymously with food in general. Next is yayin, or wine. It represents our reasoning and that which will change our mind. An example of this is found in Jesus’ words of Matthew 9 –

“Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17

Jesus was speaking of the law and grace. The new wine is the new dispensation of grace to come. The old wine was the dispensation of the law. If one were to introduce the new concept into the old, it would not work because the two were incompatible. Only if one put the new wine in the new wineskin and received the new wine would the mind be changed.

The third item is shekar, or intensely strong drink. That comes from shakar, to be drunk. It is almost always, but not always, used negatively. It is also almost always cited in conjunction with yayin (wine).

Shekar was not to be drunk by the priest while performing his duties, by the Nazirite during his time of separation to the Lord, and Solomon notes that it is not for kings to drink shekar (Proverbs 31:4). As those each imply separation to the Lord, then it can be inferred that shekar is typical of being closely in fellowship with others. This is certainly the case in Deuteronomy 14 –

“And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.” Deuteronomy 14:26

However, this fellowship with others should not be at the exclusion of the Lord.

What this verse is saying is that Israel was wholly dependent on the Lord. They lacked the things that would normally keep people alive and united – food, wine, and strong drink. And yet, they remained a people. The Lord provided manna (Christ) and they drank the water from the rock (Christ) and He kept them as a people, even though they did not recognize Him.

Likewise, Israel in exile has lacked the Bread of Life (Christ), and yet they have been kept alive. They have not had a united cultural expression, and yet they have maintained their culture, and they have not had fellowship as a nation, and yet they have been nationally kept in fellowship – meaning they have remained favorable toward one another despite their separation.

Without recognizing the hand of the Lord in keeping them, they were kept by Him. All of this was done in the wilderness, and all of this was done while they were in exile…

6 (con’t) that you may know that I am the Lord your God.

Who is speaking here? l’maan tedeu ki ani Yehovah elohekem – “to end purpose you (all) may know that I Yehovah your (all) God.” Moses is relaying this, but he is speaking the law, and the law is spoken forth by the Lord. The Lord has a purpose for what He is saying, and what He is saying is based upon what He has been doing.

He has done all of these things with an end goal and purpose, which is for them to know what they have consistently failed to learn. It is that Yehovah is the Lord their God, and that Jesus is the incarnate Lord God. If this is not true, then there would be no reason, at all, to keep them as a people. The end purpose is Christ.

With that understood, Moses next turns to events that only just recently transpired…

And when you came to this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out against us to battle, and we conquered them.

“This place” means, east of Canaan. The account of the defeat of Sihon and Og is recorded in Numbers 21:21-35. These two represent the last two foes to be defeated before Israel would receive their inheritance.

Despite coming against Israel, they were both defeated, assuring Israel of their ability to enter into the promise. The Lord brought about the victory through them. Likewise, the two great foes of the end times will come out against Israel, and they will likewise be defeated. What they possessed will be possessed by Israel.

We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh.

To be precise, the names are in the singular. “to the Reubenite, and to the Gadite, and to half-tribe the Manassite.” The land that was conquered was given to them as an inheritance.

This is especially recorded in Numbers 32. The account focused on the livestock of the people and their desire to not enter the inheritance because of it. But the main point is that the land was conquered by Israel, and it was possessed by several tribes of Israel.

Moses is reminding them, only a short time after the events took place, that it was the Lord who had brought them to this point, and that it was the Lord who led Israel and who then ultimately won the battles for them. Because of this care for them, and because of His ever-present hand upon them, they are admonished, once again, to think and to act upon that knowledge…

Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them,

The Hebrew reads, “And you (pl. all) shall keep words the covenant, the this, and you (pl. all) shall do them.” One can keep and not do – “This is our law, but I am not going to do it.” Or one can “not” keep and yet do – “There is no law that says I should do this, but I am doing it because it is right.” Israel is instructed to keep and to do.

This is a heavy burden to bear if you think about it. In order to keep and do, the people must know. Otherwise, this would be impossible to perform.

One might not know the law at all. This is a person with no understanding. One may know the law and fail to do what the law says. That demonstrates understanding, but a lack of wisdom. And one can know the law and also do what the law says. That would demonstrate a person with both understanding and wisdom. This is what Moses is conveying to the people.

The Lord had been with Israel, He had clearly displayed Himself and His capabilities to them all along, and He expected them to acknowledge Him by doing what He had (and continues to) instruct them. If they are willing to comply, there is a benefit…

*9 (fin) that you may prosper in all that you do.

It is direct and bears an emphasis: l’maan taskilu eth ka lasher taasun – “to end purpose you (all) will prosper in all that you all (certainly) do.”

The word translated as “prosper” is sakal. It actually bears two separate meanings that unite as one. It means both to prosper and to be wise. It is used by Isaiah when referring to the Messiah –

“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently;
He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.” Isaiah 52:13

This is why some translations say, “Behold My Servant will prosper” (BSB). The Amplified Bible goes an extra step and includes both, to carry the meaning to its fullest intent – “Indeed, My Servant (the Messiah) will act wisely and prosper.”

Moses is certainly thinking on the same lines. In being wise (keeping and doing), the people will prosper. But, as just noted, one cannot do without knowing. There must be an understanding of the law to do the things of the law.

In understanding, there must also be a willingness to perform. And more, there must be a constant willingness to perform. There is not a day where one can take off. Any day without performing (keeping and doing) is a violation of the law.

This is the burden of the law. And it is this very thing that Israel must learn. The law, though good, is an impossible yoke upon the neck of the people. To say, “I have fulfilled the law all of my life, without failing,” is to say, “I am as righteous as God.”

It is a one-for-one correspondence, and it is something the Bible dismisses wholly and entirely. This is why the Bible repeatedly speaks of, and exalts, the righteousness of the Lord. We can do what is righteous, but we can never truly be righteous without it being imputed to us.

Hence, God sent Christ into the world to bring us to that state of perfection that He demands. And without it, there is only an infinite gap between us. Israel has yet to figure this out, and it will continue to be a costly lesson to them. But someday they will learn it. Moses will not enter Canaan because the law has no inheritance with the promise, and the typology must be maintained.

Israel must leave the law behind, trusting in Christ’s fulfillment of it. When they come to that point, they will be in the sweet spot. And the same is true with countless people in the “Christian” world today. They keep bringing themselves back under this impossible weight, looking to merit God’s favor apart from Christ.

Let us be wise and not go down that road. Instead, let us hold fast to the Lord, our Righteousness. Let us hold fast to Jesus.

Closing Verse: “My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.
16 I will go in the strength of the Lord God;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.” Psalm 71:15, 16

Next Week: Deuteronomy 29:10-19 Be sure to follow obediently in the way… (That He May Establish You Today) (85th Deuteronomy Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

I Have Led You Forty Years in the Wilderness

These are the words of the covenant
Which the LORD commanded Moses to make
———-and Moses obeyed
With the children of Israel in the land of Moab
Besides the covenant which with them in Horeb He made

Now Moses called all Israel and said to them:
“You have seen all that the LORD did; wonders so grand
Before your eyes in the land of Egypt
To Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—

The great trials which your eyes have seen
The signs, and those great wonders He did display
Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive
And eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day

And I have led you
Forty years in the wilderness; now your wandering is complete
Your clothes have not worn out on you
And your sandals have not worn out on your feet

You have not eaten bread
Nor have you drunk wine or similar drink
That you may know
That I am the LORD your God; so that you would stop and think

And when you came to this place
Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan
Came out against us to battle
And we conquered them, and from there we pressed on

We took their land and gave it as an inheritance
To the Reubenites, to the Gadites, and to half the tribe
———-of Manasseh too
Therefore keep the words of this covenant
And do them, that you may prosper in all that you do

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.

Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. And when you came to this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out against us to battle, and we conquered them. We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh. Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 28:62-68 (The Blessings and the Curses, Part VII)

Deuteronomy 28:62-68
(The Blessings and the Curses, Part VII)

In 2003, I went on a trip to Israel with mom. We went together with Zola Levitt ministries. Zola was a messianic Jew and had been on about 70 tour groups by the time we went with him. Because of this, he had things pretty tightened up as to how to make the trip enjoyable – what to see, what not to see, and so on.

We enjoyed everything from Dan to Beersheba, down to Eilat, and over to Petra in Jordan. While in Jerusalem, there were many nice sights to see. It was during the second Intifada, and people thought we were stupid for going. While in Jerusalem, we had lunch on a hill overlooking the city.

I fell asleep on the grass, and Zola took a photo of me napping with the city in the distance. That made the cover of his next month’s publication. It was a selling point for those who might have thought you could get shot while touring Israel. That just wasn’t likely.

While in Jerusalem, Zola took us to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial, on Mount Herzl (the Mount of Remembrance). It was certainly a moving place to be, and they made sure that all who went through it would feel that way. Israel wants the world to never forget what happened to them. But Israel has yet to acknowledge why those things happened to them…

Text Verse: “Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: 37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.” Jeremiah 32:36-41

A Jewish guy that a friend of mine knows watched some of the sermons I have done. Eventually, he told her, I will never watch one of his sermons again. He said that I blamed Israel for what happened to them in the Holocaust.

I have never directly said that, but I have implied it many times. They don’t need my opinion on this, all they need to do is read Leviticus 26 (the Lord in the first person), or Deuteronomy 28 (Moses speaking of the Lord in the third person), to know that if they had been obedient to the Lord, none of the woes of their past would have come upon them, including the Holocaust.

When mom and I walked out of Yad Vashem, I turned to her and said, “The only thing that is missing in this place is a copy of Deuteronomy 28 posted in every language that the Jews were driven to. As sad as the Holocaust was, it was a self-inflicted wound for having rejected the Lord their God.

It is true, that man certainly took things too far, just as the Babylonians did millennia earlier, but there would have been no first exile, nor a second exile, along with the resulting punishments, if Israel had done what the Lord expected of them.

And, sadly, what happened to them in the Holocaust will be overshadowed by what the word says is still to come upon them. If you want to know what I mean, your next reading assignment is Zechariah 13:8. But good news immediately follows that coming tragedy in Zechariah 13:9.

The blessings and the curses. Israel was given the choice. It was carefully laid out for them, in advance. And everything that Moses prophesied has come to pass. And it is all because they failed to know the time of their visitation.

The terrible woes to come upon Israel, as prophesied in Deuteronomy 28, will be completed in our sermon today. But the terrible woes to come upon Israel will continue into the future until that day when they – as a nation – finally call out to Jesus, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Certain truths such as these are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I.To Destroy You and Bring You to Nothing (verses 62 & 63)

62 You shall be left few in number,

v’nishartem bimte meat – “And you (all: plural) shall remain in persons few.” With the exception of one instance in verse 14, Deuteronomy 28 has spoken to the people in the singular consistently until this point.

Now, and in the next clause of this verse, it goes to the plural – you all. As far as the content, the words are a close repeat of Deuteronomy 4:27 where Moses also uses the plural –

“And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you.”

In this verse, however, the NKJV omits the word “And” that begins it. The words are actually a continuation of what has been said and they speak of the result of those previous verses –

“If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, 59 then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses. 60 Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the Lord bring upon you until you are destroyed. 62 [And] You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

It is the plagues, sicknesses, and diseases noted in the previous verses that will result in the diminution of their numbers. The use of the plural adds emphasis to the content. Instead of, “And you (Israel) shall be left few in number,” it says, “And you (all) shall be left few in number.” The plural continues with the words…

62 (con’t) whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude,

takhat asher heyitem ke’kokve ha’shemayim la’rov – “under which you (all: plural) were as stars the heavens to multitude.” Again, the plural adds emphasis. After the many, many verses of it being in the singular, Moses uses the plural to speak forth the magnitude of the resulting catastrophe that will come upon the people –

“And you (all) shall be left few in number.”
“Whereas you (all) were as the stars of heaven in multitude.”

With that noted, he again provides the exact reason that this will come about, saying…

62 (con’t) because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

ki lo shamata b’qol Yehovah elohekha – “for no you (singular) would hear (meaning hearken to) in voice Yehovah your (singular) God.” In essence, Moses is calling down the collective curse upon the people – both as individuals and as a nation. The two are essentially inseparable.

If America is to be judged for its wrongdoing, all of the people will suffer. It is not as if the Lord will separate the faithful from the unfaithful when the nuke detonates over New York City, or when the plague falls upon the land. Rather, all will participate in the tragedy of the events.

With this stated, we cannot go far from the truth that Jesus came to take Israel’s punishment upon Himself. The nation transgressed, and yet the punishment of the sins of Israel could – ostensibly – have been carried by Him.

This would include the sins of each person, and the sins of the nation collectively. In relation to Him, each person who accepts him – Peter or Paul for example – is forgiven. But the guilt of the nation remains. Hence, exile and punishment came upon all.

The idea of being few in number is probably twofold in significance. First, it is that there will be but a few left in the land at any time, but also that the whole will be reduced to a few as well. As far as the first premise during the Babylonian exile, that is recorded in Jeremiah –

“But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah the poor people, who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.” Jeremiah 39:10

It is also true of the number who were exiled. The total of Israel was reduced to a tiny number compared to those who were, as it said in 1 Kings 4, at the time of Solomon –

“Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. 21 So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.” 1 Kings 4:20, 21

Whether the term “stars of the heavens,” or the term “sand by the sea,” the number was immense. Eventually, through war, pestilence, and exile, the number was reduced to a paltry few souls.

The same is true at the time of the Roman exile. After the Babylonian exile, the people returned to the land and grew in number once again. However, John Gill notes the sad details of their reduction in number when the Romans came –

“…how much they were reduced by the Romans will appear by the accounts Josephus gives of those that were slain, and made prisoners by them: he says (i), ‘there were 1,100,000 slain at the siege of Jerusalem and by the war, and 97,000 made prisoners;’ and it is computed that 1,240,490 were destroyed in Jerusalem and other parts of the nation (k); and it is also said by their historian (l), that of those that were transported from Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine into Spain, scarce a thousandth part remained and that an infinite number were slain in France and Germany; and though their number equalled those that came out of Egypt, yet scarce five thousand of them were left.” John Gill

This is how it was, and this is how it continues to be, for Israel. The people belong to the whole, and the many will collectively be reduced within the nation. Until the nation collectively turns to Christ, this will remain unchanged. With that understood, Moses continues with the words of tragedy…

63 And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you

v’hayah ka’asher sas Yehovah alekhem – “And it shall be according to which has delighted over you (plural).” As you can see, the plural continues. Moses acknowledges that the Lord rejoices over each and every soul.

It is as if the Lord looks down from heaven and sees the masses and rejoices over them all together and individually at the same time. In this, Moses introduces a new word, sus. It means to be glad, rejoice, make mirth, and so on. There is the sense of gladness in the Lord that is being delightfully expressed, which is…

63 (con’t) to do you good and multiply you,

l’hetive etkhem u-l’harbot etkhem – “to do good you (all) and to multiply you (all).” In the obedience of the nation, the Lord rejoices to do good to all of the people individually.

One can almost see Moses raising his hands and sweeping them across the people, and then pointing at individuals in rapid succession. “This is what the Lord did for you all. You, you, you, you, annnnnnd you over there as well.” However, in their disobedience, another course will be set for them…

63 (con’t) so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing;

ken yasis Yehovah alekhem l’haabid etkhem u-l’hashmid etkhem – “Thus, will delight Yehovah over you (all) to cause to perish you (all) and to destroy you (all). The contrast is complete. “Yehovah delighted to do you good and to multiply you when you were faithful. Just so, Yehovah will delight over you to cause you to perish and to destroy you when you are faithless.” Of this verse, John Lange rightly says it… –

“…is a bold anthropomorphic figure, but spoken from the profoundest view of the truth, since righteousness on the basis of His holiness, as His mercy according to His love, is in full accordance with the nature of God. As He is glorious, so also He is fearful.” John Lange

This is now the seventh and final use of the word shamad, or destroy, in Deuteronomy 28. It will continue to be seen in Scripture, but repeating the word seven times brings its own sense of completeness and finality to the words.

As we have seen, and as is now repeated, this doesn’t mean to destroy utterly. Israel continued to exist, and they continue to exist. But the people have been destroyed along the way.

Though using different words to express the thought, what is stated here is certainly reflective of what is said about Christ in Isaiah 53. The Lord delighted to bring His destruction upon Israel. But it also pleased the Lord to do so in Christ in their stead –

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53:10

God in Christ was willing to take what Israel rightly deserved upon Himself in order to redeem them from their transgressions committed under the law. However, as for Israel in their destruction, Moses next says…

63 (con’t) and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.

The words now go from the plural back to the singular – “and you (all, plural) shall be plucked from off the land which you (Israel, singular) go to possess.” Here, it more appropriately reads, “the ground.” Those who would come to Canaan would go in to possess their own plot, but like a tree being pulled up, so would those who once went to sink down their roots.

In this is a new word, nasakh. It means to destroy, pluck, or uproot, coming from a root meaning to tear away. It will be used once by David in Psalm 52 and then only two more times by Solomon in the proverbs. So literally was this fulfilled that John Gill records these words as a part of the historical record of the Jews –

“The Emperor Adrian, to prevent their insurrections and rebellions, which had given him a great deal of trouble, ordered by an edict that no Jew should come into Jerusalem, nor into the land of Judea, or be seen in it, which is observed by several writers (m); by which means the country was cleared of them. In later times some of them did get thither again, but they were but few. Benjamin of Tudela, a Jew of the twelfth century, travelled into several parts of the world in quest of his countrymen, and particularly into Judea, and his view was to magnify his people; and yet owns he found at Jerusalem only two hundred persons, whose employment was dyeing wool, and dwelt in a corner of the town under the tower of David; and but twelve at Bethlehem, three at Maresha, at Shunem indeed three hundred, none at Gilead, two at Nob, who were dyers, three at Ramah, one at Joppa, none at Jafne, where had been a famous academy, none at Ashdod, and at Tiberias about fifty (n). And our countryman Sandys (o), who travelled into Judea in the seventeenth century, says, ‘here be some Jews, yet inherit they no part of the land, but in their own country do live as aliens.;” John Gill

So, at any given time there were from no Jews at all to less than a thousand in the entire land, and even while there, they were counted as foreigners. This lowly state continued right up until the Zionist Movement began and the Jews, once again, started to fill the land.

As for a parallel in Christ, again, though the Hebrew words used are different, the same sentiment is spoken of concerning Him in Isaiah 53 –

“He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”

Israel was to be removed from their land due to disobedience, but Christ was to be removed from another type of land in their place. The trade was offered, and to this day it still stands. Only when the exchange is accepted will there be surety for them.

As for being uprooted, Moses next tells what the consequences of that will be for them, as we will see in a minute…

If only you will heed the voice of the Lord your God
If only you will do what that voice calls out to you
But like animals being conducted with a cattle prod
So, you will be treated for what you failed to do

The Lord has given the word in advance
And Moses has spoken the word out to you
This word will not fail, of this there is no chance
The Lord will set forth all He has promised to do

He will provide the blessing when you heed the word
And surely will come the curses when you fail to heed
So be diligent to do all that you have heard
Or the Lord will destroy you, and He will do so with speed

II. Your Life Shall Hang in Doubt Before You (verses 64-68)

64 “Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples,

The words of this verse are all in the singular, you Israel. In this clause, it is more specific – “all the peoples.” In other words, the distinction is being made between Israel and “all the peoples.” They are completely set apart from them, even if they are dwelling among them.

And how true has that been, and how true it remains even to this day. They dwell throughout the US, even as citizens, but they remain Jews. Such is true wherever they have gone. They have stubbornly held onto their identity not only among all the people, but throughout the millennia among all the peoples, even…

64 (con’t) from one end of the earth to the other,

miqtseh ha’arets v’ad qetseh ha’arets – “from end the earth and as far as end the earth.” This has been literally fulfilled as Jews have been spread to every possible place where man dwells.

Synagogues exist in remote China and in Budapest. They are found on remote islands of Tunisia and in India. They are found as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska and Trondheim, Norway, and they are found as far south as Dunedin, New Zealand.

Jews have been dispersed like the dust blown off of the Sahara Desert, encompassing the world and just as easily removed once again and scattered further still. It is without controversy that the prophecy of Moses as he sat in the plains of Moab, near the Jordan River has been literally fulfilled.

Looking at it in this light, and considering that it was spoken concerning Israel’s disobedience, it is actually a mark of shame upon them, rather than something to be boasted of.

Consider the parallel noted in the previous verse. Like Israel being removed from the land which typifies life, Christ was removed from the land of the living. The parallel continues in that Israel was prophesied to be returned to their land, just as it was prophesied that Christ would return from that place where no one could have imagined anyone would ever return from again.

Moses, in just two more chapters, shows us that it would be the same for Israel –

“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:1-6

Likewise, Isaiah – in the same passage where he spoke of Christ’s death – also speaks of Christ’s return from death –

“After the anguish of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11 (BSB)

Even from the remotest parts of the world, the Lord has, and continues to, bring the people back to the land where they may live. And just so, Christ was brought back from the remotest place a human could imagine going, back to the land where He may live.

As for Israel in their land of exile, Moses tells them of their state in such places…

64 (con’t) and there you shall serve other gods,

Some scholars say this can’t be confirmed. They haven’t looked very closely. The words elohim akherim, or “gods other,” mean any god other than the Lord God. If they were serving the Lord God, they wouldn’t be in exile. Moses then further defines what he means by saying…

64 (con’t) which neither you nor your fathers have known—

This is obviously referring to serving the Lord God. Even though Israel in the land served innumerable gods other than the Lord, causing them to be exiled, this isn’t referring to them. It is referring to any gods out among the nations that the Jews have served.

Today, if you go into many Jewish homes, you’ll find statues of Buddha, Krishna, and other gods. Of these, and many others, they are…

64 (con’t) wood and stone.

Along with all of the other false gods the Jews have served around the world, John Gill tells of the false gods of Roman Catholicism that they have gone after –

“The author of the history of their calamities and sufferings owns this; “multitudes (he says (p)) in Spain and Portugal forsook the law of Moses, and joined the Papists, pretending at least to be of their religion.” He makes mention of sixteen thousand at one time (q), and some, he say (r), “that were driven out of Spain, came into Italy, where the young men pressed with famine could not bear it, and changed their religion, and began to worship images that they might have to satisfy their hunger; and the Papists used to go about with a crucifix in one hand, and a piece of bread in the other, promising the bread to those that would worship the crucifix; and so many famishing persons forsook the law of Moses, and mixed with them:” and to this day the convents of monks and nuns in Spain are full of them; and most of their canons, inquisitors, and bishops, are Jews (s).” John Gill

In this, there is a complete contrast to Jesus in His exile from the land of the living. The book of Jonah, while he was in the belly of the fish, prophetically refers to the time when Christ was in the tomb. In that state, it says –

“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.
For You cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the floods surrounded me;
All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight;
Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;
The deep closed around me;
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord, my God.
“When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
“Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:2-9

In death and through death, in exile from the land of the living, Christ remained faithful to the Lord God. The wood and stone the Jews have served have no life. They cannot sense anything. As such, they cannot hear prayer and they cannot deliver from the place of distress. But the Lord God, whom Christ remained faithful to, can hear and He did deliver. The contrast is complete.

For Israel in exile, Moses continues…

65 And among those nations you shall find no rest,

The words of this verse are all in the singular – “you Israel.” Despite this, it can just as easily refer to an individual who belongs to Israel. If he is the only “Israel” in the land, then he represents the nation to whom he belongs.

In this verse, Moses pulled out his lexicon in order to bestow upon us several new or rare words. The first is raga. It is a verb meaning to disturb. Thus, it is used figuratively to signify settling. Israel would remain unsettled anywhere they went. They would always be in a state of being upheaved and moved along.

When I was young, we used to go on vacation to a remote part of Massachusetts. There was a Jewish couple that lived there. When I was with my aunt one day, she said, “Twice, they had to get up and leave the food on the table and flee for their lives.” This is the idea of the words Moses now gives. It was literally fulfilled in that old couple on the mountain. Moses next says…

65 (con’t) nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place;

Here Moses uses a word, manoakh, seen only once so far, in Genesis 8:9, where it says, “But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot.” It is exactingly translated, resting place. Wherever Israel’s foot comes down, it will be as if there is a thorn or hot coals there, prodding it to move hurriedly on. Along with that, Moses says…

65 (con’t) but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul.

Rather than “but,” the word simply says, “and.” There will be no resting place for the soul of the foot, and along with that would come added calamities. Of them, Moses introduces three very rare words. The first is ragaz. It is an adjective occurring only this once.

It comes from the verb ragaz, meaning to quake or tremble. Thus, “trembling heart” is correct. There would never cease to be a time when the heart wouldn’t feel as if it might simply explode from the fear of the moment or from the constant motion of the foot.

Next, he uses the word kilayon. It is a noun signifying pining or failing. It is found only here and in Isaiah 10:22. The idea is probably that the eyes would become weak from looking for a spot to rest or looking for the salvation of a messiah, not realizing that the Messiah had already come, and they had rejected Him.

Along with that, Moses uses the word deavon. It is a noun, found only here, meaning faintness or languishing. Combined with the word nephesh, or soul, it means that the very force which impels the person would be so worn out that there would be no desire to even continue on. It is the weariness of the person that would choose death, if it would just come and end the misery.

The words here are not unlike those that the Lord spoke forth in Leviticus 26 –

“’As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them.” Leviticus 26:36

Israel is the transgressor. It is he who failed to honor and serve the Lord, and his soul suffered because of his failings. But the Lord had come to take away their sin. While they were looking for a hero to exalt them among the nations, He came to restore them to the Father.

Instead of being exalted among the nations, they were abased among them, and they remain in their sin. But Christ came to refresh their souls through the pouring out of His own for them –

“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11, 12

66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you;

v’hayu khayekha teluim lekha mineged – “And will become your life hang to you from before.” Again, Moses introduces a new word, tala. It is a verb meaning “to hang.” It is found only here and in Hosea 11:7. Figuratively is signifies uncertainty.

The words are obvious when considered. It will be as if nothing can be trusted from moment to moment. Each moment is one of doubt and the next will be as well. No matter what one attempts in order to provide a state of constancy, there will always be nothing but fear of life. This state will then continue twenty-four hours a day…

66 (con’t) you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.

u-pakhadta laylah v’yomam v’lo taamin b’khayekha – “and you shall fear night and day and no you have assurance in life.” Another new word is given, pakhad. It is a verb meaning “to dread.” These words further define the previous clause.

The life of Israel hangs before it in doubt. As such, there is dread at all times. Throughout the night, and throughout the day. There is never a time when life will seem secure.

It is as if the entire nation is a soldier on a battlefield with bombs falling nearby constantly. There is never a moment where the fear of the “next one maybe being it” is over. Life, its continuance, has no foothold of surety at all. The sword of Damocles is always present. Of this verse, Luther says –

“I have never seen a passage which describes more clearly the misery of a guilty conscience, in words and thoughts so fitting and appropriate. For this is just the way in which a man is affected, who knows that God is offended, i.e., who is harassed with the consciousness of sin.” Martin Luther

This is a right analogy, and it calls into focus the words of the first clause, “Your life shall hang in doubt before you.” Israel rejected Christ, the crucified Savior. The knowledge of this event is known to them, and somewhere in the back of their minds, they have pieced it together.

They understand the symbolism of their writings, and the thought of their sin before God lingers because their sin hung before them on the cross, if only they will acknowledge it. But in not believing Him, it is their life that hangs in doubt. And because of this…

67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’

Properly translated, it reads, “In the morning you will say, ‘Who will give me evening?’ and in the evening you will say, ‘Who will give me morning?’” (CG). It is as if a petition to God, but the Lord is left out of the conversation.

In other words, instead of appealing to the Lord, Israel stubbornly asks for anyone to help, but the Lord. It is reflective of the words of Amos 6:10 –

“Hold your tongue! For we dare not mention the name of the Lord.”

The Lord hangs before them. Their consciences intuitively know this, and yet they will call out in any direction except His. And their cry is…

67 (con’t) because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.

One can think of the most recent example set before the world, that of the holocaust. The Jews of Europe faced everything that has been presented in the verses today. They begged for day during the night, and they begged for night during the day.

The things they experienced brought them dread in their hearts, and what they saw brought terror to their eyes. Moses spoke out the words of terror and horror that would come upon the people. They are – meaning the law is – a mirror for them to behold. Its words direct their actions, and the resulting horrors, back upon themselves.

68 “And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships,

It is the highest disgrace of all. Not only is it exile from the land, but it is exile back to the very place from which they had been redeemed. They walked out of Egypt as a free people, led by the Lord. But the Lord Himself will take them back in ships, meaning as slaves, as a people cursed of the Lord. And this will be…

68 (con’t) by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’

It says, ba’derek amarti lekha – “in the way I said to you.” One could assume that this is referring to not returning to Egypt as was seen in Deuteronomy 17. There, it said –

“But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’” Deuteronomy 17:16

However, I would argue that this is speaking of the state of slavery. Rather than, “You shall not return that way again,” meaning going back to Egypt. Moses now speaks of the way, saying, “You shall never see it again.” Israel is being returned to something by the Lord, and it is in ships. Thus, they are bound as slaves.

As real slaves, according to Josephus, this was fulfilled under Titus. But without the law and without Christ, this has also spiritually been fulfilled in Israel. The law gave them the Day of Atonement. Christ is the fulfillment of that. Outside of the land, and without Christ, there is no atonement, and thus the people are, literally, slaves to sin –

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’
33 They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free’?’”
34 Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:31-36

This is what is being conveyed. Egypt is only a type of the true bondage that man suffers under. As for the literal fulfillment of this, Moses next says…

*68 (fin) And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.

The translation is incorrect. It says, “And you shall sell yourselves there.” It is in the plural, and it is the action of the people themselves. In other words, it is a petition to be sold into bondage just so that they could have a master over them in order to eat and have a place to sleep.

But it says that for Israel, v’ein qoneh – “and no buying.” For their physical bodies, none would be interested. And for their spiritual selves, there is none to redeem. They had rejected the Lord and because of their sin, the devil is their owner.

With these words, one of the most mournful passages of all of Scripture comes to a close. What makes it so much the case is that it explains everything in advance. There is nothing that was hidden from them. The choice for obedience and blessing, or disobedience and cursing, rested solely with Israel.

The Lord set the two before them through Moses, and whatever resulted is solely the responsibility of Israel. But let none of us be smug in what has come upon them. They are simply a template of what will come upon each of us.

We can come to the Lord and be saved, or we will remain in the bonds of sin and death that He came to destroy. And just as the Lord has faithfully kept Israel, even through their destruction, so He will keep any whom He redeems.

Thank God for His faithfulness to unfaithful Israel. And thank God for His faithfulness to us. He is a great and wonderful God who has set us free from our bonds. Yes. Thank God for His tender mercies. Yes, thank God for JESUS!

I came to You with nothing,
Only buckets of my sins.
You stretched your arms
Around me
And you said, “welcome in.”
I cried for forgiveness.
You wiped my tears away.
You emptied all the buckets
When I called upon your name.

You told me that, “I’m loved,”
You told me, “this’s my home.”
You told me, “I’m forgiven!”
“No longer I’m alone”
You told me, “live in peace.”
You told me, “I’m the Christ.”
“I’m the price for your sins
and your everlasting life

I carried now the buckets
No longer full of sins.
But full of living water,
Of mercies flowing in.
I see other people
caring buckets of despair.
But mine are full of forgiveness,
And good news to be shared. Izabela Bednara

Closing Verse: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18

Next Week: Luke 1:26-38 A marvelous thing God will do… (The Power of the Highest Will Overshadow You) (2021 Christmas Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Blessings and the Curses

You shall be left few in number
Whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude
Because you would not obey
The voice of the LORD your God, such was your attitude

And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you
To do you good and multiply you, so to you I address
So the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you
———-and bring you to nothing
And you shall be plucked from off the land
———-which you go to possess

“Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples
From one end of the earth to the other, so you will dwell alone
And there you shall serve other gods
Which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone

And among those nations you shall find no rest
Nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place
But there the LORD will give you a trembling heart
Failing eyes, and anguish of soul – there in your disgrace

Your life shall hang in doubt before you
You shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life
———-so I give you this warning
In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!
And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!

Because of the fear which terrifies your heart, so shall it be
And because of the sight which your eyes see

And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships
By the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again
———-thus, it is true
And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies
As male and female slaves, but no one will buy you

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

62 You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. 63 And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.

64 “Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.

68 “And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.