Like the Days of the Heavens Above the Earth
In the Bible, being faithful to the Lord is equated with a spouse being faithful to her husband. In this marriage-type relationship, the Lord is willing to put up with a great deal and yet not put away Israel. Under the law, if a man were to divorce his wife and she were to remarry and then get divorced again, the first husband could not later take her back. That is a point of law found later –
“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, 2 when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, 4 then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 24:1-4
The defiling of a woman by another man excluded the man from taking her back again as his wife. The contract was violated, and the law had spoken. And yet, in Jeremiah, we read this concerning the Lord’s love towards His people –
Text Verse: “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife,
And she goes from him
And becomes another man’s,
May he return to her again?’
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
But you have played the harlot with many lovers;
Yet return to Me,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 3:1
This precept came to mind because I use an example of an unfaithful spouse in the sermon today. Despite Israel’s almost complete unfaithfulness to the Lord during their entire history, He has faithfully preserved them, calling them back to Himself – “Return to Me.”
He continues to do so today, and He will continue to do so until the day they are – once and forever – reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. This is the amazing and glorious Creator we serve. He remains faithful even through the unfaithfulness of His people.
It is a foundational truth that is found in the Word of God, 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. Take Heed to Yourselves (verses 13-17)
In the previous passage, in verse 11:1, Moses began with, “Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.” After this, Moses explained the great acts of judgment that came upon both Egypt and Israel, showing that the Lord is fully capable of such things.
He then repeated the thought of commandment-keeping in verse 11:8, saying, “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today.” Moses then gave the reason for that, finishing up the passage with –
“…that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess, 9 and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 10 For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; 11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.” Deuteronomy 11:8-12
The keeping of the commandments is paramount to Moses in order for them to possess this good land that he has described to them. Now Moses will, again, bring in the thought of commandment-keeping. This time, however, it isn’t simply for the sake of possessing the land, but of having abundance within the land.
His words are methodical and direct – “Here is how things work, and the outcome is conditioned upon how you respond to the commands you are given.” With that thought in mind, the passage today begins with…
13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments
v’hayah im shamoa tishmeu el mitsvotai – “And it will be if hearing you shall hear unto My commandments.” An important change has taken place in these words. It says mitsvotai, or “My commandments.” It is the Lord who is speaking through Moses.
One could argue that it is simply Moses speaking about his words to the people as commandments. And, indeed, that is how some translations state it – “my (lowercase m) commandments.” The NKJV, however, rightly says (with a capital M) “My commandments.”
What has happened, is that Moses’ words of the previous verses have now passed into the words of the Lord here. This will become perfectly evident in the next verse. The change is so marked and abrupt that Cambridge says, “It is evidently inserted by an editor.”
How stupid. A later editor would do exactly the opposite and conform the words to the surrounding text, not alter them to make the passage more confusing and/or seemingly more corrupt. But Moses has already done this before. The change is not without precedent, as was seen in verse 7:4.
For now, as is understood from previous sermons, the word “hear” means more than to simply hear, but to hear and then to act upon what is heard. Thus, “earnestly obey” is a good paraphrase.
In the last verse, the pronouns were in the singular. In this verse, they are in the plural – “And it will be if hearing, you (all) hear.” This address to the many will continue throughout the verse.
13 (con’t) which I command you today,
Each and every person (you all) is being told that obedience is required across the board. Saying, “which I command you today,” indicates that what the Lord, through Moses, speaks out, during the entire time of the giving of this book, is included in “today.”
He isn’t speaking out individual sections that are separate from one another. Rather, his words continue on in a single body of law that comprises each and every section into one unit. Every time that it says, “which I command you today,” a single law is being added to. This will continue until the book of Deuteronomy is finished.
At times, even quite often, the words are repeated from what has been said elsewhere. Such an instance is found in the next words…
13 (con’t) to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,
This is similar to what he just said in the previous chapter –
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12
However, though similar, it is also significantly different. There, Moses spoke to Israel collectively. Here, the Lord speaks to all the people individually–
10:12 – to serve the Lord your (singular) God with all your (singular) heart and with all your (singular) soul.
11:13 – to love the LORD your (plural) God and serve Him with all your (plural) heart and with all your (plural) soul.
Why is it being done this way? It is because, as Jeremiah says –
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Think of the commands. “You (Israel) are to do my commands.” Someone could say, “I don’t need to. The nation does.” But that thought is now excluded by changing it and saying, “You (all) are to do My commands.” “Dangit. I have to do all this stuff too!”
Moses is writing under inspiration. The Lord, understanding the nature of man, is being specific to exclude the wickedness of the human heart – both of Israel’s collectively and of each person’s individually. “You, Israel as a nation, are to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. And each of you within Israel, My people, are to do likewise.”
To avoid unnecessary repetition, but to understand the fuller meaning of the words of this verse, you can go back to the comments on verse 10:12 and read them. There, the thought of loving the Lord God, and of serving Him with all of one’s heart and all of one’s soul is analyzed in detail.
For now, the word tells the people what good result will come from their obedient love and their service of the Lord God, saying…
14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season,
v’natati metar artsekem b’ito – “And I will give rain in its season.” How do we know Moses wasn’t the one to say, “My commandments” in the previous verse? It is because it says, “And I will give rain” in this verse. Moses can’t give rain. Only the Lord can.
The NASB, however, incorrectly translates these words as, “that He will give the rain.” What is normally a careful and precise translation either deferred to a text other than the Hebrew, or they simply made an error in their translation.
It is to be noted that what He promises here in Deuteronomy for obedience, is likewise discussed with the people in their disobedience. In Amos 4, it says –
“‘I also withheld rain from you,
When there were still three months to the harvest.
I made it rain on one city,
I withheld rain from another city.
One part was rained upon,
And where it did not rain the part withered.
8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,
But they were not satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,’
Says the Lord.” Amos 4:7, 8
There, like in this verse in Deuteronomy, the pronoun is plural – “your (plural) land” (Deuteronomy) and “you (plural) have not returned to me (Amos). The Lord was teaching them a lesson with the rains, and Israel was failing to heed the lesson He provided.
As you can see, though the words are transmitted through Moses, it is the Lord who is speaking them out. In obedience to the doing, the Lord promises He will do likewise, giving the people of Israel rain for your (plural) land. With that understood, He says…
14 (con’t) the early rain and the latter rain,
There are no articles before the nouns. It says: yoreh u-malqosh – “sprinkling and gathering,” but signifying the early and latter rains. They are also known as the autumn and spring rains, or other such variations. Both words are introduced into Scripture at this time.
The first, yoreh, or “early rain,” comes from yarah – to throw or shoot, as in an arrow. Yoreh is an active participle, and thus it gives the idea of lots of arrows, and hence “sprinkling.” The second is malqosh. It comes from leqesh which is the after-crop, meaning latter growth. That is from the verb laqash, signifying “to gather.” Thus, it is “gathering.” Of these rains, Adam Clarke states –
“By the first or former rain we are to understand that which fell in Judea about November, when they sowed their seed, and this served to moisten and prepare the ground for the vegetation of the seed. The latter rain fell about April, when the corn was well grown up, and served to fill the ears, and render them plump and perfect. Rain rarely fell in Judea at any other seasons than these. If the former rain were withheld, or not sent in due season, there could be no vegetation: if the latter rain were withheld, or not sent in its due season, there could be no full corn in the ear, and consequently no harvest. Of what consequence then was it that they should have their rain in due season! God, by promising this provided they were obedient, and threatening to withhold it should they be disobedient, shows that it is not a general providence that directs these things, but that the very rain of heaven falls by particular direction, and the showers are often regulated by an especial providence.” Adam Clarke
The point of these words now is that it takes us back to verse 10 where Israel is contrasted to Egypt. There are no such rains in Egypt. However, in Canaan, and through the obedience of the people, there would be both the early and the latter rains. These were to be provided so…
14 (con’t) that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.
And wahlah, in the middle of the verse, the words suddenly change back to the second person singular: v’asaphta deganekha v’tiroshekha v’yitsharekha – “and you may gather in your grain, and your new wine, and your oil. All four pronouns are in the singular. He is speaking to Israel collectively.
The nation’s prosperity is dependent on the land of all of the people. The produce that comes from the ground is a national asset and treasure that is dependent upon both national and individual observance of the commands. The words are marvelously structured to teach Israel the important lesson of who they are as people, and of who they are as a people. With that understood…
15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’
So much for vegetarians. The Lord promises grass in the fields for the livestock – a result of the rains. In turn, the people will have livestock to eat. The words speak of abundance and delight.
Also, the singular continues in this verse. In national and individual obedience, the Lord will graciously provide for Israel. One must remember that if individuals in the nation are disobedient, it is the nation’s responsibility to weed them out.
The nation cannot say, “We have been obedient, and yet you have not sent us rains,” when they allow disobedience within the nation. This is clearly and explicitly seen in Amos 4, which was cited a moment ago when speaking of the people in the plural.
Likewise, the opposite of the promised blessing in this verse in Deuteronomy is seen in Amos 4:6, where it is again in the plural –
“‘Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
And lack of bread in all your places;
Yet you have not returned to Me,’
Says the Lord.” Amos 4:6
For obedience, the Lord promises that they may eat and be filled, implying dirty teeth. However, for disobedience, the Lord provided cleanness of teeth, meaning hunger. In Amos 4, the Lord speaks to the people in the plural, again and again, but then in verse 12, He says to them in the second person singular –
“Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel;
Because I will do this to you,
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” Amos 4:12
This caution in Amos was not without advanced warning. Both from the prophets and through Moses. As it next says…
16 Take heed to yourselves,
The words now return to Moses as the speaker. He implores the people individually as well, returning back to the second person plural. The changes are intricate, purposeful, and marvelously woven together for the reader to consider. These changes call for us to slowly and methodically ponder each verse, and – indeed – each clause. Here, the warning is given: hishameru lakem – “You (all) take heed to yourselves.” And this is to avoid a snare…
16 (con’t) lest your heart be deceived,
pen yiphteh l’vavekem – “Lest is opened your (plural) heart.” The word is pathah. It was seen in Genesis and Exodus, and it will only be used here in Deuteronomy. It means to be spacious, wide, or open. In other words, if you foolishly open your heart, you will be seduced by it. Job uses the word when speaking of someone simple in his head –
“For wrath kills a foolish man,
And envy slays a simple one.” Job 5:2
One can think of a married woman slowly getting close to another man. The heart opens and trouble follows closely behind. It is allured away, enticed, and the moral grounding is lost. Verse 13 said they were to love the Lord God with all of the heart. However, the heart has been seduced to open to another. The natural reaction that will inevitably follow is…
16 (con’t) and you turn aside and serve other gods
Again, it is plural – “and you (all) turn aside, and you (all) serve them, and you (all) worship them.” In failing to love the Lord God with all of the heart, the heart has space for another. The heart is opened, and the soul turns aside. In this, the enticement has led to serving other gods.
But verse 13 also said to not only love, but to serve the Lord God with all the heart and soul. Thus, the entire connection to God – heart and soul in both love and service – is corrupted. If room is allowed for another, another will fill the room, resulting in…
16 (con’t) and worship them,
The word is shakhah. It means to bow down. It was used in the giving of the Ten Commandments – “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”
Again, one can follow the progression of this by looking to the woman who opened her heart to another man. She first failed to take heed. She then opened her heart. She then turned aside from her husband and to another. She then served him with gifts and presents. She then did obeisance to him by divorcing her husband and marrying him.
The Lord made a contract with Israel, and they are being told of the consequences of allowing in another – thus violating that contract. In doing so, Moses warns…
17 lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you,
v’kharah aph Yehovah bakem – “And burns nose Yehovah in you.” It is the usual graphic way of describing anger. It is as if fire shoots from the Lord’s nostrils as He fumes at the adulterous actions of the people. From here, until verse 21, the words form a chiasm –
With this now seen, we can go on to review what the result of His anger will be…
17 (con’t) and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain,
Here, the word atsar, meaning to shut up, or close, is used. It is used of a woman when she is barren. Hence, her womb is closed. Some then equate the heavens to a womb, but this is not a great analogy. It is more rightly equated to either a woman’s breast or even a bottle. The rains are restrained from pouring out…
17 (con’t) and the land yield no produce,
v’ha’adamah lo titen eth yebulah – “and the ground no gives her increase.” Saying “land” is incorrect. In the next clause, a completely different word is used to describe the land. Here, it should read “ground,” or “earth.”
Without rain, the soil dries up, the seed will not germinate, and even if it does, it will quickly die without more moisture. Following that, it notes…
17 (con’t) and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
Moses returns to the thought of verses 11 and 12 –
“…but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.” Deuteronomy 11:11, 12
The land is a good land, but the land is one that Yehovah keeps His eyes on. And more, it is the land that He has given to Israel. What the Lord gives by covenant, the Lord can and will control because of that same covenant. In opening up their hearts to other gods, the natural consequence of their actions is His withholding the rains, leading to famine, and resulting in perishing.
Both the blessing of rain, and the withholding of it are at the direction of the Lord. Though it is stated here, Amos (and elsewhere) shows that it is so.
Blessing upon blessing I shall pour upon you
If you will love Me and serve Me with all of your heart
And with all of your soul; this too
In this, our relationship can start
And if you continue to love and serve Me
I will prosper you for all of your days
You will live in a land that produces abundantly
You shall reap and your animals shall graze
This for all the days of the heavens will be true
I will prosper you and bless you day unto day
Eternal blessings will come upon you
If you will love Me and serve Me in that way
II. A Multiplication of Days (verses 18-21)
The coming words are quite similar to those of Deuteronomy 6. Putting them side by side, however, there are some differences –
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11:18-20
One of the main differences is the order in which the things are given. Also, instead of speaking in the second person singular as in Chapter 6, it is now mostly in the second person plural. If someone were simply inserting words into the book, there would be several things that would have been done differently.
First, they wouldn’t have bothered, because the substance of what is said is already there. Secondly, if they were to bother, they would have kept the order the same. And thirdly, if they were to bother, they would have kept the person singular as in Deuteronomy 6.
In other words, what we have here is original, it is from Moses, and he is conveying these words now to ensure that both the collective group, and each individual person, knows that these things apply equally to them.
18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul,
All of verse 18 is in the second person plural – you all. Also, the word is al, upon – “Each and every one of you are instructed to do these things, beginning with storing up his words upon your heart and upon your soul.”
If the heart has words of law laid upon it, the people will not have room to allow in other influences. If the words are laid upon the soul, there will be no time for actions that direct the body in the wrong direction. The whole person will be directed to what is right and proper in the conduct of their lives. It is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 10:5, when he says to believers, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
One’s mind and actions will be focused on that which he allows in. If one is thinking about Christ, he will shut out that which is not Christian. But it is an active and ongoing process. The words of Ruth 2:4 give a wonderful example of this –
“Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, ‘The Lord be with you!’
And they answered him, ‘The Lord bless you!’” Ruth 2:4
Including the Lord in each action, interaction, conversation, mental thought, and so on… This is what laying up the words upon one’s heart and upon the soul includes. This is what loving the Lord with all of one’s heart and soul involves. And as reminders for when the mind is overloaded, and the soul is afflicted or oppressed…
18 (con’t) and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
The words here are similar to verse 6:8 –
“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Deuteronomy 6:8
The main difference is that it was in the second person singular there, but here it is in the second person plural. The meaning, however, is the same.
First, it says, u-qeshartem otam l’oth al yedkhem – “And you (all) shall bind them to sign on your hand.” As a review, an oth, or sign, is something that represents something else. The hand is what accomplishes tasks.
Therefore, the people are to remember the words Moses is speaking out in everything they accomplish – be it cleaning a bathroom, washing the dishes, or buying a house. It is to be done with the Lord in mind.
It next says, v’hayu l’totaphoth ben enekhem – “and they shall be to frontlets between your eyes.” This is the last of three times that the “frontlets,” or totaphoth, are used in the Bible. It is derived from an unused root signifying to go around or bind.
The words here are not to be taken literally, but as a metaphor. The place between the eyes is the forehead, the place of conscience and identification. Therefore, this symbolizes that a person is to set his mind on the law of the Lord. In the New Testament, it is reflective of what Paul says to the Colossians –
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1, 2
Moses’ words now indicate the state of each person before the Lord. They are to accomplish every task with the Lord in mind and consider Him in all that is done. And they are to mentally acknowledge the Lord by thinking on His law and of His handiwork in everything they do.
In saying this to the people, Moses admonishes them to think on the Lord, live for the Lord, and conduct their affairs to the Lord at all times. Further…
19 You shall teach them to your children,
The words of this verse form the center of the chiasm that we looked at earlier. Here, Moses begins the verse in the second person plural – “You (all) shall teach them to your children.” This then substantiates what I mentioned in the very complicated verse, 11:2, last week. Most translations there say something like, “Know today that I do not speak with your children.” That is shown to be incorrect. Moses is speaking to the children through the parents. His instruction does not ignore them at all. As he says…
19 (con’t) speaking of them
l’dabber bam – “to speak them.” The words bring to mind the words of Paul where he implores fathers to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord.” One cannot train what is not laid down. But once it is laid down, then it can be conveyed. And this is to be…
19 (con’t) when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Two important points come forth concerning these words. First, instead of “when,” the Hebrew repeatedly reads, “in” –
“in thy sitting in thy house, and in thy going in the way, and in thy lying down, and in thy rising up.” YLT
Secondly, if you know your thee’s, thy’s, and thou’s, you noticed that Moses has – in the middle of this verse – returned to the second person singular throughout this entire clause.
However, this wouldn’t be him speaking to Israel collectively as he usually does, but rather, he is surely speaking to each individual personally – You (all) shall teach your children, and you (personally) are to do it at these times.
Also, the words of this section are identical, letter for letter, to Deuteronomy 6:8. It is as if it was a phrase Moses had memorized and probably repeated many times before stating it here. When someone came forward and said, “Moses, my kid is being difficult. What can I do?” His answer would be, “Tell him of the Lord in your sitting in your tent, and in your going in the way, and in your lying down, and in your rising up. This is what you are to do.”
The only difference now is that the words are amended for their time in Canaan. That includes…
20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
With the exception of a single letter added into the word “doorposts” in this verse, the words are identical to the words of Deuteronomy 6:9. The letter doesn’t change the pronunciation at all, but it is simply a variant way of spelling the word mezuzoth, or “doorposts.”
It is another clue to the authenticity of Mosaic authorship. Anyone else would have copied it verbatim. But just as, at times, I will spell the word worshipped with two letters, and at times I will do so with one, so Moses added in a second vav to the word.
As I noted in Chapter 6, the idea here is to be taken metaphorically, even if it was literally accomplished by whoever decided to do so.
The two words of focus are mezuzah and shaar – doorpost and gate. The word mezuzah, or doorpost, comes from the same source as the word ziz, or “moving things.” That word is used to describe beasts moving in the field, or the bosom of a woman. And so, it means that which is conspicuous.
Hence, the mezuzah, is that which is conspicuous and prominent in the life of a person. The shaar, or gate, comes from shaar meaning to calculate or reckon. As we saw in Chapter 6, that is used only once, in Proverbs 23:7 –
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.” Proverbs 23:7
The gate is for protection of those within. A gatekeeper is one who actively decides who to let in and who to keep out. He makes a reckoning and acts upon that. Understanding these roots, the symbolism of the two words is then made obvious.
The law of the Lord is to be so ingrained in a person that it is in the prominent place of a person’s life. Every major decision is to be made based on an understanding of the law of the Lord. Further, it is to be so inscribed in a person that it is what is then the basis for making life’s decisions. In this, it will be a guard for the wellbeing of the individual.
One is to evaluate the circumstances set before him, consider what is to be done in relation to the law of the Lord which he is intimately familiar with, and then act upon those things accordingly.
As you can see, Deuteronomy is considered a repetition of the law, a second reading. But even within Deuteronomy, there are repetitions. This is as much of a learning tool as anything else. In repeating an idea, people tend to remember what they have heard. In repeating an idea, people tend to remember what they have heard. Hence, Moses repeating these key thoughts is a tool for Israel to learn and remember by. This is so…
21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land
To close out the verses today, Moses returns to the second person plural. He is speaking to each person and to every person. In faithfully being obedient to the law, there is the promise of the multiplication of the days of Israel upon ha’adamah, or “the ground.”
This then is set in contrast to verse 17, where it said that in the Lord’s anger there would be no rain upon ha’adamah, or the ground, in order to bring forth produce. In that, they would perish from ha’eretz ha’tovah, or the land the good, that Yehovah was giving them.
It is this ground Moses reminds them…
21 (con’t) of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them,
In verse 17, it said, “the good land which the LORD is giving you.” Here, Moses says it is the land the Lord swore to give to the fathers (them). It is an interesting statement that brings into mind the thought of genealogical inheritance, and what that exactly means.
It is a precept found in Hebrews 7. There, and speaking of Abraham who gave tithes to Melchizedek, the author shows that Levi, who was not yet born, technically pays tithes through his great grandfather, Abraham –
“Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.” Hebrews 7:8-10
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though dead, received the land inheritance through their offspring. At the same time, the offspring receive the land inheritance through their fathers. Stepping back and looking at it in relation to Christ, we see that the same truth applies.
Abraham receives the promise by faith in the coming Messiah, his Offspring, and – at the same time – the Offspring (Christ Jesus) is the One who receives the Promise having come through the fathers (being their Seed). As it says in Galatians 3:19, “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.”
This is the beauty of chiasms. When they are properly lined up, we can see what is going on in a much more logical and orderly way. For now, the days of multiplication for Israel are – at least potentially – possible to be…
*21 (fin) like the days of the heavens above the earth.
The meaning is “forever.” As long as the heavens are above the earth, so will Israel dwell in the land, if – only if – they are obedient to the Lord God. The conditional words spoken earlier are the caveat that Israel must deal with.
Hence, Moses is giving them all of this detailed instruction and exhortation. If Israel fails to observe what is said, they will – as noted earlier – quickly perish from the land. The words “quickly perish” and “like the days of the heavens above the earth,” are set in complete opposition to one another. The choice is Israel’s.
However, we have already seen that Israel’s unfaithfulness to the covenant does not affect the Lord’s faithfulness at all. He has kept, is keeping, and will keep His promises to this covenant until it is fulfilled for Israel in Christ – meaning when they receive Him.
Israel stands because the Lord has said that they will stand. The evidence of it is seen even two millennia after they turned their back on Him. Understanding that His faithfulness to the covenant is that enduring, and understanding that Christ has offered a New Covenant in His blood, we can be even more sure of the enduring nature of His promises to those who come to Him by faith.
He has promised, with a guarantee, that those who come to Him will never be rejected – never. Though spit upon by the very people He has saved, the doctrine of eternal salvation remains. How unfortunate it is that people fail to simply take the word at face value and then accept what it clearly teaches. We are saved, despite ourselves, when we come to Christ.
Please trust in that, rest in that, and be assured of it. Jesus Christ’s blood is effectual to cover every sin that we have ever committed. And He will carry us through to a place of goodness and eternal blessing if we have called on Him. If you haven’t, it’s time for you to do it. Come to the cross and be reconciled to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. May it be so, and may it be today. Amen.
Closing Verse: “His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;
37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
Even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah” Psalm 89:36, 37
Next Week: Deuteronomy 11:22-32 It’s a tough quiz, but guess which is worse… (The Blessing and the Curse) (38th 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.
Like the Days of the Heavens Above the Earth
And it shall be that if you earnestly obey
My commandments which I command you today
To love the LORD your God and serve Him
With all your heart and with all your soul, so to you I say…
Then I will give you the rain for your land in its season
The early rain and the latter rain, so good for your topsoil
That you may gather in your grain
Your new wine, and your oil
And I will send grass for your livestock in your fields
That you may eat and be filled; abundance shall be your yields
Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived
And you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them
———-doing something in this vein
Lest the LORD’s anger be aroused against you
And He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain
And the land yield no produce, as it certainly will do
And you perish quickly from the good land
———-which the LORD is giving you
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine
In your heart and in your soul; thus, being wise
And bind them as a sign on your hand
And they shall be as frontlets between your eyes
You shall teach them to your children
Speaking of them when you sit in your house over a coffee cup
When you walk by the way
When you lie down, and when you rise up
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house
And on your gates, please understand
That your days and the days of your children
May be multiplied in the land
Of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them
———-long before your birth
Like the days of the heavens above the earth
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…
13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’ 16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.