Deuteronomy 30



Though rejected and exiled because of rebellion and apostasy, Israel should not be

absolutely or forever cast off. When dispersed among the nations, if the people

should return to Jehovah their God, He would again receive them into favor

and gather them from their dispersion (ch. 4:29-31; Leviticus 26:40-42).  Moses,

looking into the future, anticipates that both the blessing and the curse would come

upon the people according as they were faithful to their covenant engagement and

obedient to God’s Law, or were disobedient and unfaithful. But even when the curse

came upon them to the full, this would not amount to final rejection; but God would,

by the discipline of suffering, lead them to repentance, and then He would again

bestow the blessing (compare Nehemiah 1:9).


1 “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the

blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them

to mind” -  (compare I Kings 8:46-52, where the same expression is rendered by

“bethink themselves”). This is the meaning here also; it is not the mere recollection

of the curse and the blessing that is referred to, but a general consideration of their

own condition and conduct - “among all the nations, whither the LORD thy

God hath driven thee,”


2 “And shalt return unto the LORD thy God,” -  return from the worship of false

gods to worship and serve Jehovah the one true God, the God of their fathers, and

the God whom as a nation they had before worshipped - (Nehemiah 1:8-9) -

 “and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day,

thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;”


3 “That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have

compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the

nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.” -  This does not

mean will cause thy captives to return, for:


  • the verb in Kal (as it is here, bv;) never has the force of the Hiph.; and
  • the returning of the dispersed is afterwards referred to as consequent

on the turning of the captivity. The plural is used here as elsewhere to

indicate the cessation of affliction or suffering (compare Psalm 14:7; 85:2;

126:1, 4; Jeremiah 30:18; Ezekiel 16:53). The rendering of the Septuagint

here is noticeable, καὶ ἰάσεται Κύριος τὰς ἁμαρτίαςkai iasetai

Kurios tas amartias - and the Lord will heal thy sins, i.e. will remit thy

guilt and will deliver thee from the pernicious and destructive power of sin

(Psalm 41:4; Jeremiah 3:22; 17:14; Hosea 14:4; Matthew 13:15)


4 “If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from

thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He

fetch thee:  5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which

thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee

good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” Consequent on this deliverance

would be the gathering of Israel from all the places of the dispersion and their

return to possess the land which their fathers possessed, in greater numbers

than their fathers were. The reference in the following verse to a spiritual renewal

suggests the inquiry whether the reference here is not to such a gathering

and restoration of Israel as that which Paul describes in Romans 11.,

when the branches that had been broken from the olive tree shall be again

grafted into it, and all Israel shall be saved after the fullness of the Gentiles

shall be, brought in. To Moses, and indeed to all the Old Testament

prophets and saints, the Israel of God presented itself as a nation dwelling

in a land given to it by God; but as the national Israel was the type of the

spiritual Israel, and as Canaan was the type of the spiritual kingdom of

God, the full import of what is said concerning the former is only to be

perceived when it is viewed as realized in the latter. Certain it is that it was

on this principle that the apostles interpreted the fulfillment of the Old

Testament declarations concerning Israel, of which the explanation given

by James of Amos 9:11-12 may be noted as an instructive example

(Acts 15:15-17). If the rebuilding of the ruined tabernacle of David is

to be effected by “the residue of men” being brought to “seek after the

Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom His Name is called,”

we need not shrink from interpreting this prophecy of Moses as referring to the

restoration of Israel by the bringing in of Jew and Gentile into the one fold

under the one Shepherd, the Shepherd of Israel (John 10:16).  [It seems to

me that Romans 11 teaches that there will be an apostasy in the church

also, in the latter days and that Israel will be grafted back into the fold when

they accept Christ.  The present return of Israel to her own land since 1948

also seems to verify this.  The teaching of Christ in Luke 21, especially,

v. 24, dovetails this!  Known unto God are all His works from the beginning

of the world!  {Acts 15:18} Time will tell!  “When these things begin to

come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your

redemption draweth night.”  - Luke 21:28 – CY – 2012)

6 “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart,” -  when thou wilt

become better, God will help thereto (compare ch. 10:16). When Israel should

return to the Lord, He would take away from them the evil heart of unbelief,

and give them the new heart and the right spirit.  (Compare Jeremiah 31:33;

32:39; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26; Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11) -  “and the

heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and

with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.  7  And the LORD thy God will put

all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which

persecuted thee.”




                                    The Old and New Covenants

            (v. 6 ; compare with Jeremiah 31:31-34, and Hebrews 8:6)


It is instructive at this stage of homiletic teaching upon this to place on record the

points of comparison and of contrast between the old and new covenants; i.e.

between the covenant made through Moses and that propounded and sealed through

the Lord Jesus Christ.




Ø      Both are made with a people formed for God (Isaiah 43:21;

      I Peter 2:9).

Ø      Both make God all in all (ch. 14:2; I Corinthians 6:20).

Ø      Both inculcate holiness (ch. 7:6; I Peter. 1:15).

Ø      Both of them are based on sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22-23).

Ø      Both teach a mediatorial administration (Leviticus 16.; Hebrews 8:6).

Ø      Both set before the people a future inheritance (ch. 12:1).

Ø      Both urge to duty by the impulse of gratitude (ch. 5:6; Hebrews 4:9).

Ø      Both appeal to fear as well as to hope (ch. 11:16; Hebrews 4:1).




Ø      In the form of the covenants.


o       They differ as to the extent of their compass. One includes a

      nation, the other men of every nation.

o       The spirituality of its genius, and scarcity of definite rules and

      ritual is another mark of the New Testament covenant (compare

Romans 14:17).

o       The new covenant has clearer revelations:

§         Of the law of sacrifice (compare Leviticus with Hebrews).

§         Of the Divine character (Hebrews ch. 1).

§         Of the destiny of mankind (ibid. ch.10:25-31).

§         Of the tenderness of the Divine concern for man as

      man (Luke ch.15).


Ø      In their promissory grounds they differ quite as widely.


o       The old covenant ensures objective good, if there is a subjective

      fitness for it; the new covenant promises subjective fitness that

objective good may be secured. The one says, “Do this, and thou

shalt live.” The other, “Live, and you will do this” (v. 6).


o       The security for the fulfillment of God’s promises to us is far more

strikingly seen in Christ than it could possibly be under Moses

(II Corinthians 1:20).


o       The certainty of the fulfillment of the conditions of the covenant

by those who are included in it, is provided for under “grace,”

as it was not under “Law.” This covenant is “ordered in all

things and sure” (II Samuel 23:5) and is in no way contingent

on the fickleness of human will. It is a “better covenant,”

and is “established upon better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6) 

And the reason of the difference is found in the fact that the

first covenant was intended to serve an educational purpose,

and so to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus Christ to bring in

a greater and larger  one, under which regeneration unto

salvation should be certainly secured (John 6:37-40).



8 “And thou shalt return and obey” -  i.e. thou shalt again hearken (see v. 9,

where the same expression is thus rendered). These two verses are closely

connected, the former expressing the condition on which the aspect expressed

in the latter depends. They should be rendered accordingly, If thou shalt return...

then the Lord thy God, etc. -“the voice of the LORD, and do all His

commandments which I command thee this day.  9 And the LORD thy

God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of

thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good:

for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as He rejoiced over

thy fathers:”


10 “If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep

His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book

of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine

heart, and with all thy soul.”  Israel would then be restored to the full

enjoyment of privilege, would again enter into covenant union with the

Almighty, and would be enriched with all the blessings of his favor

(compare ch.28:11, 63); ONLY however, on THE INDISPENSABLE





The Restoration of the Jews (vs. 1-10)


So certain is the apostasy and the judgment on the land, that Moses assumes it as an

accomplished fact, thereupon proceeding to predict a restoration of the “scattered nation”

in case of their repentance. There must be the penitent return to God, and then God will

restore them and bless them abundantly. It was this principle which was carried out in the

restoration from Babylon, and which will be carried out in any future restoration of Israel.

We have here the raison detre of Jewish missions.  As the Gentile obtained mercy

through Jewish preaching, so the Jew is to obtain mercy through the instrumentality

of the Gentile.  (Romans 11:30-31)  (One of my favorite verses in the Bible is

The 32nd verse – “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He

might have mercy upon all.”  - CY – 2012)



RESTORATION. Their captivity and dispersion having arisen from their

forsaking God, it is only reasonable that their penitence should precede

their restoration. Into the question of the reestablishment of the Jews in

Palestine we need not here enter.  However this may be, of one thing we

may be certain, that the spiritual restoration of Israel will precede any

local restoration. (I speak elsewhere in this chapter that I personally

believe there will be a restoration of the Jews in their own land.  I agree

that it is imperative that they turn to Christ and Isaiah 66:8 asks “Who hath

heard such a thing?......Shall the earth be made to bring forth in

one day?  Or shall a nation be born at once?”  It doesn’t take long

to be saved – JUST A LOOK!  (Isaiah 45:22)  The Jews must be


blessing here predicted!  In our lifetime Israel is a nation again, having

become so in 1948 and they repossessed Jerusalem in 1967!  See

Luke 21:24 – TIME AND GOD’S WILL WILL TELL! - CY – 2012)




The winning of them by and to the gospel is the most important service we

can render them. No movement of the political chess-board is half so

important as the winning of them back to God. When, moreover, the local

restoration is problematical, while the spiritual restoration is the

indispensable preliminary to any further good fortune, — the duty of

Christians is most clear. The gospel of Jesus must be adapted to the

peculiar circumstances of Israel, and pressed upon their attention

with all the sweet persuasiveness Christian grace ensures.



PAST. This seems clear from this passage. The Jewish development is to

exceed all past developments. They are to have a mighty population, great

wealth, and God is to rejoice over them for good again. We do not regard

a national organization as essential to influence. Christianity is now, for

example, the mightiest factor in human society, and yet it is not, organized

nationally. Should the Jews by their rare linguistic powers, by their patient

courage, by their singleness of aim, become when converted to Christianity

the predominant missionary factor in the world, then we can see in such a

restoration a more powerful and blessed influence than if they furnished to

the world a new line of famous kings. It is not dynasties, but the devotion

of the people, which goes to make a people mighty. The kingdoms over

which men rule may not be defined in statute-book or in treaties. There are

kingships exercised by humble, devoted, cross-bearing men, which explain

the kingship of the crucified Nazarene. It is to this spiritual domination that

we trust Israel shall yet come.




Dispersion not Rejection (vs. 1-10)


It is very comforting to pass from so gloomy a chapter as the twenty-eighth

to such a paragraph as this. In this thirtieth chapter, the onlook and

outlook of Moses are much more extended than before. So distantly is his

eye cast now, that he actually looks to the further side of the gloomy scene

he had so recently sketched, and sees in the horizon a belt of glory

bounding his view (v. 9). So that, although the present darkness and

distress into which the scattered nation is plunged are the exact fulfillment

of the Word of God, yet that same Word declares this to be a transition,

and not a final state of things. God hath not cast away His people.”

Concerning them there is a twofold promise:


(1) of their conversion to God;

(2) of their restoration to their land.


Both are certain. Both will be fulfilled. The first, in their conversion to the

Lord Jesus Christ. The second, in whatever sense the Holy Ghost used the

words, but what that sense is, is not so clear. There had been a promise

made to Abraham (Galatians 3:8). The Law did not annul that

(ibid. 17-18). Now, if we turn to the promise to Abraham, we

find (Genesis 12:1-8) there are three parts in it:


(1) that Abraham should have a seed;

(2) that his seed should bless the world;

(3) that they should inherit the land.


Now, when Paul expounds this Abrahamic promise, he shows:


(1) that all who are Christ’s are Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:26);

(2) that the promise made to Abraham was” the gospel” (ibid. v. 8),


it was made to him, “foreseeing that God would justify the nations

through faith.” But since the promise swells out to the full gospel, since the

expression “Abraham’s seed” includes all who are Christ’s, — may not, yea,

must not, the land-promise also swell out into something proportionately larger

and grander? Such is the question.


Further. The same apostle not indistinctly teaches that, within the lines of

his own exposition, there is mercy in store for Israel. What are these lines

of exposition?


1. That Jew and Greek are one in Christ Jesus.

2. That the Jewish rites and ceremonies are forever abolished.

3. That the commonwealth of Israel now is made up of men of

every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.


In the application of these principles, the following steps of thought, taken

in order, will enable us to summarize Scripture teaching thereon:


  • There is a condition laid down in v. 2.


  • The Lord Jesus has come, laden with blessings for Jew and Gentile

(Romans 11:26).


  • As the Gentile obtained mercy through Jewish preaching, so the Jew is

to obtain mercy through the instrumentality of the Gentile Romans



  • The Lord Jesus Christ declares (Luke 21:24) that Jerusalem shall be

trodden clown of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.


  • The apostle declares (Romans 11:25) that blindness in part is

happened to Israel, till the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.


  • A time is foreseen when Israel shall “turn to the Lord” (II Corinthians

3:15-16). They will yet see Jesus as their Messiah.


  • The prophets also speak of their conversion to God (Ezekiel 36:21-32).


  • Then, too, will such predictions as ibid. vs. 24, 28, 34-35, etc.,

be fulfilled, but whether in the literal or in the larger sense indicated

above, we leave for the providence of God to show.


  • The same Book which predicts all this tells us also of the means and

agencies by which it shall be brought about. There will be providential

movements (Ezekiel 21:27). But the supreme agency will be the power

of the Holy Ghost (ibid. 36:25-27; 37:1-14; Zechariah 13:9.

For the means to be used by us, see chapters 36 and 37 of Ezekiel.


  • The reason or ground of all will be the sovereign good-pleasure of God

(Ezekiel 36:32; compare Isaiah 43:25).


  • When Israel is thus restored, it will be like life from the dead

(Romans 11:15). When the long-lost nation is thus re-gathered, when it

returns with weeping and supplication to the Savior, and, saved by Him,

singing the songs of Zion, then will it become by its evangelistic zeal what it

now is by its sacred literature — a priesthood for the world!


  • Concerning all this, the fulfillment of past prophecy is a prophecy of

future fulfillment!




Ø      Let us ever hold the Hebrew race in high honor. “Salvation is of the


Ø      Let us bear them on our hearts in prayer.

Ø      Let us watch the movements of God’s providence.

Ø      Let us heed the cautionary words in Romans 11:18-21.




                                    Israel’s Restoration (vs. 1-10)


The blackness of the picture of Israel’s rejection and desolation is relieved

by this rim of gold on the further edge. The verses seem to teach, not only

that if Israel repent, mercy awaits it, but that Israel will repent; that a day

of repentance is ordained for it — a day in which the veil that has been so

long left lying on Jewish hearts will be lifted off, and the nation will mourn

for Him whom it has pierced and has so long rejected (Zechariah 12:9-14;

Romans 11:25-33; II Corinthians 3:14-16). The result will be

the incorporation of the Israelitish people into Christ’s kingdom, with

possibly restoration to the land given them as a national possession, and

blessings, temporal and spiritual, beyond those bestowed upon their fathers

(v. 5). (This is happening in our lifetime:


            a. 1948 Israel became a nation again.

            b. 1967 Israel regained Jerusalem.

            c.  2019 Jerusalem recognized as the capitol again.

            d.  2020 Shelanu Television – preaching the Gospel in Hebrew

                  to the Israeli people. 


This week, President Donald Trump met with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime

Minister of Israel, in a show of unity between the United States and Israel.

CY – 2020)



WHO CHANGES. Israel is saved at last, not by any lowering of the

standard of holiness, or by any change in God’s requirements, or by any

new and easier way of life being discovered than that originally provided,

but by Israel coming round to God’s way of thinking, and doing in the end

what God pleaded with it to do at first (v. 2). After all their sorrowful

experiences, the people are brought to this: that they must submit to do

what they were told in the beginning that they ought to do. It is so always.

There can be no change on God’s part. If the sinner is to be saved, it is he

who must forsake his thoughts and his ways (Isaiah 55:7). He must do

at last what he now feels he has not the least inclination to do — what, as

years go on, he is getting the more disinclined even to think about. Will he

do it? Is it likely? Is it certain? If ever it is to come about, what agonies of

soul must be gone through before so great a revolution can be produced!




far-off country, broken, peeled, and scattered, that Israel, like the prodigal

(Luke 15:14-19), remembers the Father’s house. Is not this a reason

why God sometimes leaves a sinner to eat of the fruit of his own devices

— to take the reins upon his own neck, and plunge wildly away into sin’s

wildernesses? — that he may taste the hardness of such courses, the

bitterness, the emptiness, the essential unsatisfyingness of a life of evil, and

so, if by no gentler methods, be brought back to ways of righteousness?

The penalties which attend sin are, while retributive, also designed in this

world for the sinner’s correction (Hosea 2:6-23; ch.14.).



READY TO FORGIVE HIM. We must not, indeed, post-date the mercy

of God, as if that waited on the sinner’s self-motivated return as a condition

of showing him any kindness. God’s gracious action goes before conversion

— leading, drawing, striving, enlightening, aiding; nay, it is this gracious

action which leads to conversion. (No man comes to the Father except the

Holy Spirit draw him!  John 6:44)  This is of itself a pledge that when

conversion comes, he who has thus drawn us to Himself will not say us

“nay.” But we have express assurances, backed by numerous examples,

that whoso cometh He will in no wise cast out (Psalm 32:5; John 6:37;

I John 1:9). There is:


1. Forgiveness, with reversal of sentence of rejection (v. 3).

2. Redemption from bondage (vs. 3-4; Colossians 1:13).

3. Restoration to inheritance (v. 5; Ephesians 1:14).

4. A new heart and spirit (v. 6).

5. Deliverance from enemies (v. 7; II Thessalonians 1:5-6).

6. Untold blessings (v. 9; Ephesians 1:3).




            Divine Discipline Founded on Known Principle (vs. 1-10)


Human anger is often an uncontrollable passion. God’s anger is directed,

not so much against the man, as against his sin. God’s anger is the acting of

sound principle — a part of His righteousness. Hence, as soon as

chastisement produces its designed effect, it ceases. Instantly that the

wayward child turns to its Father, the Father turns to His child.





Ø      Disobedience brings degradation. Moses foresaw that the elect of God

would become, for their sin, captives in a foreign land. No chastisement

would be more galling to their pride. Their renown as conquerors had

spread far and wide. To be crushed, enchained, and exiled was

humiliation unspeakable. Such degradation is the native fruit of sin.


Ø      The curse would be felt the more as a contrast to former blessing.

      The ploughboy does not bemoan his lot, but for a prince to be tied to a

plough would be a galling pain. So the prodigal boy, in the parable,

was stung by the remembrance of former plenty.


Ø      Impression would be deepened by the recollection that this misery

      had been predicted. It was evidently no casual occurrence. They had

brought the disaster upon themselves. They could lay the blame

nowhere but on their own folly. Unless the moral nature be utterly

dead, such experiences often lead to:


o       reflection,

o       sorrow, and

o       repentance.



Repentance that expends itself in idle grief is a counterfeit. True repentance

makes instant decision to retrace false steps. Darkness had come by turning

away from the sun; now the penitent man turns fully toward it. He does not

wait for others to act. He is not going to be deterred by others’ indifference

or by noisy ridicule. Call him “turncoat,” if you will; there are worse

characters in the world than turncoats. He is more afraid of God’s anger

than of man’s paltry spleen. It is not only a halt in the downward course,

but “right-about face.” He returns unto the Lord. He now submissively

listens to His voice; he honestly endeavors to practice all the Father’s will.

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” is his daily prayer. His whole heart

goes out in repentance. To repair past follies — this is his special work. So

earnest is he in his new life, so marked a change and so beneficent is there

in his character, that his children feel the impression, and catch the blessed

contagion. As formerly his influence over his family was most baneful, so

now it becomes vernal sunshine, like the fragrance of sweetest flowers.



      sooner do men return to God than God returns to them. Only level the

barrier which sin has set up, and reunion of man with God is restored. The

return of favor shall be most complete. No matter how far the curse had

taken effect; no matter how far the separation had proceeded; no matter to

what extremity of woe the rebels have been driven; — from thence will


Omnipotence will outpour itself in benedictions. (Grace is greater than

sin! CY – Romans 5:20)  Let the frost of winter be ever so severe,

the summer sun shall melt it. He who created the universe out of nothing

can reverse all the wheels of adversity; and, out of ruins, rebuild a glorious

city. As sin is the only source of disorder and woe, so repentance is the

extinction of the cause of woe. If God takes in hand to restore His people

to peace, all opposition is vain. The thing is done.



NATURE. The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of

thy seed.” Honest endeavors after a righteous life shows to us a corrupt

heart — a heart prone to love evil. The man who begins to pray for pardon

soon learns to pray for purity. Nothing will satisfy the mind (when divinely

illumined) short of COMPLETE REGENERATION!  The repentant Jew

discovered that the circumcision of the flesh effected nothing to deter from

sin; Now he perceives that circumcision of heart is the only real safeguard.

At a later day, this inward change was more clearly pictured: “I will take

away the stony heart out of your flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)  To the same effect

Jesus promised: “If ye... keep my commandments, I will send you another

Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who dwelleth with you, and shall be

in you.”  (John 14:15-17)



Lord will again rejoice over thee for good.” So Jesus himself affirmed:

“There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:7)

For reasons which we cannot fathom, the well-being of man is a matter

of the liveliest interest with God. Union of nature, and of interest between

man and God is intimate. “His glory is great in our salvation.” (Psalm

21:15)  To bring all His purposes and enterprises to a successful issue —

this is a source of loftiest joy to God. “He will rejoice over us with singing.”

(Zephaniah 3:17)  The gladness of Jehovah at the completeness and beauty

of creation was great; a hundredfold greater will be His joy at THE FINAL

SUCCESS OF REDEMPTION!  Messiah will “see of the travail of His soul,

and shall be satisfied.”  (Isaiah 53:11)


11 “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden

from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest

say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may

hear it, and do it?  13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say,

Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it,

and do it?  14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy

heart, that thou mayest do it.”  The fulfillment of this condition was not

impossible  or even difficult; FOR GOD HAD DONE EVERYTHING TO

RENDER IT EASY FOR THEM!  (Compare Isaiah 5:4)  The commandment

of God was not hidden from them; literally, was not wonderful to them; i.e. hard

to be understood or to perform (see the use of the Hebrew word in Psalm 131:1;

Proverbs 30:18); nor was it far off; it was not in heaven i.e. though heavenly

in its source,  it had not remained there, but had been revealed — so that there

was no need for any one to say, Who will ascend to heaven, and bring it down

 to us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Simply a statement of fact that the Law

had not been retained in heaven, but had been REVEALED TO MEN!  Nor was

this revelation made in some far distant place across the sea, so that any need say,

Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it,

and do it? On the contrary, IT WAS VERY NEAR TO THEM, had been

disclosed in words so that they could utter it with their own mouth, converse

over it, and ponder it in their hearts (Isaiah 45:19;  Romans 10:6-13).

(Now it is the same in the 21st century with access to the Bible so readily!  In

fact, I am able to type in my browser partial phrases of any verse in the Bible

and it is immediately at my fingertips on the computer – If you are unsaved today,

I recommend How to Be Saved - # 5 – this web site – CY – 2012)





                                    The Word of Faith (vs. 11-14)

                                                   Compare with Romans 10:6-13


No Christian preacher is likely ever to deal with these words of Moses

without setting by the side thereof the words of the Apostle Paul

respecting them, in which, indeed, we have the best possible exposition of

and commentary upon them. We propose to give an outline Homily







Ø      There is a grand thesis to be maintained throughout all time, viz. that

JESUS IS LORD!   (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11).


Ø      There is a twofold duty required with reference thereto.


o        Believing.

o        Confessing, i.e.


§         letting the faith cherished in the heart become a practical

      power in the life;

§         letting the tongue speak for Him;

§         letting the noblest energy be spent for Him.


We see why these two and just these are named. Believing is the attitude of

the soul Godward. Confession is the attitude of the life manward. Both are

required. A faith which can content itself without a confession, and a

confession which has not its root in faith, are alike valueless.


Ø      There is a double effect of this double act.


o        Faith the Godward act — is followed by “righteousness,” i.e. in

Pauline usage, justification.


o        Confession — the manward life — issues in “salvation,” i.e. the

      sound use of all our spiritual powers (compare Acts 4:9-12 (Greek)

      and  I John 1:7). The effects are as the duties.


§         Justification is a  right-setting BEFORE GOD!

§         Salvation,  is a  transformed life before man.


Ø      For all this we have the sure guarantee of God’s own Word (Romans




“WORD OF FAITH.” Moses had said, “It is not too hard, nor too high,

nor too far off (cf. Hebrew), but it is very near,” etc. Paul quotes this with

some variation, saying:


Ø      “It is near.” It speaks to man’s inner self — to his conscience.

Ø      “It is in thy mouth.” In words which can be uttered to the people and by


Ø      “It is in thine heart.” The word “heart,” being quoted from Moses, we

take rather in its Hebrew sense, as meaning “understanding,” and thus

the phrase would signify, “It is intelligible to you.” Being thus near,

we have not to go to heaven to fetch a Savior, nor to the grave to fetch

Him from the dead. HE CAME!   THE WORK IS DONE!  DONE

FOR ALL,  without distinction of persons. DONE ONCE and





Ø      How earnest the encouragement TO CALL ON THE LORD

     JESUS CHRIST AND BE SAVED! (I recommend:  How to

     be Saved - # 4, and Lord Save Me - # 5 – this website – CY –


Ø      Men need not remain unsaved.

Ø      Men ought not to remain unsaved.




Revealed Truth Clear and Available (vs. 11-14)


Dishonest minds are wont to plead that religious truth is recondite, selfc-ontradictory,

hard to be understood. Its obligations too, they aver, are impracticable, beyond the

power of man to fulfill. SELF-INDULGENCE  and IMPEITY have never yet

failed to frame excuses for their rejection of the Divine Word. But excuses

avail them nothing. The indolent man has for long ages past learnt to say, “There is a

lion in the path.” Honest investigation soon finds the truth of God

“worthy of all acceptation.” (I Timothy 1:15)



“commandment.” It comes to men with all the character of a law. It is not

possible that we should treat it as we please. We are not permitted to

mutilate or dismember it — not permitted to accept a part and reject a part.

As in a tree the living sap runs into every branch and twig and leaf, so that

we cannot pluck the tiniest part without breaking the vital current; so every

part of God’s Scripture is instinct with high authority, nor can we neglect

the least commandment without defying the majesty of heaven. We are

bound to bow our wills to it; it will, in no degree, bend its requirements to

suit our tastes.


  • THE CLARITY OF GOD’S WORD. Its essential truths are

within the compass of every mind. Every man knows what it is to love; that

love is due from each man to his Maker. Every child knows what

obedience means; that obedience is due to the Father of our spirits. Truly,

some facts concerning the eternal world are so profound that, like ocean

depths, human reason cannot fathom them. But these are not the facts

which lie at the foundation of man’s safety and hope. The practical duties

which appertain to virtue and well-being are so plain that even a

child may understand (Isaiah 35:8).  Whatever difficulty lies in the way

of human obedience, it does not lie in the haze or uncertain meaning of the

revelation. The difficulty is within a man, not without him. THE


only an eye to discern them.



scriptural truth, there is an exquisite fitness to meet the capacity of men’s

minds and the needs of their souls. “The word is nigh thee; yea, in thy

 very heart.” There is perfect accord between the constitution of the man and

the contents of REVELATION!  The Bible is the counterpart and complement

of conscience. It is obvious that the Lord of conscience is Lord of Scripture

also. The Bible says, “Thou hast sinned;” and conscience admits the fact.

The Bible says, “Thou art helpless to save thyself;” and conscience knows

it true. The Bible declares that happiness is inseparable from obedience;

and conscience feels that it is so. There is a living witness in every man

(UNTIL GAGGED BY SIN) which testifies to the authority and necessity

and reasonableness of God’s Law.


  • THE PRACTICALNESS OF GOD’S WORD. “That thou mayest do

it.” Religious truth is not revealed to gratify a prurient curiosity, not to

afford matter for speculation, but solely to promote obedience. To know

God’s requirements will bring us no advantage unless we heartily and

loyally do them. Accurate and orthodox beliefs convey, in themselves, no

life nor joy. Right belief is barren and abortive until it brings forth ACTIVE

OBEDIENCE!   We are not to be judged at God’s tribunal for our opinions

or theories, nor for our religious creeds; we are to be judged of “the deeds

done in the body ”  whether good or bad!  (Ecclesiastes 12;14)  “I was hungry,

 and ye gave me meat,” will be the grounds of the judicial verdict (Matthew

25:35).  Practical service is the end and purpose of Divine revelation.


Moses concludes by solemnly adjuring the people, as he had set before them, in

his proclamation of the Law and in his preaching, good and evil, life and death,

to choose the former and eschew the latter, to love and serve the Lord which

is LIFE and to shun apostasy and disobedience which are DEATH

(Compare ch.11:26-28).



                                    The Word of Faith (vs. 11-14)


Paul, in Romans 10:6-10, applies these words to the “righteousness of

faith,” and contrasts them with the voice of the Law, which is, “The man

which doeth those things shall live by them” (ibid. v. 5). That this

application is not a mere accommodation of the words of Moses to a new

subject, will be evident from a brief consideration.



constitution under which Israel was placed, while formally a legal, was

practically an evangelical one. On the legal footing, on any other footing

than that of the “righteousness of faith,” the statement that the

commandment was neither far to seek nor difficult to obey would not have

been true. The Law, as requiring perfect holiness, obedience unvarying and

uninterrupted, prescribed as the condition of life (ibid.) that

which no one on earth, saint or sinner — the sinner’s Savior only excepted

— has ever rendered. It was certainly “nigh,” but, as a “ministration of

death” — “of condemnation” (II Corinthians 3:7, 9), its nighness was

no boon. How, then, was the curse averted or acceptance made possible?

Not by the ability of the Israelite to yield an obedience adequate to the

Law’s requirements, but by the introduction of the principle of grace. Sin

was forgiven, and, shortcoming notwithstanding, the sincere worshipper

accepted in “his full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience;” or

rather, in view of his faith, of that spiritual trust in Jehovah in which these

strivings after obedience had their origin (Genesis 15:6; Psalm 32:1-2).

The hidden ground of this acceptance was Christ, now manifested in the

preaching of the gospel (Romans 10.). From this point of view, the

commandment no longer towered above the Israelite, stern and forbidding,

launching out curses against him, and filling him with dread and dismay;

but its precepts were sweet and consolatory to him, and only filled him

with the greater delight and love the longer he meditated on them or

practiced himself in obeying them (Psalm 1; 19:7-14; 119.). It is in this

evangelical spirit we are undoubtedly to read these exhortations of Moses,

whose standpoint, therefore, essentially harmonizes with that of Paul.



hath showed thee, O man, what is good” (Micah 6:8). God had written

to Israel the great things of His Law (Hosea 8:12). He had made known

His Name, His precepts, the conditions of acceptable service, the way of

life; had given that people a revelation, full, clear, adequate, adapted to

their mental stature, and to their condition as sinners. This takes for

granted the underlying evangelical element above referred to. Without that,

the “commandment” would but have mocked their weakness. And it is this

evangelical element in Moses’ “commandment” which comes clearly to

light in Christ, and which is embodied in Paul’s doctrine of the

“righteousness of faith.” The words of this passage apply with increased

force to the historical revelation of the Savior. They strikingly suggest:


1. That man needs a revelation.

2. That he instinctively craves for one: “Who shall go up?” etc.

3. That he would sometimes make great sacrifices in order to get

    one: “Go up to heaven;” “go over the sea.”


But the revelation which man needs most of all is THE REVELATION

OF A SAVIOUR!   He wants to know:


Ø      how he can escape from sin, from guilt, from wrath, from bondage; and,

Ø      how he can be restored to holiness, to peace, to blessedness.


The “commandment,” in its wider sense, gave him this knowledge in part;

the full discovery is in THE GOSPEL!   The Word, in the preaching of this

gospel, as well as in the circulation of copies of the Scriptures, and the

innumerable opportunities enjoyed in Christian lands of getting acquainted

with the way of life, has now come very nigh to us. (This is the main purpose

of this website!  CY – 2020)  It is in our mouths and in our hearts, while the

salvation which the Word makes known is as readily available as the Word

itself is simple and intelligible. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the

Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him

from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED!”  (Romans 10:9).



word which Moses gave was one which could be obeyed — nay, obedience

to which was easy. Only, however, provided there was circumcision of

heart (v. 6) — a sincere willingness to know and to do God’s will

(John 7:17). To the natural heart the commandment is hard, and must

always remain so. This, again, shows that the obedience Moses has in view

is the spiritual, though not faultless, obedience of the believing and

renewed heart — the result of possession of and standing in the

righteousness of faith. Only through faith relying on a word of grace, and

apprehending mercy in the character of God, is such obedience possible.

Ability to render it is included in that “being saved,” which Paul posits as a

result of believing with the heart in the crucified and risen Christ

(Romans 10:9). Observe, further, how the Law, with all its apparent

complexity and cumbrousness, resolves itself in Moses’ hands into one

“commandment” (v. 11). It is this which makes the Law simple, just as it

is the simplicity of the gospel that it reduces all “works of God” to the one

work of “believing on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29; Hebrews 11:6).

Amidst the multiplicity of commands, there was but one real command —

that of loving the Lord their God (ch. 6:4; 10:12; here, vs. 6, 10, 16, 20).

In love is implied faith — the knowing and believing the love which

God has to us. Love is faith’s response to the revelation God makes of

Himself to man. Faith is thus the condition:


Ø      Of justification.

Ø      Of acceptableness in obedience.

Ø      Of power to render obedience.   (John 1:12)                                                             




                                    The Revelation at Man’s Door (vs. 11-14)


We have a very beautiful thought inserted by Moses regarding the proximity and

handiness of God’s commandments. It is used by Paul in the same connection,

and so adapted to the gospel as to show its practical tenor (Romans 10:6-9). And

here we would observe:



DIVINE REVELATION OUGHT TO BE. It is thought that it should be

some far-away affair, to which none but seraphic spirits could soar; as high

as heaven, and requiring vast powers and efforts to reach. Or it is thought

to be as recondite (impossible for a normal person to understand) as matters

lying in the deep-sea bed, demanding such diving apparatus as practically

to put it out of reach of ordinary mortals.  This is the favorite notion of the

self-confident critics, that a Divine revelation must be something attainable

only by scholars, appreciable only by the geniuses of mankind.



DOWN TO EVERY MAN’S DOOR. God came down to Mount Sinai,

and spoke to the people directly. The trouble then was that He was too near

too homely; they wished him further away. Then prophets came, and for

fifteen hundred years the word was brought very nigh to men. At last

God’s Son became incarnate, and was each man’s Brother, and brought

the message so close to men that only the proud escaped it. The whole genius

of revelation is contained in the remarkable words, “I thank thee, O Father,

Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise

and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it

seemed good in thy sight” (Matthew 11:25-26). The revelation is for

babes; for men of a childlike — not a childish — spirit; for men who have

laid aside their pride and presumption, and can take truth trustfully from

the Infinite Father.  The idea is surely monstrous that God cannot break

His Divine bread small enough for His human children; that none but men

of a certain mental caliber can get hold of the food or digest it. It is surely

a diviner plan to bring the truth so plainly home that none have any

excuse for rejecting it.  (“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it

shall be called The Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it;

but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err

therein.”  (Isaiah 35:8)




BROUGHT NEAR US BY HIS SON. Pride is forever leading men upon

some aerial or aquatic adventure, searching the heights of heaven on the

wing of fancy or of speculation, or exploring the deepest depths,

professedly to find truth and God. Philosophy is invoked, and everything

brought to the test of it. Now, all this must be sacrificed before we receive

the truth. We must humble ourselves, and recognize the truth brought in

Jesus Christ to our very door. If we required terrific effort to reach the

truth, we would boast that we had succeeded through that effort. If it

depended on great mental powers and struggle, we would take credit for

both. But the fact is, it is brought so near to each of us, and so plainly

home, that not one of us can boast of our discovery, but only chide

ourselves that it was so long near us and so long overlooked!



rule, they are so puffed up with pride and self-importance, that the gospel

is overlooked in its glorious proximity and adaptation. They think they are

such linguists and such thinkers that none can instruct them, and the result

is that the simplicity of the gospel escapes their notice altogether. The

grandeur of what is simple and comprehensible by all who are not too

proud to consider it must be urged with earnestness. The apologetic now

needed is, not what follows speculation to its utmost height or utmost

depth, and boasts itself of learning as great as the objector has; but what

takes its firm stand upon the SIMPLICITY OF REVELATION AS


some of the apologetic to which we are now treated is as finicky as those

it desires to convince, and, in a contest of mere meticulousness, it is sure

to be defeated. Rather should we assure men that it is pedantry and pride

which keeps them from discovering THE WONDROUS REVELATION

THAT LIES SO NEAR TO US!   Let Gentile and Jew give up the

weary wandering, the “will-o’-the-wisp” work of pride, and recognize THE




15 “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and

evil;  16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to

walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and

His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD

thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be

drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;” (compare 4:19.)

18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that

ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest

over Jordan to go to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to record

this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing

and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

(Compare ch. 4:26.)  20  That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and

that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him:

for He is thy life,” - rather, for this is thy life; to love the Lord is really to live

the true, the higher life (ch.4:40; 32:47) - “and the length of thy days: that

thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swear unto thy fathers,

to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”





                                                Nature a Witness (v. 19)


(See for other instances, ch. 4:26; 31:28; 32:1; Isaiah 1:2.) The invocation of

heaven and earth as witnesses turns on deep principles. They are “called to





consciousness on its surroundings, and feels as if earth and sky, sun, moon,

rock, river, tree, mountain, were not inanimate but animate and

sympathetic witnesses of its doings. It attaches its own thoughts to the

outward objects. In presence of the scene of any great transaction, it feels

as if the place retained its memory; still spoke to it of the past; thought,

felt, rejoiced, accused, praised, according to the nature of the deed. Define

as we will this feeling of a “Presence” in nature — this “sense of something

far more deeply interfused,” which we inevitably carry with us into our

relations with the outward universe — it is a fact in consciousness, and

furnishes a basis for such appeals as those of Moses.



WITNESS OF WHAT IS DONE. (Compare Matthew 5:34-35.) Heaven is

His throne; earth, His footstool. He is present in them, upholding them by

the word of His power, and through them is a true witness of all we say and






protest against THE APOSTASY  and SELF-WILL of the sinner (Isaiah

1:1-2). It bears witness against him by its very fidelity to its Creator. “They

continue this day according to thine ordinances, for all are thy servants”

(Psalm 119:91).




119:89-90.) They testify:


Ø      to the reign of law,

Ø      to God’s constancy of purpose,

Ø      to the uniformity and inflexibility of His rule.


They dash the sinner’s hopes of His Word failing, of His threatenings

not being put in force.




which may admit of being produced. This is simple truth of science.



SPECTATORS OF WHAT IS BEING DONE. They have shared in the

consequences of man’s transgression; they will share in the glory of the

manifestation of the sons of God. They wait the day of their redemption

with earnest expectation (Romans 8:19-23).  That Moses, in connection

with his appeal to the people, summoned heaven and earth to witness,

was an evidence:


Ø      Of the solemnity of this appeal. It must be a matter of momentous

importance when the universe is called in to witness it.


Ø      Of the rationality of this appeal. Nature and nature’s God were on

      his side. He had the universe with him, though a foolish people might

      reject his counsel.


Ø      Of the enduringness of the issues which depended on this appeal.

Neither the blessing nor the curse would work themselves out in a day.

It needed lasting witnesses to take account of the fulfillment of God’s





                        Death and Life Set Before the People (vs. 15-20)


In this earnest word which concludes a section of his address to the people,

Moses is summing up his deliverance. It has been called by Havernick “the

classic passage” upon the subject of death and life as understood in Old

Testament times.   “Shut out from the true community of life

(Lebensgemeinschaft),” says Havernick,” the sinner puts in only a

pretended life (Scheinleben), without God, enduring and promoting ruin in

himself, until death physical, with its terrors, overtakes him. The Divine

penalty manifests itself to the sinner as death.” Let us consider what is here



·         GOD IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. He was before all things; in Him

they live and move and have their being (Acts 17:28) ; by Him all things

consist (Colossians 1:17). Life physical is from Him; but so also, and in a

much fuller fashion, is life spiritual. The inner man is from Him, and depends

upon Him for sustenance.  And when His only begotten Son came into the world,

He gave Him to have life in Himself (John 5:26), so that of Him it could alone

be said, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). We

recognize in God, therefore, “the Fountain of living waters,” from which, to

their own great damage, men are separating themselves, as if the broken cisterns

of their own hewing could ever slake their thirst (Jeremiah 2:13).



love God with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, we find that

we have begun to live. On the other hand, the loveless life is only a

pretended life, and carries within itself the “Anathema Maranatha

of I Corinthians 16:22). Love places our heart at a level with God’s, and

the riches of His life flow into us. As Emerson, writing of gifts, says, “The

gift, to be true, must be the flowing of the giver unto me, correspondent to

my flowing unto Him. When the waters are at a level, then my goods pass

to Him and His to me. All His are mine, all mine His.” It is exactly in this

magnanimous spirit God deals with those who love Him. All His life and

fullness flow down to us; we cannot, of course, take all in, our measure is a

small one, but we are filled up to our capacity WITH ALL THE

FULLNESS OF GOD! (Ephesians 3:18).


·         LOVE GIVES BIRTH TO NEW OBEDIENCE. If we love God, we

shall keep His commandments (John 14:15). In the eye of love, His

commandments are not grievous (I John 5:3). Our meat is found in

doing the will of Him that sends us, and in finishing His work (John

4:34; 14:23). We say with the Master, “I delight to do thy will, O my God;

yea, thy Law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). And so, in the terms of the

passage before us, we walk in God’s ways, and keep His commandments

and statutes and judgments.  Now, this obedience strengthens the spiritual life.

Just as exercise invigorates the body, so work of a spiritual kind invigorates

the soul. We not only find rest in coming to Jesus, but refreshment in taking

on us His yoke and His burden (Matthew 11:28-30).




Other things being equal, a religious life tends to perpetuate physical



Ø      The calm which pervades the faculties,

Ø      the wholesome exercise which devotedness to God administers,

Ø      the deliverance from fear which religion bestows in face of all

     possible vicissitude and change,


all this favors health and longevity. Of course, Christianity does not need now

such outward testimonies as these. Many saints are sickly, and die young;

but religion never made their sickness a whir more serious, nor shortened

their career by a single day. They would have been less easy in their

sickness, and it would have cut their thread of life more quickly, had they

been strangers to its solaces and joys.



INDEED. In this striking passage, while “good” and “life” go together,

So do “death” and “evil.” The idea in death is not cessation of existence,

but SEPARATION FROM GOD!   Adam and Eve died the day they

doubted God’s love and ate the fruit. They ceased not to exist that day,

but died out of fellowship with God. Hence we are not to associate an

annihilation view with the Biblical idea of death. Men die when they are

separated from God as really as the branch broken from the stem.

Sin is the mother of Death (James 1:15). It brings it forth, because it

separates the soul from Him who is the Fountain of life.  The Jews found

in their national experience HOW DEADLY A THING IT IS TO


shall their calamities cease till they return to him. “Their sorrows shall

be multiplied that hasten after another god” (Psalm 16:4).  Meanwhile,

may we see to it that we cleave trustfully and lovingly to God, and

             have increasing life in His favor!




                                    A Dread Alternative (vs. 15-20)


While handling substantially the same momentous themes, the aged

lawgiver, as if the thought were oppressing him that he should very soon

speak his last word, becomes more and more intensely earnest, and mingles

a solemnity and pathos which may well be followed by those whose work it

is to “warn every man, and teach every man in all wisdom”, that they may

“present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28)  Here is presented

to us a series of considerations, which are cumulative in their force, and which

should be deeply pondered in strict order of progress.



CONSCIENCES AND HEARTS. There are a few words and phrases here

given, in form most short and simple, yet in meaning how august! how

deep! how high! They are such as these:


Ø      God, the Lord thy God,

Ø      good,

Ø       evil,

Ø      life,

Ø      death,

Ø      blessing,

Ø      cursing.


Dread words! whose meaning has no end, no bound.” There are immeasurable,

yea, infinite realities behind them. And having once been lodged in the

conscience with the significance which is theirs, no power can dislodge

them, nor can any one cause it to be to the man as if he had never heard

them.  (Thus the importance of parents teaching their children! – CY  - 2020)





Ø      To love the Lord,

Ø      to obey Him,

Ø      to cleave to Him,

Ø      to walk in His ways, and

Ø      to keep His commandments, His statutes, and judgments,


this is obviously THE RIGHT COURSE for men to follow.


1. The Lord God is holy, and all His commandments are so too; and it is

    intrinsically and manifestly right to follow what is holy.

2  As our Maker and Preserver, God has supreme claims on our loyalty of

    heart and life.

3. As our Lawgiver, He has the INFINITE RIGHT to require our obedience.

4. As our Infinite Benefactor, having commended His love towards us,

    having bought us with a price, He has a claim of love as well as a right of

    law. And it is not possible for a man to dispute this claim unless his nature

    is becoming so perverted that he begins to call evil good, or good evil.



LOYALTY AND OBEDIENCE. This is so under the gospel, as really as

under the Law. For the Law rested on a basis of gospel, and the gospel

brings with it its own law. How can it be otherwise? The gospel call is,

“Repent, believe, obey.” This is the precise and immutable order. The

grace of God teaches us that “we should live soberly, righteously, and

godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the

glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ!”

(Titus 2:12-13). And we know what is the promised issue: Godliness...

hath promise of the  life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 

(I Timothy 4:8)  “For God  is our life and the length of our days.” (v. 20) 

Peace, joy, hope, and all joyful graces and blessings attend on




SHOULD HAVE LIKE ISSUES. Men going in opposite directions, in a

right line, on a plane surface, from the same point, can never meet. If to

love and obey God be good and tends to good, then the reverse must be

evil, and CAN WORK NOTHING BUT EVIL!   And such evil effects must,

for aught we know, go on forever and ever, unless something or some being

interposes (v. 18). The prolongation of Israel’s life in the Promised Land,

even though they reached it in peace, would depend on the continuity of their

obedience to their God. They rebelled. Their kingdom was broken up; their

people were carried captive; and the sad story already rehearsed became

theirs. And if now men quit the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ,


than for those who rebelled against the Law of Moses (Hebrews chps. 6, 9

and 10.; John 3:36). The outlook for the despisers of Christ, in the next life,

is darkness without a gleam of the light of hope in the distant horizon.

And even in this life nothing but woe can possibly be to him who striveth

with his Maker.  (Isaiah 45:9)



UNDIRECTED AND UNWARNED. (v. 19.) Compare with this

solemn adjuration of Moses that of Paul in Acts 20:26-27; Philippians 1:8.

“Heaven” was witness. For every warning given to men in God’s Name is

known and received on high. Earth is witness, for the record of the warning

is published to the world. And the warning itself was heard by thousands of

ears, and was heard of by many thousands more. By the very directions of

our Lord, we are to proclaim to the many, not to whisper to a few.





passages may be compared with our text: 


Ø      Ezekiel 33:2-5, 9;

Ø      Matthew 8:11-12; 12:41-42.


If any one, having heard the gospel message in all its fullness and freeness,

should ever attempt to throw the blame of his destruction upon others,

the light of eternity will be to  HIS COMPLETE UNMASKING AND

DISCOMFITURE!  No false pretences will stand in the judgment (Psalm 1.).






Ø      If he is nearing the close of his course.

Ø       If a year is approaching its close.

Ø      If he realizes the thought that soon, very soon, some of his hearers may

      be in the eternal world.

Ø      If he gives due heed to the thought that, even apart from the possible

      nearness of the next life, the accidents of time may make the period

exceedingly short for teaching and warning any one individual.




CAN GO. He may teach and warn and plead, but when he has done that

where his responsibility ends, THAT OF THE HEARER BEGINS!

(v. 19, “therefore choose life.” The preacher witnesses. The

hearer must be left alone with God and his own conscience to decide

the all-important question, ON WHICH A WHOLE ETERNITY

DEPENDS!   Man can direct his fellowman to God. He may plead and

beseech, even weeping. He may, as in Christ’s stead, pray, “Be reconciled

to God” (II Corinthians 5:20).  But on the hearer alone THE FULL


to God: but we cannot come between the soul and God. We can herald the

way: but we cannot lead the soul along the paths of righteousness (Ezekiel 33:4).

Hence the final word must be, “Choose life” (v. 19).  “Choose ye this day

whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15).  With the power of free choice man

cannot interfere. With it God will not trifle. And what should be the effect of

such an appeal, but to shut the sinner up alone with his God, that between him

and Heaven the great matters of life and death may be decided, and that,

with the judgment seat alone in view, in full sincerity of soul, the sinner, pressed

with the weight of the Divine claims, may then and there “repent,” and “yield

himself unto God?” And if then, conscious of the feebleness of a will

weakened by so oft determining on the wrong side, he cries, “Lord, help

me, and I will be thine forever,” A REGAL LOVE SHALL CANCEL








                                                A Last Word (vs. 15-20)


·         AN ALTERNATIVE. Life and death; good and evil (v. 15); blessing

and cursing (v. 19). An alternative for the nation, but also for the

individual. “Life” is more than existence — it is holy and happy existence.

“Death” is not equivalent to non-existence. As respects the natural life, it is

the separation of the living, thinking principle from the body, and is

compatible with the survival of the soul in a future state. As respects the

spiritual life — that life which the believer has, and the unbeliever has not,

even now, while yet both have conscious being (I John 5:12) — death

is the cessation in the soul of all holy, spiritual functions, implying, indeed,

a state of moral ruin, destruction, and disorganization, but by no means the

wiping out of consciousness. “Eternal death” — a phrase not scriptural,

though “eternal punishment” is (Matthew 25:46) — is not held by any

one to mean “eternal existence in suffering;” but it is believed that a being

who exists eternally, and exists consciously, whether in actual suffering or

not, may yet in a very true sense be “dead.” “Death,” in this verse (v. 15),

is deemed compatible with experience of “evil.” How strange that

between such alternatives there should be a moment’s hesitation!


·         A WARNING. (vs. 17-18.) If the heart is drawn away from God,

and turns to idols, i.e. sets up any other objects in God’s place, and

forbears to give to God His proper love and honor, he whose heart does

this, or the nation if it does so, shall surely perish.


Ø      An awful end.

Ø      A certain end.

Ø      An end of which due warning has been given.


·         AN APPEAL. (vs. 19-20.) “Therefore choose life,” etc. On which



Ø      That choice or moral determination underlies our salvation.

Ø      That choice underlies the possibility of love to God.

Ø      That one deep choice in the heart’s center underlies all the separate acts

      of choice involved in a life of obedience.

Ø      That the choice God wishes involves the choosing of Himself, with a


o       to love Him,

o       to obey Him, and

o       to cleave to Him.

Ø      That the choice of God is the choice of life, and carries all lesser good

      with it.





                                    An Alternative Choice (vs. 15-20)


The prophet’s power to persuade and influence a people is great —

unspeakably great; yet it is not irresistible. It has its limits. After all that has

been said to him, a man feels that the determination and choice rest within

himself. Reason may be convinced; judgment may give a decided verdict;

still inclination may inordinately lean to the weaker side, and baffle all

prudent calculations. The intense eagerness of Moses for the people’s weal

is a sublime spectacle of generous devotement — an unparalleled instance

of ardent patriotism. Calling up all his powers of persuasive and passionate

appeal, he makes a final effort to win the tribes for God. We have here:


·         ALTERNATIVE LINES OF CONDUCT. All possible courses of life

are reduced to two — one of which every man must take; a third course is

excluded. The two are separately described.


Ø      The course of loyalty is described:


o        By the mans state of heart. “To love the Lord thy God.” This

determines all that follows — the root out of which all flowers and

fruits of obedience spring. This love arises from a right appreciation

of God. He is thy life,” yea, the life of thy life. Without Him, life is

a shadow — a dream — outside showy. “In Him we live.” (Acts

17:28)  Christ is our life” (Colossians 3:4), the Source of all

strength and goodness and joy. This love arises from close

relationship. He is our God; He has entered into loving covenant

with us and joined forever His interests with ours.


o        By the mans habit of life. He “walks in God’s ways.” In those ways

      HE FINDS GOD!  It is the King’s highway. He has daily

companionship with Jehovah. All his tastes and wishes are gratified.

His will is sweetly acquiescent in God’s will. He steadily makes

advancement in the beauteous life. He does not halt; he walks.


o        By his practical obedience. “He keeps His commandments and His

statutes.” He keeps them in memory (“Thy Word have I kept in my

heart that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11), and has

regard to them in every step he takes. They are written upon the

tablet of his heart; they shine out in lustrous characters in all his

actions. He guards them from the assaults of others. As the stone

tablets of the Decalogue were preserved in the ark of the covenant,

so in the more capacious ark of a good man’s heart, the

commandments of God are kept.


Ø      So, also, the course of disloyalty is portrayed:


o        As a dislike of God. “If thine heart turn away.” Through ignorance, or

prejudice, or pride, or sensual indulgence, men grow in dislike of God,

until His very Name is odious — His presence a very hell. Repugnance

to God is the livery they wear.


o        Is wanton deafness. “So that thou wilt not hear.” The ear is only an

instrument; the effective power comes from a deeper source. We

gradually bring ourselves into a condition in which we hear only

what we wish to hear. The bulk of men have made themselves

deaf to God’s voice.


o        Is weak compliance to temptation. Thou “shall be drawn away.” The

habit of most men is to float with the stream. They yield thoughtlessly

to the influence of public example. They do as others do, speak as

others dictate.


o        As ignoble service of idols. “And worship other gods.” Man must

worship somewhat. It is a necessity of his being. He is not self-

contained; nor can he be satisfied out of himself. He worships:


§         power,

§         wealth,

§         fashion,

§         social fame,

§         fate, and

§         the devil.




Ø      The course of loyality secures:


o        All real good. The good is not always apparent — not always immediate.

      Yet even the experiences of pain and calamity prove ultimately to the

obedient soul a real good. The storms of winter are as needful to the

best life as the warm breath of spring. All that is wise, pure, excellent,

elevating, noble, useful, is to be gained in the pathway of obedience.

Every stage accomplished is a new installment of good.


o        It secures increase of numbers. Rapid multiplication was, humanly

speaking, Israel’s security. (It is very hard to have natural increase

with a public policy of abortion like that of the United States of

America!  CY – 2020)  By this means, they could outnumber their

foes. Through our children, blessing and gladness come. So is it in

spiritual things. We taste the highest joy when we become the

channels of Christ’s life to men. We long to have many genial

companions in the road to heaven.


o        It secures Divine blessing. “The Lord thy God shall bless thee.”

External possessions contain no blessing in themselves. The richest

lands — the fairest scenes on earth, are stripped of charm, so long

as they are enveloped in absolute darkness. It is the light of God’s

favor that converts possession into blessing. Hence the little of

the righteous is better than the abundance of the wicked. (Psalm

37:16)  If God’s blessing be on our estates, that makes them secure.

(Psalm 16:6,11)  That blessing is the core and marrow of true

prosperity. That blessing alone gives fragrance and gladness to life.

This blessing is secured by the oath of God.


Ø      But the course of disloyalty is marked by the opposite experience.


o        It is an experience of evil. The table may groan under the profusion of

dainty food, but there is a scarcity of food for the soul. (Psalm 106:15)

The body may be pampered, but there is leanness in the spirit. Riches

may increase, but they daily corrupt the mind. There may be noisy

laughter, but it only covers inner sadness and hidden grief. No sorrow

is sanctified. The real man is starved and ruined.


o        There is distressing insecurity. We are rich today; we may be paupers

tomorrow. “Ye shall not prolong your days in the land.” Apart from

God’s favor, we have not a day’s lease of life — not the certainty that

any possession of ours shall continue. We dwell on the verge of a

volcano. The earth quivers under our feet.


o        There is a sense of the Divine curse. A life of disloyalty is a life of

constant warfare with Goda conflict with Omnipotence. Every

plan which impious men make is a plan to elude and defeat God.

And they know they cannot permanently succeed. There is a dark

pall overhanging every prospect — a night of gloom closing in their

little day. The curse of a good man is an awful calamity: what must

God’s curse include?




Ø      The destiny of the good man IS LIFE!  This means life in its fullest

      measure, in its highest form, in its perpetual developments. Gradually

all the elements of weakness and pain and decay shall be eliminated.

Compared with the future life of the righteous, the present life is but

childhood — the feebleness and ignorance of infancy. The life which

is promised to the righteous is NOTHING LESS THAN THE

LIFE OF GOD!  “We shall be like him.”  (I John 3:2)


Ø      The destiny of disloyalty is destruction. “Ye shall surely perish.”


o       This includes disappointmentthe sudden collapse of all

      earthly hopes.

o       It embraces shame and public reproach. The disloyal will

      be the laughingstock of the universe. They shall be covered

with confusion.

o       This dark destiny includes poignant remorse. The unrighteous

      will know, to their deepest grief, THAT THEY MIGHT


o       Such despair BAFFLES ALL DESCRIPTION!


·         INSTANT CHOICE DEMANDED. We cannot do other than admire


WITH “ALL MEN!”  (Today is the Day of Salvation!  I recommend

How to Be Saved! - # 4 and Lord Save Me! - #5 – this website – CY – 2020)


Ø      There is full instruction. “I have set before thee life and death.” Every

element of needed information is furnished; and personal examination

of spiritual facts is expected. Every man is bound:


o       to investigate,

o       to ponder,

o       to judge.


Ø      There is authoritative command. “I command thee.” On the side of

righteous precept there is supreme authority.


o       Every appeal of God is an appeal to the noblest part of

      our nature — to conscience.

o       Every solicitation of the tempter is an appeal to appetite

      and passion.


Ø      There is tender entreaty. To the activities of wisdom and authority is

added the impulse of love. If man’s benevolent love prompt him to use

all measures to turn the disloyal unto God; how much deeper must be

the love of God, of which man’s affection is but a faint adumbration!

With all the pathos which human sympathy can lend to entreaty

Moses pleads, therefore choose life.”


Ø      Heaven and earth are summoned to hear the solemn charge. Angels

note the fidelity of God’s prophets. All heaven is interested in man’s

obedience. The joy of heaven rises to new heights with every accession

of loyal subjects. And all the inhabitants of earth are interested in our

obedience, whether they feel that interest or not. The future history of

this world is in our hands — is being molded by our deeds. What we

are today determines what the next generation will be. (How shall it

sound in your ears to be deemed a willing part of a generation who

denied the next generation to be born.  I am talking about “abortion

on demand” and “pro-choice” – CY  - 2020)  Each man who

hears the heavenly summons makes decision straightway, if not in form,

yet in reality. Each man is writing the epitaph for his tomb —

preparing his verdict for THE LAST JUDGMENT!   Can we

not today forecast our final destiny?




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