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, kai< ija>setai Ku>riov ta<v aJmarti>av kai 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.”

 

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

CONDITION OF THEIR HEARKENING TO THE VOICE OF

GOD AND BEING OBEDIENT TO HIS LAW!

 

 

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)

 

  • THE PENITENCE OF ISRAEL IS THE PRELIMINARY TO THIS

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

RESTORED TO GOD IN JESUS CHRIST before the complete

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)

 

  • TO THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE JEWS, CHRISTIAN

CHURCHES SHOULD INTELLIGENTLY DEVOTE THEMSELVES.

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.

 

  • THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL IS TO EXCEED IN GLORY THE

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.

 

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)

 

 

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)

 

  • OBSERVE THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD. It is a

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

OBJECTS OF FAITH ARE CLEARLY REVEALED!   We want

only an eye to discern them.

 

  • THE ACCOMMODATENESS OF GOD’S WORD. On the part of

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).

 

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.”

 

 

  • SEPARATION FROM THE SOURCE OF LIFE IS DEATH

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

DISOBEY THEIR GOD AND TO DEPART FROM HIM!   Nor

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!

 

 

  • THERE IS A LIMIT BEYOND WHICH NO HERALD FOR GOD

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

RESPONSIBILITY OF THAT FINAL STEP RESTS!   We may point

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

PAST SIN AND COMPLETELY FORGIVE; AND A GRACIOUS

POWER SHALL CURE THE WEAKNESS AND PERFECTLY

RESTORE!

 

 

 

 

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