Scriptures

Deuteronomy 29

Introduction

‘These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb. Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God.” When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.’ Deuteronomy 29:1-9

Renewal Of The Covenant

Moses not only repeated the Law given at Horeb, that is, Sinai, Exodus 24:7-8, but he also delivered additional divine laws here in Moab.

After speaking these words, that is, the three sermons, Moses calls upon the people to remember all that their eyes had seen in relation to God’s works.

They saw the signs and great wonders of God as Egypt were brought to their knees through the plagues and crushing blow of the Red Sea.

Despite Israel seeing all these signs and wonders ‘the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.’ Though Israel saw the signs and wonders they didn’t really see them, Matthew 13:10-17.

God’s people would only become His possession when they obeyed His commandments, Deuteronomy 27:9-10. God had specifically chosen Israel to be a people for His own possession, Deuteronomy 7:6-8. God didn’t choose them because of any righteousness in them, Deuteronomy 9:6 / Deuteronomy 9:24, and neither did He choose them because they were great in number, Deuteronomy 7:7.

God’s sovereign choice of the people of Israel was due to His love for them, Deuteronomy 7:8 / Romans 9:13-24. God had made a promise to Abraham and He intended to keep it, Genesis 12:1-3.

Due to these great promises, the signs and wonders that the people saw in Egypt and during their forty years of wandering, and the warnings of the Law before them the people should have, with a spirit of fear, sought out the Lord’s will.

With open eyes of understanding, they should have been terrified to break God’s laws and at the same time anxious to receive His promises by faithful living.

Moses not only reminds the people of the signs and wonders performed in Egypt but also of God’s miraculous care for them through the wilderness wanderings.

The Lord miraculously provided them with bread to eat, that is, manna and wine, that is, grape and pomegranate juice. Furthermore, the Lord defeated their enemies for them, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan and gave Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh lands that did not previously belong to them.

Seeing that God had blessed Israel with so much they were expected to follow His commandments. As they followed the commandments of God their blessings would continue, Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

‘All of you are standing today in the presence of the LORD your God your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God but also with those who are not here today. You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here. You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold.’ Deuteronomy 29:10-17

Moses is addressing all of Israel, including the children and the foreigner. The purpose of the assembly was that all would ‘enter into the covenant of the Lord your God’. To enter into a covenant or oath with God was to be ‘established as a people belonging to God.’

The Lord’s purpose of driving out Canaan and giving the people great blessings was that His promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob may be established, that is, fulfilled, Deuteronomy 8:17-19 / Deuteronomy 9:4-5 / Deuteronomy 28:9.

Israel would only belong to God as they obeyed His commandments and they would only receive blessings as they obeyed the voice of God.

To enter into the covenant oath of God was thereby a conscientious decision, on the part of Israel, to obey God’s will so that they may receive His protection and blessings, Exodus 24:3 / Deuteronomy 5:27-29.

Up until this point, Israel had only failed to be established as God’s own possession because they hadn’t obeyed His command to take Canaan, Deuteronomy 1:21 / Deuteronomy 1:26.

All of those who were standing were willing to obey the voice of God would be recipients of God’s blessings. Israel had passed through many lands and not only gained people that followed them, that is foreigners, but also they have had exposure to other religious cultures in the process of travelling great distances.

Those twenty years old and older who had rebelled 38 years before by not taking the land immediately, were not here present at the time these words were spoken, they had died in the wilderness.

But the new generation of all the Israelite families, the servants and foreigners, were present for the taking of the oath to renew the covenant at this time. Those yet unborn in the future were also taking the oath by their living families.

Israel had seen with their eyes not only God’s great and miraculous works in Egypt and the desert but they had also seen the detestable acts of the nations they passed through.

Israel were now at a crossroads in its decisions that would affect them for all eternity. Israel were to either enter into covenant with God by accepting and doing His will or follow the detestable acts of the nations, Leviticus 26:30.

‘Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. The LORD will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the LORD will blot out their names from under heaven. The LORD will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it. The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulphur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger. All the nations will ask: “Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?” And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.” The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.’ Deuteronomy 29:18-29

Moses has already delivered the danger of personal contamination through an individual’s wickedness, Deuteronomy 13. These people are described as a ‘root that produces such bitter poison’, Hebrews 12:15, the KJV uses the words ‘gall and wormwood’, Jeremiah 9:15 / Lamentations 3:19 / Amos 6:12 / Hosea 10:4 / Matthew 27:34 / Acts 8:23 / Revelation 8:11.

The bitter results of practising idolatry are seen in those who forsake the covenant agreement of the oath of God, they are subject to the anger of the Lord.

The Lord will not forgive them and that person will receive the curses of, Deuteronomy 28:15-68. The land where the idolater lives will be destroyed, to the point of causing astonishment by the nations.

Cook, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Those towns of the vale of Siddim, of which were Admah and Zeboim, were fertile and well-watered, Genesis 13:10, until devastated by the wrath of God, Genesis 19:24-25, and the ruin of Israel would follow that pattern. The desolate state of Palestine today, and the traces of former fertility and prosperity are attested by every traveller.’

If God’s people forget about God and His will, they will end up getting involved in idol worship, this was the main threat to Israel. The nation would eventually become ignorant of the word of God, for the priests would fail to be diligent to keep the word of God before the people.

As a result, the people would easily adopt the concepts and practices of the gods of the nations around them. They would eventually come to fulfil the words of Hosea, Hosea 4:6.

There are things that man can’t know, they are secret things, which belong to God, Isaiah 55:8-9. We can’t predict or calculate the providential work of God in anyone’s life, Ecclesiastes 8:17. Neither can we know things that God hasn’t revealed.

Moses’ point is that we’re not at liberty to do things that we haven’t seen or heard from God, Deuteronomy 4:12-16.

Go To Deuteronomy 30

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