Deuteronomy 30


‘When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.’ Deuteronomy 30:1-10

Prosperity After Turning to the LORD

It appears that the Lord knew that Israel would let Him down and so, here, through Moses, God pronounces the end before the beginning, Isaiah 46:10.

Though Israel intended to obey every word of God they eventually sin against God’s divine will. All the cursings would come upon Israel because of their disobedience and since the cursings would be inevitable, then they must struggle to see how long they can prolong the blessings by their obedience.

God wanted Israel to keep His commands so that everything would go well with them and their children, Deuteronomy 5:28-29. This chapter takes into consideration a time when God’s people would fall away in sin and then return, through a heart of sorrow and repentance, unto the Lord.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning the people being dispersed among the nations.

‘Here is simply no way that this means ‘the Babylonian captivity,’ although, to be sure, that episode, along with the ravaging of the Northern kingdom by Assyria, was part of the total picture of Israel’s rejection.’

‘The reason that this cannot be limited to the Babylonian period is the mention of the scattering of Israel ‘among all the nations’, Deuteronomy 30:1, among ‘all the peoples’, Deuteronomy 30:3, even ‘the uttermost parts of heaven’, Deuteronomy 30:4. None of this ever occurred until after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Also, God’s promise to ‘turn thy captivity’, Deuteronomy 30:3, could not possibly refer to the return of a handful of Jews to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity ended, except as a kind of symbol and token of what is really promised here.’

Coffman continues concerning God restoring Israel’s fortunes.

‘The Septuagint (LXX) has, ‘the Lord will heal thy sins as the meaning of this passage’. The reference here, then, must refer to a much more extensive captivity than that in Babylon. The Jews themselves do not consider this prophecy fulfilled by their return from Babylon. The reasons why the Jews take this position are:

1. Not all of them returned after Babylonian exile;

2. They had not, at that time, been scattered among all nations;

3. They were not multiplied above their fathers, Deuteronomy 30:5.

4. Their hearts were not circumcised to love the Lord, Deuteronomy 30:6, etc.

Jamieson, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the return.

‘The Jews ardently look to this promise, believing that God will yet fulfil it by bringing them back from their exile among all nations and entering them again into Canaan. For these and many other reasons we cannot believe that the turning of Israel’s captivity refers to anything less than the spiritual blessings in the kingdom of the Son of God’s love, even that of Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Luke 4:18.

God desires that mankind would serve Him with all their heart and soul. Man’s obedience should happen not only out of a sense of duty, gratitude for what God has done for them, and because it is the right thing to do but also because it is what a man’s earnest desire to do is.

We should serve God because we see that He loves us, provides for us, and is compassionate toward us when we fail and humbly ask for His forgiveness, Exodus 19:4-6.

Israel is to look upon God’s wondrous works, love, and law and be determined to follow His every commanded direction. When their hearts are set on serving God, then we are recognised as His possession, Deuteronomy 14:2 / Deuteronomy 26:18 / Deuteronomy 27:9-10.

If disobedience brought disaster and exile for Israel, then repentance would bring renewal and restoration. If ignorance of the law resulted in their creation of gods after their own imagination, then knowledge of the law would restore their commitment to the one true and living God.

Notice God says He, ‘will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.’ This spiritual circumcision would be a restoration of the covenant because of their restoration to obedience from the heart, Deuteronomy 10:16.

Within these words, Moses was certainly looking toward a time of spiritual restoration when the Messiah would eventually come to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, Jeremiah 31:31-34 / Ezekiel 36:26-28 / Romans 2:28-29 / Colossians 2:10-11.

The apostle Paul commanded the same thing over in Romans 2:28-29, and he tells us what he meant in Colossians 2:11. God wants us to remove everything from our hearts that is contrary to His will, that competes with sincere devotion, and that hinders obedience. God wants inward trust instead of outward claims, a true heart instead of a hypocritical ceremony.

Moses, for the third time in this chapter, commands obedience in connection with our turning to God with all the heart and soul, Matthew 22:37.

The Offer Of Life Or Death

‘Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Deuteronomy 30:11-20

The command to love God with our heart and soul, isn’t too difficult or beyond our reach. In other words, God’s commandments are not too difficult or so far out of reach to obtain that we cannot reach God’s requirements, Deuteronomy 17:8.

With obedience, there is life and good, but with disobedience, there is death and evil. There was nothing difficult about this for Israel to understand, they had been given free choice, and so, if they choose death and evil, they would be held accountable.

God hasn’t set a goal so high as to reach the heavens or across the sea but rather His will is right in front of them and is very obtainable to anyone who so desires to obtain it.

The apostle Paul quoted from Deuteronomy 30:12-14 in Romans 10:6-8. Romans 10:5 points out that Moses said that if a man kept the law he would be a righteous man. But Paul has already shown that no one ever succeeded in keeping the whole law, and therefore by the law, no one could be justified.

The law required perfect obedience. Leviticus 18:5 / Galatians 3:10-12. A person had to live by it and do exactly as it said, in order to obtain righteousness.

Since all had sinned and violated the law, and since the law had no means of pardon, it was impossible to be made righteous by the law. The design of the law was to bring men to Christ where they could be justified by faith.

Paul gave a quote from the law to describe what the law required. He will do the same regarding the word of faith which they preached.

Romans 10:6-7 tells us that on hand, neither does righteousness come through merit or as a reward for good behaviour. You do not need to ascend into heaven to bring Christ down. You do not need to descend into the Abyss, into Hades, to bring Christ up from the dead. It is so much simpler than all that, it is a matter of faith.

The righteousness of faith is personified, in Deuteronomy 30:12-13, Moses told the children of Israel that God’s commandments were not in heaven, nor beyond the sea, but were at their disposal so that they could do them.

As Paul draws from Moses’ words, he adds his own information and shows that the same is true regarding the righteousness of faith. The Jews expected their Messiah to remain forever. John 12:34.

In Romans 10:8-11 Paul says, it is a matter of hearing, believing and obeying the Gospel. It is then the case that Israel doesn’t believe because they have not heard? Romans 10:18 says certainly not, they have heard because the Gospel has gone out into all the earth.

If it says neither of those things, what does it say? There is no need to ascend into heaven or descend into the deep to learn the word of faith. It is as close as belief in one’s heart or words in one’s mouth. His word has been implanted in our minds. Hebrews 8:10.

These verses reveal the accessibility of the word and the simplicity of that required, in contrast with the obedience necessary under the law. ‘With the mouth’ and so, here the ‘confession’ does not refer to confessing Him by the way we live. We must go to other passages for that.

Moses brings his audience to a point of the decision here at the end of his third sermon on the plains of Moab. He’s revealed the compassionate nature of God in that He would bless Israel, if only they would obey and turn to Him with all their heart.

Israel has come to a crossroads in its choices again, Deuteronomy 29:10. They had seen with their eyes God’s mighty power, Deuteronomy 29:2-3, and they had seen with their eyes the detestable practices of the nations, Deuteronomy 29:17, that had seen God’s care, Exodus 19:4 / Deuteronomy 29:5-6.

What direction will they choose? Moses encourages them to, ‘choose life’, this is an encouragement to make a free-moral decision to choose that which will bring life and good, Deuteronomy 4:40 / Deuteronomy 32:47.

Moses says they should choose life because the Lord is their life, Joshua 24:15. When a person stays close to God, they will have life, John 10:10 / 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 / 1 John 5:11.

Go To Deuteronomy 31


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."