Keep in mind, chapter and verse demarcations were added much later–to help us better search the Scriptures; first printed that way in mid 1500’s. Scholars today agree 29:1 should be read as part of chapter 28 rather than as the beginning of a new section; do not let this shock you, just read on.
Our section of Deuteronomy today, chapters 29-30, includes more review. We are used to this, knowing that God was patiently teaching them to see their past, present, and future, from His perspective.
29:2-4 You have seen with your eyes, but not understood.
Why this review? They are ready now to learn more about God, as He reviews these things yet again. They walked through the wilderness, and can now look back and gain understanding.
5-8 God has cared for, provided for, fought for His people. They doubted that He would, He has proven His ability and His desire to look after them. God is Love, and His hesed is clearly seen through all this review. This ought to warm our hearts: the God who never changes, still cares for us, His people, with this power and love and faithfulness.
Verse 9, So, a linking word, similar to a therefore: keep the words of the covenant!
10-13, So today, declare that you are part of His people! That He may be your God, and He may establish you, just as HE PROMISED!
Jeremiah 50:4-5 “In those days and at that time,” declares the LORD, “the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek. They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.”
Verses 14-19, the covenant is a community one–the people of the LORD, not the one person of the LORD. And none of you shall go astray to follow idols. One of you doing so would be a poison to the community, like wormwood to a garden–which negatively affects all the plants nearby.
29:19-21 A false peace.
There are those who claim “I’ve made peace with God”…but they haven’t. They cannot. “I’m living in Israel, I’m ok.” or “I go to church, I’m ok.” Or, “I believe there is a Creator, I enjoy His creation, that is enough.” No, you are not ok; that is not enough. Being physically in the community that God has promised to care for does not mean you truly in God’s Kingdom, in His family, redeemed from your lawless deeds. Christ came to do what the Law could not. The Law points us to Christ. Christ is the Way. There is no other way. God will not forgive someone who continually says “I’m ok, I don’t need Him, I have my own way, my own ideas, my own idols, etc…” He will not dismiss this and universally allow every person ever into His heavenly Kingdom, each in our own ways.
22-28 Sometimes, the curses come–and we go “What?!! Why????!!!” but even the nations surrounding Israel would know “Oh, you forsook your God.” You knew ahead of time, He told you the choices, and the consequences.
Now–this is true for only the ways in which God told Israel…we cannot take this and assume that if I suffer, God is displeased with me. Remember Pastor Tre’s sermon!!! Sometimes we suffer the natural consequences, sometimes we suffer it is because we live in a fallen world. But our suffering is NEVER because we are separated from God. We need to look back and learn–but we must not look back and make a universal principal to apply. So what could God be teaching us here? And how does this point us to Christ? All of this is a shadow of the reality (Hebrews 8); and Christ is the reality.
They, having never turned to the LORD, having never been filled with faith. We see them choose idols rather than the living God. We see them choose idols, and receive the consequences.
29:29 So important! What God has revealed we must cling to! What He has not, we trust Him with–If He did not tell us, we do not need to know. We have been told everything we need–and it never grows stale!
Bookends: 6:4-9 and 30:1-10 LOVE YHWH with all your heart and He will make it so. We need Him to circumcise our hearts, God promises in Deuteronomy to do so, and Christ has made it so!
Colossians 2:9-11 “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;”
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 show Restoration, and in so doing, the heart of God toward His people. He is Merciful, abounding in mercy.
Note all the repetition, again. Have we heard these themes before?
Vs. 1, see 4:29, and ch 28
Vs. 2, see 4:30…also most later prophets!
Vs. 3, see 4:31, 28:64
Vs. 5, see 28:62-63
Vs. 6, see 10:16
Vs. 7, see 28:60
Vs. 8, see 28:1
Vs. 9, see 28:4
Vs. 10, see 28:58
Deuteronomy 30:11-14, see Romans 10:6-8. The word is very near you, that you may observe it. It is not far off, He has revealed it. God has spoken, He has made plain what you need to know! It is good, and it is enough. Will you cling to it, or go searching for more?
30:15-20 Choose. You will choose based on your affections, your will, your desires. What you love will shine through in your choice. This choice will show you what is in your heart. Future generations will learn how hard it is to choose what is truly good. Our hearts need to be circumcised, or else we will chose death while thinking we are choosing something wonderful. I did it my way!!! You do you!!!! YOLO!!!! We have so many reasons for choosing selfishly and otherwise sinfully. Regardless of why or on what grounds. We choose freely, according to our desires. And as we, in Christ, look back…we see that we all have wicked hearts, easily deceived, and enslaved to evil (enslaved? Romans 6, slaves to sin, John 8:31-38, 2 Peter 2:19)
Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in…BUT!…
Vs 18 crossing the Jordan. Do you see how this corresponds to eternity? Hebrews 11 reminds us that they did not receive the promises in full, all of God’s people will see the fulfillment. Let this sit with you, muse upon this idea. “Come Lord Jesus!” The restoration we await is eternal, unfading, secure.