Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy 11

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Deuteronomy 11

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A Choice to Make 

Moses continues impressing on the children of Israel the absolute necessity of obeying each and every one of God's commandments (verse 8) for God to bless them (verses 13-15, 23-25). If they love God with all their heart and soul, then they will carefully keep His commandments and walk in His ways, holding fast to Him (verses 1, 13, 22). After all, this is the love of God—“poured out in our hearts" (Romans 5:5) --“that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3; compare 2 John 6). However, we have a choice of whether to follow or to reject God, just as ancient Israel did. God set before them "a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

God wants man to choose His way, which produces blessings (Deuteronomy 30:19), but He does not force man to do so. God created man for the purpose of developing godly character—outflowing, loving concern for others—which, by necessity, involves the voluntary decision of the individual to choose, and then act in accordance with, that right way. Otherwise, man would be nothing but a robot that does the right thing automatically without mind and conscience. But God, who is in the process of adding many children to His family, wants His future immortal sons and daughters to think and act like He does—and from eternity God has chosen to never veer from His loving nature. God expects all of us to choose His way of life too—and ultimately, once we are resurrected to incorruptible spirit with perfect godly character ourselves, we will maintain that right choice for eternity to come.

Verses 10-12 describe some agricultural practices of Egypt and Canaan, contrasting the way crops received necessary moisture. All crops in Egypt were supported by irrigation waters from the Nile. The expression relating to Egypt that the people "watered it by foot" refers to the opening or closing of water outlets that regulated flow in the canals that serviced the fields. Canaan, however, was a country without a single major river. The crops received water from the rain and the dew. God placed His people in a land in which the weather patterns were supposed to turn their minds and eyes to heaven, so they would recognize their dependence upon Him.

Indeed, God paints a refreshing picture here and on through verse 14. The Israelites were headed for a land "which drinks water from the rain of heaven...a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.... I will give you rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain...." It should be noted that the land of Israel is not the same today as it was in the time of Moses. A rich land of milk and honey, the Holy Land was then lush and green—more heavily forested with large areas of good pasturage and fertile soil for crops. Of course, the Promised Land was a physical type of the wonderful blessings of the coming Kingdom of God, which will be established over all nations.