Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy 30

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Deuteronomy 30

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Returning to God—A Choice We All Must Make 

As previously mentioned in the highlights on chapter 28, Israel, when in captivity and distress, would ultimately repent. It is interesting how God describes their future repentance: “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:6 Deuteronomy 30:6And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
American King James Version×
). And how would the circumcision of the heart, leading to the love toward God, be manifested? Verse 8 gives the answer: “And you will again [in your future repentance] obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today.” Read that again! Memorize this verse! Many try to say that God’s law is done away. But this passage shows that Israel, at the time of their repentance—which is still yet future even today—will at that time return to obeying the same commandments that Moses gave them. And so, far from being done away, God’s law still stands (compare Malachi 4:4-6 Malachi 4:4-6 [4] Remember you the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. [5] Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 5:17-20 Matthew 5:17-20 [17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [18] For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
). God also points out in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 Deuteronomy 30:11-14 [11] For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. [12] It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? [13] Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? [14] But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.
American King James Version×
that there are no good excuses for pleading ignorance. Moses made the point that God’s commandments are completely accessible to Israel. And in the New Testament, the apostle Paul applies this concept of accessibility to the access we have to Christ (Romans 10:5-8 Romans 10:5-8 [5] For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which does those things shall live by them. [6] But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) [7] Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) [8] But what said it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
American King James Version×
).

God reminds Israel (and us today) that He has revealed to us the way of death and the way of life—but we are required to choose. God will not make this decision for us. However, if we choose the wrong way, it will only bring misery, pain and, eventually, death. On the other hand, choosing the right way means being blessed with prosperity, happiness and life—not just for us, but also for our children (Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Deuteronomy 30:11-20 [11] For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. [12] It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? [13] Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? [14] But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. [15] See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; [16] In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it. [17] But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; [18] I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass 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 you and your seed may live: [20] That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may hold to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
American King James Version×
; compare Exodus 20:5-6 Exodus 20:5-6 [5] You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [6] And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
American King James Version×
). If we’ve chosen the wrong path in the past, it’s not too late to turn around—at least, not yet. As the first part of this chapter shows, we can choose to return to God and His way. And, when we do, He will forgive us and lead us to life. May all of us make the right choice.

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