Epistles of Thomas

April 17, 2009

Deuteronomy 28-30

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 15:21

Deuteronomy 28 continues to list blessing and cursing. The Israelites are promised a multitude of blessings if they follow the commands of the Lord, whereas disobedience will lead to the opposite effect. Chapter 29 begins with “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.” The name Moses doesn’t appear in Deuteronomy between 5:1 and 27:1 but occurs with frequency through the end of the book as events about Moses are recorded. Moses recognises that the Israelites will sin and incur God’s wrath but chapter 30 provides a great promise even for that dark future day. “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” (30:4-6). The later prophets will look forward with great longing for that day when God will circumcise the people’s hearts so that they will obey him instinctively rather than living in sin with only a physical circumcision.

Some might take this sequence as indicative that the Law of the Lord is too difficult to obey but they are told otherwise in 30:11-14: “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.” How much more are we able to obey Christ’s commands, possessing Holy Spirit as we do!


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