Skip to main content

Clear Covenant Choices: Deuteronomy 30

In Summary:

We are nearing the end of Deuteronomy. By extension, that means we are also near the end of the Pentateuch and soon to move out of the books of Moses. Deuteronomy 30 is actually the end of the covenant message from YHWH through Moses to the people. The remaining chapters are Moses’ final charge and blessing to the people and the account of his death.

A belief in the inspiration of Scripture guides to me to recognize that even those chapters are part of God’s Word. If we were doing Old Testament History and Theology, though, we would cutoff God’s covenant with Israel with the end of chapter 30.

What is in Deuteronomy 30? The summary of the blessings that will come from obedience, and the solemn warning that the Lord God Almighty is serious about this situation. Some of the promises here can be misapplied, as God promises a level of prosperity to the obedient Israelites, to mean that believers in Jesus will never have problems. That is unsupported in this text, as these promises are clearly related to covenant Israel in that era.

If you want to take it literally, you’ll have to be satisfied with cattle and life on a farm. That’s the prosperity in view here: olives for you and all the sheep you can sacrifice.

In Focus:

Laying that aside, Deuteronomy 30:11-14 is our focus for the day. What do we find here?

First, we see the challenge of covenant keeping. V. 11 tells the Israelites that the covenant is not too difficult for them. This verse should be kept in mind as we look back at the Old Testament: it was not an impossible task, for God was in their midst. Covenant abandonment by Israel was willful on their part, not fated.

Second, we see the challenge of covenant knowledge. Vv. 12-13 remind the Israelites that they do not have to travel to the ends of the earth or the heights of the heavens to find out what God has to say. They have that knowledge, right there in front of them.

Third, we see the challenge of covenant clarity. V. 14 shows us they could see and understand the covenant. God’s Word was near to them—it was their choices that would decide this.


In Practice:

Practically, the same three things echo to us today: covenant knowledge, covenant clarity, and covenant keeping.

First, we know the covenant of God. For us, it is that Jesus has said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). That knowledge is readily available to many of us—and most of us that have such knowledge are aware of our responsibility to spread it! Have you learned of God’s great love for you and His sacrifice? If you have…who have you told lately? One cannot keep a covenant one does not know!

Second, we have the covenant clarified for us in Scripture. It is not about sheep or goats or even about land. It is all about Jesus, the One who died for us. Are we walking with Him as He clearly commands us?

Third, we have the covenant to keep. The Holy Spirit dwells within all believers in Jesus—but we continue to claim the covenant is too hard for us! It is not impossible, for Christ in us makes it attainable that we might obey!

In Nerdiness:

A brief note: the calling of “heaven and earth” as witnesses seals the covenant treaty. These witnesses are called again in Prophets when the Israelites are not keeping the covenant! Isaiah 1 and Micah 1 are good examples of this.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…