Just What Part of Successful Living Don’t You Understand? (Deuteronomy 30:1-20)

This is not as difficult as it seems!

Today’s reading is the third of three that gives the condensed summary of the Covenant Law. Moses’ attention turns again to the future, but now with a positive tone. Yesterday, the text spoke about the time in the future when Israel would be dispersed to captive nations. This happened with the Assyrians and Babylonians, with Israel eventually returning to the land under such as Ezra and Nehemiah. Again they would be scattered in the post-Christ Roman era, only to be re-gathered in our era. And in the millennial kingdom to come, Israel will once again be blessed of God. I know – I just covered a lot of Bible history and prophecy and interpretation there!

Let’s jump to verses 11-20 … you gotta love this!

I believe it is the natural assumption out there that living for God is the hard, difficult choice. And, I suppose, that is true if we allow the natural man to take charge of our appetites and choices. But the simple rejection of that proclivity, along with an obedience to the not-so-complicated dictates of God’s Word, promises success and well-being. It is not convoluted or mysterious. It is all written down for us. As the passage says, the truth leading to success is not hidden in the heavens at a location impossible to reach, nor is it buried in some far-flung treasure island location in a distant ocean. We have every resource that we need within our grasp – and honestly, as modern people with every sort of electronic information device, it is indeed with us in a way it was never with any other generation.

So why should not God call heaven and earth against us as witnesses, as with every generation and people with a knowledge of his Word?  Israel, in this text, has the remembrance of God’s faithfulness to the patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And we have not only all of that, but 3500 more years of God’s workings, along with what the writer to the Hebrews calls “the great cloud of witnesses” who can testify to the truth of God’s timeless covenant – life to those who honor and obey, but death and separation to those who choose to not follow the very, very, very clear truth of the Word.

Let us, as God’s people and his church redeemed by the new covenant of the blood of Christ, renew together – especially when together with the bread and cup – the covenant we possess by his grace and revelation in our lives. This is not difficult. This is not complicated. It is the stuff of continuous renewal … of reaffirmed revival.

Prosperity after Turning to the Lord

30:1  When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The Offer of Life or Death

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 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?” 13 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?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed multiple hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and have been a sportswriter for various publications and online venues. My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

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