Deuteronomy 9-12: Serve God
March 18, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Moses’ extraordinary exposition of God’s Word continues with another “Hear, O Israel” (9:1), this time not the great command to love God, but the great commission to go in and take possession of the land (9:1-3). They are to remember who God is: he is a “consuming fire,” and therefore they have no need to fear their enemies (9:3). They are also to remember who they are: it is, most definitely, not because of their own “righteousness” that God is giving them the land (9:4-5). No indeed they are a “stubborn” and sinful people (9:6). Note that the doctrine of the sinfulness of people was not invented by the apostle Paul, but is a faithful exposition of the Torah. How we need a Savior!
And so in light of this long last “rebellion,” the golden calf, that Moses recapitulates at length (9:7-10:11), it is now time that they “circumcise their hearts” (10:12-22). How interesting it is that what some take as Paul’s novelty in Romans 2:29 is really an exposition of what Moses taught in Deuteronomy 10:12-16. For this great end of a total heart commitment to God, they are again to remember how God has rescued them from Egypt (11:3) and disciplined them (11:6) that they may be “strong” and go in and take “possession” of the land (11:8). This is so that they may live long in the land, a land that is good, though different from Egypt (11:10), a land “flowing with milk and honey” (11:9) which seems to mean that is watered by the “rain from heaven” (11:11).
It has especial attention from God: “The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it” (11:12). They have to watch out, “take care” (11:16), that they do not go after idols and lose God’s blessing (11:16-17). They must stick to God’s Word. Deuteronomy 11:19 is worth every parent memorizing: “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” In other words, do not simply take your children to church or simply lecture them in a formal devotional time, but “along the way” weave into conversation the truth of God. The great opportunity of parenting is to be able to bring God’s truth down to earth, and it is to that task that Moses commissions parents.
In other words, Moses summarizes, he is setting before them both a blessing and a curse (11:26). This blessing and curse will be dramatically symbolized in the Book of Joshua (Joshua 8:30-35), as Moses predicted and according to his instruction. Go in and take possession of the land. Do not fear them. Fear God and keep his commandments. Great issues hang upon this thread—either blessing, one “mountain,” or cursing, the other “mountain.” Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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