The first 10 verses of this chapter are a plain intimation of the mercy that God has in store for Israel in the latter days. The passage refers to the prophetic warnings of the last two chapters, which were mainly fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and in their dispersion to the present day. And there can be no doubt that the prophetic promise contained in these verses will come to pass also. It seems that the majority of the Jewish nation, in some future period, shall be converted to faith in Jesus (Rom. 11:22-27). However, these verses are chiefly to be considered as a conditional promise made to all people, not just the Jews. This passage assures us that even the greatest sinners – if they repent and are converted – shall have their sins pardoned, and be restored to God’s favor.
Let us observe the process of repentance. It begins in serious consideration (verse 1; Luke 15:17) of the blessings that we have lost by sin, and of the curses that we have merited by disobedience; as well as a reflection of the fact that a speedy return to the Lord will recover those blessings. This consideration results in Godly sorrow and shame for our sins. The Lord promises to have compassion and tender mercy upon these sorrowful sinners, and to restore them to true happiness in His favor. He pledges Himself to “circumcise their hearts.” And when regenerating grace has removed corrupt nature, and Divine love has taken the place of love of sin; such persons will certainly reflect, repent, return to God, and obey Him – and He will rejoice in doing them good! The change that He works in repentant sinners is not only outward, for it also reaches to their very hearts and souls! It produces in them an utter hatred of all sin, and a fervent love for their reconciled God in Christ Jesus. They love Him with all their hearts and souls. Sinners may seem to be very far from this state of mind at the present time; but so were the murderers of our Lord Jesus, on the day of Pentecost – who, in one hour, were converted to faith in the Messiah! (Acts 2)
In the second part of this chapter, Moses urged the people to obedience, upon the consideration of the plainness and easiness of the command. They could never plead the fact that they were disobedient because the Lord had enjoined upon them something that was impossible to be known or done. God’s Word is not hidden from man; we do not need to send messengers to heaven (verse 12) to enquire of the Lord’s will, nor must we sail across great seas (verse 13) in order to find this wisdom. It is not confined to scholars alone, nor is it communicated to us in puzzles or hieroglyphics. It is written down and made plain for us to read in a Book! We are blessed to have it in our own language that we can understand, so that we ourselves may read it and talk about it with our children. And it is in our hearts as well! This is especially true of the Gospel of Christ, to which the Apostle applies these words (Rom. 10:6-8). We do not need to go up to heaven and bring Him down to us, for He Himself did that in His incarnation. Nor do we need to go down to the deeps in order to fetch Him out, for He did that also in His resurrection. The Word is near to us (verse 14), and Christ is in that Word – in fact, He is The Word! (John 1:1) Therefore, if we believe with our hearts that the promises of the Messiah are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus, and if we confess them with our mouths; then we have Christ with us!
This chapter concluded with a very bright light, enabling us to understand it clearly. Every human being wishes to obtain life and blessings, and to escape death and evil; he desires happiness, and dreads misery. And Moses told the people of Israel that he had shown them the way to happiness and blessings. In the Bible, life and death and blessings and curses are set down before us; he who believes the good news of the Gospel will be saved, but he who does not will be condemned. If people love God and serve Him, they will live and be happy. But if they turn from Him, or desert His service and worship other gods, it will certainly be their ruin. There is only one way to heaven; and this one way was clearly marked out in both Testaments, although it is revealed much more clearly in the New. Moses, therefore, encouraged the people to choose the way of life (verse 19). If they ended up coming short of this life and happiness, they would only have themselves to thank; for life was freely offered to them, but they did not wish to take it upon the terms proposed.
In the last verse, Moses showed us our duty – that is, to love the Lord our God as our Covenant-God, to obey His voice in everything, and to never forsake Him in affection or practice. He is our life (John 14:6) and the length of our days; for He is the Giver, Preserver, Restorer, and Prolonger of our frail life. Therefore, it is in our best interest to keep ourselves in His love; for it is good to have Him as our Friend, and bad to have Him as our enemy. Blessed be the Lord that Jesus is the Mediator of the better Covenant, which is established upon better promises! The law made no provision for our human defects or inabilities, for it made nothing perfect. But the bringing in of this better hope has made us perfect in Jesus; and in this hope, we draw near unto God! (Heb. 7:19)
Enable us to cling to You, Lord Jesus; for You are our life, and the length of our days. You are our hope, and our portion forever. By the sweet constraining influence of Your Holy Spirit, keep us close to You; until You shall bring us home to heaven, where we shall be blessed to rejoice in Your glory forever! Amen.
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