Exile and Repentance, Part 3: Deu 29:1-30:5 (God’s grace following the curses)

Arch_of_Titus_MenorahWe saw in Deu 28 that the curses and blessing were conditioned on obedience to all of God’s commands, but most especially to refraining from idolatry. This bring us
to —

(Deu 29:1-9 ESV) These are the words of the covenant that the LORD commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.  

2 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,  3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders.  4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.  5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.  6 You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.  7 And when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them.  8 We took their land and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites.  9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. 

Moses offers a reflection on the preceding 29 chapters, reminding the Israelites that God had taken them out of Egypt, defeated their enemies, and then he describes Deuteronomy as a covenant in addition to the covenant made at Horeb (Mt. Sinai). This new generation (the children of the Israelites who’d died in the desert) is being asked to re-covenant with God.

(Deu 29:10-15 ESV) “You are standing today all of you before the LORD your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel,  11 your little ones, your wives, and the sojourner who is in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water,  12 so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is making with you today,  13 that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.  14 It is not with you alone that I am making this sworn covenant,  15 but with whoever is standing here with us today before the LORD our God, and with whoever is not here with us today. 

Moses then warns the people against having a rebellious spirit, against intentional sin —

(Deu 29:16-29 ESV) “You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed.  17 And you have seen their detestable things, their idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, which were among them.  18 Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit,  19 one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.  20 The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.  21 And the LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.  22 And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the LORD has made it sick–  23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath–  24 all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’  25 Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt,  26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them.  27 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book,  28 and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.’  

God makes a distinction between unintentional sin and sin committed with a “high hand.” Test God by intentionally following idols or breaking his commands, and the curses will follow.

29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

This is obviously true: God had not revealed everything, but he had revealed enough that we may be obedient. God isn’t hiding commands that are essential. The commands that matter are revealed.

Another blessing

(Deu 30:1-5 ESV) “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you,  2 and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul,  3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.  4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you.  5 And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.

Amazingly, chapter 30 declares that even if these curses come true, if the people will return to the LORD, “with all your heart and with all your soul,” then God will restore his relationship and once again bless Israel.

In short, even if Israel commits the most horrible of sins, and even if God brings about the unspeakably horrible curses, he will forgive and restore their relationship.

But there’s more …

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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3 Responses to Exile and Repentance, Part 3: Deu 29:1-30:5 (God’s grace following the curses)

  1. rich constant says:

    the covenants

    17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep24 the covenantal requirement25 I am imposing on you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 17:10 This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep:26 Every male among you must be circumcised.27

    17:11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskins. This will be a reminder28 of the covenant between me and you. 17:12 Throughout your generations every male among you who is eight days old29 must be circumcised, whether born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not one of your descendants. 17:13 They must indeed be circumcised,30 whether born in your house or bought with money. The sign of my covenant31 will be visible in your flesh as a permanent32 reminder.

    17:14 Any uncircumcised male33 who has not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin will be cut off34 from his people – he has failed to carry out my requirement.”35

    Joshua 5

    5:6 Indeed, for forty years the Israelites traveled through the desert until all the men old enough to fight when they left Egypt, the ones who had disobeyed the Lord, died off.9 For the Lord had sworn a solemn oath to them that he would not let them see the land he had sworn on oath to give them,10 a land rich in11 milk and honey.

    5:7 He replaced them with their sons,12 whom Joshua circumcised. They were uncircumcised; their fathers had not circumcised them along the way. 5:8 When all the men13 had been circumcised, they stayed there in the camp until they had healed.

    5:9 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have taken away14 the disgrace15 of Egypt from you.” So that place is called Gilgal16 even to this day.

    Deuteronomy 11

    11:26 Take note – I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:51 11:27 the blessing if you take to heart52 the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 11:28 and the curse if you pay no attention53 to his54 commandments and turn from the way I am setting before55 you today to pursue56 other gods you have not known. 11:29 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are to possess, you must pronounce the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.57

    11:30 Are they not across the Jordan River,58 toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah opposite Gilgal59 near the oak60 of Moreh? 11:31 For you are about to cross the Jordan to possess the land the Lord your God is giving you, and you will possess and inhabit it. 11:32 Be certain to keep all the statutes and ordinances that I am presenting to you today.

    Joshua
    8:30 Then Joshua built an altar for the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal, 8:31 just as Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded the Israelites. As described in the law scroll of Moses, it was made with uncut stones untouched by an iron tool.50 They offered burnt sacrifices on it and sacrificed tokens of peace.51 8:32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua inscribed on the stones a duplicate of the law written by Moses.52 8:33 All the people,53 rulers,54 leaders, and judges were standing on either side of the ark, in front of the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Both resident foreigners and native Israelites were there.55 Half the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and the other half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the Lord’s servant had previously instructed to them to do for the formal blessing ceremony.56 8:34 Then57 Joshua read aloud all the words of the law, including the blessings and the curses, just as they are written in the law scroll. 8:35 Joshua read aloud every commandment Moses had given58 before the whole assembly of Israel, including the women, children, and resident foreigners who lived among them.59

  2. rich constant says:

    maybe after your post tomorrow (depending where you go with “more to come”) jay.
    i will tieALL these scripture together, throw it up on the board and see if it STICKS….
    😉
    BOY OH BOY

    RICH

  3. rich constant says:

    KEY WORDS FAITHFUL / UNFAITHFUL …DISOBEDIENT
    ROM.
    4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised,17 so that he would become18 the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised,19 that they too could have righteousness credited to them. 4:12 And he is also the father of the circumcised,20 who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.21

    ROMANS
    4:9 Is this blessedness12 then for13 the circumcision14 or also for15 the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”16 4:10 How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised,17 so that he would become18 the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised,19 that they too could have righteousness credited to them. 4:12 And he is also the father of the circumcised,20 who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.21

    4:13 For the promise22 to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 4:14 For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified.23 4:15 For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression24 either. 4:16 For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace,25 with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants – not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham,26 who is the father of us all 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”).27 He is our father28 in the presence of God whom he believed – the God who29 makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do.30 4:18 Against hope Abraham31 believed32 in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations33 according to the pronouncement,34 “so will your descendants be.”35 4:19 Without being weak in faith, he considered36 his own body as dead37 (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 4:20 He38 did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 4:21 He was39 fully convinced that what God40 promised he was also able to do. 4:22 So indeed it was credited to Abraham41 as righteousness.

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