A Call to Life – Deuteronomy 30 Commentary

Decisions sometimes confront us that are very difficult to make. We simply do not know what to do. Difficult decisions often involve health or personal difficulty; marital, family, or employment problems; or some business, national, or world issue. There are events that happen in life that are simply impossible to predict. At other times an event occurs because we have made a wrong decision; we just could not see into the future.

This is not the case with God: the future is known by God, even the details of future events. Because He knows all things—God was able to predict the terrible apostasy of the Israelites referred to in the recent message preached by Moses.  Now, one of the most interesting and captivating prophecies in all of Scripture is to be made. Speaking through Moses, God predicts the restoration of Israel, a day when the Jews will return to the promised land, modern-day Palestine. Has this prophecy been fulfilled? Was the return of the Jews to Palestine in 1948 a fulfillment of this prophecy? Some Bible commentators say, “Yes” some say not until other conditions are met.

30:1-2  A day was coming when the Israelites would turn away from God and turn to idolatry and false worship. As a result, the judgment of God would fall upon their heads. A foreign nation was to conquer the Israelites and enslave them.

But now, Moses predicted that a glorious day of restoration would come. After suffering the terrible judgment and curses of God, the people would fulfill the conditions of the covenant.

  1. The people must sense the need for repentance (Deut. 30:1). They must come to their senses and recall the blessings and curses of God. Note the great hope laid out by Moses: eventually the people would recall the blessings of God as well as the curses for disobedience. By meditating upon the blessings and judgments of God, they would begin to sense their need for repentance. A deep sense of need would grip their hearts but, tragically, only after they had been enslaved by the world and suffered a broken heart.
  2. The people must repent, return to the Lord (Deut. 30:2). They must turn away from their hypocrisy and from engaging in idolatry and false worship. They must turn away from their lives of sin and shame and return to God.
  3. The people must obey the Lord, obey Him with their whole hearts and souls. Obedience is an absolute essential for restoration and forgiveness.

If the people were going to rededicate their lives to God, if they were going to renew their commitment and covenant with God, the people must repent and obey the Lord.

  • A renewal or rededication of life involves two things: repentance and obedience to the Lord. No matter how terrible a sin we have committed, God will forgive us and restore us. But we must sense the need for repentance and actually repent. True repentance is an absolute essential. So is obedience. To be forgiven and restored before God, we must repent and obey God.
  • Repentance is necessary.
  • Obedience—obeying God will all of one’s heart and soul—is necessary to be restored to God.

30:3-10  This is the great promise of restoration given to Israel, and through Israel, given to every person who ever repents and turns to the Lord to follow Him wholeheartedly. Note the wonderful promise given by God:

  1. The Lord will have compassion and restore His people (Deut. 30:3-5). He will restore the Israelites from all nations, even the most distant lands (Deut. 30:4). He will restore them to the promised land (Deut. 30:5). Once they have repented of their sins, they will again lay claim to their inheritance and walk victoriously in the promised land of God.
  2. The Lord will make His people more prosperous and numerous than ever before (Deut. 30:5).
  3. The Lord will circumcise or cut away the sins of their hearts and forgive them (Deut. 30:6). He will chisel away at their hard, stubborn hearts. He will enable them to love Him completely and to live forever before Him.
  4. The Lord will actually transfer all the curses of His judgment upon the enemies of His people (Deut. 30:7). The very people who had ridiculed, mocked, enslaved, and persecuted His people will suffer the terrible curses of God’s judgment.
  5. The Lord will stir His people to obey all His commandments (Deut. 30:8). At long last—sometime in the future—the people of God will become obedient. They will keep the commandments of God, obey His Holy Word.
  6. The Lord will pour out His blessings upon His people. He will bless their lives, work, and property (Deut. 30:9). The Lord will make His people prosperous and successful, causing Him to joy and rejoice in them.
  7. But note: the warning is again issued. The promises of the new covenant are conditional; the restoration and blessings are conditional (Deut. 30:10). Standing before the people and preaching his heart out, Moses declared: to be forgiven and restored before God…
  • you must obey the Lord and His commandments
  • you must repent, turn to the Lord with your whole heart and soul

*This Scripture covers one of the great promises of God, the promise of forgiveness. But note: the promise is conditional. If we confess and repent of our sins, God will forgive us. He will restore us before His face.

*The restoration of Israel is one of the great prophecies of the Bible. Scripture after Scripture predicted that the Jews, the Israelites, would someday return to the land promised them by God, the land that is known today as Palestine.

 30:11-16   Moses now turned away from prediction and prophecy and focused upon the audience before him. As he faced them, he knew that they desperately needed to rededicate their lives to the Lord. They had a dire need to renew their covenant, their commitment to the Lord. With a strong sense of urgency burning within his heart, he challenged the people to love and obey the Lord:

  1. The call to obey God is not unreasonable nor impossible (Deut. 30:11-14). The commandments of God are not in some distant, inaccessible place (Deut. 30:12-13). They are not up in heaven, still unrevealed and hidden in the heart of God. The commandments are not beyond the sea in a foreign land (Deut. 30:13). No! The Word of God is near us. It has been revealed by God so that we can obey it (Deut. 30:14).

God has demonstrated His love to us in a most wonderful way. He has not left us in the dark, groping, grasping, and stumbling about, seeking the answers to life on our own. No! God has revealed His Holy Word to us, telling us how to live life, how to find God, and how to have the assurance of living forever. The Word of God is near, very near, right at our fingertips.

  1. All of a sudden, with passion burning in his soul, Moses called upon the people to make a decision (Deut. 30:15)…
  • between life and death
  • between good and evil
  1. Moses spelled out exactly what he meant by the call of the covenant (Deut. 30:16). The call was…
  • to love the Lord
  • to walk in His ways
  • to obey His commandments
  1. The decision to love and obey the Lord will result in the most wonderful life. A person will live a full and fruitful life and be wonderfully blessed in the promised land (Deut. 30:16).

*The call to us is direct and forceful: we must love and obey the Lord. We who live today are without defense, totally without excuse. For God has not only given us the Written Word but also the Living Word. The Written Word is the Holy Bible, the Scriptures that have been written down for us to obey. The Living Word is the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest witness to the truth that could ever be conceived by the mind of man. Yes, God did a marvelous thing in giving us the Written Word of God. But God did a far more marvelous thing by giving us the Living Word of God. Jesus Christ actually lived out the Written Word of God. He obeyed every commandment in the Holy Scripture, and by obeying, showed us how to obey God. By living upon this earth, Jesus Christ showed us how to live life. But not only this: being the Perfect Man—obeying all of the commandments of God and being sinless—He became the Ideal Man. As the Ideal Man, He was able to bear all our sins and pay the penalty of our condemnation. He was able to take the judgment that was due us—take it and bear it for us.

As the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ is a far greater gift from God than even the Written Word of God. Because of living in this day and time, we are of all people without excuse. If a people were ever confronted with a decision that desperately needed to be made, it is we who live today. We must make the decision to love and obey the Lord.

30:17-18  Stressing the judgment of God would again show the people the desperate need to rededicate their lives to God, to renew their covenant and commitment to Him.

Sensing deep compassion and love for the people, Moses warned them against turning away from God and becoming disobedient. They must—absolutely must—guard against idolatry and false worship (Deut. 30:17). Moses shouted that they would “surely perish and be destroyed” if they turned away from God. They would “not live long in the promised land…not live full and victorious lives” (Deut. 30:18).

*The warning to us is as clear as it can be stated: if we do not trust the Lord—follow and obey Him—we will perish, be utterly destroyed. We will not live long in the promised land of God.

30:19-20  Urgency and immediate attention were called for. Every compelling fact Moses could impress upon the people he had preached. Only one thing remained: the decision. The people had a choice to make: life or death, blessings or curses (Deut. 30:19). Having a heart broken with compassion and a gripping sense of urgency, he appealed to the people: “Choose life! Choose life so that you and your children will live” (Deut. 30:19-20).

⇒  Choose to love God.

⇒  Choose to obey His voice, His Word.

⇒  Choose to cling, to hold fast to Him.

Note that Moses gave two strong reasons why the people must choose life, why they must rededicate their lives to God, renew their commitment and covenant with God. First, because “the Lord is your life” (Deut. 30:20). The Lord “gives life, preserves life, restores life, and prolongs life by His power.” The fullness of life that overflows with blessing after blessing, and the victorious life that conquers all the trials, temptations, and enemies of this world all come from “the Lord [who] is your life.”

But this is not the only reason to make a decision of rededication; there is a second strong reason. If you will renew your covenant and commitment, the Lord will give you a long life in the promised land. You will walk victoriously throughout all of life, conquering all the trials, temptations, and enemies that confront you. You will march victoriously through and over all, march right into the promised land of God.

*The choice is ours. A decision has to be made. We choose either life or death, either blessings or curses. The appeal of God’s Holy Word is this: Choose life! Choose life so that you and your children will live full and victorious lives over all the trials, temptations, and enemies of this world.


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Source:  The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Deuteronomy, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “E. The Strong Appeal and Hope of the Covenant: Restoration–Repentance and Forgiveness, 30:1-20”.

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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