God's Grace and Blessing: Deuteronomy 29:1-29

Deuteronomy 29:1‑29  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Deuteronomy 29:1-291These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 5And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the Lord your God. 7And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them: 8And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh. 9Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. 10Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, 11Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: 12That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day: 13That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; 15But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day: 16(For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by; 17And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:) 18Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; 19And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: 20The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. 21And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: 22So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the Lord hath laid upon it; 23And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: 24Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? 25Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 26For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: 27And the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: 28And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. 29The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:1‑29)
We find in this chapter that there is a difference between the covenant made at Sinai, or Horeb, and that made here in the land of Moab. At Sinai it was pure law, which if they had remained under, God would have had to cut them off from being a nation. But since the sacrifices had been instituted, God could go on with His people, not according to the full purposes of His grace which will be made good in a coming day through the work of Christ, but, as it were, in government mingled with mercy. They are therefore reminded here of how the Lord had cared for them every step of their wilderness journey. Their clothes had not worn out, nor their shoes. They had not needed any stimulants, nor bread for food since God had fed them with manna from heaven. He had given them the victory over their enemies, too, when they came out against them. How wondrous His grace, but they did not have eyes to see, ears to hear, nor a heart to appreciate what the Lord had done for them. Surely it all shows that no external manifestation of God’s power or goodness will change the heart of man, for unless God by His Spirit works, there is nothing abiding.
An Appeal to Walk in Obedience
This touching appeal for them to walk in obedience was made before all the people, even with their little ones and their servants present. It was an individual thing that applied to all, even to those who were not there to hear it. How precious to think that we are never lost in the crowd to God. He knows us individually, and seeks our blessing according to His own purposes of love and grace. There is a solemn warning here to anyone who hardened his heart in the face of this lovely appeal, and thought he could do as he liked without hearkening to the voice of the Lord, Surely there are many such today who presume to go on in their sins and despise the grace of God. They will not, however, escape the judgment of God, as we find from our chapter. God’s judgment will be openly manifested before all some day, especially upon the fair lands of Christendom, just as it has already been upon Israel.
The Secret of Israel’s Blessing
How lovely to find, at the end of the chapter, that the Lord had better things in view for His people, but for the time they must remain a secret. The telling of the secret things which belonged to the Lord awaited the accomplishment of the work of Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Now, as we read the chapters that follow here, with their precious prophecies of Israel’s future blessings, we can rejoice in them, for the Spirit is here to guide us into all truth. If Israel had sought to “keep all the words of this law” they would have proved the blessings that are revealed here, but the richer and fuller blessings are still in store for them, though they will not know or enjoy them nationally until the Spirit is poured upon them from on high (Isaiah 32:1515Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)).
It is precious, at this point, to think of how we, the church, have been brought into a still more wonderful secret than that of Israel’s blessing. We have learned by the same Spirit the marvelous truth of the church as the bride of Christ. We are members of His body, to share with Him as His bride (in the nearest possible place), His headship over all things in that future day. What unbounded grace to us, who were Gentiles outside of all these covenants and promises.
Further Meditations
1. What are some of the practical ways in which God cared for Israel during their wilderness journey?
2. What are some of the scriptures that show what God has in store for His earthly people Israel? You can start your search in Isaiah 11 and begin writing a very long list.
3. Surprisingly enough Hopes of the Church by J. N. Darby provides a wonderful view of the future blessing of Israel that is both refreshing and encouraging to the soul.