New Life and the Law: Deuteronomy 9:23-11:21

Deuteronomy 9:23‑11:21  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Deuteronomy 9:23-11:2123Likewise when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. 24Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you. 25Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the Lord had said he would destroy you. 26I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 27Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin: 28Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness. 29Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm. 1At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. 2And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. 4And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. 5And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me. 6And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest's office in his stead. 7From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters. 8At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. 9Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him. 10And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also, and the Lord would not destroy thee. 11And the Lord said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them. 12And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 18He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 19Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. 21He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. 22Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude. 1Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway. 2And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm, 3And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; 4And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day; 5And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; 6And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel: 7But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did. 8Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; 9And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey. 10For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs: 11But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: 12A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 13And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. 16Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17And then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you. 18Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. (Deuteronomy 9:23‑11:21)
The people are reminded here of how Moses interceded again for them at Kadesh-barnea, when they murmured at the report of the spies, and would not go into the land. There again God had come in and spared them, as at Sinai.
Moses told them of how he went up into the mount the second time, and of how God gave him the law again, but on this occasion it was put into the ark. This is a beautiful type of how the Lord Jesus (the true “Ark”) is the only One who could meet God’s holy requirements, and — blessed be His Name — He has done this, magnifying the law and making it honorable.
New Life Necessary for Fruit
Since God had been gracious to them and shown His patient love, the people are called upon to show their appreciation by walking in obedience. Moreover Moses told them that it would be for their own good to do so, for God could then bless them abundantly, as He desired to do. It was not just the outward form of circumcision that God wanted, but a heart that walked in His ways. This was what He required, but alas they could not give it, for the law could not give new life, and this is what was needed before there could be any fruit for God. Though the people were, of course, still under trial, it was being proven over and over again that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:88So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)). All God’s pleadings and entreaties, so lovingly given to them in these chapters, did not produce the desired result.
The people had seen the works of God before their very eyes. It was not just something they had heard, but wonders they had seen themselves, so they had no excuse if they did not believe, for full testimony had been given.
Earthly Blessing
Once again we notice that the promised blessings were of a material nature. God promised rain when they needed it, grass for their cattle, and good crops. All this is in direct contrast with our blessings as Christians now, for we are not promised good crops and earthly prosperity, but only food and raiment (1 Timothy 6:88And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (1 Timothy 6:8)). We are, however, told that we are, even now, “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:33Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 1:3)). Some day soon, faith will be changed to sight, for we shall rise to meet the Lord in the air — to dwell forever in our heavenly home. Let us not look for earthly blessing, God may graciously grant it at times, but it is not our promised portion.
The charge for the children of Israel to teach their children the law is repeated here. We cannot overestimate its importance, especially in this present day, for as we look around we see so many Christian homes where the children have not walked in the ways of the Lord, but have wandered away into the world. May we not often trace it to a lack of faithfulness in the home? God wants our homes to be happy, as He promised Israel here that they might be “as the days of heaven upon the earth.” There is no sweeter spot on earth than a Christian home where there is God’s order, and as a result of God’s blessing. If, however, we try to arrange our homes according to our own thoughts, seeking the ease and comfort of the world, with position and high education for our children, we shall prove the foolishness of our choice. There will be sorrow instead of blessing. Let Christian parents be warned.
Further Meditations
1. What kind of material blessings were promised to Israel?
2. What are some of the proper attitudes that should be present in a Christian home? You might start your answer by looking at Ephesians 5.
3. Thinking about godly Christian homes is essential for any parent. Surprisingly enough you can find some excellent instruction in The Institution of Marriage and Related Subjects by P. Wilson.