Deuteronomy 30 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
As we will see later on in the Song of Moses in Dt. 32, the assumption is that Israel will break their covenant with the Lord, will disobey God’s commands, and will turn towards idolatry. So even though the Law of God promises blessings for obedience, it actually assures its hearers of their disobedience. This very truth alongside of the entire sacrificial system instituted at the first giving of the Law should help us to see very clearly that there never was any possibility of salvation through Law. For although the Law is “holy, righteous and good,” as Paul says in Romans 7:12, its purpose is to show us our sin that leads to death. In fact, the way Paul explains it, our sin actually “seizes an opportunity through the commandments to deceive and kill” us.
Thankfully, though, Moses weaves some gospel truths in with this solemn condemnation of those who break God’s laws, for he also speaks of God’s mercy in bringing the Israelites back from all the foreign nations to which they have been scattered because of their disobedience when the Lord convicts them of their sin and misery leading them turn back to the Lord with all their hearts. Long before that precious promise of the New Covenant is given in Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Please read this in light of Dt. 30), Moses hints at the need for a new covenant in which the law is actually written on their hearts since this covenant instituted in stone at Mt. Sinai is sure to be broken. In that prophecy, the Lord assures them that he will “forgive all their iniquity and remember their sins no more.”
Already, back in Dt. 16, the Lord had commanded Israel to circumcise their hearts and not just their flesh that they might love the Lord and not just give him lips service. But the promise given here in this passage is that the Lord himself will circumcise their hearts and the hearts of their children that they might love the Lord. And this should be very encouraging for us as believers, for the very substance of the Law is to require and to show his people how to love God with all their hearts and how to love their neighbor as themselves. But anyone who spends any time at all considering his or her own ability to love in this way will see very clearly in the law just how far short we fall and fail to do so in so many ways. For us to have any hope in this regard, the Lord must cut away the sinful flesh of our hearts and put his own love into them in order that we might even taste the wisdom of God’s law and desire what it commands.
It’s interesting how the Lord describes our easy access to his holy commandments. He explains that the law is not hidden away somewhere in the heavens or in the depths of the earth, but that it is very near to us, it is even in our mouths and in our hearts that we might do what God requires. Again, here, he doesn’t suggest that keeping the law is easy for any sinful person, who doesn’t want to keep it, but that that law itself, with all its love and wisdom, has been clearly revealed, it has been clearly communicated and is readily available to us that there really is no excuse for us to say we didn’t know or we haven’t heard what God has said.
The apostle Paul quotes this very passage in Romans 10:6-8 to remind his hearers of the easy access of God’s law, but then he adds that now the gospel is just as easily heard with preachers being sent around the world to share the good news of salvation in the name of Jesus. And that is so important for the keeping of the law, as Moses tells us in this passage, is a matter of life and death, good and evil. If we don’t obey it, we are cursed by God, which should lead us with great desperation to the one who has kept the law in our place and who has taken our curse upon himself that we might receive the blessings of God, and who also has now circumcised our hearts to love the Lord in a way that we were never able to before. We don’t love him perfectly, but that the love is growing in us each day as the law is now in our hearts and on our mouths in a way that brings us great delight and causes the Lord to delight in us as his sons and daughters.