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It shall come to pass when all these things are come upon thee the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and you call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God has driven thee ( Deuteronomy 30:1 ).
In other words, you are driven out of the land and you're in captivity and you remember what God has said.
And you return unto the LORD your God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all of your heart, and with all of your soul; then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee ( Deuteronomy 30:2-4 )
Now in Matthew's gospel chapter twenty-four, verse thirty-one, we find this prophecy of Jesus declaring that its fulfillment will take place when He returns in His glory. "And the Son of Man shall return in His glory then shall the angels go throughout the four corners of the heaven gathering together God's people back into the land." His elect. So that the elect of Matthew twenty-four does not refer to the church, as some who say that the church is going to go through the Great Tribulation do teach, but it is a direct fulfillment of this prophecy that relates to the nation Israel when the Lord returns as the Messiah. Then He is going to gather those who have been driven out to the various parts of the earth back into the land, from the four corners of the earth. And His elect will be drawn back into the land in a direct fulfillment of this prophecy. Jesus relates to this in Matthew 24:31 .
That is why those who emphasis their ministry in the New Testament often become confused as to Israel, it's destiny and as to the church. Because they take the Scriptures that God has applied to Israel and they try to apply them to the church. They get all mixed up because they don't have the Old Testament background to see where this particular prophecy is a direct quotation almost of the prophecy, is a direct reference to this prophecy in Deuteronomy, the book that Jesus quoted the most. And when you see it there you realize the elect of Matthew twenty-four, who are gathered together after the Tribulation of those days cannot be the church but is the fulfillment here in Deuteronomy.
Now the Lord thy God will then circumcise your heart, and the heart of thy children, to love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that you may have live ( Deuteronomy 30:6 ).
And so at that time God will just deal with a man's heart and take away the fleshly desires and so forth out of his heart.
For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, as He rejoiced over your fathers; If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in the Book of the Law ( Deuteronomy 30:9-10 ).
And so over and over and over again Moses is talking to them about the commandments. The importance of keeping the commandments. The same in verse eleven:
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that you may do it ( Deuteronomy 30:11-14 ).
So, God has given His Word and He has given His Word in understandable terms. And not only that, He has put it in your heart, and in your mouth. And any time a person says, "Well, I know I should not have done that," he is testifying to the fact that God has put His Word, His commandment in his heart. "How do I know that I shouldn't have done that? Well, I just know, inside". God has put His law within my heart; the commandment is there. I know when I do right. I know when I do wrong. I know when I fail to do right. Oh, I know I should've done that. I knew all the time that I should have done that. Of course you do, because the commandment is there in your heart. And with your mouth, you are only testifying to the fact that the commandment is there in your heart. You know in your heart what is right and what is wrong.
I know I ought to serve God. I know I ought to commit my life completely to God. I know I should commit this situation to the Lord. Then why don't you if you know, and you do know?
God has not hid Himself in some kind of mystic obscurity, so that you have to be some kind of a mystic and go into some kind of a trance and leave your body and project your spirit out into the heavens someplace, where God might there speak to you in the hallowed chamber, with an echoing voice, so that you will know the word and the will of God for your life. Neither is He across the sea some place in a monastery in Tibet. Or in some high place in India with some Guru sitting in a little shed, spreading his divine light. The Word of God is very close to you, extremely close to you. The commandment of God is very close to you. It's actually in your heart, and God has there written His Law. So that you know within your heart when you have done the right thing, you know when you have done the wrong thing and you confess it with your mouth.
So often I say, "I should not have done that, I know it." So often I say, "I should do this. I know I should." Therefore I am not innocent; I am guilty because He who knows to do good and doeth it not to him, it is sin. My failure to do that, which I know I should do, is sin. I know it; it's in my heart.
Now Paul the apostle takes this passage, quotes it in Romans ten. And there as he quotes this passage, again he says, "say not that it is in heaven that someone should ascend to bring it down or in the depths that someone should have to descend to bring it up or beyond the seas that someone should have to bring it back. But the Word of God is nigh unto thee, yes it is close to thee, it is even in your heart and in your mouth, "( Romans 10:6-8 ), for, and now Paul adds this, "If thou shall confess with thy mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved"( Romans 10:9 ). Now Paul goes ahead and takes this same passage and he shows how close every man is to salvation. Salvation is just as near as your heart and your mouth.
Salvation is something that you cannot achieve or attain by climbing up to heaven. You can't go across the sea and kill the seven-headed dragon and steal the seven golden apples in order to be saved. It isn't-salvation isn't some difficult experience that you can achieve only by tremendous effort and ability. But Salvation is so close and so easy that no one is without excuse. For it is as close as your mouth and your heart. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the mouth confession is made unto righteousness and with the heart man believes unto salvation."
That's how close any one of you are tonight. You say, "Oh, I feel like I'm a million miles from God. I feel like God is so far away". No, God is very near to you. I feel like I'm so far from salvation. No, you're very close to salvation. "But you don't know about the life I've been living." I don't care about the life you've been living; I don't want to know it. I do know that any one of you can be saved at this very moment if you will just confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. If you would just now say, "Oh, Lord if you would take over my life, I surrender my life to you. Take it over now." Then He would. "Jesus I believe you rose from the dead." You'll be saved. That's just how close you are.
See, believing is a matter of choice, and you can choose to believe now or you can choose to not believe. You can choose to believe that Jesus did rise from the dead, thus attesting to the truth of what He declared. That He indeed was the Son of God who came down to bear the sins of man in order that He might give to us eternal life, who believe in Him. And the resurrection caps the thing off. It made the hope for eternal life a living hope, more than just a hope. He gave sustenance to the hope by the resurrection.
Or you can choose to believe that He didn't rise from the dead. That somehow the disciples gave some spiked drinks to the guards. And after they passed out, they heaved ho on the stone. And they stole the body of Jesus, took it off someplace else. Buried it where nobody could find it and then got together and made up a big story about finding the tomb empty and the linen cloths in which Jesus was wrapped all there in a form but no body in it. And that they made a pact between themselves that they would stick to this story. That no one would squeal or tell the plot, even if they were put to death and all of them went to their death with this lie, with the exception of John who died of old age. But the rest of them all went to violent deaths for this lie that they told.
Now, Satan has a philosophy of man; he had a philosophy of Job. When God said to Satan, "Have you seen my servant Job? Perfect man, one who loves good, hates evil" ( Job 1:8 ). Satan expressed his philosophy concerning Job. He said, "Did Job serve you for nothing? Job is a mercenary, God. The way you bless that man, a fellow would be a fool not to serve you, the way you have blessed him. Why you've given that guy everything he wants, anybody would serve you for that. Job is a hireling. Job is a mercenary. He is serving you, Lord, for profit. Let me take away his riches, let me take away his goods. He will turn around and curse you."
Satan took away his goods. Everything he had and he came back. And after Satan wiped him out completely, when the servant came with the last message, Job fell on his face before the Lord and he said, "Naked I came into the world and naked I'm go out, The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord" ( Job 1:21 ). And in all these things, Job did not curse God neither did he charge God foolishly. He didn't say, "Oh, God doesn't love me anymore, God doesn't care." He didn't charge God foolishly. So Satan came back egg all over his face. His philosophy was proved wrong.
God said, "Where have you been?" Satan said, "Oh, I've been cruising around the world, going up and down, to and fro throughout it". "Oh, wait a minute, have you checked out my servant Job? Good man." God is doing a little bragging on him now. "One who loves good, hates evil, perfect man upright."
Now, Satan offers his second philosophy concerning man. It is this, skin-for-skin, all that a man has will he give for his life. That's a pretty accurate evaluation of man. Life is the most precious possession that we have and all a man has he will give for his life. Because if I don't have my life what good is it to have anything? So when it comes right down to it, your life is your most valued possession. That was Satan's philosophy. It was an accurate evaluation of man. He has had a long time to study human nature. And psychologists will tell us that self-preservation is the strongest natural instinct that you possess. So they agree with Satan's evaluation. I don't know, maybe they were inspired.
Now, you see the problems you are facing. If a man will give all that he has for his life. And all these men gave their lives because they had agreed together to the lie that Jesus was risen from the dead, if indeed he did not raise and it was all a big hoax that they were perpetrating, You have somehow have to explain how all these men were willing to give their lives for a hoax. You will have to explain how they overcame man's strong basic instinct of self-preservation. So you can choose to believe that the story of the resurrection is a hoax or you can choose to believe that it was true. If you believe that it was a hoax, you have some real problems. With logic, if you believe it was true, then there is no problem, it all makes sense and all these guys bore witness of it. They said, "We bear witness of this". So, you are believing the mouth of witnesses.
And if you are not willing to believe the mouth of witnesses, then we might as well throw out our whole jurisprudence system, because our whole jurisprudence system is based upon the establishing of fact by the testimony of witnesses. So you get the witnesses that are agreeing together this is what happened. If we can't believe the witnesses then we really should establish a whole new system of jurisprudence.
So you choose to believe or you choose not to believe that He rose from the dead. It's a matter of choice, strictly. But by choosing to believe you gain so much. Why would you be so dumb to choose not to believe, in spite of all the evidence? You know, it just shows man's stubborn heart and foolish heart, because he doesn't want to acknowledge God. A man is an agnostic, not because God can't be known, God can be known. There are thousands who come to this church every week that will attest to you that God can be known. So a man is an agnostic, not because God cannot be known, but because the man has chosen not to know God, because God is very close to every man. Salvation is very near. All you have to do is turn your life over to Jesus as Lord. Just believe that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.
Paul takes this passage and he shows how that God has dealt with us through this passage in a new way. Because the commandment that Moses speaks about here in the sixteenth verse is that you
love the LORD your God, and that you walk with Him, and that you obey all of His commandments, and statutes, and judgments ( Deuteronomy 30:16 ).
All right, I love God. And I want to walk with God, but my flesh is weak and I have violated the commandments of God. So the addition that Paul makes by saying, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead", that takes care of my failure. By that I am forgiven of my violation of the commandment. By that I am washed and cleansed from my sins, thereby I have salvation. I have the life of God, that age-abiding life in Jesus Christ.
So, Moses said,
I call heaven and earth, (verse nineteen), to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life ( Deuteronomy 30:19 ).
Because it is a matter of choice you choose to serve God. You choose to believe God. You choose to follow God or you choose not to. It is a matter of choice and He is encouraging you. Choose life and the blessings of God rather than death and the curse of God upon your life, but it's your choice. You make that choice for yourself. God doesn't make that choice for you. You make that choice for yourself. God knows and has always known the choice you are going to make, but yet, you're the one that makes the choice. And the foreknowledge of God does not take away from your responsibility to make the choice. Therefore, choose life, choose the blessing,
that you may love the Lord your God and obey His voice and cleave unto Him for He is thy life, and the length of thy days ( Deuteronomy 30:20 ):
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 30". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26