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Mercies Promised to the Obedient
v. 1. And 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 history shows that the fulfillment of the curse came exactly as threatened by the Lord, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord, thy God, hath driven thee, for the bitter misery of their condition would bring at least some of the people to their senses,
v. 2. and shalt return unto the Lord, thy God, in true sorrow over the manifold transgressions, and shalt obey His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart and with all thy soul,
v. 3. that then the Lord, thy God, will turn thy captivity, with its misery and affliction, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord, thy God, hath scattered thee. The reference is to the gathering of the true Israel, that according to the spirit, for the early Christian congregations consisted largely of Jewish members of various countries, as the story of Pentecost shows.
v. 4. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, to the most distant inhabited lands, from thence will the Lord, thy God, gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee, for He has His elect even today among the Jews in every country, and there are still a few who are won for the true Messiah;
v. 5. and the Lord, thy God, will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it, namely, in the sense that the spiritual Israel will be found in all the nations of the world, Genesis 17:6-Nehemiah :; and he will do thee good and multiply thee above thy fathers, since the believers, the true children of Abraham, are found in all nations, and peoples, and tongues.
v. 6. And the Lord, thy God, will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed, Deuteronomy 10:16, take away the hardness and callousness, to love the Lord, thy God, with all thine heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. It is after the coming of the Messiah, in the Church named after Jesus Christ, that the ideal of the Lord has been fully realized.
v. 7. And the Lord, thy God, will put all these curses upon thine enemies and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. Cf Genesis 12:3.
v. 8. And thou shalt return, and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day. At no time was Israel obdurate and therefore rejected in all its members] although the great mass of the people to this day are living under the curse. Those chosen by the Lord hare bowed down in the obedience of faith under the precepts of the Gospel.
v. 9. And the Lord, thy God, will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in every undertaking, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good; for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good as He rejoiced over thy fathers,
v. 10. if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord, thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the Law, and if thou turn unto the Lord, thy God, with all thine heart and with all thy soul. Here the normal, the desirable relation between Israel and the covenant God is described, the fellowship which would result in rich blessings to all those that kept its obligations.
Death and Life set before Israel
v. 11. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off, it could not be said to be unusually difficult, either with regard to its knowledge or its fulfillment.
v. 12. 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?
v. 13. Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, who shall go over the sea for us and bring it unto us that we may hear it and do it? There was no need for such hypocritical sanctimoniousness, as though it were merely a question of having the Law in an accessible place: If we could but lay our hands on it and hear it and study it, then we should be glad to keep its precepts!
v. 14. But the Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. The Word of the Law had not been written down in secret and hidden from the eyes of the people, but it had been brought to the attention of the entire congregation in the spoken word, in public proclamation; it had become the subject of discussions in their midst; they had had time to meditate upon it. All the greater, therefore, was their obligation to keep it. These words are by St. Paul, Romans 10:6-Ruth :, applied to the Word of the Gospel. That also is not inaccessible to any man, for its sound has gone forth into all the lands, it is being preached throughout the world. It is but necessary to hear, to read, to accept, to confess.
v. 15. See, I have set before thee this day, in this series of addresses, life and good, and death and evil, the way which leads to everlasting happiness, and that which leads to eternal destruction,
v. 16. in that I command thee this day to love the Lord, thy God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply, for the observing of the Lord's precepts opened the way to life; and the Lord, thy God, shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
v. 17. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, said of those that are more than willing to be seduced to idolatrous practices, and worship other gods and serve them,
v. 18. I denounce unto you this day, in a solemn proclamation, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. Cf Deuteronomy 4:26.
v. 19. I call heaven and earth, with the inhabitants of both these spheres, to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live, enjoy prosperity here and everlasting happiness in the world beyond;
v. 20. that thou mayest love the Lord, thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him; for he is thy Life, the Source and Giver of a happy life, both here and yonder, and the length of thy days, in Him alone the enjoyment of any gift has permanence; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. We Christians also have life and death, everlasting salvation and eternal damnation, laid before us in the Word of God. He that believes the Gospel and trusts in the mercy of God in simple faith will have eternal life. He will also give evidence of his faith in his obedience to the Word and command of God. But lie who does riot believe the Gospel, preferring to live a life of sin and shame, will be lost forever.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 30". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17