This is a very interesting chapter. It contains much solemn exhortation: but it is full of divine mercies, as if the LORD intended to manifest to Israel, after what had been delivered of threatenings in the two preceding chapters, that it is in mercy the LORD delighteth. Here is a provision made for the penitent sinner to return, and life and death are set before him.
It is a sweet feature of the old church, and which the Reader should never overlook, that it had an eye all along to the dispersion of Israel, and to their gathering again. See Leviticus 26:44-45.
It is not enough to deliver from wrath, and to save from punishment; but in order to make a poor shiner happy, he must be qualified to enjoy. The circumcision of the heart, is the precious and blessed work of GOD the HOLY GHOST, who only can accomplish this. Hence the apostle tells us, that CHRIST is made of GOD to us, not only wisdom to enlighten, but righteousness to justify, sanctification to purify, and redemption to secure from every evil. 1 Corinthians 1:30.
The line is here drawn, as it is in many other parts of the word of GOD, between the righteous and the wicked. Isaiah 65:13-15.
These are all so many beautiful repetitions of GOD'S mercy and love to his people. I would beg the Reader in this place to remark with me, how the HOLY GHOST, by his servant Moses, hath altered the phrase concerning JEHOVAH. In the former chapters, while the LORD is holding forth his denunciations against Israel's rebellion, he is proclaimed in his great and incommunicable character of JEHOVAH. But in this chapter, when Moses is commanded to proclaim him in his covenant relationship, as a GOD of grace, he is called, no less than twelve times, JEHOVAH ALEHIM that is the LORD thy GOD. How delightful is it to behold GOD under this precious title, and to know our interest in him.
If we read those words with an eye to that blessed dispensation, to which the law ministered, for the law is our school-master unto CHRIST, we shall find that there is much gospel in them. It is indeed in the gospel, that we are brought nigh by the blood of CHRIST. Ephesians 2:13.
We cannot err in the application of these things to the LORD JESUS and his Gospel; because the HOLY GHOST hath directly done so by the ministry of his servant the apostle. He calls it the righteousness which is by faith. I pray the Reader to compare the two passages together: Ro 10 from the 4th verse to the 10th. When he hath done this, I would recommend him to pause over both, and see whether Moses did not in this place very plainly preach CHRIST. Since the SON of GOD came down from heaven, we need not say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, to bring GOD'S will to us? And since the SON of GOD, after redemption-work was finished by him, returned to glory, we need not say, Who shall go up from the deep. JESUS hath opened the communication between the two worlds; and JESUS himself is the word, both the written and the uncreated word, which is nigh unto his people in the mouth, and in the heart, the hope of glory. Oh! precious salvation! may I esteem this holy word more than my necessary food. Job 23:12. And yet more, JESUS the uncreated word, John 1:1.
Reader! while you and I attend to the close of Moses' Sermon, and hear the solemn appeal which the animated preacher makes to heaven, that he had executed his commission, and fully discharged his duty in referring the people to their choice: let us learn to bless GOD, that we are not only taught these things, but that we have the promise of grace, to enable us to perform them. Blessed be GOD! JESUS is the mediator of a better covenant, established upon better promises. The law made no provision for defect or inability. The law made nothing perfect. But the bringing in this better hope, hath done it in JESUS, by the which we draw nigh unto GOD. Hebrews 7:19.
I beg the Reader to take particular notice of what is included in the parenthesis, that he is thy life and the length of thy days. Is not this clearly referring to the LORD JESUS? Who is the life of his people, but he that hath said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life?-No man cometh unto the FATHER but by me? Dearest LORD! be thou my life and my portion forever. John 14:6.
BEHOLD! my soul, the earnestness with which Moses, the man of GOD follows up his Sermon, in the warm and impassioned manner he adopts in the close of it, so as to persuade the Israelites to duty and obedience. But, alas! what persuasion can operate until grace pleads in the soul? When thou hast fully viewed the solemn picture, and art become as fully satisfied from thine own feelings, that nothing less than sovereign grace, can be competent to restrain the corrupt passions of man's fallen nature; then, my soul, from Moses turn thy view to contemplate the LORD JESUS CHRIST: and behold in him the only possible source to enable sinners both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Oh! thou ever-blessed JESUS, that art the first cause and final end of all the hopes, the strength, the ability, the holy desires of thy people. In thee we behold an adequate relief for all our wants. It is thou and thou alone, which by the influence of thine HOLY SPIRIT in the minds of thy people, dost first awaken eternal life; and as thou begettest, so thou alone canst maintain, support, preserve, and carry it on from day today in the soul. Oh! enable me to cleave unto thee, for thou art my life, and the length of my days; thou art my hope, and my portion forever. Do thou, by the sweet constraining influence of thine HOLY SPIRIT, keep me close to thyself, that I may live upon thy fulness, have the lively actings of faith upon thy person, and live to thy praise here, until thou shalt bring me home, to rejoice in thy glory forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 30". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany