Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 11

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verses 11-12

Deuteronomy 11:11-12

I. The Jew was to understand from his first entry into the land of Canaan that his prosperity depended utterly on God. The laws of weather, by which the rain comes up off the sea, were unknown to him. They are all but unknown to us now. But they were known to God. Not a drop could fall without His providence and will; therefore they were utterly in His power.

The warning of this text came true. More than once we read of drought, long, severe, and ruinous. In one famous case, there was no rain for three years, and Ahab had to go out to search through the land for a scrap of pasture. These droughts came at times when the Jews had fallen into idolatry and profligacy.

II. It is the intense faith in the living God which can come only by the inspiration of the Spirit of God which proves the Old Testament to be truly inspired. In later times the Jews had these words of Moses written on their foreheads, but not on their hearts. They had lost all faith in God; He had spoken to their fathers, but they could not believe that He was speaking to them, not even when He spoke by His only-begotten Son, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. Wrapped up in their narrow, shallow book-divinity, they said, "This people who knoweth not the law is accursed." Nothing new could be true. It must be put down, persecuted down, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation. But they did not succeed. The Romans came after all and took away their place and nation, and so they failed, as all will fail, who will not believe in God. The truth which they think they have stifled will rise again, for Christ, who is the Truth, will raise it again, and it shall conquer, and leaven the hearts of men till all be leavened.

C. Kingsley, Gospel of the Pentateuch, p. 210.

References: Deuteronomy 11:12 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., p. 728. Deuteronomy 11:18 . H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2580. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 . H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xviii., p. 152.

Verse 19

Deuteronomy 11:19

I. This is the simplest notion of education; for undoubtedly he is perfectly educated who is taught all the will of God concerning him, and enabled through life to execute it. And he is not well educated who does not know the will of God, or, knowing it, has received no help in his education towards being inclined and enabled to do it.

II. The special thing meant to be taught to the Israelites was a knowledge of God's statutes and ordinances, not the Ten Commandments only, nor all the early history of their forefathers contained in the Book of Genesis, but God's law given to them His people, His will respecting them morally and politically, His will with regard to all the relations of private and public life; all this was laid down in their law; all this was carefully to be taught them in their youth, that so, in whatsoever line of life they might be thrown, or whatever questions might be agitated, they might know what was God's will, and therefore might know and do their own duty.

III. For the Israelites the Bible contained both the rule and its application; for us it contains only the rule. In order, therefore, to instruct our children fully in God's will and enable them to execute it, we must bring in some other knowledge and other studies, not to be found in the Bible, in order to make up for that part of the Bible which gave this instruction to the Israelites, but which gives it us no longer.

And hence it is clear that neither is the Bible alone sufficient to give a complete religious education, nor is it possible to teach history and moral and political philosophy with no reference to the Bible without giving an education that should be anti-religious. For in the one case the rule is given without the application; in the other the application is derived from a wrong rule.

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 131

Verse 21

Deuteronomy 11:21

The text shows us a Divine method in providence; a law for individual and national life, and for the larger life of the race; a law borne witness to by the history of the people whose history is a light for all time, and by which we have gleams through experience of bitter times, foretastes and earnests of the inheritance of light, periods filled with special mercy and truth, times of quickening and spiritual growth, days of heaven upon earth.

I. The first days of the Christian revelation were, in the highest and most absolute sense, days of heaven upon earth. And these days still return to us. Times of revival are simply repetitions on a smaller scale of the first days of the Church.

The old doctrines, the old familiar facts of the Gospel, are transfigured as Christ was. They rise, as He rose, from the dead, and again we behold the miracle of a nation being born in a day.

II. The times when the soul is open to the revelations and offers of Divine life are days of heaven upon earth. The dawns and sunsets of these days are in the soul itself. "Be not disobedient to the heavenly vision." While the light of it is shining walk in the light. It is the light which is the life both of God and man.

III. The coming of Christ into a life is the beginning of days of heaven for that life. That would be a day of heaven to Zaccheus when Christ said to him, "To-day I must abide at thy house." Suddenly, by Christ's visit, life changes for him, and the poor lorn, lost, hated Zaccheus has a song in his heart, and a heart resolute to be on God's side and do God's will.

IV. Times of service under Christ are days of heaven upon earth. The time spent in Christian service seems to expand, to become more capacious for enterprise, more filled with opportunity, until we come, in our experience of it, to have vivid conceptions of the state concerning which it is written, "There is no night there," and real gleams of days of heaven upon earth.

V. The beautiful days of earth are types and sometimes actual realisations of such days of heaven.

VI. Christ is the Light which makes days of heaven possible. And such days fail of their purpose if they fail to increase our joy in Him.

A. MACLEOD, Days of Heaven upon Earth , p. 1.

References: Deuteronomy 11:21 . G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 326. Deuteronomy 11:26-32 . Parker, vol. iv., p. 212.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11". "Sermon Bible Commentary".