Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Israel to Be Responsible For Their Destiny

Deuteronomy 30:1- 31:1

“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 thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, 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; That 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: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-5)

Moses had warned them that persisting in sin, ignoring the curses that resulted would lead to ever worsening problems until finally Israel would be conquered and dismantled, with the people being dispersed and relocated.   If at any time they repented, he would reverse the judgment on them, restoring the land to them and resuming the blessings as if they had never turned away.    Many people think of being sorry as repentance but the word repent actually means to change direction.  God would forgive and restore them, but only when they repented, not just said they were sorry.  Sorrow is a statement of regret, but it may only refer to the results of an action rather than for the action itself, and does not necessarily indicate any responsibility for even the result.  Before God would forgive them, Israel would have to change their actions.

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.  And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.” (Deuteronomy 30:6-7)

If Israel would repent and try to serve God, God would circumcise their heart, literally taking away the craving to continue in sin so they could serve God fully.  It is very similar to what Paul says in Galatians 5:24-25.  “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:16 promises, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  I Corinthians 6:11 describes the result of the Holy Spirit’s cleansing.  “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

“And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.  And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, 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: 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.” Deuteronomy 30:8-10)

Freed from the cravings and power of sin by God’s removing it, they would be able to give themselves wholly to obeying him.  As a result they would be able again to experience the full blessings of God.  Again it is very similar to what is promised for the Christian.

“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 thou shouldest 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 thou mayest do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

God’s commandments were written so they were available for everyone to see.  Later the monument would be built and inscribed with the law so anyone who cared could read it for themselves, so there could be no excuse.  They would not have to depend on some prophet to enable them to know what God had said.  If they didn’t know it would be because they didn’t care enough to read it, not because they had no prophet to tell them.

In I Corinthians 13:8-10 we find that gifts such as prophecy and tongues would be done away with once the message was finished as people would be able to read it for themselves, just as Israel could.

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; De 30:16 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: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 

But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, 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. 

I call heaven and earth 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: 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, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 30:17-31:1)

It was totally up to Israel whether they experienced God’s blessings, or his cursing.  If they chose to obey his word they would be blessed to the fullest extent of his promises.  If they chose to disobey, they would experience all the curses he had promised.  They were responsible for what happened.  Today, we are responsible for what happens in our own lives.


  1. Personal accountability is not a popular subject nowadays, and it becomes less popular with those whose conscience might be stirred by it.
    It seems an interesting contrast between Deuteronomy 30:4 and Matthew 24:31. This blessing seems to be fully realized after the seven years of Tribulation when Jesus returns to take the throne of David for the thousand years.
    At any rate, good post; thank you.

  2. Personal accountability is even more unpopular with those who want to control others. If a person takes responsibility, they can't control him. Both political leaders and religious leaders try to limit personal responsibility so they can increase their power.

  3. This is a sound reason why the RCC has so much power all over the world. It's congregants leave the fate of their spiritual welfare in the hands of those who desire to lord over them. The same can be said with many supposedly evangelical churches.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. As Revelations 2 tells us, God hates both the actions and the teachings of the Nicolaitanes. Matthew 20:25-27 and Mark 10:42-45 forbid the practice.