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Chapter 29:1-15 (ESV)

Posted on April 11, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 29:1-15 (ESV) - These are the words of the covenant that the LORD commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God. And when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites. Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

“You are standing today, all of you, before the LORD your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the sojourner who is in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is making with you today, that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. It is not with you alone that I am making this sworn covenant, but with whoever is standing here with us today before the LORD our God, and with whoever is not here with us today.

Question to consider: How does eyes that don’t see, ears that don’t hear, and hearts that don’t understand relate to idolatry?

The first sentence is actually included in the last chapter in the Hebrew translation of the Torah so the “words of the covenant” most likely referred to the Law, the blessings, and the curses which Mose proclaimed were to be read in Shechem. Moses was originally given the Law for the previous generation on Mount Horeb, and he was renewing the covenant with the current generation in Moab before Joshua would lead the people north over the Jordan river.

After giving the instructions, it appears that Israel dispersed and had some time to think upon what was ahead of them, for Moses summoned the group once more to speak of the signs and wonders God had done in their midst and reassure them that just as He had been with them in delivering them from Egypt and the last forty years in the wilderness, so He would be with them as they entered the land. Even though this generation had only heard stories about what happened in Egypt, they all could remember that the LORD had provided them with food and kept their clothes from wearing out in the wilderness. 

Also, as a foretaste of what was to come, the LORD delivered the Amorites (Sihon and Og) with their high walled cities and giants and gave the land to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the Manassites. Despite these miracles, the people up until this point had not been given eyes to see and ears to hear and an understanding heart. In saying this, Moses was comparing the people to the idols made of wood and stone. It is the LORD who gives us a heart of flesh and helps us to see Christ. Even today, people will ignore the fact that God has provided their daily food, clothes, and shelter,  and they harden their hearts against Him.

Even though the mark of the covenant was circumcision of the male, the covenant promises covered all of those who claimed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their fathers. This covenant was not abolished but fulfilled in Christ Jesus so that all who have faith in Him will receive His righteousness.

It is because we are made righteous by Christ that the earthly temple became obsolete and was forever destroyed in AD 70. The glory of God went from residing in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle and temple to residing in us as the living stones of the heavenly temple with Christ as the cornerstone as Peter wrote, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’  So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’” (1 Peter 2:4-8)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your word which is used by the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and see the great salvation which is given to us by Christ. Please give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and heart to understand our need for the mercy You have freely provided to us. Amen.