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©Michael Player

Chapter 29:16-29 (ESV)

Posted on April 12, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 29:16-29 (ESV) - “You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. And you have seen their detestable things, their idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, which were among them. Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the LORD has made it sick— the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath— all the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.’

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Question to consider: What is the most effective way for you to connect with the revealed things of God: reading, hearing, or seeing?

While it is true that Moses eventually wrote down the words of the Law, the Genesis of the nations, the history of their deliverance from Egypt and their wilderness wandering, the people who were in attendance of this second giving of the Law would have understood all of these things through their retelling. Think about Deuteronomy for a second. Although these words were said by Moses, and he may have written down portions of it as it pertained to the Law, these end statements and the death of Moses were probably written down by Joshua. In order to be able to write them down, Joshua would have had to know them and have taken them to heart.

I mention these things because I think there is a level of engagement with reading which detaches us from historical texts unless we make a conscious effort to empathize with the people in them. This is especially true in an age where people are used to seeing things recreated on video. People can view a series like “The Chosen” and easily connect with the people of the gospel accounts in a more concrete way because they “see” them on the screen. People tend to read the biblical texts for personal application or instruction for living rather than to deeply connect with the events, people and the LORD. Being able to connect to a visual rendering of a text can be a valuable thing as long as the visual rendering remains true to the source material from which it is derived and as long as it connects us to Christ.

Even though most of the people listening to Moses may not have personally experienced what he described about Egypt, and many may not even have eaten the manna in the wilderness, the stories were told over and over again to the point where everyone would be connected to them and able to recognize God’s judgments against idolatry and immorality. Sodom and Gomorrah happened hundreds of years before this, but every Israelite knew what happened and connected with Lot's rescue from the judgment.

As Moses stressed back in chapter six, people demonstrated their love of the LORD by obeying His Law and teaching it to their children and to sojourners and by incorporating it into their thoughts and actions, their household and in hospitality toward their neighbor. God provided the priesthood for the repentant to atone for their sins, but one who stubbornly hardened their heart against God or taught people to go after other gods would be the root of bitterness and ultimate judgment upon the people. This is the same as in the church today. Christ has paid our sin debt on the cross. The only thing that can separate someone from God is the ultimate rejection of the righteousness which is freely offered to us by faith.

What God has revealed to us in His word should be received and cherished so that we know God and His ways. These are all of the things that bring us life and salvation. Instead, people are always trying to look beyond God’s word in an attempt to discern future events, boast in some kind of ‘special knowledge’, or bless themselves in their sin. Moses advised against those things in order to keep from experiencing the curses of breaking God’s covenant.


Dear heavenly Father, teach us to love Your word and receive all that You have revealed in it. May we then be Your heralds in the world to let people get a glimpse of who You are so they may seek to know Your word for themselves. Amen.