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©Michael Player

Chapter 30:11-20 (ESV)

Posted on April 14, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 30:11-20 (ESV) -  “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Question to consider: Who descended from heaven and came up from death to bring us the word of righteousness?

In yesterday’s passage, Moses had said, “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” This would come after the curse that was confirmed by them on Mount Ebal, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.” So if Israel experienced the curse from not fulfilling all of God’s laws, and God Himself would circumcise their hearts so that they would love Him, Moses would have been speaking in today’s passage about the righteousness that was credited by faith. It would be the righteousness won by Christ who would come into the world 1,400 years later.

Paul made this very argument to the church in Rome, “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (that is, to bring Christ down) ‘or “Who will descend into the abyss?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:5-10)

The generation that was about to enter the land was given eyes to see and ears to hear these words about the merciful nature of God, and they came to the LORD by faith, trusting in Him to deliver the land to them as promised. The warning Moses gave back in chapter six was to those who came after them, “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Did you know that teaching your kids how to behave and live according to God’s Law is not the same thing as passing down the faith? Israel may have faithfully passed down the traditions, practices and laws to their children, but in their prosperity, they forgot about God. People have a nature which sows seeds of anger, lust, envy, and the like. If left unchecked, they produce violence, adultery, covetousness, envy, and lies. We try to live with contrite hearts that repent of these things and seek the LORD’s mercy before they produce injustice against our neighbor.

However, people don’t go to temple prostitutes or set up high places to Baal and Asherah poles or sacrifice their children to Moloch unless they have forgotten the LORD. This came about because of generations that experienced prosperity without faith. Prosperity became their god because they were willing to forsake the Law of God in order to maintain it.

We cannot think that our children and grandchildren will be good “christians” without making sure they know and love Christ and receive His righteousness by faith. It is the LORD that produces faith in us, but His primary vessel for doing this is through parents who teach Law and Gospel, parents who baptize their children and connect them to the body of Christ through word and sacrament.


Dear heavenly Father, You have set before us today life and good, death and evil. May we receive the life and good You offer us and repent of our desires for that which brings death and evil. Cleanse our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.