Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 10:01:58 +0100 Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From: Teus Benschop Subject: Deuteronomy 11 Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. Introduction 2. Explanation 3. Questions 1. Introduction ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is an issue of a continuous explanation of the Bible-book Dvarim, that is Deuteronomy. If something is unclear in the explanation, ask the editor. The Bible-text is taken from the King James version. Deuteronomy 11. Title: Moses again exhorts Israel to keep Gods commandments Short contents: Moshe exhorts Israel to keep God's commandments. To do this, he speaks about God's benefactions and miracles, and about the promised land. He promises blessing in the land when they serve God, but curse when they deviate. They have always to keep the commandments before their eyes. He mentions the blessing and the curse, which have to be pronounced in Kenaan. 2. Explanation ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, always. Moshe says: "Therefore thou shall love the LORD thy God". He says: "Therefore". Why? This points back to the last part of the previous chapter. There, Moshe mentioned the benefactions, which the LORD had given to the nation. "He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude," Dvariem / Deuteronomy 10:21,22. Here, Moshe is not commanding in a threatening way, but he mentions the benefactions, which are given by God. So, the people have to love God in thankfulness, and "keep His commandments, always." The people have not received the promised land because they kept the commandments. They did not receive the land as pay, but they had to keep the law, after they had received pay in grace. We must always keep this in mind. We do not keep the law to earn something with that, because we cannot earn anything with our faulty deeds. We have to keep the law after receiving of the benefactions. This is it, what Moshe teaches in his speech to the people. 2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm, Moshe does not speak to the children, who have not seen anything of it. He speaks to the elders. They have seen God's miracles with their own eyes, and can testify that Moshe speaks the truth. They are very convinced of God's "greatness, His mighty hand, and His stretched out arm". This must exhort them even more to serve God and love Him. When Moshe calls this "the chastisement of the LORD", then he does this not without intention. With chastisement is meant His teaching. For all the deeds of God are teaching of God for us. When there happen things in our life, in which God's "greatness" and "His mighty hand" is showed, then we must well pay attention to it. The LORD wants to teach us by that. This must exhort us to love Him wholeheartedly. 3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Faro the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; Moshe reminds them of the most important deeds, one by one. He does not content himself with a general remark about the goodness and power of God. No, he mentions each benefit separately. "Bless the LORD, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits," Thilliem / Psalm 103:2. 4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day; Moshe continues with the enumerating of God's deeds. What does he want to achieve by that? That the people love and serve God. "What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people," Thilliem / Psalm 116:12- 14. 5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; 6 And what he did unto Dataan and Avieram, the sons of Eliav, the son of Ruben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel. Moshe has presented the goodness of God in all things, which He did for the people. Moshe did not content himself with this. He also mentions the judgements of God. It is this, what happens to the stiffnecked. The earth opens her mouth and swallows them up, with all their possessions. This is the destination of the wicked. 7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did. These are your eyes, people, which have seen it by themselves. Moshe entices them to obedience by the presentation of God's goodness, and he deters them from the transgression by the presentation of God's judgements. He calls their own memory as a witness, that all these things are true. 8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; This is the intention of Moshe. That they will keep "all the commandments". This keeping is not harmful for them, but it is "that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land". The LORD has given them benefits in the past. As gratitude therefore, they have to keep the commandments. And further? As pay on the keeping of the commandments will it go well with them. This pay is given in grace, which appears out their behaviour. Their behaviour in the past, as well as in the future. Often, they had been stiffnecked. In grace, they were not thrown away from God's face. 9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey. Still more benefits. Prolonging of their days of life, that means: they will live long. They will live long in the land, which God had given them. God did not give because the people had kept the commandments, but He gave the land because He had sworn it to the fathers. And God is faithful; He gives the promised things. Because God had given the land, therefore the people must obey Him. 10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs. Kenaan is not like Egypt. There, the people could make the land fertile by their own work. When the Nile overflowed, the people caught the water in their streams of water. The land was like an artificially irrigated garden of herbs. 11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven. Kenaan is different from Egypt. Here, the people cannot give water by their own work. The land gets water of the rain of heaven. In Egypt, one could irrigate the land in his own power. In Kenaan, it is true that they had to cultivate the land, but they had to pray to God for rain. Although also in Egypt all things needed Gods blessing, it was not so well visible there as in Kenaan. Therefore, in Egypt, the people forgot that God was their Benefactor. But in Kenaan, it was more clearly visible. Rain, they could not make that by themselves. This had to induce them to prayer. 12 A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. In Egypt, the Nile overflowed only once a year. But for Kenaan, the Lord took care "from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year." God's eyes "are always upon it". So, Moshe calls Kenaan a land, which was better and more useful for the people than Egypt. The Lord, so to speak, always looked after that land. 13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, Moshe exhorts the people, because of God's goodness, to hearken "diligently" to God's commandments. They had not to do only some things. They had not to do only the most important things, but they had to keep diligently all the commandments. All great commandments, but also all small commandments. This was to love God en to serve Him with "all your heart and with all your soul". This remark of Moshe urges us to leave that tepid service. We ought to be very diligently in the serving of God. We ought to be adhered to God's laws, so to speak. "I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame," Thilliem / Psalm 119:31. The writer of the Psalm has not done this in own strength, but in God's power. "I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart," Thilliem / Psalm 119:32. When God will have enlarged his heart, then he will keep God's commandments. That is why he asked God for understanding. "Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart," Thilliem / Psalm 119:34. Everywhere, Moshe teaches us these things. Everywhere, he demands us to serve God with our whole heart. With less, the LORD does not content Himself. He wants the whole man, not the half. Serving the world and God, that cannot go together. "And Eliahu came unto all the people, and said: How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him," Mlachiem A / 1 Kings 18:21. 14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. When they obey God, with the whole heart, then they will be blessed with rain of heaven. Davied tells us that this is true. "Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof," Thilliem / Psalm 65:9,10. 15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. They have received this rain, as Davied tells us. "The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing," Thilliem / Psalm 65:13. 16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; The people must well take heed to themselves for temptation. This means that they must be very attentive. They are so much surrounded by several idolatrous nations. There is not much needed to happen, or they will be deceived by that. Also in other ways, they could be deceived. At Sinai, they were also deceived. They wanted to serve the LORD, but they thought that this could be done by a golden calf. They were deceived by their own thoughts, and did not take heed. And the result? Many deceased. This deceiving happens frequently also in present times. People think to serve God, but they do it by several human statutes. What will also be the result of this? Many deceased, as is written in the next verse. How will our heart be deceived? How does this go? It happens through wine and guzzling and through the busyness of the life. "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart," Hoshea / Hosea 4:11. Therefore, above all, the watchmen of the people are forbidden to drink wine and so on, namely when they are in their work. "Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations," Wajikra / Leviticus 10:9. This is a sign of the turning away, when the priests and the prophets love to drink wine. They have delight in the flesh, but do not carry out their task. "But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment," Jeshajah / Isaiah 28:7. In short, Moshe exhorts us here: Take heed to yourselves that you not will be deceived to idolatry. For, what will happen otherwise? Read it in the next verse. 17 And then the LORD's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. That is the result of the turning away. The LORD keeps back the rain, and there will come drought and famine. Then they will perish because of the hunger. 18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. First, Moshe says that we must lay God's words in our heart and our soul. This means that we must always consider these words, and love them with all our affections. Second, Moshe comes to our aid, and presents us a visible sign of remembrance. The words have to be for a sign upon our hands. Our head must not be decorated with worldly beauty, but with God's words. In this way, all our senses must be activated to diligently consider God's words and to do them. It is not so that they, who only bear these external signs, are saints. Not they are saints, but the people who always consider God's commandments, and also do them. 19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. During our whole life, we have to speak about God's words. Our talk must not be filled by the vainly worldly things, by eating and drinking, by clothes and houses. The ungodly do this. Our talking has to be about the things of the LORD. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God," Thilliem / Psalm 20:7. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: Also, the furnishings of the house have to be according to God's will. As a sign hereof, Moshe commands to write God's words upon the posts, and upon the gates. When somebody enters the house, then he first passes the posts or the gates. This implies that our visitors can see already at the first glance that God is served in our houses. This has not to be limited to this sign upon the posts, but the whole house has to be cleaned from all unholy things. Everywhere has to be visible that God's words have authority here. This thing was depicted in the temple. Not only the gates of the temple were overlaid with gold, but the whole temple. "And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold," Mlachiem A / 1 Kings 6:22. Why is it that we must consider and do God's words day and night? This is written in the next verse. 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. It will go well with them. God will be with His nation, and will extend their days, "as the days of heaven upon the earth". That means, as long as the world will exist, God's people will be blessed. "They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations," Thilliem / Psalm 72:5. 22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; The condition is the "diligently" keeping of "all these commandments". Not weak, but diligently. One has not to walk in some ways of God, also not in many of His ways, but "in all His ways". One has not to live far from God; also it is not enough to live close to Him, but one has "to cleave unto Him". When one does this, what will God do then? 23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. 24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lvanon, from the river, the river Perat, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. A great blessing is promised on the keeping of God's commandments. The land will be very spacious. 25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. All enemies will be frightened, because they see that not the people fight, but that the LORD fights for them. The Egyptians had already experienced this. "And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said: Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians," Shmot 14:25. Also other nation will experience this. "At thy rebuke, o God of Yaakov, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep. Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry. Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still," Thilliem / Psalm 76:6-8. 26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; Until now, Moshe has separately mentioned the blessing and the curse. Now, he takes it together in one summary. He wants to memorize them the law of God, both by hope and by fear. 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: Who does the good, he has hope on God's blessing. 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. Who does the evil things, does not obey God's commandments, and walks after other gods, he lies under the curse of God. 29 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Eval. Until now, the nation had heard the blessing and the curse of Moshe, but they still had not agreed with their own mouth. In Kenaan, this must change. The blessing and the curse, which they have heard, they have to pronounce it by themselves. This is, so that they will the better keep these words in their memory, would believe and do them. 30 Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Kenaaniem, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of More? 31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. Moshe again confirms that they surely will come in Kenaan. Although they do not see it now, surely it will come. For the LORD, their God, will give it to them. 32 And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day. Because the LORD will bring you in, it is more than suitable to do His statutes and judgments. 3. Questions ------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you want to gain more benefit from the explanation, you could consider to answer the questions and do the tasks. You can send these to the editor. He will look at it, and return them to you with his comments. Questions. 1 Read verse one. Did the people come into the land because they had kept God's laws? Or had they to keep God's laws because they came into the land? 2 Also now, one can sometimes see God's great deeds in his personal life. a. Mention some great deeds, which you have seen by yourself or by other people. b. To what does these deeds exhort us? c. How many from that is brought in practice? d. Is it enough to praise God's deeds in general, or have we also to mention the details of that? 3 Read verse 10 and 11. When we live in Egypt, then we can do all things by ourselves. But in Kenaan, we need God's help. a. What is easier for us? b. What is more profitable for us? 4 Is it enough to be busy in the service of God during one day in the week? 5 We must take heed that our heart not deviates from God, says Moshe. Our confidence may not be in other things, the idols, but it has to be in God. a. Mention some present idols, in which we have confidence. b. What will be the result of this confidence, according to verse 17? 6 Is it enough, when one can see God's words only on the door-post? 7 Why had the nation to say the blessing and the curse on Eval and Geriziem? Tasks. 1 In verse two, Moshe speaks about the children, who had not seen the work of God. What have these children done later, according to Shoftiem / Judges 2? 2 The LORD can give rain and drought. a. Look up an example of this in Amos 4. b. With which goal did the Lord give drought then? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament Editor: Teus Benschop - firstname.lastname@example.org No copyrights on this publication Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands .