“Love’s Motivations, Part 2” – Deuteronomy 11:1-32


“Love’s Motivations, Part 2” – Deuteronomy 11:1-32

September 3rd, 2017

Dt. 11:1-32

Love’s Motivations – Pt 2”

Aux Text: Matthew 7:24-27

Call to Worship: Psalm 1

 

Service Orientation:  God loves us and wants what is best for us.  Therefore, God uses blessing and curses to motivate us to become greater than we ever dreamed or imagined we could become.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

—  Joshua 24:15

 

Background Information:

  • This passage serves as a transition between the preaching of chapters 5-11 of Deuteronomy and the list of laws that begins in chapter 12. As W. L. Moran has observed, the subjects listed here are in reverse order of their actual treatment in the subsequent chapters:  blessing and curse (11:26-28; 28); the ceremony at Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim (11:29-31; ch. 27); and the laws of the Lord (11:32; ch. 12-26).  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 166)
  • Given the fact that our natural sinful orientation is not totally eradicated, we could easily stray into sin if we are not careful. So we need to be constantly reminded to be careful.  It is not surprising then that the familiar word shamar, which appears sixty-five times in Deuteronomy and essentially means “pay careful attention to,” is found four times in this chapter (11:1, 8, 16, 32).  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 351)
  • Chapter 11 is markedly illustrative of this hammerlike repetitive style. The exhortations to love, remember, observe, worship (serve), obey, teach, and walk in the Lord’s ways are all here.  So also are the words used to describe the basic content of the messages as requirements, decrees, laws, commands, words, and symbols.  Reference is made to what God did for them and how he did it by his majesty, his mighty hand, and his outstretched arm.  If they would live and obey the Lord, he would drive out the nations then in Canaan, settle the Israelites in the land, and provide for them to their satisfaction; but if not, they would be destroyed.  Other elements of this chapter have been mentioned before, but not so emphatically.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 87-8)
  • The audience Moses now addressed on the plains of Moab was a different audience from the one who’d witnessed the Lord’s mighty acts in the wilderness. Those who had been 20 years old or less when their parents rebelled at Kadesh were now between 40 and 60 years old.  (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 100)
  • The dominant personnel in the nation were those who had seen what the Lord had done for them in Egypt (v. 3) and in the desert (v. 5). They had seen this with their own eyes (v. 7).  They were not of the generation doomed to die in the desert for their disobedience at Kadesh Barnea (1:35-36) but those who ranged from infancy to the age of twenty (Nm 14:29-30).  These were the children who remained alive (14:31), whom their fathers had said would be taken as plunder in the desert (14:3, 31).  Though they were then young, they too had seen the great redemptive acts of God and were thus about to enter the Promised Land.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 88)
  • Much of Moses’ language reflected the practices of the ancient Near Eastern treaty. It would now be necessary for this new generation on the plains of Moab to accept and renew the covenant initiated by their parents at Sinai.  It would need to be renewed again after Israel crossed the Jordan.

This parallels the requirements contained in secular treaties.  When a vassal leader died, the new leader had to renew his father’s treaty.  When Moses died and Joshua succeeded him, Israel also needed to renew its covenant with the Lord.

The parallel goes farther.  It was not uncommon that a king, before he died, required his vassals to swear allegiance to his successor.  Because Joshua would soon succeed Moses, another purpose of the covenant renewal ceremony at Moab would be to guarantee Joshua’s succession after Moses’ death.  The covenant would be renewed again under Joshua’s leadership when Israel came in complete control of the land; that’s recorded in Josh 24.  (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 105-6)

  • (v. 4) Chariots in the ancient Near East for millennia trumped cavalry. Until the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Dynasty, Egypt did not use cavalry except to serve the chariots in battle.  (John H. Walton, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol. 1, 468)
  • (v. 5) By the acts of God in the desert (v. 5) we are not to understand the chastenings in Nm 6-15 either solely or pre-eminently, but all the manifestations of the omnipotence of God in the guidance of Israel, proofs of love as well as the penal wonders. (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the OT Vol 1, 346)
  • (v. 8) Notice how what is to be kept is described as “the whole commandment.” This is singular in the Hebrew, referring to the whole Law as a unit (the NIV has it as plural–“all the commands”).  It is something you take on in toto.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 353)
  • (v. 10) Commentators thus far, however, have not been able to give an exact interpretation of the allusion to the watering with the foot. As far as we know, most of the machines used for lifting water into irrigation ditches were not run with the foot.  The expression may refer to the constant care of the irrigation ditches and the directing of the water by foot, or else it is simply a metaphorical allusion to physical labor.  By contrast, Palestine, a rugged land in comparison with the flatness of the delta and the valley of the Nile, receives its water from heaven.  Hence the crops grow not by the effort of man, but by the constant and direct care of God.  (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible Vol 2. 404-5)
  • (v. 10) The Nile was fed by rain that fell on central Africa, and as the river overflowed its banks each rainy season, it provided the most dependable source of water Egypt’s farmers had. Farmers diverted water from the Nile through a system of canals and channels spread over their fields.  A waterwheel operated by foot allowed water to flow from the river into larger canals, which was further diverted into smaller channels.  As these smaller channels filled with water, Egyptian farmers could control the flow by pushing earth across the channels by foot; they could allow more water into the channel by kicking away a bit of the earth wall in the channel by foot.  Because Egypt’s climate was extremely dry, this irrigation system required constant tending.  (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 102)
  • Land not covered by the annual Nile flood had to be irrigated manually. Watering a plot of land was a constant chore in Egypt and so depicted in the Egyptian Satire on the Trades, for the gardener had to water the vegetables daily or they would fail:  “In the morning he waters vegetables, the evening he spends with the herbs.”  (John H. Walton, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol. 1, 468)
  • (v. 10) Irrigation by foot may also simply mean carrying buckets of water from the source of the water to the field: that is moving it on foot.  The Torah translates this clause in v. 10 as “watered by your own labors,” which at least focuses the meaning in the right direction.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 90)
  • (v. 10) The watering of the land, which produces its fertility, is dependent upon the annual overflowing of the Nile, and, as this only lasts for about 100 days, upon the way in which this is made available for the whole year, namely, by the construction of canals and ponds throughout the land, to which the water is conducted from the Nile by forcing machines, or by actually carrying it in vessels up to the fields and plantations. The expression, “with thy foot,” probably refers to the large pumping wheels still in use there, which are worked by the feet, and over which a long endless rope passes with pails attached, for drawing up the water.  (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the OT Vol 1, 347)
  • (v. 13) Once again, Moses places special emphasis on the inseparability of love and obedience (see also 6:5-6; 7:9; 10:12-13; 11:13, 22; 19:9; 30:16, 20). The ultimate test of an Israelite’s love for God was his obedience to God (Jn 14:15).  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 162)
  • (v. 21) The expression “as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth” is a more vivid way of saying “forever.” God’s promises never fail, but if Israel failed him they would forfeit his blessings.  (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 104)
  • (vss. 26-32) The most important addition to the highly repetitive directives of chapter 11 is that of the blessing and curse recital to be proclaimed from Mounts Gerizim and Ebal. The blessings and the curses form an important part of the covenant-treaty articles that make up the Book of Deuteronomy.  Here they constitute both a conclusion to this first section and an introduction to what follows, in the more detailed delineation of the Lord’s decrees under which the people were to live.  The blessing was to be theirs for obedience and the curse for disobedience (vv. 27-28; cf. 27:9-28:68).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 91)
  • (vss. 26-32) Interpreted literally, Moses seems to envisage “the blessing” and “the curse” as tangible if not concrete objects to be carried across the Jordan and deposited on Mounts Gerizim and Ebal. From the Plains of Moab he could undoubtedly see these twin peaks, some forty miles to the northwest.  This enigmatic text leaves unanswered many questions concerning the nature of the event.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 298)
  • (v. 32) Moses concludes the first section of his second address (5:1b-11:32) with another appeal for the Israelites “today.” There is no point in dreaming about the future if they do not commit themselves now to full obedience to the decrees and laws that he is giving them.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 300)
  • The last section of chapter 11 (vv. 26-32) is a summary of 11:1-25 and also an introduction to the details of the Law that will be described in chapters 12-26. (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 361)
  • This is not the stuff of legislation but the style of a preacher, who uses any means possible to burn his message deep into the hearts of his congregation. (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 281)
  • Almost everything said in this chapter has already been presented earlier on. This tells us again that we need to be reminded about the battle for obedience because it is so easy for us to get careless and slide into disobedience.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 351)
  • Like Ex 19, the burden of Dt 5:1-11:32 has been to challenge, inspire, and convince the Israelites to commit themselves to Yahweh. This section expounds in detail what Yahweh had declared to the people in Ex 19:3b-6.  The principles underlying Ex 19:3b-6 are precisely those Moses has been presenting in Dt 5-11.  (1) Israel’s relationship with Yahweh is rooted in his gracious act of deliverance from the bondage of Egypt.  (2) The covenant primarily involves a relationship with the covenant Lord rather than a commitment to a code of conduct.  (3) Yahweh’s call to covenant relationship is purposeful:  that Israel might be his special treasure, that the people might be holy, and that they might serve as an agent of grace to the nations from which they were called.  (4) Israel’s enjoyment of the blessings of the covenant and the nation’s fulfillment of the divine mission are contingent on a positive response to Yahweh’s voice.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 291)

 

The question to be answered is . . .  Why does God remind us of all the blessings and curses that Israel has endured over the last 40 years?

 

Answer:  To get them and us to see that God loves us and is using blessings and curses to motivate us to become all He designed and created us to be.

 

As usual in Dt 1-11, these two elements (loyalty and obedience) are essentially one (cf. on 4:9-14, 15-19; also on 8:19).  The content of blessing and curse is not spelt out here.  This has been clear from the preaching so far, however.  The blessing comprises a long life of peace and prosperity in the land that is Israel’s by reason of inheritance; the curse entails loss of the land, and consequently of life.  (J. G. McConville, Apollos OT Commentary: Dt, 206)

 

Yahweh’s design was for himself, the Israelites, and the land to exist in harmonious symbiotic relationship to one another, each contributing to the other’s delight and each finding delight in the other.  The curse represents the complete opposite of the blessing:  instead of divine favor, Israel incurs his wrath; instead of abundant rain in its season, drought; instead of fruit, infertility; instead of life abundant, death–and ultimately divorce from the land.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 288)

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Motivate

 

Motivate vs. manipulate

 

Sin will take your further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay.  — Kevin Housler

 

How is God motivated to motivate us?:

I-  God loves you and is motivated to bless you if you fear, love, follow, serve and obey Him.  (Dt 11:8, 13-15, 21-25, 27 see also: Ex 15:26; 19:5; Lev 26:3-5; Dt 28:1-12; 31:3; Josh 1:8; Ps 34:10; 103:2-5; Jer 7:23; Mt 6:33; 1 Cor 2:9; Phil 4:19; Jam 1:17)

 

The climatic point having been made, the moral lesson is obvious.  If you need rain to survive, and if Yahweh sends the rain, then you would be well advised to faithfully obey the commands of Yahweh and to maintain covenant love, loyalty, and service.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 154)

 

The Lord’s promised blessing turned from the farmer’s fields to the battle field.  He would soon give Israel the land.  The military conquests recounted in the book of Joshua weren’t the result of Israel’s superior weapons or its fearless soldiers, but a gift from their covenant God.  (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 104)

 

The connections between obedience and prosperity are neither guaranteed nor “reversible.”  That is, we cannot deduce that prosperity proves prior obedience or that suffering necessarily proves personal guilt.  But the abiding principle is that God does respond justly to our response to God, and that God remains in final control of everything that affects human life, including contingent factors like climate and fertility.  God’s historical justice and God’s sovereign providence are the non-negotiable factors.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 155)

 

Note here the close connection believed to exist between obedience and material blessing.  Israel knew of no laws of nature which enabled the latter to act independently of God’s constant sovereignty.  Nature was the handmaiden of God’s historical activity (see further ch. 28).  It is precisely this element in the Deuteronomic theology which causes more difficulty to the mind of the modern Christian than any other.  Our own observation of nature leads us to a doubt concerning a direct relationship between obedience to God and the fertile productivity of nature, except in the sense that the former makes possible man’s better use and cultivation of nature; i.e., the Christian is inclined to believe that loyalty to God should make him a far better steward of nature; in this sense obedience and material blessing are connected.  Yet he is also inclined to the view that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, even as many in biblical times said, and that God’s giving or withholding of rain is not necessarily his direct reward for good or evil.  Yet the basis of Deuteronomy’s whole argument–viz., that loyal obedience to God is the condition of national health and possession of the land–is unaffected by these modern doubts.  (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible Vol 2. 405-6)

 

II-  God loves you and is motivated to curse you if you fail to fear, love, follow, serve and obey Him.  (Dt 11:16-17, 28 see also: Nm 16; Lv 26:18-20; Dt 4:15-19; 28:15-68; 1 Kgs 17-18; Ps 73; 105:29-36; 106:16-18; Jer 4; Hos 2:5-9; Amos 1:6-13; Zech 14:17; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor 11:29-30; Eph 2:12; 4:27)

 

When I have disobeyed God I have sometimes clearly sensed that God’s hand has left me.  Sometimes this is seen in the way nothing seems to go right.  Sometimes it is seen in the form of sickness.  There is the sense that God’s wonderful providing, protecting, and strengthening presence has left me, and I am now under the wrath of God.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 358)

 

Baal (Hadad) was said to control the rains that brought fertility to Canaan.  But Moses contended that it was the Lord who governed the incidence of rainfall; and if the people did not worship and obey him, he would shut the heavens so that no rain would fall and the ground would not produce (28:23-24; Lv 26:19-20).  Conversely, Mal 3:10 promises that the heavens would be opened when the people obeyed God.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 90)

 

Every act of disobedience is a statement that God does not truly satisfy us.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 358)

 

They have to make a decision, and the options are given in stark contrast.  It is a choice between life and death, security and disaster, and blessing and curse.  To be cursed means to forfeit God’s blessings and protection and to have to face the consequences of their rebellion against God.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 362)

 

Obedience and possession go hand in hand because God had his own purpose in choosing Israel and in giving her a place to live.  If Israel rebels against that purpose, she cannot expect to be strong and to live long upon the land.  The sole aim of Israel’s life, her own particular wisdom and righteousness which should distinguish her from all others (cf. 4:6; 6:25), was not to live in the ways of the world, but to show forth her unqualified loyalty, reverence, love, and obedience to her Lord.  If this was done, God would heap his blessing upon her.  If it was not done, she should not expect blessings but a curse (vss. 16-17, 28).  This is the central theme of ch. 11, and as well the Deuteronomic analysis of the problem of Israelite life.  (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible Vol 2. 403-4)

 

If we hold back on obeying Christ in one or two areas, we ‘give the devil a foothold” (Eph 4:27).  Satan will hammer away at that, seeking to totally destroy us.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 353)

 

III-  We show love to our children and others when we communicate how God’s love comes to us through blessings and curses.  (Dt 11:2-7, 19-21 see also: Dt 4:9-10; 6:6-9; 31:12-13; Ps 78:5-8; Prv 22:6; Isa 28:9-10)

 

 

For the most part, earlier themes are repeated and re-emphasized, so that no reader should fail to appreciate the importance of the laws.  The laws must become part of the Israelites’ life, indeed in the very forefront of it, never forgotten and never neglected, faithfully transmitted from one generation to the next.  Again it is stressed that success and well-being in the Holy Land are dependent upon faithfulness to the laws of God.  (David F. Payne, The Daily Study Bible Series: Dt, 76-7)

 

The inclusion of this event in the list makes it primarily a saving act, that is, from an enemy within.  This fits with the idea in Deuteronomy of the danger of sin to the community as a whole (cf. 13:5; 19:13; 21:9).  (J. G. McConville, Apollos OT Commentary: Dt, 203)

 

Each generation has a continuity and a solidarity with previous generations in covenantal obligation (cf. 5:2f.), but at the same time each generation must make its own response and take the consequences.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 153)

 

They assume that since his covenant commitment to them is eternal, their enjoyment of his favor is unconditional.  They fail to read the fine print of the covenant, which declares that God’s promises are contingent.  Each generation and each individual must claim the promises by faith and demonstrate its allegiance to the divine Suzerain by conformity to his will–particularly the Supreme Command.  Yahweh is not obligated to bless those who forget him and his gracious acts and go after other gods.  The land is a gracious gift, and to forget the Giver and give credit to other gods is the height of ingratitude and rebellion.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 293)

 

Worship Point:  Worship the God of the Universe Who cares enough for you to even sacrifice His Son for you.  He loves you so much that He implements blessings and curses to motivate you to be become what He created and designed you to be.  (Ps 8; Jer 5:24; Rom 8:31)

 

This passage has profound significance for contemporary Christians in two particular respects.  First, it reminds us that God is faithful, he always keeps his promises.  Just as he had held the land of the Canaanites in reserve for his people as their special grant and inheritance, so he holds in reserve for those who believe in Jesus the Christ an eternal heavenly grant (Eph 1:3-14).  Our possession is not an earthly allotment but a spiritual reality; we have been redeemed and have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance to the praise of his glory.  Like every other benefit, this is an unmerited and undeserved gift from God.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 300)

 

If Israel chose to follow other gods, they would be exchanging the love of a reliable, proven suzerain for the whims and uncertainties of gods that didn’t even exist.  How could they know these “gods” would be good for them or to them?  (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 105)

 

The lesson drawn from history is the sheer power of God, which had been demonstrated in destructive acts.  The Egyptians had suffered when they tried to oppose Israel; the reference is to the plagues (Ex 7-12) and to the Exodus itself (Ex 13-14).  Dathan and Abiram, whose story (coupled with the story of a Levite called Korah) is told in Nm 16, were men who rebelled against the authority of Moses and wanted to lead Israel in the opposite direction–away from Palestine and back to Egypt.  They too, then, like Pharaoh, tried to thwart God’s plans for his people.  There was reassurance in the history lesson; nothing and nobody could stop God’s plans for Israel in the Promised Land.  (David F. Payne, The Daily Study Bible Series: Dt, 74-5)

 

Moses cautioned God’s people about the dangers of an unbridled curiosity.  The practices and ceremonies of pagan deities sometimes contained attractions that would provoke Israel’s interest.  They were to turn away from such things and hold to Yahweh only.  (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 149)

 

Our Savior illustrated the two ways graphically with his metaphor of the vine in John 15.  Branches that do not abide in Christ experience the curse.  Because they do not bear fruit (i.e., keep his commands, v. 10), they are cut off, discarded, and thrown into the fire (v. 6).  Contrariwise, those who abide in him experience his blessing.  Because they abide in him, they bear abundant fruit; that is, they demonstrate their covenant commitment with righteous acts of obedience and are rewarded by having the Father do for them whatever they wish (v. 7).  Just as Israel’s obedience and blessing brought great glory to Yahweh (Dt 26:19), so our obedience and blessing bring great glory to God (Jn 15:8).  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 296-7)

 

Gospel Application:  There is no greater motivation to love than to look to Jesus.  There is no greater motivation to know you are loved than to look to Jesus.   (Jn 15:13; Rom 5:8-10; Col 2:2; 1 Jn 4:19)

 

Our commitment to Yahweh must not only be renewed at significant junctures in our lives, but daily.  The blessings associated with the covenant are not to be taken for granted or viewed as automatic rights.  The covenant established by Christ involves a special relationship, which demands constant investment of energy and devotion.  The options open to the Israelites–blessing and curse–are open to us, but how we experience them depends on our covenant commitment to Christ, demonstrated by active obedience.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 296)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Moses’ value system is far more radical than nearly every 21st Century American Christian I know.  He actually prefers the Promised Land to Egypt because you must trust God.  (Mt 5:45)

 

We can play it safe and secure but we limit our discovery.  — Molly Marsh

 

Although Egypt receives virtually no rainfall, because of the annual inundation of the Nile Delta with silt and the constant flow of the river, any farmer would have preferred the gardens of Egypt to the rocky and hilly terrain of Palestine.  This is obviously not the objective report of a government surveyor, but the dream of a man who can only see the land from a distance but cannot enter it.  With this speech Moses tries to excite his people about the prospects awaiting them on the other side of the Jordan.  Moses envisions the promised Land through the eyes of faith.  The land is good, not only because it represents the fulfillment of the promises to the ancestors, but also because it drives its inhabitants to depend on God.  To the eyes of faith this is paradise indeed.  (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 285)

 

Egypt is a country of little rain, and its agriculture is confined to the Nile Valley and delta where irrigation is possible.  Consequently, it is like a garden of vegetables (RSV) or herbs (KJV; the Hebrew word means simply “green plants”) which needs constant watering or else it will produce nothing (cf. Isa 1:30; note also 1 Kgs 21:2; Prv 15:17).  It is thus a country in which man must labor hard for his crops (and in so doing perhaps gain the impression that they are largely the product of his own effort).  (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible Vol 2. 404)

 

The land literally “drinks” the heavenly water supply, suggesting both ease and plenty.  The relationship between Yahweh and his land is at its most intimate here, as he “cares for” it, watching it the year round to ensure that the watering is adequate to keep it fruitful (12).  (J. G. McConville, Apollos OT Commentary: Dt, 204)

 

Here is the main point of the sermon:  The land Yahweh is giving Israel is one he watches over continually, giving it all the rain that it needs (28:12; Ps 147:8; cf. Gn 8:22).  Crops grow not by arduous physical labor, but by Yahweh’s constant care.  (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 404)

 

The “bad news” is that contrary to the situation in Egypt, where they irrigated and depended upon human ingenuity or skill to provide water for the crops (v. 10), here they must be obedient to God and depend upon Him to bring the rains (vv. 13-15).  This is bad news when Israel’s past record of disobedience and of turning to other gods is taken into account.  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 164)

 

Our security is not dependent on market forces or weather patterns.  It depends on the God who rules the universe and who has promised to look after us.  Because of that, we are actually very rich–we have the peace and satisfaction that earthly riches cannot give.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 357)

 

In Egypt, it is implied, a farmer could always get more produce from the soil by harder work and more thorough irrigation; but in Palestine, the farmer had no alternative but faith in God to give rain.  However, the farmer’s one alternative was to turn to the fertility gods and fertility rituals of the Canaanites, and that is precisely the danger that this passage warns against (v. 16).  (David F. Payne, The Daily Study Bible Series: Dt, 75)

 

So What?:  Do you understand how God motivates us through blessings and curses?  Do you even believe this?  You must choose.  (Josh 24:15; Mt 7:24-27; Lk 12:48; Jn 15:1-17; 2 Thess 2:16-17)

 

In our modern world, the general attitude to history is that it is ambiguous and meaningless, while we are inclined to view weather and climatic conditions as purely the product of natural forces and mechanisms.  Unless we can find a place for God’s activity in both, we are far from sharing the faith of the writers of either the OT or the NT.  (David F. Payne, The Daily Study Bible Series: Dt, 75)

 

Israel’s enjoyment of the land is contingent on their behavior.  Blessings or curses lie before them; the choice is theirs.  (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 149)

 

It is clear that the commandments were not just a body of legislation that was to be obeyed simply for the sake of obedience.  But these commands reflected a right way to live.  To obey brought prosperity and close relationship to God.  To disobey resulted in disaster and separation from God.  Therefore, in his exposition of the details of the law that followed, Moses’ role was not that of a great legalist or jurist, but of a leader deeply concerned that the people under his charge should enter into the fullness of life that was their potential if they upheld the covenant relationship with God.  (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 166)

 

We have the responsibility to conscientiously remember God’s mighty acts of discipline.  Usually when we think of God’s “greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, his signs and his deeds” (11:2b, 3a) we think of acts of deliverance that encourage us to “pray for a miracle.”  We don’t usually think of his acts of discipline.  But doing so is a very important part of the life of obedience.  God’s acts of discipline warn us of the consequences of disobedience and urge us along the path of obedience.  Many parents don’t tell the unpleasant stories of judgment in the OT to their physical and spiritual children.  If we miss getting a good dose of this key aspect of the Biblical revelation, we are going to miss a key aspect of the Christian worldview.  We will be spiritually stunted and more vulnerable to temptation.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 352-3)

 

This is the last chapter of the great introduction to the law that began in chapter 4.  It continues to expound the summarizing text of 10:12f., but interweaves examples and illustrations around the repeated exhortations to obedience.  The constant thrust is on the importance of choice–the benefits of the right choice and the disasters that will result from the wrong choice.  Ultimately, obedience or disobedience is the only choice, blessing or curse is the only prospect.  (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 153)

 

In our impatience we can forget the horror of our life before we met Christ and complain that God is not looking after us.  Some even complain that things were better before they came to Christ.  They forget that before they came to Christ they had no meaningful direction in life, no peace in their hearts, and they were headed for Hell.  (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 354-5)

 

Molly Marsh

August 25th, 2017  – 6:05 AM

 

Express rebellion,

Become rebellion,

Or you’re others’ rebellion.

 

You ask: “How can that be?”

Because you’re not aware

Of others’ manipulations. . .

 

Satan is a master

At manipulating

People to do as he wishes.

 

It is called: “subterfuge”.

Like an unknown virus

We “catch” his will along the way.

 

Unaware, our minds “catch”

His different sales pitch.

He’s a salesman “par excellence”.

 

Be who you REALLY are

And not Satan’s ploy, toy

No man can “serve two masters”.

“Seek Ye first the Kingdom

Of Heaven and these things

Shall be added to you”.  Choose God!

 

Ask the Lord’s forgiveness,

Help, to heal you of sin,

fill your heart with His healing LOVE.

 

Know He will strengthen you

And keep you for his own

Rebel Satan’s influence — LIVE!!

 

JESUS:

the GREATEST

MOTIVATION

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