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Deuteronomy 8-10 Listen
1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
7 For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.
As Israel is on the east bank of the Jordan River, Moses continues his monologue of hope and warning to Israel before they go in to possess Canaan. They've had some hard times, but they've been on a roll lately because of what God did, not what they did. In this chapter God clearly establishes that they prospered only through dependence on Jehovah...and that's the only way they will continue to prosper.
Why did it take 40 years? That's in verse 2, "...to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart." Here's the warning: Do right or you'll perish like the nations before you have (verse 20). In verse 3, Moses refers to the supernatural phenomenon that the Hebrews experienced for forty years known as "manna" (Exodus 16, see notes). Jesus quoted verse 3 in Matthew 4:4 (see notes). It is interesting to note that in Matthew 4, Jesus had just completed a forty-day fast, just as Moses had also fasted during his forty days on Mount Sinai according to his own testimony in Deuteronomy 9:9 (see below).
Verse 4 is amusing regarding their clothing; it didn't wear out in forty years. Verse 5 explains God's relationship to his people - then and now: "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee." Literally, God chastens his children just like a father chastens a son. Paul makes reference to this in Hebrews 12:6-8 (see notes). It was with chastening that God taught Israel the necessary lessons. Who did the chastening with Israel? GOD DID! Who does the chastening today with believers? GOD DOES!
Incidentally, verse 10 serves as the basis for observant Jews through the centuries to pray at the completion of their meals. This prayer is known in Judaism as the "Birkat Hamazon." They also pray over their food prior to eating it as well.
Then comes the warning beginning in verse 11, "Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:" So, what happens if Israel gets a big head and turns from God to the worship of the heathen? They will fall just like the nations before them fell. It's a guarantee as verse 19 says, "...ye shall surely perish." Moses dedicates the balance of this chapter (verses 11-20) to this turning-your-back-on-God scenario. Isn't it true of many Believers today that, just like Israel, they tend to forget the fact of God's provisions and begin to believe that it was personal accomplishment instead that brought success?
Finally, there's that word again - the reason why Israel has come to the brink of going in to possess Canaan; that word is "covenant" (verse 18). GOD DOES NOT BREAK COVENANTS! This promise goes all the way back to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-9 (see notes) and Genesis 15 (see notes); we know it as the Abrahamic Covenant (see article). It was in those very chapters that God told Abraham hundreds of years before that Canaan would belong to the Hebrews.
1 Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
2 A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
4 Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6 Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.
9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:
10 And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.
11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.
12 And the LORD said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.
13 Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
15 So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you.
17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also.
20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
21 And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.
22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah, ye provoked the LORD to wrath.
23 Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice.
24 Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
25 Thus I fell down before the LORD forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first; because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
26 I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin:
28 Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.
29 Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.
Remember, they're on the east bank of the Jordan preparing to take their land, the land of Canaan. Perspective is important right now; the Hebrews must understand the secret of their success. Here are Israel's marching orders in verses 1-2, "Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven, people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!" Hmmmm...Anak - where have we seen that name before? Oh...let's look at Numbers 13:33 (see notes) where the spies are reporting having seen the inhabitants of Canaan 38 years ago, "And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." Why...that's the race of giants that scared them so badly back then. Okay Israel, you've been experiencing success, but let's keep our proper perspective.
Israel, here are the reasons you're experiencing victory now:
I'm always careful about drawing parallels between Israel and the United States. Israel was a clear theocracy literally led by God through Moses; the United States is a democratic republic led by the whims of the ever-evolving mindset of the majority. Even when our country was new and God fearing, our form of government was in no way similar to that of Israel's. However, a clear lesson stands before us in this chapter regarding the success and failure of nations in verse 4, "...but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee." Those nations displaced by Israel fell because of their wickedness and disregard for God. It's not a scriptural stretch at all to say that our country's evolving mindset away from the God of our founding fathers is a move that nations before us discovered led to disaster. As a matter of fact, the wickedness of the nations in Canaan is cited as the reason they had to be displaced in Leviticus 18:27-28 (see notes) and again in Leviticus 20:23 (see notes).
Then Moses goes on to say to Israel, "Are you thinking God is giving you success because you are good?" NO!
Furthermore, not only are you not good; you are rebellious and stubborn. Moses says, "I got proof!"
Notice what he says in verse 24, "Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you." He's just not going to let them forget, is he? Well, proper training does include remembering what happens when we do the wrong thing! Notice how he speaks of these massive displays of God's wrath by their place names. It's like our references to Pearl Harbor or Alamo or World Trade Center. These names speak to us about an event more than just a geographical location. However, some of these places in chapter 9 actually received their names from the tragic events that took place there. If they are so rotten, why bother to deliver them into the prosperity of Canaan? Here's the case Moses made before God in verse 27, "Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." It's really a grace thing according to verse 29, "Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm." Hey! Israel may have some flaws, but THEY ARE GOD'S PEOPLE!
Incidentally, we do see in verse 9 that Moses fasted for the period of forty days when he ascended Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:12-18 (see notes). You will recall that Jesus had fasted for forty days in Matthew 4 (see notes).
A Hebrew word study on the names used for God in Deuteronomy 10:17.
Deuteronomy 10:17 says, "For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:"
LORD - Hebrew: Jehovah (aka Yahweh) is the unique name for the God of Israel. English Bibles designate this Hebrew rendering by printing "LORD" in all capital letters.
1 At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.
2 And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3 And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
4 And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.
5 And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.
6 And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.
7 From thence they journeyed unto Gudgodah; and from Gudgodah to Jotbath, a land of rivers of waters.
8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
9 Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is HIS INHERITANCE, ACCORDING AS THE LORD thy God promised him.
10 And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, and the LORD would not destroy thee.
11 And the LORD said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.
12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
21 He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
22 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.
Moses continues with a history lesson regarding Israel's last forty years through verse 11. In verses 1-5 he discusses the giving of the Ten Commandments which he subsequently placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Then Moses gives a partial list of their wanderings during the years of chastisement in the wilderness. The complete list is found in Numbers 33 (see notes).
After his abbreviated history lesson on Israel's disobedience, Moses says plainly all that God requires of them for success in Deuteronomy 10:12-13, "And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" That seems like a pretty simple proposition, doesn't it? Yes, but such a commitment toward God is best accomplished through having a personal relationship with God - not just blind obedience. That's exactly what Moses calls for in verse 16, "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked." Yes...that's figurative language; it speaks of an authentic spiritual relationship with God. You see, a true relationship with God is a heart thing - not a compliance thing! That was true then as well as now. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ through salvation by faith MUST precede compliance as a condition for eternal life. Compliance does not bring eternal life; salvation by faith does. Titus 3:5 (see notes) says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" Moses makes the point that was true with Israel as well as with Believers today: When you have a faith relationship with God, compliance follows naturally.
Here's some good news: There's a plug in there for us non Jews ("strangers") in verse 19; Israel is commanded to love us...unless, of course, you happen to be an inhabitant of Canaan.