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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Deuteronomy 8-10 Listen
Moses to Israel: Don't forget the lessons you've learned! (Deuteronomy 8)
1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers.
2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.
5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.
6 ¶ “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.
7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills;
8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey;
9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.
10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.
11 ¶ “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today,
12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them;
13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;
14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;
16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end—
17 then you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’
18 ¶ “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to 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 humble you and test you, to know what was in your 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: "You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you." 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 you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today." 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.
Moses to Israel: It's not because you're so good! (Deuteronomy 9)
1 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven,
2 a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, “Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’
3 Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you.
4 ¶ “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you.
5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
6 Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
7 ¶ “Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day that you departed from the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.
8 Also in Horeb you provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry enough with you to have destroyed you.
9 When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.
10 Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from 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 tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.
12 ¶ “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made themselves a molded image.’
13 ¶ “Furthermore the LORD spoke to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed they are a stiff-necked people.
14 Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’
15 ¶ “So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.
16 And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God—had made for yourselves a molded calf! You had turned aside quickly from the way which the LORD had commanded you.
17 Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.
18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed 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 with which the LORD was angry with you, to destroy you. But the LORD listened to me at that time also.
20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.
21 Then I took your sin, the calf which you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it and ground it very small, until it was as fine as dust; and I threw its dust into the brook that descended from the mountain.
22 ¶ “Also at Taberah and Massah and Kibroth Hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath.
23 Likewise, when the LORD sent you from Kadesh Barnea, saying, “Go up and possess the land which I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and you did not believe Him nor obey His voice.
24 You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.
25 ¶ “Thus I prostrated myself before the LORD; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because the LORD had said He would destroy you.
26 Therefore I prayed to the LORD, and said: “O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
27 Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look on the stubbornness of this people, or on their wickedness or their sin,
28 lest the land from which You brought us should say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them to the land which He promised them, and because He hated them, He has brought them out to kill them in the wilderness.”
29 Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched 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: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, “Who can stand before the descendants 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 it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you." 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, "You 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 Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." It's really a grace thing according to verse 29, "Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched 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.
Moses to Israel: You got the tablets, but you need a heart transplant! (Deuteronomy 10)
1 “At that time the LORD said to me, ‘Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and come up to Me on the mountain and make yourself an ark of wood.
2 And I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke; and you shall put them in the ark.’
3 ¶ “So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand.
4 And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the LORD had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me.
5 Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the LORD commanded me.”
6 ¶ (Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead.
7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water.
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 to Him and to bless in His name, to this day.
9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, just as the LORD your God promised him.)
10 ¶ “As at the first time, I stayed in the mountain forty days and forty nights; the LORD also heard me at that time, and the LORD chose not to destroy you.
11 Then the LORD said to me, “Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.’
12 ¶ “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it.
15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.
16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.
19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
20 You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name.
21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.
22 Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in 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 does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your 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, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." 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.