March 9 Reading: Deuteronomy 30-31 Commentary
Below is our Deuteronomy 30-31 commentary from our Beginning to End Bible reading program. You can find an email link at the end of this page to share your thoughts or comments with us.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess….therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…” (Deut. 30:15-16, 19)
Deuteronomy 30 – Return to God and Be Blessed
Whenever there is darkness and despair, God provides a way. He is always there to redeem and restore. He will always hear his children when they call on him.
That’s the hope Deut. 30 offers after the bleak picture described in Deut. 28. Moses warned the people of all that God would do to them when they chose to disobey. Those consequences included being cast out from the land and being “scattered among all peoples” (Deut. 28:64). Nothing could have been more scary than the proposition of no longer being a nation.
But God promised something when the people repented and turned back to him with all their heart. Moses told the people in Deut. 30 that God would “bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you” (v. 3). In short, God would not abandon them. He would once again bring them back to the land and they would possess it (v. 5).
All the curses He had placed on them for disobedience would then be directed at their enemies (v. 7). And when they chose once again to obey the voice of the Lord, He would “make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good” (v. 9). It would bring great joy to the heart of God for this to happen (v. 10).
To Live or Die?
So, the people clearly had a choice. It was 100% up to them to serve God or not. And unlike the secret mysteries that belong only to God (see Deut. 29:29), this choice was “not too mysterious” that they could not understand it (v. 11).
Additionally, the decision was right in front of them. They didn’t have to “ascend into heaven” or travel “beyond the sea” to hear what they needed to do (v. 12-13). In fact, the word was already in their mouth and in their heart “that you may do it” (v. 14).
Moses said it this way as he challenged the people to determine which path to take:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess….therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…” (vv. 15-16, 19)
It really is that simple to understand. There is no hidden mystery there. You either choose to walk with God or not. It’s not that complicated and hard to figure out.
In the end, your present life and your eternal reality absolutely depends on making the right choice. So choose life and the goodness that comes with knowing God.
Deuteronomy 31 – Leadership Transition
Moses’ days were coming to an end. He is 120 years old (v. 2) and God has told him he won’t enter the Promised Land on account of his disobedience in Numbers 20. So it is now time to pass the mantle on to a new generation of leadership. That next leader is Joshua (v. 3).
One of Moses’ strengths is that he developed other leaders. He did not take on the responsibility of guiding the people alone. His brother Aaron led the people with their spiritual needs. He created groups of leaders within the congregation to make decisions on smaller matters (Ex. 18).
Through it all, Joshua had been his right hand man. Joshua was present in some capacity at Mt. Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments. He had seen Moses deal with sin and rebellion at the golden calf incident (Ex. 32). And he, along with Caleb, were the only two spies willing to enter the Promised Land (Num. 13). Joshua was ready for this task.
However, even Joshua may have demonstrated some hesitancy about his new role. What in the text shows this? Three times in Deut. 31 (vv. 6, 7, 23) and three times in Joshua 1 (v. 6, 7, 9) he is commanded to “be strong and courageous.” So perhaps he was wrestling with fear.
It makes sense when you realize what he was up against. His main purpose as leader was to secure the land for the people. God tasked him with driving out the inhabitants of the land and that would only happen through war. He was putting his life and the life of the people on the line to accomplish God’s plan. Who wouldn’t feel a little anxiety and fear in that situation?
Nevertheless, God would lead him in this role. As Moses said, “…the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (v. 8). Knowing that must have eased some of Joshua’s fears.
Repetitive Reading of the Law
Ever wonder why God gave us his book, the Bible? Was it to sit on the shelf and gather dust, never to be opened? No, of course not. But for a good number of people who claim to be saved, that is exactly what happens.
The proper perspective to have with God’s Word is that it is to be read over and over again. Why? So that we can get a better understanding of who God is, what he has done for us, and how we can best serve him in our time on earth. That is why we read and why ReadtheBibleinaYear.com was created – to help people read through God’s word and understand it.
The ideas of reading God’s word is not new. In Deut. 31, we see that Moses set in place a ritual that the law was to be read openly by the priests every 7 years (v. 10). Why? So that the people “…may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear…” (Deut. 31:12-13).
It’s a common theme we have seen before. God wanted the people to know him and be intentional about passing on the law to future generations.
Questions to Consider:
How is your Bible reading going this year? Are you spending consistent time in God’s word? How is it shaping your life?
Three times in Deuteronomy 31, Joshua and the people are told to be “strong and courageous” and that God would be with them. It was a powerful reminder of whom to lean on in the tough days ahead. Is God your source of strength? Do you rely on him at all times, good or bad?
What other points would you want to know about in our Deuteronomy 30-31 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.