Daily Devotional

January 28, 2021

Daybreak: Deuteronomy 29:1 through 30:20

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The day had finally arrived when it was warm enough to plant flowers outside without fear of frost. I set out eagerly for the garden center, intent on purchasing the young plants that would transform the winter-weary flowerbeds surrounding my home into an oasis of spring. I circled the displays of plants that were offered for sale, searching for those that looked healthy. I hoped that some of them would already be in bloom, so that the addition of color in my yard would come that much sooner. As I carefully inspected each tray of plants, some were rejected because they had broken stems or were dry and shriveled-looking. My attention was attracted to those that were lush and full, with a promise of life and quick growth. Finally, satisfied that I had selected the best that were available, I headed to the cashier so that I could pay for my assortment and head home to get started with my project.

Just as we are inevitably drawn to the healthiest plants at the garden center, the freshest vegetables at the supermarket, or the newest car that has no dents or scratches, God has instructed us to “choose life” in our Christian walks. In the same way that I chose the best plants that day at the garden center, Moses was encouraging the children of Israel to choose the best — to love God and obey His voice, so that they would receive the blessings He had prepared for them.

As anyone who is a parent can testify, young children respond well to the concept of actions and consequences. When my children were small and I needed to take them with me when I went shopping or ran errands, I would tell them where we were going, how long I thought we would be gone, and the type of behavior I expected from them. Then I would promise them that if they were cooperative and obedient, they would be allowed to select a small treat before we returned home. I also let them know that if they did not cooperate, there would be consequences when we returned home! No matter how often we went through this routine, it seemed like the only time we would have significant problems with behavior was when I forgot to remind them of our agreement.

As Moses detailed the consequences (or curses) that would befall the Children of Israel as a result of sinful, rebellious behavior, he also told them that God would receive them when they were ready to return to Him. Finally, just as an exasperated parent might tell a child to make up his mind whether or not to behave, God let the Children of Israel know that they had two definite choices — they could choose life and good, or death and evil.

Today, God gives us the same choice. He does not leave us without hope, but calls us to make a conscious decision to choose life by fully yielding ourselves to Him.

Background

Since there was no written law for the common people, repetition was a very important part of the instructional process for the Children of Israel. God had delivered them from Egypt and entered into a covenant with them forty years earlier at Mount Sinai. In the previous chapters of Deuteronomy, we read where Moses outlined the tangible blessings they would receive if they were faithful to the covenant, and he explained the confusion and frustration that would result from their disobedience. In chapters 29 and 30, he once again explained the consequences of sinful disobedience and the rewards of loving submission to God’s will.

The final remarks in Moses’ farewell address used common sense reasoning to point out the choice of man and the promise of God. One of the key words of this chapter is “heart.” God promised that He would re-gather Israel and restore their nation if they turned from their sins and returned unto the Lord. Moses commanded Israel to “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart” (Deuteronomy 3:6).

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

III.   The third discourse: ratification of the covenant
      C.   The renewal of the covenant (29:1 — 30:20)
            1.   Introduction (29:1-9)
            2.   The summons to enter into the covenant (29:10-13)
            3.   The seriousness of adherence to the covenant (29:14-29)
            4.   The ultimate fulfillment of the covenant(30:1-10)
                  a.   The promise of dispersion (30:1)
                  b.   The promise of national repentance (30:2)
                  c.   The promise of return to the land (30:3-5)
                  d.   The promise of conversion (30:6)
                  e.   The promise of judgment on Israel’s enemies (30:7)
                  f.   The promise of blessing (30:8-10)
            5.   The appeal of commitment to the covenant (30:11-20)

A Closer Look

  1. The theme of these two chapters is the covenant between God and Israel. List the several references to the covenant in chapter 29.
     
  2. What do you think will happen to the people who refuse to choose?
     
  3. List examples of areas in life where you make spiritual “life or death” decisions.

Conclusion

God did not make His commandments hidden or far off — rather, He gives us a blueprint to follow that will bring us victory. However, those blessings are not automatic, but require that each of us make an individual commitment to Him. Will you choose to seek the Lord’s will for your life, and follow it so you may obtain the blessings He has for you?

Reference Materials