Monday, December 17, 2007

Deuteronomy 30:1–10

Deuteronomy 30:1–10: Forgiveness


The NIV heading for this passage is “Prosperity After Turning to the LORD,” but I’m going with “Forgiveness.”

This passage is part promise, and part prophecy. After the Israelites have disobeyed God, and He has scattered them among the nations, and then after they have repented of their sins, He will welcome them back. He will bring them back to Israel, and He will bless them again. But, again, there is a condition involved: If they will adhere to the laws that Moses has handed down to them. Hopefully, they will have learned from their mistakes.


In a previous passage, Moses outlined to the Israelites blessings that the LORD would bestow on them if they followed Him. Then, in the passage after that, Moses outlined curses that the LORD would curse the Israelites with, if they didn’t follow Him. It’s easy, when reading these passages, to get into a mindset as if the LORD didn’t know what was going to happen; “if you follow me I’ll do this, and if you don’t I’ll do that.” But we have to remember that God knew exactly what the Israelites were going to do. And in this passage, He predicts to them what He will do after they have disobeyed, after He has punished them, and they have repented of their sins.

Remember the order in which these passages come:
  1. A passage outlining the blessings the Israelites can receive, for obedience
  2. A passage outlining the curses the Israelites can receive, for disobedience
  3. A passage in which Moses renews the covenant, with the Israelites
  4. This passage
If I had been writing the Bible, I probably wouldn’t have put it in that order. I would have put the blessings, then the curses, then this passage, and then the passage where Moses renews the covenant with the people. It seems to make more logical sense, that way. But I think God did it this way on purpose: He gave the Israelites the blessings and curses, and then had them renew the covenant, and agree to God’s terms. Then He let them know that they were going to be breaking their word.

But He will still forgive them. One of the main messages in the Old Testament is that the Israelites are God’s people, and He is not going to abandon them, even when they abandon Him.

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