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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 10

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Chapter 10

In chapter ten He continues of their failures during the wilderness experiences. And he's reminding them of the failure at the time when God had given to him the law on the two tables of stone. And how that when he came down from the mountain that the people had made this golden calf and were worshipping it and how the tables of stone were broken. And so he was commanded by the Lord to take two more tables of stone. And for another forty days and forty nights in fasting without water or bread there on the mount before God.

And God wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments [verse four] in the mount in the midst of the fire; and the LORD gave them unto me ( Deuteronomy 10:4 ).

And so how that the Lord led them. And then in verse twelve; the question,

And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee ( Deuteronomy 10:12 ),

This is a question that every one of us should be concerned with: What does God require of me? As soon as I conclude in my mind that God does exist, and let me suggest that it's much easier to believe that God exists than to not believe that God exists. I don't know how many of you saw that sunrise this morning; oh, it was absolutely glorious. I don't see how anybody could look at that sunrise and not believe that God exists. When you start thinking of the whole process of the universe and you start thinking of the processes of life, it's much easier to believe that God exists than not to believe that God exists.

So, when you come to the conclusion that God exists and that conclusion is easily derived at when you look at man and you realize all of the intricacies that make up just the first cell of man and you see our capacities, you realize that God exists because no one but God could create an instrument such as our body except one who has all wisdom and all knowledge; an omniscient God.

Now if God created me He must have created me for a purpose. Therefore, what does God require of me? I don't believe that God would have just created man and just said, "Here you are and now you're on your own". That having been created by God I have certain obligations and responsibilities to my Creator. What are they?

Hear, O Israel, this is what the LORD require of you, to reverence the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, 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 you this day for thy good? ( Deuteronomy 10:12-13 )

Well, that's pretty heavy. What does God require? That you reverence Him, that you walk in all of His ways, that you love Him and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul. You say, "Well, I failed in that. What now?" That you keep all of His commandments, you walk in all of His ways, that you reverence Him. We haven't done it.

As the Bible said, "We've all sinned and come short of the glory of God"( Romans 3:23 ). Does that mean that it's all over, there is no hope for me? No. God has an alternate plan because man was not able to fulfill God's requirement and this is God's ideal requirement, this is how God would have you to live and God would have every man to live. And let me suggest if every man lived according to this requirement we'd have one fantastic, beautiful world. If every man was walking in the ways of God, loving God, loving each other as they love themselves and walking in full harmony of God, what a fabulous world this could be. But man failed. And rather than reverencing God, man so often blasphemes God. Rather than loving and serving, man is rebelling against Him. And we also fail to walk in all of His ways and to love and serve Him as we should. So does that mean we're lost, there's no hope? No.

In the New Testament they came to Jesus with a question "What must we do to do the works of God?" Same idea: "What does God require of us?" "What must we do to do the works of God?" And Jesus said, "This is the work of God: that you believe on him whom he hath sent"( John 6:29 ). Praise the Lord, I can do that. Though I failed in the ideal requirement, yet I can now fulfill the actual requirement of God. What does God actually require of me tonight? That I believe in His Son Jesus Christ. All right, I can handle that. Now to me it's fabulous that that's what God requires of me. That I just believe in the provisions that He has made for my sin by sending His Son. "Believe in him whom he hath sent".

Now, as I believe in Jesus Christ, I receive a new dynamic for life. For Christ comes in and begins to indwell me, and as he comes in and indwells me, He, by his indwelling power and presence begins to give me the strength, the ability to live according to God's divine ideal. He gives me now the strength to walk in the ways of righteousness. He gives me now the love that I need for God. He begins to work now in me doing for me what I couldn't do for myself.

You see, God hasn't really given up on the divine ideal but now He, through Christ, is giving me the capacity to fulfill the divine ideal, but I have fulfilled God's requirement for me the moment I believed in Jesus Christ. The moment I committed my life to Him, I fulfilled God's requirement for me. So we look at God's ideal requirement in the Old Testament and we realize that we've all failed so we come to the New Testament and we find that we can all handle God's actual requirement for us tonight just to believe on Him whom He has sent.

Now he reminds them,

Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is ( Deuteronomy 10:14 ).

Everything belongs to God. Look at the universe, it all is His. The heaven of heavens belongs to God. That's the whole universe out there with its billions of galaxies. We read in the Psalms, "The earth is the LORD and the fullness thereof and all they that dwell therein here is declared that the earth also, with all that therein is"( Psalms 24:1 ). Everything that's in this whole thing actually belongs to God. But Satan has usurped that which belongs to God and has taken control of it. But Jesus came to redeem it back to God and paid the price of redemption so that one day very soon, very, very soon God is gonna lay claim to that which Jesus purchased almost two thousand years ago. Soon it's gonna be God's again.

Technically it is now, Jesus already paid the price but Satan is still usurping the authority and the power ruling over the world. But before long Jesus is gonna come and set one foot upon the land and one foot upon the sea and declare "that the kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ"( Revelation 11:15 ). And He's gonna take His power and He's going to rule and then you'll see the world that God intended when He created it.

People get awfully confused today because they look around at the world that they see today and they think, "Well, how can a God of love create this mess? How can a God of love allow the Cambodian situation, the starving children? How can a God of love allow children to be born deformed?" Right now the world is in rebellion against God. You don't see the world that God intended, God wants, God plans. You see the world that is suffering, the fruit of its rebellion. But one of these days Jesus is coming to establish God's kingdom and He's gonna rule over the earth and in that day you'll see the world that God intended: a world that is without sickness, a world that is without suffering, a world that is without pain, a world that is without any deformities. There will be no blind, no lame, no deaf, no dumb. You'll see the world God intended. I can hardly wait.

You know people, when you start talking about, you know, the end of the world as we know the end of the world is going to be, not really you know, the big gigantic atomic holocaust and that's the end of the world and there's just this radioactive cloud hovering over it and that's all. That isn't what we're looking for as Christians at all. We're looking for the end of the Komanis-wait a minute you may not want to clap, and the Carters. Thank you. And all of men who have attempted to rule over men and have failed.

We're looking for a King to come who will reign in righteousness over the earth and will establish a true righteousness over the earth. And men will live together in peace and "they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and they'll study war no more" ( Micah 4:3 ). And men will live together in righteousness, in peace. And there will not be a hungry person on the face of the earth when men divert his military budgets to agricultural development. And that's exactly what the prophet says is gonna happen. A world without greed, a world where the strong do not oppress the weak, where the rich do not oppress the poor, but we're all love and experience the joy, the presence of God dwelling with men. What's so bad about that?

I'll tell you what to me would be a doomsday message would be to say, "Brethren, brace yourself. You gotta go on in this mess, there's no way out". That to me would be a doomsday prophet. But declare that this mess is soon coming to an end is not a doomsday message at all, it's a message of glory, it's a message of hope and that's the message that I have to bare to you from God's word. Thank God that we're coming soon to the end of the chaos that man has created upon the earth and we're gonna see the establishment of God's righteous kingdom. "The heaven of heavens of God the earth is Lord, everything that is in it" and he's gonna lay claim to it very soon.

Only the LORD had a delight in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you. Therefore, you've been stiffnecked, [you've been rebellious, but now he declares] circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart ( Deuteronomy 10:15-16 ).

Now the right of circumcision was given to Abraham and it was intended as a spiritual thing. The idea was that you were cutting off the flesh life. You weren't to live after the flesh; you were to live after the spirit. And it was the mark of a people who were to be a spiritual people or people who were spiritually orientated and spiritually minded in contrast to the natural man of the world who is always materialistically minded and mindful of his physical material needs. God's people weren't to be a people dominated by the materialistic things, by the fleshly things. They were to be a people that were dominated by spiritual things and the sign of that spiritual covenant with God was circumcision.

Now, they kept the covenant in a physical way but not in a spiritual way. And Paul brings out the whole inconsistency of the ritual apart from the reality. And it's possible for people today to have certain religious rituals but not have any reality of a relationship with God, going through the rituals, going through the motions. And that was the church of Ephesus, they were still going through the motions but they didn't have the emotion. Jesus said, "You've left your first love"( Revelation 2:4 ).

And it's very possible today for people to be in the same state as the children of Israel, in which they were depending upon the outward ritual when in reality, God was interested in the inward work that's in the heart. And so He said, "circumcise therefore the flesh of your heart". And Paul picks this up in Romans the second chapter and says, "The true circumcision is not of the flesh but of the heart".

My heart alienated from a life of the flesh, my heart no longer longing after the things of the flesh but a heart that is now after God. And as David, "as the deer panteth after the water brooks so panteth my soul after thee O God" ( Psalms 42:1 ). My soul thirsteth for Thee as in a dry and a parched land. Oh, that's the kind of people God is looking for; those who are spiritually-minded, spiritually oriented, who are thirsting after God in their heart and in their life and wanting to live a spiritual life that is dedicated unto Him.

So the encouragement towards the spiritual life.

For the LORD your God is a God of gods, he is the LORD of lords, a great God mighty, and awesome ( Deuteronomy 10:17 ).

The word terrible is an archaic word as far as our language goes. It means awesome.

which regards not person, nor takes reward ( Deuteronomy 10:17 ).

The word terrible has had a change of meaning through usage in the English language since the King James translation. And so the word you would better translate it "awesome". We think of terrible, as, you know something that is tragic, horrible, grotesque. Right? But it's archaic. So "awesome" God.

Now love therefore the stranger and reverence the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, he is thy God, he has done for thee these great and awesome things, which your eyes have seen ( Deuteronomy 10:19-21 ).

So the encouragement to reverence God, serve God, praise God, love God, turn your lives over to God.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 10". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-10.html. 2014.
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