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SOWING AND REAPING
This chapter emphasizes the results of obedience in contrast to the consequences of disobedience. It begins with the commandment to love the Lord their God, which of course is the motivating power for keeping God's statutes (v.1). Yet, though told many times to love the Lord, Israel did not respond to this. For love cannot be legislated, as Israel learned by experience. It must be spontaneous and voluntary. The New Testament makes this clear, "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John
Moses spoke to those who had seen the many manifestations of God's power and grace to Israel (v.2). These were under 20 years of age when they saw these things, and should certainly have well remembered all the signs God wrought in Egypt, His bringing Israel safely through the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptians in the waters, then of all He had done in the wilderness, including the judgment of Dathan and Abiram in being swallowed up by the earth opening (vs.3-7). They themselves (not a previous generation) had witnessed all this.
With all this in mind Israel should be stirred to keep every commandment God gave them. Such obedience would make them strong to possess all their inheritance (v.8). Also this would cause them to prolong their days in the land, "a land flowing with milk and honey" (v.9). Milk speaks of the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2), while honey symbolizes the ministry of the Word of God (Song of Solomon 4:11), that is, the sweetness believers have gathered from the Word and minister to others.
For the land of their inheritance was not like Egypt, which depended on men's methods of irrigation, watered by "foot," but a land of hills and valleys, dependent on rain from heaven (vs.10-11). This pictures the spiritual inheritance of Christians today, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly place in Christ, in contrast to the earthly, material blessings of the people of the world. Thus, we are dependent, not on our surrounding circumstances, but on the blessing of God from heaven. So, Israel's land was the object of God's care all year through (v.12).
On condition of Israel's earnest obedience to God's commands, God would give rain to the land in its season, the early and the latter rain, which would be neither too little or too much for their crops of grain, wine and oil. Their livestock would be sustained by sufficient grass in their fields (vs.13-15).
Verse 16 again warns Israel against being deceived in turning to serve and worship other gods, which would arouse the anger of the Lord, so that He might withhold the rain and cause famine in the land, with its resulting decimation of the people (v.17).
Therefore God's words should be laid up in the hearts of Israelites, bound as a sign on their hands and placed as frontlets before their eyes (v.18). Being in their hearts would imply being the motivating power, while bound on their hand speaks of the control of their actions. As frontlets before their eyes indicates that their eyes were to be kept centered on the truth of God rather than looking in other directions for help or guidance. Israel did not respond to the significance of these things, but such things are written for us today, that we should realize the spiritual blessing of having the truth always delighting our hearts.
The laws given to Israel were to be taught to their children. They were not to be used merely in public gatherings, but applied daily, to be spoken of anywhere and at all times. They were even to write them on their doorposts and on their gates (v.20). Thus it was a matter of being constantly reminded. We today have more vital things than these to keep in remembrance, all the marvelous truths concerning the Lord Jesus, His incarnation, His life on earth, His sacrifice of Calvary, His resurrection, His ascension, His present High Priesthood at God's right hand for us, His promised coming again, His subduing all creation under His feet, His reign of 1000 years, His Great White Throne judgment and His eternal glory with its infinite blessing for all believers. But the knowledge and enjoyment of Christ in all these things will have wonderful effect in keeping us diligently following Him more fully than Israel could have done.
Obedience would multiply the days of the Israelites and their children in the land, "like the days of the heavens above the earth" (v.21). Thus their hearts would be lifted up in calm, lovely dignity above the level of the their circumstances, to realize their blessings really came from heaven. Today our blessings not only come from heaven; they are secured for us in heaven in the person of the risen Lord of glory.
Again, on condition of obedience, Israel is told that the Lord will drive out the nations of Canaan before them, though they were greater and mightier than Israel (v.23). Wherever their feet trod would become theirs. The bounds mentioned are from the Euphrates River westward to the Mediterranean Sea (v.24). This has never yet been fully possessed by Israel, but will be in the Millennium. God's power was such that no man could stand against Israel (v.25), though Israel failed to take advantage of this power.
In verse 26 Moses speaks of setting before Israel a blessing and a curse. Which would Israel reap? This depended on what they sowed. If obedient they would reap the blessing (v.27); if disobedient, then the curse (v.28). Two mountains in the land were to symbolize these, the blessing put on Mount Gerazim and the curse on Mount Ebal (v.29). This was carried out by Joshua soon after Israel entered the land (Joshua 8:33-34).
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 11". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany