Prediction of Eventual Establishment of the Covenant
These verses illustrate the hope that God offers to people who have turned away from Him. “To anyone ready to turn, obey, and commit himself fully,” comments Watts, “the way is clear.” These verses illustrate the steps that must be taken by a people in captivity in order to be restored to a right relationship with God.
First, the people must again think right: “and call them to mind” (30:1). Like the prodigal son who “came to his senses” in a pigpen (Luke 15:17), the Israelites must come to their senses. They must again cause God’s words to return to their hearts.
Second, the people must turn right: “return to the Lord” (30:2). A return to right thinking will lead to a return to the Lord.
Practical Consideration: God invites prodigals to return. Moses told the people that if they violated the terms of the covenant and experienced the awful consequences as a result, there was a way for them to return to the Lord. God made provision for the return of the prodigal nation. They could exit from the road of rebellion and return to the Lord via the road of repentance at any time.
Third, the people must live right: “obey Him” (30:2) without reservation. Obedience is the best way in which to stay with the Lord once you return to Him.
Practical Consideration: Repentance must result in reformation. Reformation (not rhetoric or promises or good intentions) is the evidence of repentance. Moses told the people that the proof of genuine repentance was that they would “again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today” (30:8).
Only after remembering, repenting/returning, and renewing a commitment to obey God’s word would the people again experience the matchless blessings of God. Moses identified those blessings as …
First, a gathering of the people from the ends of the earth (30:4).
Second, a prosperity and multiplication of the people beyond that which their fathers experienced (30:5).
Third, a heart inclined to obeying and loving God (30:6, 8). God would circumcise the hearts of the people, “cutting away [their] selfish ambition and stubbornness which caused spiritual insensitivity and lack of devotion” (Samuel J. Schultz).
Fourth, a curse upon Israel’s enemies (30:7).
Fifth, the favor of God (30:9).
Appeal to Renew the Covenant
As Moses challenged the people to commit themselves to the terms of the covenant, he reminded them of two things.
First, God’s word is not incomprehensible (30:11). God had communicated with His people in terms that were clear, simple, and unmistakable. James Wolfendale comments, “God had revealed His will, and made the performance of it easy. Ignorance is inexcusable, and disobedience unreasonable.”
Second, God’s word is not inaccessible (30:11). No one had to go to heaven (30:12) or cross the sea (30:13) to get it. The law had been written on tablets of stone and it had been orally transmitted throughout their wilderness wanderings. According to verse 14, the people could speak it (“in your mouth”) and knew it (“in your heart”). Therefore, challenged Moses, they were to do it.
The entire matter now came down to a choice. The people were required to make a choice between “life and prosperity, and death and adversity” (30:15). Their choice would have an impact on them and on the generations to come. As someone correctly stated, “Future results follow from present action.” Moses again reminded the people of the consequences of turning away from God (30:17-18) and the blessings of loving and obeying God (30:19-20).