Chapter 11


Remember and Obey

        • Love the Lord your God and always obey His mandates, statutes, ordinances, and commands. You must remember that your children did not experience or witness first hand the discipline of the Lord your God. They did not see His greatness, strength, and power, or the miraculous signs and wonders that He performed in Egypt against Pharaoh. They didn’t witness the annihilation of Pharaoh’s army, horses, and chariots when He drowned them in the Red Sea as they chased you. Your children did not see what He did to you in the wilderness while you traveled to where we are now. They did not see the earth open up and swallow Eliab the Reubenite’s sons, Dathan and Abiram, along with all of their households, tents, and every living thing that belonged to them. However, you have seen with your own eyes all of these great things the Lord your God has done.

          • Guzik notes that Moses makes clear that he is addressing in particular the generation which has personally witnessed these amazing works, “Moses addressed the generation which saw the works of God among Israel, both in blessing and chastening. He spoke to the generation that should know and remember.”

          • The events Moses references regarding Dathan and Abiram occurred in Numbers 16. NLT Illstrated Study Bible provides this quick reminder, “In the Lord’s administration of His kingdom, he established levels of authority and command that were not to be transgressed. Because the Lord had appointed Moses and Aaron as leaders, the rebellion of Dathan and Abiram against Moses was the same as rebellion against God’s sovereign rule.”

          • Guzik makes this very important note, “Most of history – both official and personal – is simply concerned with what man has done. But God wants us to look at history and see what He did. We learn far more, and are far more benefited, by looking at what God has done, rather than looking at what man has done.”

        • Therefore, obey every command that I’m giving you today so that you will have the strength to enter into and take possession of the land that you are about to inherit, and so that you will enjoy long lives in this prosperous land flowing with milk and honey that the Lord promised to your fathers and their descendants.

        • This land is different from Egypt where you planted seeds and made irrigation systems with your own feet as one does in a vegetable garden. Instead, this land you’re about to enter is a land of mountains and valleys with plenty of rain. A land that the Lord your God takes care of and watches over all year long.

          • HCSB notes, “Anyone who has traveled to the Holy Land might take issue with the description of it as ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ but that response overlooks the land’s complete agricultural history. The term is a stock phrase that combines products derived from agriculture (milk) and those that are natural, that is, obtained apart from human labor (labor). As such, it illustrates the land’s fruitfulness. Compared to the arid and bare deserts of the Sinai, Canaan was a virtual Eden. Archaeological research has revealed that the region was more cultivated and forested in ancient times than in recent centuries, due to elaborate systems of water retention and irrigation. Under Turkish occupation the land was stripped for lumber and became more arid, but reforestation by the Israelis has brought back much of the country’s original character.”

          • What about the mention of “irrigation by their own feet”? NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “In Egypt, agriculture depended on irrigation systems of some kind…Small channels dug by one’s foot watered the small ribbon of irrigated land in Egypt. Land not covered by the annual Nile flood had to be irrigated manually. Watering a plot of land was a constant chore in Egypt and is so depicted in the Egyptian Satire on the Trades. The gardener had to water the vegetables daily, or else they would fail: ‘In the morning he waters vegetables, the evening he spends with the herbs.’”

        • If you are careful to obey the commands that I’m giving you today to love the Lord your God and worship Him with all your heart and soul, He will provide rain in the proper seasons and you’ll harvest grain, wine, and oil. He’ll assure that your pasture lands are full of lush grass for your livestock and you will also have all that you want to eat.

        • Be careful and don’t allow yourselves to be enticed into turning aside to worship and bow down to other gods. If you do this, the Lord will become very angry with you. He will prevent the sky from giving rain, your land will not produce crops, and you will quickly die in this good land that the Lord is giving to you.

          • Guzik notes, “The promise of the blessing of rain was important, because one of the attractive of the Canaanite gods was Baal – the god who was said to control the weather and rain. Perhaps the Israelites would be tempted to think, “well, we are in Canaan, and if we want rain, we should worship the Canaanite god of rain.” But the LORD makes it clear that if they would worship and obey Him, He would supply abundant rain.”

        • Impress these words on your hearts and souls, affix them to your hands and on your foreheads as a symbol. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting in your house, when you’re traveling on the road, when you lay down to sleep, and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates so that as long as the heavens remain above the earth you and your children may stay in this land the Lord swore to give your fathers.

          • HCSB writes, “Taken literally, this passage would suggest that nothing was to occur in family life except the verbal communication of the law. But Moses’ intention here is to impress upon parents that their very lifestyle as well as their words is to be instructive to their children.”

          • Guzik adds, “God’s Word was to be the topic of their conversation. We can fairly measure our love for God’s word by how much we will talk about it with others. God doesn’t want us to have a secret love relationship with His word.”

        • If you carefully obey every one of these commands I am giving you- to love the Lord your God, live in a way that is pleasing to Him, and remain faithful to Him- He will drive all out these nations that are larger and more powerful than you. Wherever you walk will be yours. Your lands will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to oppose you because the Lord your God will cause all the people to be afraid of you and dread you everywhere you go, just as He promised.

          • Guzik writes, “All the commandments are summarized in these three phrases. Each of these speaks of more than a bare and compelled obedience; they speak of a real relationship of love between God and His people, with obedience flowing naturally from that relationship…God promised to fight the battles for an obedient Israel. Many desire God to fight their battles but have little interest in obeying Him – or cultivating the deep relationship of love which obedience grows from…When Israel walked in love with the LORD and was obedient to Him, they were unbeatable. No man could defeat them. Greater was God who was with them than he who was in the world! (1 John 4:4)”

A Blessing and a Curse

        • Today I set before you two choices- a blessing and a curse: if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I’m giving you today you will be blessed; if you do not obey the commands of the Lord your God, turn away from Him, and worship gods that you don’t know, you will be cursed.

          • Guzik provides this important distinction between this Old Covenant and the New Covenant that we are now subject to, “The three great elements to the Old Covenant were the law, the sacrifice, and the choice. Israel had a choice – to obey and be blessed, or to disobey and be cursed. It was a cause and effect relationship with God…It is important to recognize that we, in Jesus Christ, do not have an Old Covenant relationship with God. We expect to be blessed, not because of our obedience, but because of our position in Jesus. The curse we deserved was laid upon Him (Galatians 3:10-14). Though there may be an inherent curse of consequences in our disobedience or even in the correcting hand of God, under the New Covenant, He does not punish us or curse us – because all that we deserved, past, present, and future, was poured out upon Jesus.”

        • When the Lord your God brings you into this land you are about to enter you are to proclaim the blessing at Mount Gerizim and proclaim the curse at Mount Ebal. (These two mountains are west of the Jordan River in the land of the Canaanites who live in Arabah across from the town of Gilgal which is not far from the oaks of Moreh.) You are about to cross the Jordan River to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving to you. When you have taken control of this land and have settled in it, be careful to obey all the statutes and ordinances that I gave you today.

          • HCSB notes, “Though the term ‘across the Jordan’ is normally a technical way of referring to the Transjordan (Deuteronomy 1:1; 4:41), here it refers to Canaan which lies on the other side of the river from the speaker’s point of view. The mention of the mountains Gerizim and Ebal makes this clear. The expression also verifies that Moses is in the Transjordan at the time he issues these instructions.”

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Mount Gerizim is a prominent hill lying just west of Schechem. In later times, Samaritans built a temple there (John 4:20). Mount Ebal is across the valley from Mount Gerizim, to the east of Schechem…Gilgal was the site of the first camp the Israelites would make in Canaan after crossing the Jordan (Joshua 4:19). It was about two miles northeast of Jericho, although its exact location is no longer certain…The oaks of Moreh were near Schechem; they were where Abram had set up his first camp in Canaan (Genesis 12:6) and where Jacob had later buried Laban’s idols (Genesis 35:4).”