Deut. 30:1-3 Moses had just taught about the consequences of their future failure. The day would come when Israel would turn from God to idols and false worship. The result would be the judgment of God. A foreign nation would conquer them, and they would become exiles in a foreign land that they knew nothing about (28:36). Here Moses predicts that a day of restoration would come. Most of us sadly learn by trial and error and according to Moses and the prophets Israel will as well. Israel was brought into captivity to Babylon beginning in 605 B.C. and brought back to the land in 538 B.C. Then beginning in 70 AD Israel was scattered to all the nations and would not return until 1948. Israel will not be fully restored until the second coming of Yeshua to the earth as described in Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:26-27. V 1 Moses describes the time when they will remember the blessings and curses of God that came upon them. This will nationally lead them to repentance and return to the Lord. In keeping with their repentance, they will obey the Lordwith their whole heart and soul (Mat. 3:8). This future restoration and blessing will take place under the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34; 32:36–41; Ezek. 36:25–27).
Deut. 30:4-5 It appears from these prophetic words of Moses that the return of Israel from captivity is dependent on their repentance. However, in both their return from Babylon and the great diaspora there is no evidence that Israel nationally repented prior to being brought back from captivity. How then are we to understand these words of Moses? I believe this tension can be seen in their physical return to the land first followed by their spiritual revival. We see in their return from Babylon a spiritual revival of some of the people in Nehemiah 8:1-12. Here we see conviction of sin and repentance followed by spiritual revival and restoration to the Lord. In Ezekiel 36 and 37 the prophet describes a day in the future when Israel will return from all the nations of the world, initially in unbelief and then transformed by the work of God’s Spirit. The land is described by Moses as the land that belonged to your fathers, not a reference to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) but to those of the present generation, who will be viewed as the fathers to future generations. This future restoration will be greater than the original since God will make Israel more prosperous and numerous than they were when Moses spoke these words.
Deut. 30:6 Here Moses confirms that the full restoration of Israel involves a transformed heart. This transformation will be the Lord’s doing, just as He has transformed our hearts by grace through faith and that not of ourselves (Eph 2:8-9). As Moses observed in Deu. 29:4 the hearts of this new generation were no different than their fathers who rebelled against God’s will for them to take the land. However, at their most desperate time in their future God will pour out on them the Spirit of grace and prayer and they will look upon “Me whom they have pierced” (Zech 12:10; 13:1) and subsequently fill them with God’s Spirit (Jer. 31:31-33; Ezek. 36:26). God will circumcise their hearts and they will fulfill their true calling to be the nation of priests that they were called to be (Ex. 19:6). When that happens, Israel will truly experience life.
Deut. 30:7-8 Although the generation Moses is speaking of in the future will experience the horrific judgments of Deut. 28, God will then place those curses on those who hated and persecuted them. This remarkable reversal will give Israel hope and encouragement, and in thankfulness the people will again obey the Lord and follow his commands. This is why we too love the Lord, because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).
Deut. 30:9-10 These verses sum up the blessings of Deut. 28:1-13 based on their return to the Lord, a renewed heart, and obedience to God’s commands. Flowing from this is renewed prosperity as the Lord delights in them once again as they obey his commands and decrees by abiding in Him (John 15:1-2).
Deu. 30:11-13 The commands that bring prosperity and blessing are not difficult or out of reach. God’s truth is not just in heaven where it can’t be known, it has been revealed. It is not on the other side of the sea, where it is unattainable. Moses tells Israel that God’s truth is available to all who seek the truth through prayer (their mouth) and in the heart (through the Holy Spirit through God’s Word in Scripture). These were the words quoted by Paul in Rom 10:6-8 which he saw pointing to the Word made flesh and revealed in Yeshua.
Deut. 30:15-16 The Lord through Moses described to Israel two paths; one that leads to life and prosperity and one that leads to death and destruction. Both life and death are not just spoken in terms of physical life and death but also the spiritual realm. Failure to obey the covenant would lead to the loss of the abundant life that God had for them. Paul alludes to this idea in 1 Tim. 5:6: “The widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives” and Eph. 2:1 “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Real life is experienced by those who love the Lord and walk in His ways which leads to an abundant life. Those who chose this path find the way that leads to life and blessings in both the land and in their personal lives. Isaiah described it as the “highway of holiness” (Isa. 35:8). Yeshua said “the way is narrow that leads to life and few who find it” (Mat. 7:14). We today have more revelation than Israel did, since we have the Living Word Yeshua, a far greater gift than the Written Word of God and as such are without excuse. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23).
Deut. 30:17-18 Bob Dylan aptly wrote “you got to serve somebody …, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord…” Those who turn away from the Lord and his way, will suffer the miseries that come with those choices. Anyone or thing that comes before the Lord is tantamount to idolatry. Moses warns Israel that they would suffer the same fate of the nations they were replacing in the Land. The warning to us is just as clear that if we do not trust, follow and obey the Lord then we too will perish and be destroyed. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him”.
Deut. 30:19-20. The covenant between God and Israel would serve as testimony to the world of God’s faithfulness to His Word. If Israel rejects this relationship God will call all creation to testify against her (Isa. 1:2; Jer. 2:12-13). This kind of language was used in suzerainty treaties (between a lord and a vassal) to call their gods to serve as witnesses of the covenants they made. Heaven and earth refer to all creation including man, angels and even nature.