At the end of yesterday’s reading, Moses pushes against any pride Israel might feel in the future. “Beware, lest you forget the LORD…lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’” Likewise he warns them in chapter 9, “Do not say in your heart, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess the land.’”
But while Moses has presented God’s promises in the context of His historical faithfulness, he presents these warnings by reminding Israel of how often they’ve strayed. Don’t forget the Golden Calf you made… Don’t forget how you rebelled at Kadesh… Yesterday Moses reminded this present generation that they are heirs to the covenant of their fathers. Today, he reminds them that they are also heirs to their parents’ stubbornness.
Therefore, Moses begs in chapter 10, translate the circumcision of your foreskin onto your hearts, “and be no longer stubborn. For the LORD your God is Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God… He is your praise.” You’ll notice that nested in this concert of praise is a call to justice: this is how you can show that your heart is circumcised.
Chapter 11 closes the first half of Moses’ second speech. In the grand scheme of the Deuteronomy covenant, this is where the general command to obey the LORD is tied to future blessing. “And if you will indeed obey my commandments, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and soul, He will give you rain for your land… grass in your fields, and you shall eat and be full.” Likewise, failure to obey is bound to future curse: “The LORD… will shut up the heavens… and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land the LORD is giving you.”
Our verses for this week are Matthew 22:37-38: “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
Deuteronomy chapters 9 through 11. Now let’s read it!
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.