Moses pitches the agreement
Banished Israelites will come home1Everything I described is going to happen—blessings and then painful consequences for breaking the law. The LORD will banish you to another country. 2When you and your descendants return to this land, you can come back to the LORD your God, too. You can decide to follow the law with all your heart and soul, just as I’m pleading with you to do. 3If you do that, the LORD your God will take you back. He’ll free the captives scattered around the world. He’ll restore what you lost. 4It doesn’t matter if you’ve been shipped off to a faraway country. He’ll bring you back.
5The LORD your God will take you to the home of your ancestors. He’ll give it back to you. He’ll treat you well. And you’ll grow into a nation bigger than ever. 6Then the LORD your God will cut that stubborn streak out of your heart. He’ll do the same for your descendants. Then you’ll be able to love with all your heart and with everything you’ve got in you. If you can do that, you’ll live. 7Afterward, the LORD your God will turn on your enemies for persecuting you. He’ll let them feel the painful consequences of the agreement he made with you. 8Once again, you’ll follow the law and obey the LORD’s commandments, just as I’m telling you to do today. 9Then the LORD your God will give you back your blessed life. You’ll succeed in whatever you do. You’ll have lots of children, cattle, and crops. The LORD will be delighted with you, just as he was with your ancestors. 10But you need to obey the LORD your God and follow the law written in the Law Book.  Devote yourself completely to the LORD. Give him all your heart.
You know what to do11What I’m telling you to do isn’t hard. You don’t have to go hunting for the secret of how to do it. 12You don’t have to ask, “Who on earth can we send to heaven to find out what we’re supposed to do?” 13And you don’t have to ask, “Who can we send to the other side of the sea to find out what we’re supposed to do?” 14You know what you need to do. The command is in your heart. It’s on your lips when you recite the words. You have everything you need to follow the law.
You choose: life or death15Look, I’m giving you a choice. You can live a happy and prosperous life. Or you can die trying, as you battle one hardship after another. 16I’m giving you this commandment. If you want God to bless your life in this land you’re about to take, and if you want to live long enough to grow into a large nation, here’s what you need to do. Love the LORD your God. Follow him. Follow the law, too. These are his laws, his rules, his decisions.
17But I want you to know what will happen to you if you leave God behind and stray off and start worshiping other gods. 18You won’t survive long. You won’t live in this land across the Jordan River as long as you otherwise would have. 19Right now, I’m inviting heaven and earth to witness your decision. I have given you the choice. You can pick a blessed life. Or you can pick a punishing death. Pick life so you can live and give life to your descendants. 20Love the LORD your God. Listen to him. Keep him close. Do it so you can live in this land that the LORD promised he would give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The original Hebrew language uses a metaphor: “circumcise the foreskin of your heart.” A boy born into the home of observant Jews will usually have the foreskin of his penis cut off on the eighth day of his life. This Jewish ritual started with Abraham about 4,000 years (Genesis 17:10-13). God made a contractual agreement with Abraham, promising to give him many descendants and to let them live in this land which is now Israel and Palestinian Territories. Instead of having Abraham sign the contract in handwriting, the Bible says God wanted every Jewish male to sign it in blood. Circumcision became a reminder of God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants. “Circumcision of the heart” might be a way of saying God makes it possible for his people to devote themselves completely to him, and to live as his people. Many Jews teach this and they do this by following the laws Moses reviews in Deuteronomy.
“Law Book” probably refers to the laws Moses delivered in his speeches, many scholars say. He reportedly wrote what is now Deuteronomy chapters 1-30 and gave them to the priests for safe keeping (31:9). This may be the long-lost book of Jewish laws that motivated King Josiah (ruled about 640-609 BC) to launch a revival and to destroy idols and shrines in the southern Jewish nation of Judah (2 Kings 22:8). The revival was apparently too little, too late. Babylonian invaders from what is now Iraq leveled Jerusalem and erased the Jewish nation from the political map.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.