Deuteronomy 11

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Old Testament
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Deuteronomy 10-11 serve as concluding chapters for all that has proceeded.  This is what the rest of all that has come before boils down to and means.

In this passage, two motivations are given for loving God and obeying him today.  First, God’s mercy in the past and his ongoing care and guidance in the wilderness (11:1-7).  In this, God incorporates both forces of history and forces of nature to enact his will for his people.  The second motivation looks to the future: the dramatic and saving act of God and the ongoing care and blessing of the people.

Two options are laid before the people: blessing or curse, land or landlessness, citizenship or alienation, life or death.  It is really the question of whom the people will serve.  Will they observe the first command?  Two mountains will be visible reminders of this choice that will continually stand before the people as they live in the land of God’s promise.  Mount Gerizim, the mountain of blessing, was green with life and vegetation.  Mount Ebal was a stark contrast of desolate landscape.  This choice before Israel is also echoed in the opening of Joshua… “choose this day whom you will serve.”

This same thought is repeated in chapter 27-28, forming an envelope around chapters 12-26.

Three gods are suggested as temptations to follow.  Each involves trusting ultimately in human powers and claims to superiority: political and military might (Deut. 7:1-26), self-sufficient economic power (Deut. 8:1-20), or self-righteous moral or ethical power (Deut. 9:1-10:11).  However, to choose these over the living God results in death and destruction for Israel.  That much can be seen evidenced in the wilderness generation, who continually turned to idolatry.

Verses 10-11 deal with the wilderness generation’s propensity to always look back on Egypt as a great place of plenty.  Moses facetiously acknowledges Egypt is a garden that has been watered by “foot.”  In contrast, the Promise Land is watered by the very heavens.  In other words, Egypt’s fertile land is watered by the urine and waste of the people.  Whereas, Canaan is a land of God’s providence.

Moses uses similar language of idols in Deut. 29:17, calling these lifeless idols “disgusting excrement pellets.”






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