Scripture: “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14 ESV
Observation: In the opening verses of chapter 30, Moses reviews the positive correlation between covenant obedience and blessings and emphasizes that their Lord takes delight in prospering his people (vv.1-10). Moses then makes a final appeal to his fellow brothers and sisters, reminding them that the covenantal demands are reasonable and obtainable (above verses). Thus, he challenges them to choose the right way forward (vv.15-20). Indeed, unlike the lifeless gods of the surrounding nations, and in contrast to the secret things Yahweh reserves for himself (see yesterday’s Daily Focus), through Moses’ instructions to the people, Yahweh’s revelation is near to them: accessible to the mind, visible in creation, and audible through the spoken word.
Takeaway: The above expression that the “word is very near you” echoes an earlier proclamation that Yahweh is near his people (Deuteronomy 4:7-8). Thus, Moses tells Israel and us that the word is the Word, and so does John in his Gospel’s opening declaration: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 ESV). John and Moses inform their audiences that the word/Word is not only near but brings life and light. And because Immanuel is with us and in us (Galatians 2:20), his light, that reveals his reasonable and obtainable commands, brings life.
Still, like Israel, we will struggle to submit to and obey our Lord. But the Father understood the pull of sin that beckons us to sit on our thrones and worship ourselves rather than to draw near our beautiful Savior seated on his throne and worship him. Thus, the good news for all his children is that he never gives up on us and will keep pursuing us by whatever necessary means, including permitting trials and suffering to turn our affections away from worldly pursuits to his Son. Indeed, as Paul expresses, the Word is very near us, renewing our minds so that we may know his good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2) that showers us with his eternal blessings.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that your Word is near us! Would you please help us to cooperate with your Holy Spirit (who is also in us) to abide with your Word and obey your words revealed to our minds through your creation and proclamation? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling