Exhortations and cautions, enforced by the Lord’s former dealings with Israel, and his promises. (Verse 1-9.)
Exhortations and cautions further enforced. (Verse 10-20.)
1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
Three reasons are given here for God leading his people through the wilderness for forty years. 1) humble them 2) prove them 3) to know their heart
3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
[Matt 4:4, Luke 4:4]
“every word” – the student will note that “word” is in italics in this verse. As mentioned in an earlier lesson, when translating from one language to another, certain words are implied in one language that are not actually found in a word for-word sense; when the Bible was translated, words that are implied but not actually found in the Greek or Hebrew were supplied by the translators – to show that these words are not actually found in the Greek or Hebrew texts, they were italicized. This does NOT mean that they can be left out as some would teach; the italicized words are just as much scripture as the rest of the words. In fact in this case, when Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 4:4 he included the word “word” as part of the verse reaffirming the fact that it does indeed belong. Beware of someone who wants to “diminish” from the word of God (4:2) by leaving out or tampering with the italicized words. Incidentally, the King James Bible is one of the only English Bible versions that tells you where these italicized words are – the other translations merely put everything in regular type which makes it much easier to change words around without the reader being aware of it. The broader principle at work in this passage is what the verse is actually saying – man shall not live by bread alone but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord! If God gave such a command, then obviously he has made available a Bible that has his EVERY word in it! A casual glance at the Bible versions in English show that they all have different words – only one, the King James Bible, has been proven to have EVERY word of God in it. We would challenge the student to study the issue out for themselves.
4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.
5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
7 For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
9 A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
[1st Samuel 9:13, Matt 14:19, Matt 15:36, Luke 22:19]
11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
forgetting God is demonstrated by our disobedience. Note the role pride plays in this process according to verse 14.
12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
“to do thee good at thy latter end” – many of the problems in our lives have a purpose that eventually ends in a blessing from God if we learn the lesson at hand. How many times have you gone through a trial or tough time in life and been so busy asking “Why God?” that you failed to learn the lesson he was teaching you and missed out on the blessing?
17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
the rich are only in that condition by the power of God who does NOT promise everyone physical wealth – he only promises to meet our need.
19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-9 – Obedience must be,
1. Careful, observe to do;
2. Universal, to do all the commandments; and
3. From a good principle, with a regard to God as the Lord, and their God, and with a holy fear of him. To engage them to this obedience. Moses directs them to look back. It is good to remember all the ways, both of God’s providence and grace, by which he has led us through this wilderness, that we may cheerfully serve him and trust in him. They must remember the straits they were sometimes brought into, for mortifying their pride, and manifesting their perverseness; to prove them, that they and others might know all that was in their heart, and that all might see that God chose them, not for any thing in them which might recommend them to his favour. They must remember the miraculous supplies of food and raiment granted them. Let none of God’s children distrust their Father, nor take any sinful course for the supply of their necessities. Some way or other, God will provide for them in the way of duty and honest diligence, and verily they shall be fed. It may be applied spiritually; the word of God is the food of the soul. Christ is the word of God; by him we live. They must also remember the rebukes they had been under, and not without need. This use we should make of all our afflictions; by them let us be quickened to our duty. Moses also directs them to look forward to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward, to Canaan. Look which way we will, both to look back and to look forward will furnish us with arguments for obedience. Moses saw in that land a type of the better country. The gospel church is the New Testament Canaan, watered with the Spirit in his gifts and graces, planted with trees of righteousness, bearing fruits of righteousness. Heaven is the good land, in which nothing is wanting, and where is fulness of joy.
Verse 10-20 – Moses directs to the duty of a prosperous condition. Let them always remember their Benefactor. In everything we must give thanks. Moses arms them against the temptations of a prosperous condition. When men possess large estates, or are engaged in profitable business, they find the temptation to pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong; and they are anxious and troubled about many things. In this the believing poor have the advantage; they more easily perceive their supplies coming from the Lord in answer to the prayer of faith; and, strange as it may seem, they find less difficulty in simply trusting him for daily bread. They taste a sweetness therein, which is generally unknown to the rich, while they are also freed from many of their temptations. Forget not God’s former dealings with thee. Here is the great secret of Divine Providence. Infinite wisdom and goodness are the source of all the changes and trials believers experience. Israel had many bitter trials, but it was “to do them good.” Pride is natural to the human heart. Would one suppose that such a people, after their slavery at the brick-kilns, should need the thorns of the wilderness to humble them? But such is man! And they were proved that they might be humbled. None of us live a single week without giving proofs of our weakness, folly, and depravity. To broken-hearted souls alone the Saviour is precious indeed. Nothing can render the most suitable outward and inward trials effectual, but the power of the Spirit of God. See here how God’s giving and our getting are reconciled, and apply it to spiritual wealth. All God’s gifts are in pursuance of his promises. Moses repeats the warning he had often given of the fatal consequences of forsaking God. Those who follow others in sin, will follow them to destruction. If we do as sinners do, we must expect to fare as sinners fare.