In Deuteronomy 30, Moses completes his exhortation to the people who are about to enter the promised land. We still have his song to come in chapter 32. We need to appreciate why he taught them a song – and it’s not a short one! Everything depended on memory. There are references to people developing and possessing fantastic memories in early Centuries, such as being able to memorise all the Psalms.
A good memory enables you to have God’s “word … very near you”. But we need the right attitude to value memory learning – the words must be meaningful so that they stir our thinking and create a sense of motivation in our minds, but verses lose their purpose when people simply recite them by rote.
Moses writes, “return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul” (verse 2). The result will be evident when they come “into the land that your fathers possessed, that … he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers” (verse 5).
Then comes a key verse, “and the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (verse 6). Is not the message of Jesus to us the same!
Then in verse 14 we have the words, “but the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it”. We thought how today the word of God is very near us, freely available in a multitude of different languages; but is it within the “hearts” of those who possess copes of it? Is it in yours?
As Moses brings his final message to a climax notice the reference to the need for love! “If you obey … by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you … therefore chose life that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him” (verses 16,19,20).
We lay a firm foundation to choosing eternal life, by reading and reflecting on portions of God’s word every day – doing it in a way that makes sure “the word is very near” us.