New European Commentary

 

About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan


Deeper Commentary

 

Deu 8:1 You must observe to do all the commandments which I command you this day, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers-
Again we perceive God's grace. They were not obedient, and yet by grace they did go in and possess the Kingdom. We cannot presume upon such grace, but we can note the deep good pleasure and will of God that His people inherit His Kingdom, despite their weaknesses.


"Drive out" is s.w. "possess". We must note the difference between the  Canaanite peoples and their kings being "struck" and their land "taken" by Joshua-Jesus; and the people of Israel permanently taking possession. This is the difference between the Lord's victory on the cross, and our taking possession of the Kingdom. Even though that possession has been "given" to us. The word used for "possession" is literally 'an inheritance'. The allusion is to the people, like us, being the seed of Abraham. The Kingdom was and is our possession, our inheritance- if we walk in the steps of Abraham. But it is one thing to be the seed of Abraham, another to take possession of the inheritance; and Israel generally did not take possession of all the land (Josh. 11:23 13:1; 16:10; 18:3; 23:4). The language of inheritance / possession is applied to us in the New Testament (Eph. 1:11,14; Col. 3:24; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Pet. 1:4 etc.). Israel were promised: "You shall possess it" (Dt. 30:5; 33:23). This was more of a command than a prophecy, for sadly they were "given" the land but did not "possess" it. They were constantly encouraged in the wilderness that they were on the path to possessing the land (Dt. 30:16,18; 31:3,13; 32:47), but when they got there they didn't possess it fully.

Deu 8:2 You shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you-
Recollection of our spiritual biography is intended to humble us. And the intention of our wilderness walk is to humble us; for humility is one of the most critical characteristics which God seeks to develop in His children. We must be humbled beneath His mighty hand, that we might be exalted in due time (1 Pet. 5:6). And so life's really a race to the bottom; by the end of our days, the intention is that we have been suitably humbled. So that we might be exalted at the resurrection. It's no surprise, therefore, that life often doesn't work out- so that we are humbled.


To prove you, to know what was in your heart-
The original is ambiguous. It was to reveal to God what was the state of their hearts; and yet God knows the human heart without the need for experimentation. But it can also imply that the experiences were so that they knew what their heart was. Hence LXX "that the things in thine heart might be made manifest". The idea may be that man's self examination is in fact God's examination of that heart; hence Prov. 20:27: "The spirit of man is the candle of Yahweh, searching all the inward parts of the belly". Our wilderness journey is therefore partly intended for us to come to fuller self knowledge, as to whether or not we have a heart for God. At the start of our journey, we may simply hope we have a heart for God; but in maturity, we are intended to know for sure that we do, despite many imperfections.

Alternatively, it could be argued that it was the Angel gave them trials in order to find out what was in their heart. God "knows the secrets of the heart" (Ps. 44:21);  "I Yahweh search the heart" (Jer. 17:10), and therefore He does not have to test us in order to know what is in our hearts. But His Angels do. Abraham and Hezekiah are other examples; see on 2 Chron. 32:31. We know that Angels can’t sin: and yet they are limited in knowledge (e.g. Mt. 24:36). an Angel commented that now he knew that Abraham feared God, after he had seen his willingness to offer Isaac (Gen. 22:12); Israel’s guardian Angel lead them through the wilderness in order to learn about Israel’s spirituality (Dt. 8:2,3). God Himself, of course, already knew the hearts of men. The “sons of God”, in the context of the book of Job, refer to the Angels (Job 38:7), and Job's 'satan' may have likewise been an Angel testing him to see his response.

Whether you would keep His commandments or not-

The grace of all this is that the forty years wanderings showed what was the heart of Israel- that they were disobedient. But all the same, God brought them in to the promised land.


Deu 8:3 He humbled you-

Perhaps we find ourselves facing a situation that our upbringing and culture never addressed; we are alone, humiliated, before our God. This is what happened to Israel and to the Lord in the wilderness. The tragedy is that so many fail to respond as intended to the humbling hand of God as a loving Father. The Hebrew word there translated “humbled” is so often used about the afflictions of Israel- in Egypt, in the wilderness, at the hands of their invaders. But they wriggled against it, their bitterness driving them deep within themselves rather than to God and His Son. This is the enduring tragedy of Israel, and Jewish history. And it is the same with so many lives today.

And allowed you to suffer hunger-
How God works through sin is revealed in the way that although God always provided food for Israel in the wilderness, He ‘suffered them to hunger’ for 40 years, in order to try to teach them that man lives not by bread alone, but by God’s word (Dt. 8:2,3). The Jews in the wilderness despised the food God gave them as worthless (Num. 21:3); they went hungry not literally, but in the sense that they despised the manna of God’s provision. And He allowed them to have that hunger, in order that He might [try to] teach them about the value of His word. He didn’t simply punish them for their ingratitude. He sought to work through it in order to teach them something. Even the process of rejection results in the victims coming to ‘know the Lord’.

And fed you with manna-
Israel were to be filled with the manna, so that they would know that "I am Yahweh your God" (Ex. 16:12). This was to be the meaning of the manna. There was a daily manifestation of God's glory along with the manna (Ex. 16:7 cp. 12). The daily sense of living with God's glory is so vital for each of us in our deeply personal spirituality. We know that faith comes from hearing God's word; so our feeding on God's word should lead us to know Yahweh. There was something intensely personal about the teaching of the manna: "He fed thee (singular- not "ye") with manna, that he might make thee know that (every) man (lives spiritually) by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Dt. 8:3 AV).

Which you didn’t know, neither did your fathers know-
Part of our humbling process is to be given experiences and situations which neither we nor our fathers knew. On one hand, the essence of all situations and temptations has been experienced before at some point in Biblical history. But on the other, we are tested by experiences which are unique to us, without known precedent; that we might be brought to God in trust and humility.

That He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh-
Every gift of manna was the result of a specific Divine word of command being given. And this was to teach the wider lesson- that God's word is to be engaged with by us every day, and by this we shall spiritually live. Whilst the manna appeared the same old, same old thing- it actually was uniquely created by a specific, consciously given word from God. And so it is with our spiritual food, given daily.


The passages quoted by Jesus in the desert to strengthen Himself against His human desires (“the devil”) are all from the same part of Deuteronomy, regarding Israel’s experience in the wilderness. Jesus clearly saw a parallel between His experiences and theirs. The description of Him as being in the wilderness with beasts and Angels (Mk. 1:13) is another connection with Israel’s experience in the wilderness- they were plagued there by “wild beasts” (32:19-24). Jesus was led up of the spirit for forty days in the wilderness, as Israel were led forty years by a Spirit-Angel. The mind of Jesus was likewise proved by the temptations. Jesus overcame by quoting the Scriptures that were in His heart (Ps. 119:11). Jesus also was allowed to hunger, to reinforce His understanding of the fact that we are to live not by physical food but by the word of God. The reference to Israel being ‘chastened’ (:5) in the desert recall how God chastened His Son, Jesus (2 Sam. 7:12; Ps. 89: 32). Thus Jesus showed us how to read and study the Word - He thought Himself into the position of Israel in the wilderness, and therefore took the lessons that can be learnt from their experiences to Himself in His wilderness trials.

The fact that God’s word is true means that we also ought to be truthful- for we should speak “as oracles of God”. Moses surely intended a connection between his words recorded in Dt. 8:3 and Dt. 23:23- for they are the only times he uses a particular Hebrew word translated “proceed” or ‘go out’, within the same speech uttered the same day: “By every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live… that which goes forth [s.w. “proceeds”] out of your lips / mouth you shall keep and perform”. The influence of continually hearing God’s word should be that our words are likewise truthful and trustworthy. The fact that the Bible as God’s word is true has implications for our own truthfulness. Pistos is listed as a fruit of the spirit in Gal. 5; but the idea it can carry is not so much of faith in the sense of belief, but of faithfulness, loyalty, reliability, utter dependability. If this is how God’s words are to us, then this is how we and our words should be to others.

Exactly because the Lord Jesus was human, and yet perfect, He was so exalted. It's perhaps noteworthy that in the wilderness temptation, Jesus was tempted "If you are the Son of God..." (Mt. 4:3), and He replies by quoting Dt. 8:3 "man shall not live by bread alone"- and the Jonathan Targum has bar nasha [son of man] here for "man". If we are correct in understanding those wilderness temptations as the Lord's internal struggles, we see Him tempted to wrongly focus upon His being Son of God, forgetting His humanity; and we see Him overcoming this temptation, preferring instead to perceive Himself as Son of man. Twice in Mark, Jesus is addressed as "Messiah" but He replies by calling Himself "the Son of man" (Mk. 8:29-31; 14:61,62). If this was His preferred self-perception, should it not be how we perceive Him?


Deu 8:4 Your clothing didn’t grow old on you, neither did your foot swell, these forty years-
God has likewise promised to provide us on our wilderness journey with basic clothing and food (Ps. 37:25). We should be content with this, and instead of giving our strength to earn money to tickle our taste buds and buy fine clothing, instead give our lives to serving God.

Apart from the jewellery taken from the Egyptians for the construction of the tabernacle, the total unmaterialism of Israel on Passover night is something to be marvelled at.   They only had the clothes they wore, and just the one pair of shoes. This is confirmed by the reminder that these things were miraculously preserved throughout the wilderness journey (Dt. 8:4). It is also highlighted that they had no food when they left - they just grabbed some dough which later they baked into "unleavened cakes" (Ex. 12:34,39).  


Deu 8:5 You shall consider in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so Yahweh your God chastens you-
Dt. 8:2-7 describes God leading Israel through the wilderness for 40 years so that they could then enter the land. 'Israel' here must refer to the under 20s, Joshua, Caleb and the Levites. It was only they who went through the wilderness for 40 years. It was 'Israel' in this sense with whom God was in love. They considered in their heart, that God was treating them as a father does his son (Dt. 8:5). This has a practical significance to it; the under 20s would have been at variance with their natural parents, who knew they were condemned to death in the wilderness, and who refused to take their covenant with God seriously. That young remnant were led to meditate that God was their Heavenly Father; natural relationships that were not based around a true love of God, paled into insignificance as they spiritually matured.  Dt. 8:3 says that they learnt to live by every word of God during those 40 years. This is just not true of rebellious Israel generally. But the under 20s, Levites, Joshua and Caleb all developed into keen lovers of the word during that time.  They are classic Biblical examples for young people.


Deu 8:6 You must keep the commandments of Yahweh your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him-
Whilst there are of course conditions for entry into the Kingdom, it must ever be remembered that it is not right to therefore reason that if we do certain things, then we will be in the Kingdom. For this would be justification by works and not by faith. However, because we believe we will be in the Kingdom, we will therefore naturally respond by living according to God’s precepts. Moses encouraged Israel to keep the Law exactly because God would surely give them the promised land- not so that they would enter the land but because He would give them the land: "For Yahweh your God brings you into a good land" (:7). 


Deu 8:7 For Yahweh your God brings you into a good land-
The Hebrew word for "spied out" in Dt. 1:24 also means 'to slander' (s.w. 2 Sam. 19:27; Ps. 15:3). Their slander of the land was in that they misrepresented the strength of the people there, who were in fact fearful of the Israelites. They brought up an evil report of the land (Num. 13:32), characterizing it as not "good" but "evil", as if inhabited by insuperable forces of cosmic evil. They disbelieved God's simple statement that He was bringing them a "good land" (Ex. 3:8). Moses therefore repeatedly calls the land a "good land", denying their wrong idea that the land was inhabited by 'evil spirits' (Dt. 3:25; 4:21,22; 6:18; 8:7; 9:6; 11:17). We see here how belief in 'evil spirits' or 'demons' militated against their faith in God and His eagerness to give His good Kingdom to His people. That continues to be His "good pleasure" (Lk. 12:32) toward us, but like Israel, we are tempted to disbelieve this and allow our own perceptions and empirical conclusions to lead us away from simple faith in this.

A land of brooks of water, of springs and underground water gushing into valleys and hills-
A land of brooks of water" is precisely the phrase used of a place they stopped at on the way to Canaan (Dt. 10:7). They were constantly given foretastes of the Kingdom before entering it, just as we are on our wilderness journey.


Deu 8:8 a land of wheat and barley, vines, fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey-
Rabshakeh alluded to this: "Make an agreement with me... and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree... until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey" (2 Kings 18:31-32). The repetition of the word "land" and the evident allusions to the description of the promised land Israel would have if they were faithful, show that Rabshakeh was offering the Jews a fake kingdom of God. The reference to each man eating his own vine and fig tree is alluding to Mic. 4:4, a prophecy which was uttered during this period, and doubtless repeated by the prophets within Jerusalem: "They shall sit every man under his vine and... fig tree". The world likewise offers us a fake kingdom of God. We have a choice between the kingdoms of men now, and God's true Kingdom.


Deu 8:9 a land in which you shall eat bread without scarcity. You shall not lack anything in it-
There can be little doubt that standing on a mountain looking out over God’s Kingdom would have reminded Christ of Moses on Nebo, who for one slip was denied it all. And that must have sobered Him (Dt. 34:1). And having quoted Dt. 8:3 to Himself about living on the bread / word of God, His mind would have gone on to Dt. 8:9 with its description of eating bread without scarceness in the Kingdom – i.e. feeding fully on spiritual things, in the allegory.

The connection is with how in the wilderness years, they were made to hunger (:3)- so that they might better appreciate the fertility and food of the promised land. We too suffer deficits in our journey, perhaps of fellowship, of acceptance... to prepare us for the fullness of those things in the Kingdom.

But when under judgment for sin, the bread of the land was scarce (Ez. 4:17; Am. 4:6), and they lacked all things (Dt. 28:48,57). This promise is therefore conditional upon their obedience- it was what was potentially possible.

A land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you may dig copper-
They would inherit a land which was blessed with iron, and from whose hills “you may dig brass”; and yet they failed to make the effort to dig this out, and therefore they were dominated by the Canaanite tribes who had iron weapons. The Angels had made it potentially possible, but the realization of their potential plans depended upon Israel’s freewill effort. But in Judges and 1 Samuel we read several times of how Israel hardly had any iron weapons and were dominated by the Philistines who did. So this was a potential for them- they could have had this blessing, but like us so often, they chose to be satisfied with the minimum and didn’t realize it for themselves.

The men of Dan quote the words of Dt. 8:9 in Jud. 18:10, but out of context. Those words were true of the entire land promised to Abraham. But the men of Dan didn't drive out the tribes from the land. Instead, they applied these words to a tiny, remote part of it in Laish, and encouraged themselves on the basis of these words to go and massacre a group of unsuspecting people and take their land- with the blessing of Micah's false gods.


Deu 8:10 When you shall eat and be full, then you shall bless Yahweh your God for the good land which He has given you-
Israel were given manna in the wilderness, and they ate it and were full (Ex. 16:8,12). But they were promised that in the promised land of the Kingdom, they would likewise eat and be full, again from blessing given by God (s.w. Dt. 8:10; 11:15; 14:29; 26:12; 31:20). After our Red Sea baptism, we are now in the wilderness; but by feeding on the manna, the word of God in the Lord Jesus, we have a foretaste of the Kingdom experience. But the curse for disobedience was that they would eat and not be full / satisfied (Lev. 26:26).  

"The good land" uses the same words as in the creation account (Gen. 1:10). Their entry into Canaan is being cast as a new creation, a possibility of attaining some form of the Kingdom of God.


Deu 8:11 Beware lest you forget Yahweh your God-
They never literally forgot Yahweh. Indeed they always professed loyalty to Him. But God sees to the essence, and considered they effectively were acting without Him present in their conscience. And He counts that as having forgotten Him. The same warning is in Dt. 6:12; 25:19; Hos. 2:13- to not allow material blessing to lead us to forget Yahweh. Seeing that such blessing clearly leads to forgetting Yahweh, we wonder why ever He gives any of His children such blessing. It is given as a test; or, perhaps it is simply a case of a doting Father giving us what He knows we will like, although it is not good for us. The connection between material blessing and forgetting God is very strong; to seek for material blessing is spiritual suicide.

In not keeping His commandments-
The word so often used for "keeping" / "diligently observing" Yahweh's commandments is from the word meaning a thorn hedge; the idea originally was to hedge in. Taking this too literally led Judaism to all their endless fences around the law, i.e. forbidding this or that because it might lead to doing that or this, which in turn would then lead to breaking an actual commandment. And those various fences become elevated to the level of commandments. But this is not the idea. We are indeed to hedge ourselves in ("take heed to yourself", Dt. 11:16; 12:13,19,30,32 s.w.), so that we may keep / hedge ourselves in to keep the commandments of God (Lev. 18:4,5,26,30; 19:19,37; 20:8,22; 22:9,31; 25:18; 26:3; Num. 28:2;   Dt. 7:11,12; 8:1,11 [s.w. "beware"]; 10:13; 11:1,8,22,32; 12:1; 13:4,18; ; 15:5,9 ["beware"];  17:19; 19:9; 23:9 ["keep yourself"]; 24:8; 26:16-18; 27:1; 28:1,9,13; 29:9; 30:10,16; 31:12; 32:46). And without falling into the legalism of Judaism, self discipline does require a degree of fencing ourselves in to the one way. Thus the man struggling with alcoholism avoids the supermarket where alcohol is pushed in front of the eyes of the shoppers; the married woman struggling with attraction to another man makes little laws for herself about avoiding his company. And if we do this, then the Lord will "keep" us, will hedge us in to keeping His way (s.w. Num. 6:24).

His ordinances and His statutes which I command you this day-
The Hebrew mishpat, "ordinances", has a wide range of meaning. The idea is of judgment, as if God and His Angels gave these laws as their considered judgment after considering the human condition, and Israel were to abide by them. But the word also the idea of a right or privilege; and that is how we should see God's laws. They are only felt as a burden because of human hardness of neck towards God's ways. His laws are not of themselves burdensome, but rather a privilege and blessing. The law was indeed "holy, just and good" (Rom. 7:12), designed to inculcate a holy, just and good life (Tit. 1:8), a way in which a man should "walk" in daily life (Lev. 18:4), a culture of kindness and grace to others which reflected God's grace to man. If we dwell upon the idea of "rights" carried within the word mishpat, we note that the law begins in Ex. 21:1,2 (also Dt. 15:12-18) with the rights of a slave- those considered to have no rights in the society of that day. The "rights" to be afforded by us to others are the essence of God's rightness / justice.  


Deu 8:12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and lived therein-
When they had eaten and were full (Dt. 8:10), they were to beware "lest" the prosperity made them forget God (Dt. 8:12,13). This is a profound warning to all afflicted with prosperity in this life. Dt. 31:20 states that when they had "eaten and are full" (s.w.) they would certainly forget Yahweh and turn to other gods; but this prophecy was conditional, for it was by no means bound to happen. For the appeal in Dt. 8:10-13 had been not to let this happen. So much of Bible prophecy is not so much prediction as stating conditional situations, with the implicit appeal that in the gap between pronouncement and fulfilment, we can change the outcomes by prayer and changed behaviour. 

We note that God promised them to eat and be full, and also to be given houses in Canaan which they didn't build (Dt. 6:11). God foresaw that they would follow the addictive, insatiable path of materialism in then wanting to build additional homes. Materialism is by nature addictive; and it is foolhardy to consider we can dabble in it without becoming addicted.


Deu 8:13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply and your silver and your gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied-
They had left Egypt with great riches of silver and gold, and this is "your silver and gold" which was to be multiplied even more (Dt. 8:13). The multiplication of Abraham's seed promised to him clearly meant not simply numerical multiplication, but material multiplication too. That is the sense too in Lev. 26:9; Dt. 30:5. We wonder why God gave them all this blessing, knowing that it would lead to such spiritual temptation and failure. We wonder why He gives so many of His people today the same huge blessings, however unappreciated they are. One simple answer is that it is because He loves us with all the love of a father for his children; He rejoiced to multiply them (Dt. 28:63). The king of Israel was warned in the same words not to multiply silver and gold lest his heart turn away (Dt. 17:17). The idea may be that we are to leave God to multiply our silver and gold if He wishes, and not set our heart to doing so.


Deu 8:14 then your heart be lifted up-
There is a clear connection between material success and pride, a lifted up heart. Yet humility is clearly of the essence to God. If we accept this, we will not seek material success. We will value humility and covet it.

And you forget Yahweh your God, Who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt-
Israel never became atheists, they never formally abrogated Yahweh, never formally rejected Him. But they forgot Him, in that in daily life they forgot the wonder of His grace, especially in His historical salvation of them. And it is day by spiritual mindedness which is of the essence. The exit from Egypt is described as a jail break, from the house of bondage. Their desire to return to it was strong, and so Moses continually stresses the true and awful nature of Egypt / the world. The language echoes that of God to Abraham: "I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur" (Gen. 15:7). They were being asked to act as Abraham's seed, and respond as He did to the Divine initiative in separating them from the world- by following His commandments. 

Out of the house of bondage-
They were continually reminded of how awful Egypt was; this phrase is often used (e.g. Ex. 13:3,14; 20:2; Dt. 5:6; 6:12). For there is a strong human tendency to consider the past as halcyon and wonderful. When for the believer, the past is awful, and the best is ahead, in God's Kingdom.


Deu 8:15 Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness-
From the perspective of God's Kingdom, we will look back upon our wilderness journey in this life as having been extremely dangerous. We could have wandered so easily from the pathway or been spiritually consumed. In spiritual terms, our journey right now is intense and very dangerous.

With fiery serpents, scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; Who brought you forth water out of the rock of flint-
The records make it clear enough that the miraculous provision of water was in the same context as God's constant provision of food and protection to the people (Dt. 8:15,16). The rock gave water throughout the wilderness journey (Is. 48:21). This would surely necessitate that the giving of water at Horeb was not a one-off solution to a crisis. There is a word play in the Hebrew text of Is. 48:21: "He led them through the Horebs [AV 'desert places']" by making water flow from the rock. The Horeb experience was repeated for 40 years; as if the rock went on being smitten. Somehow the water from that smitten rock went with them, fresh and bubbling as it was the first moment the rock was smitten, right through the wilderness. It was living, spring water- not lying around in puddles. The water that came from that one rock felt as if God had opened up fresh springs and torrents in the desert (Ps. 74:15 NAS). It always tasted as if it was just gushing out of the spring; and this wonder is commented upon by both David and Isaiah (Ps. 78:15,16,20; 105:41; Is. 48:21). It was as if the rock had just been struck, and the water was flowing out fresh for the first time. In this miracle, God clave the rock and there came out rivers (Hab. 3:9; Ps. 78:16,20; Is. 43:20). Each part of Israel's encampment had the water as it were brought to their door. And so it is in our experience of Christ, and the blessing enabled by His sacrifice. The blessings that come to us are deeply personal, and directed to us individually. He died once, long ago, and yet the effect of His sacrifice is ever new. In our experience, it's as if He has died and risen for us every time we obtain forgiveness, or any other grace to help in our times of need. We live in newness of life.


Deu 8:16 Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers didn’t know, that He might humble you and that He might prove you, to do you good at your latter end-
"Humble you" is the word used of how the Egyptians had afflicted the Hebrews (Ex. 1:11,12). Repeatedly, Israel were taught that they were to remember the state they had been in prior to their redemption from affliction; and redeem others from their affliction on that basis, and never to afflict people as Egypt had done to them. All this is an abiding principle for us. True redemption of others has to be rooted in an awareness of our own affliction. This is particularly necessary for those who were as it were schooled into Christ by reason of their upbringing.

The humbling and testing was through testing how deeply they believed that it was God's intention to do His people eternal good in the end- through present suffering.


Deu 8:17 and lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has given me this wealth-
Time and again, Moses speaks of the state of their heart. He warns them against allowing a bad state of heart to develop, he speaks often of how apostasy starts in the heart. Moses makes a total of 49 references to the heart / mind of Israel in Deuteronomy, compared to only 13 in the whole of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. This indicates the paramount importance which our Lord attaches to the state of our mind. This was perhaps his greatest wish as He faced death; that we should develop a spiritual mind and thereby manifest the Father and come to salvation. Moses likewise saw the state of our mind as the key to spiritual success. But do we share this perspective? Do we guard our minds against the media and influence of a mind-corrupting world? It's been observed that the phrase "The God of [somebody]", or similar, occurs 614 times in the Old Testament, of which 306 are in Deuteronomy. Our very personal relationship with God was therefore something else which Moses came to grasp in his spiritual maturity. Statistical analysis of the word "love" in the Pentateuch likewise reveals that "love" was a great theme of Moses at the end of his life (Moses uses it 16 times in Deuteronomy, and only four times in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers).


Deu 8:18 But you must remember Yahweh your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as at this day-
 
“The liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand” (Is. 32:8) may suggest that the generous will “stand” in the last day because of their generous spirit. Indeed, being in covenant with God may even depend upon our recognition of the fact that all human wealth is from God. The power to get wealth, be it education, intelligence or hard work (or 'good luck' in a secular sense) is all from God. It is not our "power" (:17) but God's. Moses urges the peoples' faithfulness so that Yahweh might "establish His covenant" with them (Dt. 8:18); and we note that despite their disobedience, He still "established" the covenant with them, by grace alone (Dt. 9:5).

"That He may establish His covenant" could suggest that ultimate, eternal covenant relationship is for those who have been prepared through a correct response to wealth. If we accept that any wealth we have is from God and not our own efforts- then we are ready for Him to establish His covenant with us. That seems to be the force of the unusual language here, although GNB glosses it with "Remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to become rich. He does this because he is still faithful today to the covenant that he made with your ancestors".


Deu 8:19 If you forget Yahweh your God, and walk after other gods and serve them and worship them-
"Go after" is a phrase Moses frequently uses in his last speech in Deuteronomy, but not elsewhere. It means literally to follow or walk after. He warns against going after other gods (Dt. 4:3; 6:14; 8:19; 11:28; 13:2; 28:14), and urges following / walking behind / going after Yahweh alone (Dt. 13:4). I suggest he was reflecting upon how by following after Yahweh in the Angel, the people had been brought out of Egypt, through the wilderness and to the promised kingdom. Caleb had faithfully followed / walked after Yahweh, and so entered the land. The phrase is used of the people following after the ark to enter Canaan (Josh. 3:3; 6:9). Following after idols led them just to pointless wandering in circles. And so it is in human life today. Following idols leads to pointless wandering, whereas following Yahweh has a specific destination in view- possession of the Kingdom. Elijah uses the phrase when telling Israel they could either follow after Baal, or Yahweh; and if Yahweh is God, then we are to follow Him (1 Kings 18:21). We cannot follow two directions. But Israel followed after (s.w.) vanity and thereby became vain (2 Kings 17:15). They carried the tabernacle of Moloch and also of Yahweh, throughout the wilderness journey (Acts 7:). Following after Baal is paralleled with following / walking after the imagination of their own evil heart (s.w. Jer. 3:17; 9:14; 13:10), walking after their own spirit rather than God's (Ez. 13:3 s.w.) and their own covetousness (s.w. Ez. 33:31). To walk / live just according to the word of our own imaginations is our great temptation. But we are to instead follow God's imaginations and heart, as revealed in His word (Ez. 20:16 s.w.). This is where our acceptance of the word of God as indeed His word... has endless implications.

I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish-
Always in the OT, “I say unto you this day" was used as a Hebraism to bring home the utter solemnity of some great truth (e.g. Dt. 4:26,39; 8:19). The Lord used this idiom in assuring the thief on the cross that he could solemnly assure him, that he would share His Kingdom with Him. It's worth noting that the comma is placed after 'today' in  the Curetonian Syriac version of the New Testament; the Syriac versions would reflect better the original Aramaic in which the Lord likely spoke. Dt. 9:1 is another example of where "this day" doesn't mean "today", but is rather a way of signally a solemn statement.


Deu 8:20 As the nations that Yahweh makes to perish before you, so you too shall perish, because you wouldn’t listen to the voice of Yahweh your God-
Israel did not obey / hearken to the voice of Yahweh, and He did not hearken to their voice in prayer (Dt. 1:45; 9:23; 28:15; Josh. 5:6; Jud. 2:20; 6:10 cp. Dt. 8:20 s.w.). 2 Kings 18:12 states this specifically. God hearkened to Joshua's voice in prayer (Josh. 10:14) because Joshua hearkened to His voice. It was to be the same with Saul. He didn't hearken to God's voice (1 Sam. 15:19) and God didn't hearken to Saul's voice in prayer in his final desperation at the end of his life (1 Sam. 28:18). If God's word abides in us, then our prayer is powerful, we have whatever we ask, because we are asking for things according to His will expressed in His word (Jn. 15:7).