Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
I. The Jew was to understand from his first entry into the land of Canaan that his prosperity depended utterly on God. The laws of weather, by which the rain comes up off the sea, were unknown to him. They are all but unknown to us now. But they were known to God. Not a drop could fall without His providence and will; therefore they were utterly in His power.
The warning of this text came true. More than once we read of drought, long, severe, and ruinous. In one famous case, there was no rain for three years, and Ahab had to go out to search through the land for a scrap of pasture. These droughts came at times when the Jews had fallen into idolatry and profligacy.
II. It is the intense faith in the living God which can come only by the inspiration of the Spirit of God which proves the Old Testament to be truly inspired. In later times the Jews had these words of Moses written on their foreheads, but not on their hearts. They had lost all faith in God; He had spoken to their fathers, but they could not believe that He was speaking to them, not even when He spoke by His only-begotten Son, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. Wrapped up in their narrow, shallow book-divinity, they said, "This people who knoweth not the law is accursed." Nothing new could be true. It must be put down, persecuted down, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation. But they did not succeed. The Romans came after all and took away their place and nation, and so they failed, as all will fail, who will not believe in God. The truth which they think they have stifled will rise again, for Christ, who is the Truth, will raise it again, and it shall conquer, and leaven the hearts of men till all be leavened.
C. Kingsley, Gospel of the Pentateuch, p. 210.
References: Deuteronomy 11:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., p. 728. Deuteronomy 11:18.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2580. Deuteronomy 11:18-21.—H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xviii., p. 152.
Deuteronomy 11:19I. This is the simplest notion of education; for undoubtedly he is perfectly educated who is taught all the will of God concerning him, and enabled through life to execute it. And he is not well educated who does not know the will of God, or, knowing it, has received no help in his education towards being inclined and enabled to do it.
II. The special thing meant to be taught to the Israelites was a knowledge of God's statutes and ordinances, not the Ten Commandments only, nor all the early history of their forefathers contained in the Book of Genesis, but God's law given to them His people, His will respecting them morally and politically, His will with regard to all the relations of private and public life; all this was laid down in their law; all this was carefully to be taught them in their youth, that so, in whatsoever line of life they might be thrown, or whatever questions might be agitated, they might know what was God's will, and therefore might know and do their own duty.
III. For the Israelites the Bible contained both the rule and its application; for us it contains only the rule. In order, therefore, to instruct our children fully in God's will and enable them to execute it, we must bring in some other knowledge and other studies, not to be found in the Bible, in order to make up for that part of the Bible which gave this instruction to the Israelites, but which gives it us no longer.
And hence it is clear that neither is the Bible alone sufficient to give a complete religious education, nor is it possible to teach history and moral and political philosophy with no reference to the Bible without giving an education that should be anti-religious. For in the one case the rule is given without the application; in the other the application is derived from a wrong rule.
T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 131
Deuteronomy 11:21The text shows us a Divine method in providence; a law for individual and national life, and for the larger life of the race; a law borne witness to by the history of the people whose history is a light for all time, and by which we have gleams through experience of bitter times, foretastes and earnests of the inheritance of light, periods filled with special mercy and truth, times of quickening and spiritual growth, days of heaven upon earth.
I. The first days of the Christian revelation were, in the highest and most absolute sense, days of heaven upon earth. And these days still return to us. Times of revival are simply repetitions on a smaller scale of the first days of the Church.
The old doctrines, the old familiar facts of the Gospel, are transfigured as Christ was. They rise, as He rose, from the dead, and again we behold the miracle of a nation being born in a day.
II. The times when the soul is open to the revelations and offers of Divine life are days of heaven upon earth. The dawns and sunsets of these days are in the soul itself. "Be not disobedient to the heavenly vision." While the light of it is shining walk in the light. It is the light which is the life both of God and man.
III. The coming of Christ into a life is the beginning of days of heaven for that life. That would be a day of heaven to Zaccheus when Christ said to him, "To-day I must abide at thy house." Suddenly, by Christ's visit, life changes for him, and the poor lorn, lost, hated Zaccheus has a song in his heart, and a heart resolute to be on God's side and do God's will.
IV. Times of service under Christ are days of heaven upon earth. The time spent in Christian service seems to expand, to become more capacious for enterprise, more filled with opportunity, until we come, in our experience of it, to have vivid conceptions of the state concerning which it is written, "There is no night there," and real gleams of days of heaven upon earth.
V. The beautiful days of earth are types and sometimes actual realisations of such days of heaven.
VI. Christ is the Light which makes days of heaven possible. And such days fail of their purpose if they fail to increase our joy in Him.
A. MACLEOD, Days of Heaven upon Earth, p. 1.
References: Deuteronomy 11:21.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 326. Deuteronomy 11:26-32.—Parker, vol. iv., p. 212.
And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,
And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;
And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day;
And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;
And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.
Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.
And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.