The Israelites were at the point of quitting a normal, life for a fixed and settled abode in the midst of other nations; they were exchanging a condition of comparative poverty for great and goodly cities, houses and vineyards. There was therefore before them a double danger;
(1) a God-forgetting worldliness, and
(2) a false tolerance of the idolatries practiced by those about to become their neighbors.
The former error Moses strives to guard against in the verses before us; the latter in Deuteronomy 7:1-11.
The command “to swear by His Name” is not inconsistent with the Lord‘s injunction Matthew 5:34, “Swear not at all.” Moses refers to legal swearing, our Lord to swearing in common conversation. It is not the purpose of Moses to encourage the practice of taking oaths, but to forbid that, when taken, they should be taken in any other name than that of Israel‘s God. The oath involves an invocation of Deity, and so a solemn recognition of Him whose Name is made use of in it. Hence, it comes especially within the scope of the commandment Moses is enforcing.
It shall be our righteousness - i. e., God will esteem us as righteous and deal with us accordingly. From the very beginning made Moses the whole righteousness of the Law to depend entirely on a right state of the heart, in one word, upon faith.
The Lord Himself directed the education of Israel. His care was not restricted to their religious interests; whatever affected their mental or physical well-being was also the subject of divine providence, and came within the sphere of divine law. PP 592.1
God had commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their fathers. This was one of the special duties of every parent—one that was not to be delegated to another. In the place of stranger lips the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts of God were to be associated with all the events of daily life. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people and the promises of the Redeemer to come were to be often recounted in the homes of Israel; and the use of figures and symbols caused the lessons given to be more firmly fixed in the memory. The great truths of God's providence and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It was trained to see God alike in the scenes of nature and the words of revelation. The stars of heaven, the trees and flowers of the field, the lofty mountains, the rippling brooks—all spoke of the Creator. The solemn service of sacrifice and worship at the sanctuary and the utterances of the prophets were a revelation of God. PP 592.2
Such was the training of Moses in the lowly cabin home in Goshen; of Samuel, by the faithful Hannah; of David, in the hill dwelling at Bethlehem; of Daniel, before the scenes of the captivity separated him from the home of his fathers. Such, too, was the early life of Christ at Nazareth; such the training by which the child Timothy learned from the lips of his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15), the truths of Holy Writ. PP 592.3Read in context »
Moses called their attention to the “day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb.” And he challenged the Hebrew host: “What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” Today the challenge to Israel might be repeated. The laws which God gave His ancient people were wiser, better, and more humane than those of the most civilized nations of the earth. The laws of the nations bear marks of the infirmities and passions of the unrenewed heart; but God's law bears the stamp of the divine. PP 465.1
“The Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace,” declared Moses, “to be unto Him a people of inheritance.” The land which they were soon to enter, and which was to be theirs on condition of obedience to the law of God, was thus described to them—and how must these words have moved the hearts of Israel, as they remembered that he who so glowingly pictured the blessings of the goodly land had been, through their sin, shut out from sharing the inheritance of his people: PP 465.2
“The Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land,” “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 of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass;” “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.” Deuteronomy 8:7-9; 11:10-12. PP 465.3
“And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget the Lord.” “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God.... For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” If they should do evil in the sight of the Lord, then, said Moses, “Ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it.” PP 465.4Read in context »
Had Israel obeyed the directions given them by Moses, not one of those who started on the journey from Egypt would in the wilderness have fallen a prey to disease or death. They were under a safe Guide. Christ had pledged Himself to lead them safely to the promised land if they would follow His guidance. This vast multitude, numbering more than a million people, was under His direct rule. They were His family. In every one of them He was interested (Manuscript 144, 1903). 1BC 1118.1Read in context »