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Deuteronomy 29:4  (King James Version)
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<< Deuteronomy 29:3   Deuteronomy 29:5 >>


Deuteronomy 29:4

God either designed things to be this way or He was awfully cruel. He never intended the Old Covenant to be a means of salvation, or even to be a means of justification. It was a guide and a reminder of sin, as well as to lead to Christ, but it was never intended to bring salvation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)



Deuteronomy 29:2-4

Reflect on the New Covenant, under which God leads and guides us by His Holy Spirit, enabling us to perceive, to see, and to hear His Word. The Israelite people were 38 or 40 years in the wilderness in the presence of God, yet they did not get it! It never sank in because God did not perform what would have given them the ability to perceive what was happening in their lives spiritually.

This is confirmed in Deuteronomy 5:29, near the end of the chapter that contains the second recording of the Ten Commandments. Moses writes:

Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

Except for

a precious few of those Israelites, nobody received God's Holy Spirit under the Old Covenant.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost and the Holy Spirit



Deuteronomy 29:4

This statement could be considered to be a lamentation that things would be different. However, God knew this before He entered into the Old Covenant; He was not surprised that Israel did not keep it. If anything may have grieved Him, perhaps their rebellion was worse than even He expected it would be.

To get a clear picture, one only has to recall the creation of Adam and Eve and the subsequent events in the Garden. God did not create Adam and Eve with an evil heart. Every biblical writer has recognized an innocence in the initial natures of Adam and Eve. They hid themselves from God only after they sinned. "Who told you that you were naked?" God said (Genesis 3:11).

They were confronted with choices and chose the evil way, to sin, and something happened to their minds after they sinned. This is very instructive. Their nature at creation was made impressionable, so that as they made choices, their minds or their dispositions became or conformed to the nature of the choices that they made. A conscience, a perspective, and a character began to be formed.

I Corinthians 2:11 shows that our natural mind is strong in gathering, understanding, and using material knowledge but weak in gathering, understanding, and using spiritual knowledge. In the same manner, babies are not born evil, but they become evil as a result of the influences of life in their environments.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)



Deuteronomy 29:4

Generally, people under the Old Covenant did not have the Spirit of God. They were carnal. Thus, God designed the covenant to have a carnal approach—that of a schoolmaster. Because the life-giving Spirit has made that approach obsolete, the old administration is also set aside and is replaced by an administration that can give life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 18)



Deuteronomy 29:4

God's freeing of the Israelites from their bondage and His use of them in the journey to the Promised Land and in the Promised Land were for an entirely different purpose than salvation at that time. Ultimately, the experiences these people had will stand them in good stead.

Of course, God certainly did not use them for the purpose of abuse. He was causing Moses, primarily, and others to reflect on those experiences in the wilderness so that they would write them down under God's inspiration, supplying us with an accurate record to consult and come to understand the purpose of God, be humbled by it, and have the right perspective on salvation.

For this reason, He never gave the Israelites the Spirit of God. No salvation was really offered to them—no forgiveness of sin, no invitation to join God's Family. They did not even have access to Him. They were, in a sense, actors on a stage; God was moving them about so that a record would be left for us: the Bible. When they are resurrected in the second resurrection (see Ezekiel 37:1-14), they can look back on the record, hit themselves in the forehead, and say, "Now I see!" The scales will be removed at that time.

Nevertheless, He never gave them His Spirit and never really revealed to them what He was doing with their lives. Thus, they reacted to their circumstances as human beings would normally react without the miracle of His Spirit being performed on them, opening up their minds and revealing what His purpose is all about.

In Hebrews 4:2, Paul reflects that God preached the gospel to these people, or at least a gospel that pertained to them. They heard a "good news," yet because it was not mixed with faith, it did them no good. All through the wilderness trek and on to their deaths, neither they nor their relationship with God improved in any way. If anything, as Hebrews 3:17 declares, they deteriorated as they went along.

John W. Ritenbaugh
We Are Unique!



Deuteronomy 29:3-4

Man cannot "find" God; only God can initiate a calling. The world, including most of physical Israel, is consigned to unbelief until later in God's plan, yet most modern Israelites would say they know God or believe in Him. Romans 10:12-15 describes how God generally introduces people to Himself, though they may suppose they initiated contact with Him by "calling on the name of the Lord." Men must hear of Him through a preacher - and one whom God has sent, not one that is self-proclaimed.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Faith Toward God




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Deuteronomy 29:4:

Exodus :
Romans :

 

<< Deuteronomy 29:3   Deuteronomy 29:5 >>



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