11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. 15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deut 30.11-20).
People make all kinds of excuses for not doing God’s will, and one of those is that it is quite unknowable, at least with any considerable degree of certainty. Countless books have been written about how to know God’s will, and too few of them make the true way of knowing it very plain to the readers.
Moses strips his hearers of that excuse in verses 11-14. God’s commandment is not hidden from them, nor far off in heaven, or in the furthest regions of the earth beyond the sea, but it is the very word they are hearing now, near them, in their heart and in their mouth, so to speak (that is, what they already know and can repeat). And the reason God brought his word near to them is for their faith and obedience to it.
Did you know that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is known as the Logos, a word that means “word?” He is no longer hidden from us, but he has now been revealed to us by his descent from far-away heaven to this very earth on which we live. He came, not to some remote place, but right to Israel and Jerusalem, the center of God’s ancient dealings with humanity up to that time in human history. And the Scriptures that we hold right here in our hands tell us all we need to know about him to trust him as Savior and follow him as Lord. Do you want to know God’s will? Jesus said, “This is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6.40). God’s will is for you, whoever you are, to trust in this Jesus Christ, made known to you through Scripture, and to keep his commandments faithfully to your very last breath. As long as you do that, you may do anything else that you please. Nothing else matters for eternity but your truly and closely following Christ.
Another excuse people make for not doing God’s will is that even if they happen to have it declared plainly to them, they really do not have a good opportunity to believe it and do it. We rationalize that there are so many hindrances that we really cannot be blamed much for continuing in the same old way. Moses argues otherwise in verses 15-20. If I may paraphrase, “You have a genuine choice presented to you. There it is, right in front of you, life and good, or death and evil. I have presented them both to you; let heaven and earth be witnesses that it is so. Here is God’s blessing offered to you on the one hand, and on the other hand, God’s curse threatened upon you. Which do you want? Which do you prefer? It’s your choice. It is time for you to make your own sincere decision.” And you will decide, in fact, you are deciding right now, as your heart responds either in faith or in unbelief to this divine Word. Whenever anyone hears the Gospel, Jesus personally draws near and offers himself, and, no matter who you are, the spiritual opportunity is real. You have a sufficient warrant, a convincing justification, and a real opportunity to believe on Christ now because Jesus is on bended knee, asking your hand in marriage. Will you close with him? If you refuse, it is not because you didn’t know God’s will, or lacked a good opportunity to do it.
People who know a little theology sometimes offer another excuse. “Well, pastor, as a sinner you say my will is in bondage, and if I am not predestinated to salvation, then it is impossible that I could ever believe the Gospel. So how can you expect me to receive Christ?” Well, now, let’s think about that for a moment. Because we all start out as unbelievers, no one in this world knows that he is not among God’s elect. So for all you know, you may be predestined to salvation after all. And this I know: if you will go to Christ in prayer, and tell him of your inability, and beg him sincerely and earnestly and incessantly to have mercy on a wretched, hopeless sinner like you, and to give you spiritual life, with the gifts of faith and repentance, which you could never have otherwise, he will hear and answer you. But if you persistently refuse his overtures of mercy toward you until you die or he returns, it will only be because you hate God and love death, and your damnation will be just. Your fancy theological excuses will only torment you when you finally open your eyes in hell.
So I appeal to you with all my heart. Like Moses, I have set Jesus Christ before you. He would be life and blessing to you if you will have him. I beg you, then, stop making excuses and just say yes to him right now.–D. Scott Meadows, Pastor Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed) Exeter, New Hampshire http://cbcexeter.sermonaudio.com