These are weighty matters that are worthy of man’s serious consideration and meditation.
Covenant renewed in the land of Moab (29:1,2) – This was an agreement between God and all Israel, and it was set forth while Israel was located east of the Jordan River. Previous instructions had been given at Horeb/Sinai (5:1-3), but this was a new generation which needed to be educated in the ways of the Lord.
What did Jehovah expect the Israelites to do with this covenant? First, God implored them to “enter into covenant” with the Lord and “into His oath” (29:12). Simply put, the Israelites were supposed to accept heartily all that God instructed them. How would they show their acceptance of His terms of the agreement? “Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do” (29:8). Such a requirement from Him is not surprising, is it?
Warning: do not allow your hearts to turn away from the Lord to go and serve idols (29:18) – It was possible that an Israelite might deceive himself by following the dictates of his own heart and then telling himself that, even though he had turned away from the Lord, he could have peace in his heart (29:19). That was foolishness, because it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps (Jeremiah 10:23). God’s jealousy would burn against anyone whose heart was not totally given to Him (29:20).
God said that He would not spare the person who stubbornly rebelled against Him (29:20). In fact, God would send multiple curses on His people if they chose to rebel against Him (29:21-23). The tragedy would be that other nations would observe the punishment that God would pour out on His people and would inquire, “Why has the LORD done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?” (29:24). The honest, bottom-line answer would be: “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers . . .” (29:24). Do not miss this truth: when people forsake God’s covenant/ instructions, then they have forsaken God. No one can “stick with” God who does not stick with His truth. God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles when His people act hypocritically and fail to submit to Him (Romans 2:21-24).
Secret and revealed matters (29:29) – “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” When it comes to God’s will for humans, we can know His thinking only when He reveals it to us through His word. Otherwise, what He knows stays in His mind and to us it is a “secret” matter.
— Roger D. Campbell