The covenant renewed (29:1-30:20)
Israel’s lack of understanding of God and his ways meant that the people needed constant reminders of the covenant’s purpose, meaning and requirements. Moses gave them such a reminder in this his farewell address to the nation, acting as God’s representative in the renewal of the covenant as he had done at the establishment of the covenant at Sinai (Horeb) (29:1-9). The renewed oath of allegiance that the people swore before entering Canaan was binding on future generations (10-15).
If, after they had seen the greatness of Yahweh and the worthlessness of idols, the people stubbornly rejected Yahweh and worshipped other gods, the whole nation (‘moist and dry alike’) would be in danger of destruction (16-21). In judgment for their breaking the covenant, the land would be devastated and they would be driven from it in shame (22-28).
No person knows everything, but each person must be obedient to whatever knowledge he or she has. The Israelites did not know all that God would do in the future, but they had his revealed will for them in the present in the form of the covenant law, and they had to be obedient to that (29).
Although God might punish his people, in his grace he would forgive them and bring them back to their land if they repented of their sins and turned to him with all their hearts. He would cleanse their hearts and give them the desire to love him afresh. In response to their renewed obedience, he would bless them with renewed prosperity (30:1-10). The command to obey God was not something difficult to hear
or understand, but was clear and simple. The people had to act upon it (11-14). Love and obedience would lead to true life and prosperity; self-will and disobedience would lead to disaster and death (15-20).