“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” – Deuteronomy 30:11–20
Eugene Merrill writes:
Though originating in the transcendent glory of heaven, the word of the LORD need not be pursued there by a messenger sent to inquire of God’s covenant expectations. Nor need such an envoy be sent to some distant place on earth to learn of God’s revelation. Instead, Moses said, the word is “very near you,” so near, in fact, that it was in their mouth and heart. This conjunction of mouth and heart calls to mind the injunction to Israel following the exposition of the Shema: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them” (Deut 6:6-7s). All that God wants for His people to know is contained in His covenant revelation, a “word” that is disclosed to their hearts (i.e. minds) and that is to be communicated to others by their mouths.
Paul cited this passage to speak of the accessibility of Christ and the gospel (Rom 10:6-8). There is no need, he said, to go to heaven to bring Christ down or to descend to the deep to bring him back from the dead. The incarnation and resurrection have already occurred and need not be repeated. Instead, there is the powerful, life-changing message of the gospel, the word of faith that is to be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth. Just as the gospel message represents the very presence and purpose of Jesus Christ, so the word of covenant, Moses said, is as close and authoritative as the LORD Himself.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 104
Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.