Verses 11–14

Moses here urges them to obedience from the consideration of the plainness and easiness of the command.

I. This is true of the law of Moses. They could never plead in excuse of their disobedience that God had enjoined them that which was either unintelligible or impracticable, impossible to be known or to be done (Deut. 30:11): It is not hidden from thee. That is, not send messengers to heaven (Deut. 30:12), to enquire what thou must do to please God; nor needest thou go beyond sea (Deut. 30:13), as the philosophers did, that travelled through many and distant regions in pursuit of learning; no, thou art not put to that labour and expense; nor is the commandment within the reach of those only that have a great estate or a refined genius, but it is very nigh unto thee, Deut. 30:14. It is written in thy books, made plain upon tables, so that he that runs may read it; thy priests’ lips keep this knowledge, and, when any difficulty arises, thou mayest ask the law at their mouth, Mal. 2:7. It is not communicated in a strange language; but it is in thy mouth, that is, in the vulgar tongue that is commonly used by thee, in which thou mayest hear it read, and talk of it familiarly among thy children. It is not wrapped up in obscure phrases or figures to puzzle and amuse thee, or in hieroglyphics, but it is in thy heart; it is delivered in such a manner as that it is level to thy capacity, even to the capacity of the meanest.” 2. “It is not too hard nor heavy for thee:” so the Septuagint reads it, Deut. 30:11. Thou needest not say, “As good attempt to climb to heaven, or flee upon the wings of the morning to the uttermost part of the sea, as go about to do all the words of this law:” no, the matter is not so; it is no such intolerable yoke as some ill-minded people represent it. It was indeed a heavy yoke in comparison with that of Christ (Acts 15:10), but not in comparison with the idolatrous services of the neighbouring nations. God appeals to themselves that he had not made them to serve with an offering, nor wearied them with incense, Isa. 43:23; Mic. 6:3. But he speaks especially of the moral law, and its precepts: “That is very nigh thee, consonant to the law of nature, which would have been found in every man’s heart, and every man’s mouth, if he would but have attended to it. There is that in thee which consents to the law that it is good, Rom. 7:16. Thou hast therefore no reason to complain of any insuperable difficulty in the observance of it.”

II. This is true of the gospel of Christ, to which the apostle applies it, and makes it the language of the righteousness which is of faith, 10:6-8. And many think this is principally intended by Moses here; for he wrote of Christ, John 5:46. This is God’s commandment now under the gospel that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, 1 John 3:23. If we ask, as the blind man did, Lord, who is he? or where is he, that we may believe on him? (John 9:36), this scripture gives an answer, We need not go up to heaven, to fetch him thence, for he has come down thence in his incarnation; nor down to the deep, to fetch him thence, for thence he has come up in his resurrection. But the word is nigh us, and Christ in that word; so that if we believe with the heart that the promises of the incarnation and resurrection of the Messiah are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus, and receive him accordingly, and confess him with our mouth, we have then Christ with us, and we shall be saved. He is near, very near, that justifies us. The law was plain and easy, but the gospel much more so.