“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord you God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.”
When the Bible speaks of not turning to the right or left, it is referring to departing from the ways of God and thus turning towards sin (Proverbs 4:7). In today’s verse, God is instructing Moses to tell the people how to follow Him and if they stay the course, all will be well with them (Deuteronomy 5:29). God will later give Joshua the same exact instruction with the promise that he will prosper wherever he goes (Joshua 1:7).
The math is not too difficult here: Follow all the ways of God and you will keep yourself from stumbling. God tells both Moses and Joshua that they must do all according to what God tells them. To do otherwise is a choice to veer to the right or the left. To choose to do “some” rather than “all” is disobedience. However, God is gracious to not leave them on their own without a foundation: He has given them (and us) His word so that they (and us) know clearly the ways of God. There is no guesswork, therefore success is attainable. Is it easy? No. God told Joshua that it takes strength and courage. Thankfully we have the Spirit to help us along the way, because we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.
Pastor Jeff Mericle