1644.) Deuteronomy 4

Chapter 4 is like an Oreo cookie! It begins and ends by impressing on Israel the importance of obedience, affirming God’s command that “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The central section is an extended teaching on God’s command not to make an idol, because God loves them.  (The people, not the idols.  And who knows, He might love Oreo cookies, too!)

Deuteronomy 4 (English Standard Version)

Moses Commands Obedience

1“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

3Your eyes have seen what the LORD did at Baal-peor, for the LORD your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. 4But you who held fast to the LORD your God are all alive today.

5See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?

from Edges of His Ways,
by Amy Carmichael

Deuteronomy 4:7 (KJV) – So nigh . . . as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for.

Deuteronomy is full of light for all who desire to follow our Lord fully, and does most wonderfully “speak to our condition.”

This verse must have helped millions.  It came to me yesterday as if read for the first time:  “so nigh . . . as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for”—in all things, in this which fills the heart of any one of us to-day.

Those who go amongst the Hindus know how utterly different it is with them.  (Note:  Amy Carmichael went to South India in 1895 and remained there without a break until she entered into Life Eternal in January 1951.) In desolation, bewilderment, need of any kind, they have no God so nigh unto them that they can be sure their prayer is heard.

“Lest thou forget” (verse 9).  Do we take time to remember?  A very busy person was running through his day’s life with a Quaker, who listened quietly, and then said, “Friend, when dost thou think?”

“Specifically the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, . . .and ye came near and stood . . . and the Lord spake” (verses 10-12).  Have we not known such days?

8And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ 11And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. 12Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.

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Music:

HERE  is “Teach Me Thy Ways”  by Jerry Gadwa.

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Idolatry Forbidden

15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.

Your god is leaving his mark upon your life!

As Martin Luther said:  “Whatever then the heart clings to, whatever thy heart relies on, that is properly thy god.”

21Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. 22For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. 23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

25“When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. 28And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

God gave Israel the Promised Land, but not unconditionally. If they persisted in idol worship, God would remove them from the land and scatter them among the nations. This, of course, is exactly what happened some 550 years later, at the time of the Babylonian Exile of Judah.

29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. 31For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB)

‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’

The LORD Alone Is God

32“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?

Moses before the Burning Bush in “Moses und Aron,” the 1933 opera by Arnold Schoenberg. John Tomlinson as Moses. Photo by Ken Howard. Metropolitan Opera.

34Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

35To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. 36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. 37And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, 39know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

Numbers 6:24-26 (KJV)

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Cities of Refuge

41Then Moses set apart three cities in the east beyond the Jordan, 42that the manslayer might flee there, anyone who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without being at enmity with him in time past; he may flee to one of these cities and save his life: 43 Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland for the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites.

Introduction to the Law

44This is the law that Moses set before the people of Israel. 45These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the rules, which Moses spoke to the people of Israel when they came out of Egypt, 46beyond the Jordan in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and the people of Israel defeated when they came out of Egypt. 47And they took possession of his land and the land of Og, the king of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites, who lived to the east beyond the Jordan; 48 from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, as far as Mount Sirion (that is, Hermon), 49together with all the Arabah on the east side of the Jordan as far as the Sea of the Arabah, under the slopes of Pisgah.

As Moses addressed the nation they were on the threshold of the Promised Land. It had been some 38 years since they received the Law of God at Mount Sinai and now Moses reviewed and explained the Law of God with the new generation. If they were going to take the Promised Land, they had to be trained in God’s Word. They would not take it by a do-it-yourself spirituality, but only by obedience to the eternal word of God. The same is true for us — we will never walk in the abundant life God has for us unless we do it by His word.

–David Guzik

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English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Oreo cookie.    http://buyfoods.biz/one-oreo-cookie/
sacred heart.   http://vultus.stblogs.org/sacre_coeur.jpg
Moses and the burning bush.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/4-mcbee1.jpg
blood on the door for Passover.   http://www.glory-of-zion.org/outmail/Passover.jpg.png
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