Deuteronomy 4:5–10, 15–19, 39–40comment (0)
January 19, 2012
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Deuteronomy 4:5–10, 15–19, 39–40
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Deuteronomy 4:5–10, 15–19, 39–40
We live in a constantly changing world. Some changes are for the better and are rightly embraced. Other changes may be unwelcome, but must be accepted anyway. Constant change can foster a lack of commitment in our lives so that we are just waiting for the next new thing to come along. Changing circumstances in life can lead us to question our basic values and spiritual devotion. God expects His people to maintain an exclusive devotion to Him, whatever their circumstances.
Learn and Live by God’s Ways (5–8)
These verses are a part of Moses’ review of the Israelites’ journey from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab. Moses was preparing them to enter the promised land. The Mosaic law had been given to Israel, not to burden them, but to make them unique among the nations of the earth.
From its beginning, Israel was to be a witness nation (Ex. 19:5–6). The Law was to make Israel unique among the surrounding polytheistic nations. Israel was not to be distinguished by its natural resources, wealth or military power. Israel was to be distinctive by its closeness to God, who is righteous, so that following His wisdom brought great blessing. If Israel obeyed the Law, then it would be the envy of all other nations.
The pagan peoples would see three things in Israel. First, Israel would know how to discern matters accurately. Second, it would be clear to the other nations that God had established an intimate relationship with Israel. Third, Israel’s law reflected the moral, righteous character of Israel’s God.
We demonstrate wisdom when we learn and live by God’s ways in all circumstances.
Center Your Whole Family on God (9–10)
Repeatedly Moses stressed parents’ responsibility to pass on to their children their experiences with God and the knowledge they had gained from Him. Moses instructed the Israelites to apply themselves diligently to learning the Lord’s ways and teaching those ways to their children and grandchildren. The spiritual instruction of the children from generation to generation would prevent forgetting the great events of revelation such as the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai.
This instruction also would result in the nation fearing God. Fearing God included genuine dread of disobeying Him. It also included responding positively to Him in trusting, obeying, worshiping and serving Him.
Today we Christians encourage an enduring devotion to God when we teach His ways through our families to future generations.
Let Nothing Else Have God’s Place (15–19)
Israel was to remember how God revealed Himself at Mount Sinai. Although the mountain was covered with smoke, fire and thunder, God revealed His presence through His voice; the Israelites did not see any form of God to be copied and worshiped. God forbids any visible representation of Himself. He rules out the worship of anything created — humans, animals, birds, fish, sun, moon and stars, all of which were found as gods in the polytheistic nations. God warned the Israelites against making an idol of any form and against being tempted to worship the celestial bodies.
In harmony with this Mosaic teaching, we strengthen our devotion to God when we carefully avoid attributing divine power to anyone or anything other than God Himself.
Recognize God’s Lordship Every Day (39–40)
Israel was a highly privileged nation. It had, by God’s grace and power, been delivered from bondage with mighty miracles. As no other nation, Israel heard God speak at Mount Sinai and survived. All this God did to reveal to the nation that He alone is God. In light of such privilege, love and blessing, Moses called the Israelites to acknowledge that the Lord alone is God and to commit anew to keeping His commands.
We give exclusive devotion to God by acknowledging His lordship over our lives every day.