Not only are we to share with others the commandments God has given us to obey, we are to encourage our friends and family – to obey. Moses is doing the best that he can to do that, before he dies.
He exhorts the people not to add to the Word in any way (Deuteronomy 4:2). We see the same command given to the people of God in Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18-19.
Moses gives many reasons to obey. The fear of God for one. The people who obey will live, go in and possess the land, and live long in the land. Those who obey will not be judged as the children of Israel were judged in Midian and other times of disobedience. We must fear God.
Deuteronomy 4:23–24 (NKJV) “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
And then there’s the love of God. We have beautiful passages and principles that show His love for us. Shouldn’t we love Him back?
Deuteronomy 4:7 (NKJV) “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”
Deuteronomy 4:20 (NKJV) “But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.”
The day would come when the children of Israel would defiantly disobey the LORD and after centuries of warning, God would scatter them among the nations (that strikes fear into my heart), but God promised, if they sought Him wholeheartedly, even there, they would find Him (Deuteronomy 4:27-29) (that’s a manifestation of God’s love). I’ve said it a million times, the fear of God will change us on the outside, but the love of God will change us on the inside. I believe we will always need both.
Moses challenges the people to ask around if they’d like, has God ever done this with any other nation? The redemption and revelation that Israel has received? Not at all. Israel had been chosen to establish this personal relationship with God and then share it with others. God had clearly revealed Himself to this nation…He loved them!
Deuteronomy 4:35 (NKJV) “To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him.”
We are to teach our children and our grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:9). We are to model the keeping of these mandates for our families and their future.
Deuteronomy 4:40 (NKJV) “You shall therefore 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 which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”
Moses goes on to select the three cities of refuge on the east side of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 4:41-43). He then prepares their hearts for the giving of the law (a second time).
Can you “visualize” the blind leading the blind? It’s doesn’t end well. Such was the case with the established religious leaders and general public of Jesus’ day. Eventually they would be “led” to crucify God.
It’s great to have a heart to help others, but before we attempt to remove the splinter out of our brother’s eye, we need to make sure we remove the plank from our own.
One of the most important things to look for in our lives – is fruit.
Galatians 5:22–23a (NKJV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.”
Just as a tree is known by its fruit, Christians are too. Do I bear the character of Christ? Is there any evidence that God lives inside of me? Has my life improved in any way? One of the ways we can examine our lives, is by listening to ourselves – honestly:
Luke 6:45 (NKJV) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
We need to listen to ourselves speak – it reveals our hearts. Not that we have to speak in tongues, but is our conversation “Christian” in content and character?
Most of us would call Jesus “Lord,” but do we realize what that means? It means He’s my Master, my shot-caller, He’s the One who to whom my thoughts, words, actions and very being bow. I pray we would have a heart to obey our Lord – a heart NOT to sin. A lack of love, or sloppy agape, will lead to a great fall and many ruined lives.
Wouldn’t you like to bless and impress Jesus? Let’s learn some specifics from this Roman centurion on how to do that (Luke 7:1-10).
For one, he cared. Not every boss cares for his employees – this one did.
Secondly, he was humble; the Jews approached Jesus trying to sell the fact that the Centurion was worthy of the blessing, worthy of the miracle – and he did have a decent resume. He loved the nation of Israel and even built them a Synagogue! But the Centurion didn’t think he was worthy. He didn’t go to Jesus – for that VERY reason, and when he heard that Jesus was coming to his house, he sent messengers with that message, “Lord, I’m not worthy for You to come to my house.” He was asking for Jesus to heal his servant – not because he was worthy, but only because he cared.
And then finally and perhaps most impressively is the way the Centurion believed. “But say the word, and my servant will be healed…” Do we know that all Jesus has to do is say the word? My prayer is that one day I can put a smile on my Savior’s face and maybe even make Him “Marvel” because I wholeheartedly believe in Him, not only as Savior and Lord, but as the One with All Authority who is able to intervene in “my world” with His simple word.
Before this chapter begins, my Bible has the heading, “The Glory of God in His Goodness to Israel.”
Just as God protected, defended, led, redeemed, had mercy and grace upon the children of Israel in all their wanderings and wars, so God does for us. He will defeat out enemies, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against demons that are too strong for us. God will bless the widow and fatherless. God will rain blessings upon us, even in the middle of the wilderness. We will get weary at times (Psalm 68:9) but God will encourage us through personal and Divine intervention; often He will use His Word.
The mountains of Bashan refer to the Hermon mountain range, only a few miles north of Bashan. The Psalmist depicts these great mountains as being envious, for the LORD did not pick them, but went from Mt. Sinai straight to Mt. Zion – this is the mountain which God desires to dwell in, forever (Psalm 68:15-16).
God’s angelic chariots fight for His people (Psalm 68:17). Thank You Lord!
Psalm 68:18 is quoted in Ephesians 4:8 in reference to Jesus’ ultimate victory on behalf of His people, in that He ascended into heaven after His cross and resurrection, and gave gifts to people He gave to the church (Ephesians 4:11-12).
It’s good for us to know that our God NEVER loses!
The Glory of God in His Goodness to His people!
If we trust in riches, in money and the things money can buy, surely we will fall.
But if we trust in God, our “leaves” will be green, and our fruit will be plentiful.
O Lord, please help me, empower me to be a good tree (Luke 6:43)
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.