Deuteronomy 4

Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 5, 1998


The name Deuteronomy means "second law".

It is Mosesí final address to the people. It covers the last 1 Ĺ months of Mosesí life. Heís 120 years old. He can still see and hear very well.

Heís rehearsing the work of God in Israelís past history. Many of the people were born in the wilderness. Many did not sea the parting of the Red Sea. Many did not have the memories of the bondage and being delivered out of Egypt.

Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were in some ways written more for the Levites, as they contain specific instructions for the priests and Levites in their ministries.

But Deuteronomy is written for the entire nation.

One of the major themes weíre going to see through the book is that of Godís love for His people.

The word "love" or one of its forms is found 22 times in this book.

Along with this, the word "heart" is found 43 times in the book.

Moses has just finished a review of the last forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and is now about to begin a review of the Law.

Deuteronomy 4

:1 that ye may live, and go in and possess the land

Thereís a reason to obey the Lord.

Obedience leads to possessing the promises.

:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it

Just like with all of Godís Word. Donít add to it. Donít take away from it.

(Deu 12:32 KJV) What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

(Rev 22:18-19 KJV) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: {19} And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

:3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor

Baalpeor was when Balaam had encouraged the Moabites to send their young good-looking ladies into the camp of Israel, and to entice them into fornication and the worship of their Moabite idols.

As a result, a plague came on Israel, and 24,000 people died.

Thereís a reason not to sin. Sin brings a heavy price.

:3 for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you

Baalpeor was one of those "guy" kind of sins like pornography and prostitution are today.

The men who followed after this sin were destroyed.

:4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.

Just as sin has a high price, there is safety in obeying the Lord.

I remember seeing a cartoon where a young man is asking his grandfather about what kind of sexual protection they had in his days. The old man holds up his hand and points to his wedding ring.

There is one really good way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. Donít have sex outside of marriage. Do it Godís way.

:6 this is your wisdom and your understanding

People will wonder at the wisdom in your life as you simply follow Godís ways.

:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

There is no nation like Israel that has been given Godís law.

:9 take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently

NIV Ė Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.

Be aware of your own spiritual condition.

Donít just let things happen to you.

Take charge of your soul.

:9 but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;

It is the responsibility of parents to lead their children to the Lord and to teach them Godís ways.

Sunday school is wonderful, but itís only there to help you do your job.

:12 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.

The Israelites that were present when Moses had received the Ten Commandments had actually heard the voice of God. (Exodus 19) Amazing!

:19 shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

Stars were created for all of mankindís pleasure and benefit, not to be worshipped or thought that they would control peopleís lives.

All the other nations made all sorts of images to their gods.

There is a compelling force within man to worship, itís a part of human nature.

The people didnít see Godís shape, and so they are encouraged not to try and make a picture or statue of God. That would be dishonest.

The problem of making images or statues is that they tend to limit who God is.

In reality, God is a whole lot bigger than our ability to comprehend Him.

(Isa 55:9 KJV) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Whenever we start to think weíve got God figured out, weíve stopped far short of who He really is.

:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

(Heb 12:29 KJV) For our God is a consuming fire.

Fire can be a good thing or a bad thing.

1) Fire can take wood hay or stubble and burn it up Ė

(1 Cor 3:12-13 KJV) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; {13} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

When we have our lives filled with worthless, flammable things, we ought to be a little concerned that God is a fire.

2) Fire can take iron and turn it into steel.

(1 Pet 1:6-7 KJV) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: {7} That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Fire will melt the metal and bring the dross to the surface where it can be removed.

Fire can take weak iron and harden it into steel.

Trials can remove the impurities in our lives and make us stronger than ever.

:25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children

Moses is speaking prophetically here.

:26 but shall utterly be destroyed.

Even though they were destroyed as a nation, they retained their ethnic identity.

As a people, they are not going to be utterly destroyed, because God is merciful (vs.31)

:28 ye shall serve gods, the work of menís hands

Itís kind of like God saying, "Okay, if you want to serve idols, then go serve idols".

:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Even when you find yourself under Godís chastisement, and on one of those "time outs" in a distant land, God is never farther away than you can turn around and cry out for His help.

:31 he will not forsake thee Ö

Do you see the tension in the passage? On one hand, God will allow His people to go into judgment because of their continual rebellion, yet on the other hand, He will not have ever forsaken them or let them go. Heís still there for them, waiting patiently for them to turn around.

:34 take him a nation Ö

The Jewish people are truly a marvelous, chosen people. They are precious in Godís sight.

:37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore Ö

God did all this because of His love for the people.

Even as we are to be "contrained", or motivated by the "love of Christ" (2Cor.5:14), we find that God has always been motivated in what He does toward us by His love.

All we can do is to respond to His love for us.

:42 That the slayer might flee thither

These are the cities of refuge we talked about at the end of Numbers. (Num.35)