TAKING GOD SERIOUSLY
Lord, I want to know You.
Read Deuteronomy 4:1–14,32–40
4 Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.
3 You saw with your own eyes what the Lord did at Baal Peor. The Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, 4 but all of you who held fast to the Lord your God are still alive today.
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” 11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 And the Lord directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
The Lord Is God
32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 Has any other people heard the voice of God[a] speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. 37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.
39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.
a Deuteronomy 4:33 Or of a god
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectIf you could see God sitting on the throne right now, how would your life be different?
As this initial section of Deuteronomy concludes, Moses calls on the people to take God seriously. When the people had fallen into spiritual and physical adultery (Num. 25:1–9), it had cost many lives. Now the nation needed to be careful to follow God’s instructions.
God’s plan was for his people to thrive (1–4) and for them to be spiritually and morally distinct among the nations (5–8). They needed to make sure that each new generation knew not only the Law, but also the awesome reality of the God who gave it (9–14).
God’s concern was that the people would slide back into idolatry from which he would rescue them in the future (15–31). To protect their hearts, they needed to look back and remember how God had marvelously rescued them out of Egypt in the past (32–40).
As they looked back, they needed to see two truths—truths that need to grip our hearts too: God is on the throne, and God is at work. For us, we do not look back to the Exodus from Egypt but to God’s rescue on the cross. Truly God is God and God is good. As a result, let us be sure to take God seriously in how we live our lives for him today!
‘Take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other” (39). How can you make sure that God has first place in your life today?
My Father and my God, cleanse my heart from any idols that would try to take Your place. Be first in my life.