Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 6, 2009

Deuteronomy 4:1-13

• Encouragement and Warning | Deuteronomy 4:1-13

4:1-4 | The fourth chapter begins with a “therefore” kind of transition. Because of the goodness of God on behalf of His people (reviewed in chapters 1-3), Moses challenged them to respond with gratitude, devotion, and obedience to God (4:1). Their success in the Promised Land would be directly linked to their obedience to God’s Word. Moses warned the people to not add or take away from God’s Word (4:2). He recalled an incident recorded in Numbers 25:1-5 in which many people were led astray and committed acts contrary to God’s Word (4:3-4). These individuals suffered swift judgment, which served as a warning to any others brazen enough to commit similar transgressions in violation of God’s commandments.

God’s instructions cannot be ignored with impunity. | Moses made clear to the people the importance of obeying the commandments of God. He also spelled out the dangers of disobeying God’s Word. He emphasized that it is not possible to ignore God’s instructions and be exempted from punishment or penalty. Proverbs 13:13 reminds us, “Whoever despises the Word [of God] brings destruction upon himself, but he who (reverently) fears and respects the commandment [of God] shall be rewarded” (Amplified Bible).

4:5-13 | Moses exhorted the people to obey God’s Word (4:6). Their obedience to God’s word would make them distinctive in the eyes of other nations (4:7) not favored with the possession of such righteous statutes and ordinances (4:8). Moses also exhorted the people to “give heed … lest you forget” the mighty acts of God on their behalf and to share the accounts of those acts with their sons and grandsons (4:9). Deuteronomy repeatedly stresses the responsibility of parents to teach their children the great truths of God’s Word, works, ways, and deeds. Moses also recounted the awesome events surrounding the giving of God’s law (4:10-12) and the establishment of the covenant (4:13). He exhorted the people to remember those events (4:10) to the end that they would obey God’s commandments and worship Him alone.

Parents are the primary faith trainers. | Moses charged parents with the responsibility of teaching God’s Word and recounting the acts of God to their children and to their children’s children. Failure to do so would result in a generation insensible to God and ignorant of His commandments. Parents still have the primary responsibility to instruct their children in God’s Word and in spiritual matters. The task cannot be left solely to the church. Only as parents (and the local church) fulfill their responsibility will youth be equipped to live in a way that pleases God.

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