Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 7, 2009

Deuteronomy 4:14-43

• Encouragement and Warning | Deuteronomy 4:14-40

4:14-20 | Moses reminded the people of the importance of obeying God’s Word (4:14) and warned them against making and worshiping idols (4:15-18) and/or worshiping celestial bodies/nature (4:19). They were to be completely devoted to the Lord. Verse 19b suggests that while other peoples looked to the heavens for evidence of a greater being, their relation to God was based on His deliverance of them from “the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today” (4:20).

4:21-24 | After reminding them that he would not be permitted to enter the Promised Land (4:21-22), Moses again warned the people to be careful lest they violate the contractual agreement made with God at Horeb by making and worshiping idols (4:23), a particularly loathsome thing to God (4:24).

4:25-31 | Moses prophetically spelled out the consequences of forsaking God for the worship of idols (4:25-26). E. Stanley Jones said, “Anything less than God will let you down.” Interestingly, Moses declared that the punishment would fit the crime — idol worshipers would be carried into exile where they would have their fill of idolatry (4:27-28). Yet, even in exile, God would continue to mercifully give the people the opportunity to repent (4:29-31).

God alone is worthy of our worship. | Moses’ message included stern warnings against involvement in idolatry, a particularly loathsome thing in God’s sight. One cannot read Moses’ prophetic account of the consequences of embracing idolatry without thinking of the fall of both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God alone is worthy of our deepest devotion and our highest praise. He alone is worthy of our worship.

4:32-40 | These verses are the conclusion of Moses’ first message to the people. Moses challenged the people to compare their unique history to that of other nations (4:32-34). Verses 32-34 form an answer to the question asked in verse 7, “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?” They were privileged to witness great wonders (4:33-34, 36) to the end that they “might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him” (4:35). Verses 37-38 form the basis for the exhortation to faithfully follow the Lord (4:39). The phrase “that it may go well with you” (4:40) occurs eight times in Deuteronomy and emphasizes the motive for obedience. Their life, well-being, and security in the Promised Land were directly dependant on their loyalty to God (4:40).

• Cities of Refuge | Deuteronomy 4:41-43

4:41-43 | Read Numbers 35:9-15 for background information. These verses briefly address the provision made for refuge for those who unintentionally kill another. The cities of refuge were established to insure that such individuals would find asylum until they could stand trial (Numbers 35:12 and Joshua 20:9). The cities of Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan were located east of the Jordan. Joshua later established Kedesh, Shechem, and Kiriath-arba (Joshua 20:7) as cities of refuge on the west side of the Jordan (Joshua 20).

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