Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Deuteronomy 1-11 - "Moses' Pep Talk"|
Chapter: Deut 4
Passage: Deut 4:1-14
A. Find Out:
1. Why were they to obey Moses' laws? v.1
2. What were they not to do with them? v.2
3. Of what were they reminded? v.3,4
4. What result will following them have? v.6
5. What were they to realise? v.7,8
6. How were they to hold onto them? v.9-14
1. How many encouragements are there from the Lord here?
2. How was pasty history to affect the present?
Moving on from reminding Israel how they had come to their present position, Moses now starts to prepare them for the future, a life based on the Law of God. He gives them a number of encouragements in these verses.
First, keeping these laws will provide life and the blessing of the Lord, to enable them to go in and take the Land (v.1).
Second, a warning, to remember that idolaters had been put to death by the Lord. Keeping the Law brings life (implied v.3,4).
Third, they will provide a testimony to surrounding nations and be exalted by them (v.6).
Fourth, they are to realise that they are a unique nation, with a unique relationship with the Lord (v.7,8).
Fifth, they are to pass the laws on to their children (v.9) and in this way reinforce and preserve them.
Sixth, they are to remember how God gave these laws at Sinai (v.10-14) with all the amazing accompanying signs.
In all of these ways, Moses reinforces the people's determination, or commitment, to the laws of God for the years to come. He was doing all he could to ensure that they understood the seriousness of following the Lord, and making sure it happened. He is establishing a strong foundation for them for when he is gone.
1. God's laws are to protect us and to bless us. Do we realise that?
2. We aren't under the Law, but the Law is still there to protect us.
Chapter: Deut 4
Passage: Deut 4:15-24
A. Find Out:
1. What had they NOT seen at Sinai? v.15
2. So what temptation must they overcome? v.16-18
3. What further temptation must they overcome? v.19
4. What must they remember? v.20
5. What is going to happen to Moses and why? v.21,22
6. So what are they to avoid and why? v.23,24
1. Why do you think it was necessary to give these warnings?
2. What antidote to image making was given here?
3. Why do you think the Lord is so insistent about this?
OUR temptation may be to think that these verses are dated and unworthy of our study. Nothing could be further from the truth! The warnings against idolatry are vital to understand.
When Israel had encountered the Lord at Sinai they had seen no visible sign of Him. Therefore they were not to try to produce representations of Him. Why? Because any such representation will not be able to capture His power and glory, and any lesser figure will make the Israelites feel they can ‘handle' this God. Any representation of any creature to worship demeans the worshippers and is pure folly, because it in no way represents the Lord. He is too big to be so represented.
Similarly, worshipping created objects, whether sun, moon or stars, is pure folly. They are impersonal, inactive. No, Israel were to remember their origins, miraculously delivered by the Lord from Egypt . This is the One they should worship. Look, says Moses, I'm not being allowed into the Promised Land because I demeaned the name of the Lord, so don't you go doing it! Anything or anyone who competes with the Lord in your thinking, is lesser and not worthy of your worship, so don't give it! The Lord is jealous for your worship because worship to any other is pure deception. Avoid it!
1. Avoid the temptation of trying to make the Lord visible.
2. Avoid the temptation of trying to ‘handle' the Lord. Worship Him!
Chapter: Deut 4
Passage: Deut 4:25-31
A. Find Out:
1. What does he now warn against? v.25
2. What does he say would happen? v.26,27
3. What would happen there? v.28
4. Yet what hope would there still be? v.29
5. How does he reiterate that? v.30
6. Why can they have that hope? v.31
1. What is the clear warning given in these verses?
2. Yet what is the clear hope given?
3. What does all this reveal about God's character?
Having just spoken about the temptation to turn to idols, and given a warning not to forget what he is saying, Moses now wraps it up with a warning and a hope.
First the warning: IF future generations do turn away from the Lord and turn to idols, they must know that the judgement of God WILL fall on them. There WILL be consequences for their apostasy! The extent of that judgment will mean that Israel are taken out of the land and will be dispersed among the nations. Once they are there, they will seek to rely upon the idols of those nations. They will be in a sorry plight, for Israel will effectively be brought to an end!
Yet despite this, that will not necessarily be the end of Israel for if, while they are in exile, they turn back to the Lord and seek Him whole heartedly, they WILL find Him. Having found Him, they will obey Him and the relationship will be restored. Why? Because the Lord is a God of mercy.
What does this tell us about the Lord? That He first of all holds His people accountable and WILL deal with them if they stray. He will NOT turn a blind eye to their misdoings. But more than that, He is also a God of mercy and so, although He doesn't HAVE to, He will receive His people back if they repent – wherever they are.
1. God does hold us accountable and will punish wilful sin.
2. Yet there will always be a way back – through repentance.
Chapter: Deut 4
Passage: Deut 4:32-40
A. Find Out:
1. What does Moses now tell them to do, & what does he ask? v.32
2. What 2 specific questions does he then ask? v.33,34
3. Why were they shown these things? v.35
4. What happened from heaven and on earth? v.36
5. Why had the Lord done what? v.37,38
6. What 2 commands did Moses then give, for what outcome? v.39,40
1. What point is Moses making in the first half of this passage?
2. What is his purpose in saying these things?
In one sense Moses moves on from talking about idols, but in another sense all he now says simply reinforces what he has previously said. He simply asks them to think back through what they know of history and see if they can think of any instances where these things have happened to other nations. Has anyone else heard God speaking out loud like they have? Has any other nation been called by God with such accompanying signs and wonders, as has happened to them? The obvious answer is no, they are unique!
What was the point of the Lord doing all this? So that they might know that He is the One, true God and there is no other like Him. That is the ultimate purpose of God's activity with Israel – to reveal Himself to them (and so that they might reveal Him to others). He had spoken audibly to them, He had chosen them and called them and then led them out of Egypt so that He could lead them into the land of His choosing for them, driving out all the inhabitants before them.
So what is the end of this? It is a call to acknowledge what they know – that the Lord is God and there is no other like Him. Therefore they are to follow His guidance, keep His laws, obey Him in all things, and when they do this, then all will be well with them and with their descendants in the Land.
2. Are we as clear about the Lord as Moses was?
Chapter: Deut 4/5
Passage: Deut 4:41 - 5:5
A. Find Out:
1. What did Moses do, where? v.41,43
2. What were they for? v.42
3. What now follows? v.44,45
4. Where were they when this was given? v.46-49
5. What did Moses tell the people to do? v.1
6. Why? v.2-5
1. How do verses 41-43 differ from what has gone before?
2. How does what follows differ even more?
3. How is Isaiah's appeal in Isa 8:20 seen here?
In verses 41 to 43 we get a little glimpse of some of Moses' administrative activity before he leaves them. He sets up three cities in the land they have just taken east of the Jordan, to become cities of refuge for those who would be dwelling in that part of the land (there will later be 3 more in the main land). The purpose of these cities was for them to become places of safety where those who had accidentally killed someone could flee from the anger and desires for revenge of loved ones of the killed person. It was part of the Law's provision for safety, protection and good order. In that everything before these verses had been Moses addressing the people, these verses are quite different.
From verse 44 on, we now turn to the Law that Moses passed on to the people from the Lord. The remaining verses of chapter 4 simply make the statement that what follows is the Law given by God to Moses after they left Egypt (at Sinai implied) and which Moses put again before the people before they crossed the Jordan and entered the main part of the Promised Land. At the beginning of chapter 5 Moses speaks and reminds Israel that these laws were given to them by the Lord at Sinai, and therefore they should hear them, learn them and obey them. They are foundation stones for the future life of the nation and it is imperative that they hold on to them.
1. Refuge cities remind us not be hasty in judgment.
2. The Law reminds us that God has a design for our lives.
Chapter: Deut 5
Passage: Deut 5:6-22
A. Find Out:
1. How does the Lord identify himself? v.6
2. What are the 1 st three commands about? v.7-11
3. What is the 4 th command all about? v.12-15
4. How does the 5 th command differ from what's gone before? v.16
5. What are the 6 th to 10 th commands about? v.17-21
6. How had these commands come to Israel ? v.22
1. Into what two groups do the 10 commands fall?
2. Why are Israel reminded or their origins, do you think?
3. How, do you think, these commands apply today?
The Ten Commandments are rooted in Israel 's experience with God. It is because it is GOD who had given them that Israel are to keep these laws. Without the existence of God, people actually have NO basis for moral laws, anything goes.
The first 4 commands are about relationship to the Lord, and the other 6 are about relationships with people. In a world that knew many ‘gods' the 1 st command was a challenge to let no ‘god' be seen as more important than the Lord. The 2 nd command challenged the pagan tendency to put a ‘god' into a visual form, an idol. The 3 rd command ensured that God's name was not demeaned. The 4 th command was an instruction to remember on a weekly basis, by a day of rest, all the wonder of who God was and what He had done. In each of these ways Israel were to maintain the supremacy of the Lord in their eyes and lives.
The remaining commands were to establish and maintain an orderly, just and civilised society. Each command is about keeping a good attitude and good behaviour in respect of everyone else. When such laws are upheld, then a peaceful and secure society prevails. When they are rejected, as happens in much of the West today, chaos ensues. These are the building blocks for civilisation and we neglect them at our peril and our very society is at dire risk.
1. God's way or self's way? That is the question for today.
2. Peace and order, or anarchy and chaos, those are the options.
A. Find Out:
1. What had they heard and what had they seen? v.23
2. What had they feared? v.24-26
3. What had they told Moses to do? v.27
4. What had the Lord felt about that? v.28
5. What had He desired and then said to happen? v.29-31
6. So what should they do now, and with what result? v.32,33
1. How had Israel 's response to the Lord been good?
2. What had been the Lord's heart for them?
3. Why do you think Moses was reminding them of this time?
Having just reminded Israel about the Ten Commandments, Moses goes on to remind them of the circumstances of the giving of them. He has just reminded them (v.22) that God gave them to them at Mount Sinai on two stone tablets. Now he expands the detail of what had actually happened.
He reminds them that they actually heard the audible voice of God speaking, so loudly that they could all hear it. On the mountain there had been darkness and fire (perhaps speaking of the separation and holiness of the Lord?) and this had almost been too much for Israel to cope with. They realised the awesome presence of the Lord and reckoned that if they stayed there any longer, they could be destroyed. Yet they trusted that Moses had such a relationship with the Lord (perhaps because they had witnessed all that had happened with the plagues in Egypt ?) that he would not be destroyed. Thus they had asked him to hear from the Lord and then tell them, and they would obey anything the Lord said.
This response (perhaps aware of His holiness and willingness to obey Him) pleased the Lord. He wished they would always respond like this, but there seems a hint that He knows it won't always be like that. Thus it was that Moses received the Law that he is now passing on to them. With their origins in mind, Israel are called to obedience.
1. When God draws near, we become aware of His holiness, and fear!
A. Find Out:
1. What was Moses to do, & for what 3 consequences? v.1-3
2. What is the starting point of all their belief? v.4
3. So what was the first call on them? v.5
4. What were they to do with God's commandments? v.6-9
5. What was the Lord about to do? v.10,11
6. What were they to do when He does that? v.12
1. What instruction is being given again and again?
3. How is that also true of Christian faith?
Again and again in these passages Moses is exhorting the nation to hold onto the commands that God has given them. As we said previously, they are the building blocks for civilisation. In this passage Moses not only exhorts them to obey these commands but he also explains why it is necessary. The first reason is to maintain a right relationship with the Lord (v.2a). The second reason flows out of that – that they may enjoy long life (v.2b). Life flows out of relationship with the Lord. Then comes the third reason: that they may increase and do well in the Land (v.3). Blessing follows obedience. This is very practical; if they follow God's ways, they will do well materially.
Then he gives them a command that rides over all other commands: to love the Lord whole-heartedly. Jesus reaffirmed this (Mt 22:37 ). Love is to be at the heart of all rule-keeping. It is not to be a hard obedience, but a glad obedience. Verses 6-9 may be summed up as, hold onto these commands wherever you are, and in whatever you are doing. Never let them out of your mind. He then looks to the future, when they actually enter the land and enjoy the fruit of it; that is when they particularly need to hold onto these laws. Affluence can dull awareness of need, but they (and we) need these laws for the reasons given.
1. God knows best. He designed us and knows what is best for us.
2. If God says do it, we would be stupid not to!
A. Find Out:
1. What 2 instructions does Moses now give them? v.13,14
2. Why? v.15
3. What further 3 instructions does he give? v.16-18a
4. Why? v.18b,19
5. When questioned in the future what are they to say? v.20-24a
6. What will be the 2 outcomes? v.24b,25
1. What are the ‘negative' reasons for keeping the Law?
2. What positive outcomes for keeping the Law are given?
3. How does the past dictate the present for them?
Moses continues to encourage Israel to keep the commands of the Lord (the Law) when they enter the land. He does it negatively and positively, also reminding them of their past origins.
The ‘negative' encouragement is simply the fear of the Lord. He reminds them that God is jealous and will act against them if they fall away and go after idols. He also warns them against repeating the incident of Ex 17 where they tested the Lord. (The fact is that before Sinai the Lord allowed them to get away with their grumbling, but after the Sinai encounter He did not. Before Sinai they did not know the Lord. After Sinai they knew His call on their lives).
The positive encouragement is the promise that if they keep the commands it will go well with them so that they can go in (v.18,19) and then prosper in the land (v.24). When they keep the Law they will also be declared righteous (v.25). There is also an encouragement by looking back to their origins. When their children ask why they have these laws they are to tell them about the past, how the Lord miraculously delivered them from Egypt. This is something they are to keep alive, remember, and pass on to their future generations, and as they do that it will be a further motivation to keep God's commands. Thus, again and again, we see Moses motivating them to obey the Lord as they enter the Land.
1. Obedience to God is at the heart of the Gospel.
2. Failure brings trouble, obedience brings blessing.
A. Find Out:
1. What is the Lord going to do? v.1,2a
2. What must they then do, and not do, and why? v.2b-4
3. What instead must they do, and why? v.5,6
4. Why didn't the Lord choose them? v.7
5. Why did He do it? v.8
6. What are they to remember? v.9,10
1. How would summarise verses 1 to 6?
2. What point is being made in verses 7 & 8?
3. What is revealed about the Lord in all this passage?
Back in 6:14 Moses had warned Israel not to follow the pagan gods of the surrounding peoples. Now he gives clear instructions about the people in the land they are about to take. Basically, this may be summed up as, Clear the Land! The reality, you can see in their subsequent history, was that the occupants could either:
The command to wipe out the people looks pretty horrendous at first sight, but when we note the options above, and the reasons, then it is not so. Israel may be seen as the judgement of God on the inhabitants. As one theologian has said, the wonder is not that God brings judgement, but that He doesn't wipe us ALL out, because we deserve it. What is the reason given for this action? It is because if Israel mix with this people then they will be led away from the Lord and will end up worshipping idols and following the detestable practices of the existing inhabitants of Canaan, such as sacrificing children.
Israel are to realise that they are to be a separate and distinct people, so that all the rest of the world can see them and come to know the Lord through them. That is the goal behind the instructions given in this passage. It started right back with Abraham and now continues through the whole constituted nation, and Israel are now accountable to the Lord.
1. Christians are people called back to God's original design – good.
2. When God calls us to be different, it's to conform to His design.
A. Find Out:
1. If they do what, God will do what? v.11-13,15
2. With what outcome? v.14
3. What are they to do? v.16
4. What does He say not to be? v.18,21
5. How are they to be encouraged by the past? v.19
6. What will the Lord do for them? v.20-24
7. Finally what are they to do and not do? v.25,26
1. What will be the fruit of obedience in the Land?
2. Why will they not need to fear the people in the Land?
3. What will be a ‘residual temptation' in the land to be resisted?
Moses has just been instructing Israel to completely clean out the Land of its existing pagan, idol-worshipping, child-sacrificing inhabitants. He reminded them that they are a holy people who must keep God's commands, but that isn't going to be an arduous thing, it is going to be something that is going to bring incredible blessing on them, more than on any other nation, fruitfulness and freedom from illness. What a staggering future ahead of them! But it does involve clearing out the land first.
Then he covers a potential temptation, of them fearing the peoples there and being afraid of them (which suggests they would not fight wholeheartedly and fulfil the task). There is no need to fear, says Moses. Why? Because of the past and because of what God is going to do in the future. Remember (yet again) what God did when He delivered you from Egypt , remember His power.
Well, he continues, this power is now going to be the same as when He delivered you from Egypt ; remember His power. Well, he continues, that power is now going to be exercised again – through you – to ensure this land is completely cleared out in stages so that you can colonise it, but beware of their idols – make sure you entirely destroy them or they will trap you!
1. We stand against the enemy and the Lord then enables us.
2. Our call is to remain distinct, not taking on board the world's ways.
RECAP - "Instructions for Holiness" - Deut 4-7
In this second group of 11 studies we have seen Moses, east of the Jordan, speaking to Israel about:
- obeying the Lord (4:1-9)
- remembering what had happened at Sinai ( 4:10 -14)
- not making any idols & the consequences of them ( 4:15 -31)
- realising that the Lord is God ( 4:32 -40)
- the cities of refuge & the land taken ( 4:41 -49)
- the Ten Commandments & how they had come ( 5:22 -33)
- how they were to keep them & love the Lord (6:1-25)
- how they were to drive out the peoples (7:1-26)
These four chapters present a number of exhortations to obey the Lord and the commands He has given. The warning comes to remember the circumstances of the giving of the Ten Commandments and not to go making any idols to represent the Lord. They are to understand how great the Lord is and realise that no idol can possibly represent Him. They are to know the commands and keep them before them, letting their obedience to them be the expression of their love for God. These laws and their relationship with the Lord will distinguish them from any other nation, and they are to ensure they clear out the land's inhabitants and remain a pure and distinct people. Again and again Moses has been exhorting Israel to hold onto the Law that the Lord had given them, so that the Lord would bless them.
1. We would do well to remember how we first met the Lord.
2. We need to remind ourselves what we have been called to be.
3. We need to remember God knows best, His Laws are for a reason.
Ask the Lord to help you understand these lessons.
PART 3 : " Maintaining a Right Perspective "
This next and final Part is all about Israel keeping a right perspective, knowing why all this happened, and then ensuring the Lord in the Land. Crucial stuff!