I have a very informative interview with Rudy Ross on YouTube today (the Bob Spradling channel). Rudy talks about how Jewish Rabbis understand the first six chapters of Deuteronomy and the way they connect with Isaiah.
During the interview, we didn’t discuss the Bible verses from Deuteronomy 4. Today’s blog article features some thoughts from chapter four that won’t be mentioned in videos this week.
Marvel at God’s Goodness
I have never been interested in comparative religions, but I know enough about them to understand that God is in a class all of his own. None of the competing religious systems can approach the goodness of God.
Moses marveled at God’s awesome character in his sermon to the Hebrew people, before their entrance to the promised land.
He said, “For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of?” (Deuteronomy 4.32).
Moses challenges people to survey all that transpires on earth and attempt to find an equal to God.
(1) None of the so-called gods of this earth are personal.
Idols made of wood, stone, and gold can neither hear nor speak. They are made in the image of the craftsmen who fashioned them.
Systems of belief such as Buddhisms, Hinduism, and Stoicism are believed to be forces of the earth. They lack the personal nature of the One True God.
Moses stated that God is personal and encounters humans. He said, “Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived?” (Deuteronomy 4.33).
Jesus revealed the true nature of God. He interacted with people and called them friends. Christians may take God’s personal nature for granted, but it is one of his greatest gifts to humans.
(2) God is known for his acts in history.
In Moses’ sermon to the Hebrew people he continued his comparison with false gods.
He said, “Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” (Deuteronomy 4.34).
The Exodus from Egypt, the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, the resurrection of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost are four of the major touchstone events of God in history.
None of these events have been duplicated by a man-made idol or other world religion. God alone stands at the pinnacle of activity on behalf of humans.
The Exodus freed God’s people from mighty Egyptian control. The cross and resurrection of Jesus has freed multitudes from the power of sin.
We will soon cover in blog articles how the Ten Commandments were given out of love and to maintain love between people and God. The Holy Spirit was given, to empower people to fully live God’s instructions for the best life possible.
The “Why” Behind God’s Activity
Besides God’s abundant love and amazing character, why does he deal with humans like he did for the Israelites?
Moses said this in his sermon, “To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.
From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, while you heard his words coming out of the fire” (Deuteronomy 4.35-36).
(1) The temptation to follow gods of our own making has always been a problem for people. Richard Foster wrote a book a few years ago with the title, “Money, Sex and Power.” These three attractions are tempting idols of modern culture.
God’s activity is designed to convince us that he alone is worthy of the investment of our time, talents, and energy.
(2) “Discipline” in the Old Testament is something that a loving father gives to his children. Discipline is necessary to experience the best things in life.
In my case, I didn’t like to read but my parents made me read anyway. I kept on reading until I became a lover of books. That discipline has paid numerous dividends for me throughout life.
Out of love God gets our attention and leads in a “narrow-gate” pathway for our good.
(3) Love is the foundation of all of God’s activity.
Moses said, “And because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants after them. He brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power,
“Driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, giving you their land for a possession, as it is still today” (Deuteronomy 4.37-38).
It must bring great joy to God to bring his beloved out of slavery to sin and self and into the abundance of their destiny.
Paul wrote this to the Romans, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8.28-29).
God loves us and wants to lead us to place where “all things work together for good.”
In his love he wants to give us the greatest gift of all – to conform us to the “image of his Son.”
God loves us and expects us to love him in return. We know that we love God, when we follow his direction.
“So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.
“Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time” (Deuteronomy 4.39-40).
May We Pray For You?
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