Dave Burnette's Commentary

Deuteronomy Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses 
Date Penned: (1407 BC)
Overview: To Remind and Rededicate Israel to the Lord (c 1-34)
Theme: A Reminder of What God Has Done (c 1-4)
Message: Moses Urges the People to Obey (v 1-49)

Deuteronomy 4 Commentary

(4:1-2) Israel is Tempted to Add to the Law -  What is meant by adding to or diminishing from God's commands? These laws were the word of God, and they were complete. How could any human being, with limited wisdom and knowledge, edit God's perfect laws? To add to the laws would make them a burden; to subtract from them would make them incomplete. Thus, the laws were to remain unchanged. To presume to make changes to them is to assume a position of authority over the God who gave them (Matthew 5:17-19; 15:3-9; Revelation 22:18-19). The religious leaders at the time of Christ did exactly this; they elevated their own laws to the same level as God's. Jesus rebuked them for this (see Matthew 23:1-4).

(4:8) The Heart of the Law - Do the laws God gave to the Israelites still apply to Christians today? God's laws were designed to guide all people to live lives that are healthy, good, and devoted to God. The purpose of the laws was to point out sin (or potential sin) and show the proper way to deal with it. The Ten Commandments, the heart of God's law, are just as applicable today as they were 3,000 years ago because they guide us to live in ways that demonstrate love and respect for God and for the people around us. They are a perfect expression of who God is and how he wants people to live. But God gave other laws besides the Ten Commandments. Are those just as important? God never issued a law that didn't have a purpose. However, many of the laws we read in the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) were directed specifically to people of this particular time and culture. Although a specific law may not apply to us, the timeless truth or principle
behind the law does. For example, Christians do not practice animal sacrifice in worship, but the principles behind the sacrifices--forgiveness for sin and thankfulness to God--are still important for Christians today. The sacrifices pointed to the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Jesus Christ. The New Testament says that with the death and resurrection of Jesus the Old Testament laws were fulfilled. This means that while the Old Testament laws help us recognize our sins and turn from them, it is Jesus Christ who takes our sins away. He is now our primary example to follow because he alone perfectly obeyed the law and modeled its true intent.

(4:9) Teaching Your Children - Moses wanted to make sure that the people did not forget all they had seen God do, so he urged parents to teach their children about God's great miracles. This helped parents remember God's faithfulness and provided the means for passing on from one generation to the next the stories recounting God's great acts. It is easy to forget the wonderful ways God has worked in the lives of his people. To better remember God's great acts of faithfulness, regularly tell your children, friends, and other people you spend time with what you have seen him do in your own life, what you have heard he has done in the lives of others, and what you have read about him in the Bible.

(4:21-23) Sin has a Price - Because God is morally perfect, he hates sin and cannot accept those who are tainted by it. Moses' sin kept him from entering the Promised Land, and no sacrifice could remove that judgment. Sin has kept us from entering God's presence, but Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and removed God's judgment forever by his death. Moses, long after his earthly death, appeared with Jesus and Elijah on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured (Mark 9:2-4), so it's clear that he was not banned from God's presence. To the contrary, Moses was welcomed into God's presence for eternity because of his great love for God and Jesus' payment for the penalty of his sin. Trusting in Jesus Christ will save you from God's anger and judgment and allow you to begin a personal, loving relationship with him for eternity.:

(4:24) The Consuming Fire - God is a "consuming fire." Jealousy is a demand for someone else's exclusive affection or loyalty. Some jealousy is bad. For a person to get upset when his or her spouse casually talks to someone of the opposite sex is usually a sign of excessive jealousy, which can be destructive to a relationship. But other jealousy is good. A married person should expect their spouse to be faithful only to him or her. Usually we use the word jealousy only for the bad reaction. But God's kind of jealousy is appropriate and good. He is defending his word and guarding his high honor. He makes a strong, exclusive demand on us: We must treat only the Lord--and no one else in all the universe--as God.

(4:29) Finding God -  Do you want to know God? God promised the Israelites that they would find him when they searched for him with all their hearts and souls. God is knowable and wants to be known-but we have to want to know him. Acts of service and worship must be accompanied by sincere love from the heart. As Hebrews 11:6 says, "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Those who pursue a relationship with God will most certainly gain one.

(4:32) Trusting God - How tempted we are to look everywhere else but to God for our guidance and leadership! We trust medical doctors, financial advisers, websites, and friends on social media, but do we trust God? Get God's advice first, and recognize his authority over every dimension of life (4:39-40).

(4:40) God's Prosperity - Was Israel guaranteed prosperity for obeying God's laws? Yes-but we have to look carefully at what that means. God's laws were designed to make his chosen nation healthy, just, merciful, and devoted to him. When the people followed those laws, they prospered. This does not mean, however, that no sickness, no sadness, and no misunderstandings existed among them. Rather, it means that as a nation they prospered and that individuals' problems were handled as fairly as possible. Today God's promise of prosperity-his constant presence, comfort, and the resources to live as we should now extends to all believers. We will face trials; Jesus told us that (John 16:33). But we will avoid the misery that directly results from intentional sin, and we know that great treasure awaits us in heaven.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Teach Your Children

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 4 and we see Moses urging Israel to obey, to stay away from Idols, stay away from other gods, the cities of refuge and a start of the principles for Godly living. What catches my eye is the beginning of the chapter where verse 9 instructs on how to keep a great nation under God is for the fathers to teach the sons the statutes of the Lord lest they forget the God of the Bible. In making application I am reminded of this principle. My grandfather was a Christian but he was a busy successful man and did not teach my Dad the things of the Lord. The result of this is - my Dad sought after success but not the Lord which led to a life of unfulfilled and empty achievements. My Dad did not teach me the truths of the scriptures but rather it was the Church that reached me and my failures as a young adult to see the need and truth of the Gospel. The need to apply the Bible to every area of my life and now I am a dad. I see the need to teach my family through family devotions the truth of the Bible. As a nation Christians are failing to apply this principle of the Bible to their families and as a result our kids are growing up without the Lord. This generation that knows not God will take our nation further from God. We must be diligent and place a priority on this area before careers, recreation, and activities that demand our time. How about you? Are you placing a priority on teaching your family the principles of the Bible? Is the family alter and Church a priority over the activities of the day? Let us learn from today's text and teach our children lest they forget the God of the Bible.


Deuteronomy 4

Deuteronomy 4

 1Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

 2Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

 3Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.

 4But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.

 5Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

 6Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

 7For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

 8And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

 9Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;

 10Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.

 11And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.

 12And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.

 13And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

 14And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.

 15Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:

 16Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

 17The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

 18The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:

 19And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

 20But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.

 21Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:

 22But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.

 23Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

 24For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

 25When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:

 26I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

 27And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.

 28And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

 29But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

 30When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;

 31(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

 32For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?

 33Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?

 34Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

 35Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

 36Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.

 37And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;

 38To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.

 39Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

 40Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

 41Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;

 42That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:

 43Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.

 44And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:

 45These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt.

 46On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Bethpeor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:

 47And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;

 48From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon,

 49And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.