4 Now 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.
2 Ye 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.Deuteronomy 4:1-2
This particular passage of scripture is in the midst of a speech being given by Moses to the Children of Israel. He is at the end of his life. He reminds them of all that God has done, and all that they have done. He is speaking to them about how to conduct their future lives in the promised land. They were about to go to battle, and then live surrounded by pagan nations. Apart from their obedience, they would lose militarily, morally and spiritually. God knows that. Moses knows that. So we read today’s text.
Moses tells them to “hearken” to the “statutes” and “judgments” with the express purpose of actually doing them. He tells them that the purpose of giving them the law was for them to be obedient. He then goes on to say “that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord GOd of your fathers giveth to you.” There was a connection between obedience and success. If they would listen to the Lord, to His Word, and obey His law, then they would go in an take possession of what they had been given.
In verse 2 He gives a warning about both adding to the law, and taking from the law. God knows how people are. We want to do our own will more than God’s, and if that means changing the rules to fit our desires we will. Moses, by the words of the Holy Spirit, warns against doing anything that would change what has been said. Why? “…that ye make keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” If they changed the word, then the behavior God intended would change. They would obey the wrong thing.
The theme of this weeks passage is obedience to the Word of God. In today’s text Moses tells the Children of Israel two things:
- Obey the Word of God. The Word of God carries the authority of God. When God speaks we should listen and obey. He even tied their success to their ability to obey the law of God. The same is true for us. If we listen and obey, God will bless that obedience. This does not mean we will have material, worldly success, but it does mean that we will have success in God’s eyes. His opinion as the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of the World is what truly matters.
- Don’t change the Word of God. There is only one Revealer of Scripture, The Holy Spirit. If He spoke it, we should seek to discover and obey the meaning of what He wrote. We don’t get a say in making the meaning of what He already wrote down.
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.2 Peter 1:20-21
- Is there any area of my life where I am living in disobedience? Confess that to God. Repent and live differently!
- Am I reading God’s Word with the heart motivation of obedience?
- Am I changing the Word of God to fit my own thoughts and desires?