This page is a daily devotion. It will study a chapter of the Bible for 5 days one section at a time. Then it will move on to another chapter for 5 days. Included is a verse to memorize.
Deuteronomy chapter 4
Memory verse: Deuteronomy 4:29
The generation that was delivered from Egypt by Moses failed to have faith, and therefore could not receive the promise and enter the promised land (Numbers 14, Hebrews 3-4). Only those under 20 years old except for Joshua and Caleb would be able to go. It is noteworthy that the very next chapter after this happened, Numbers 15, starts with Moses giving instructions on what to do after Israel entered the promised land. From Numbers 15 on, everything Moses spoke and wrote was directed to the children who would grow up in the wilderness waiting for their unbelieving parents to die so they could move forward. This would take 40 years. The entire book of Deuteronomy is the last message from Moses to these people before he died. Deuteronomy means remember. Moses reviewed the commandments one last time, told them to remember to keep them when they entered the land, and not to be influenced by the pagan sinners they were to displace and forget the word of God.
Day 1 – this is your wisdom
Obeying God’s commandments enables us to live spiritually, to progress, and to possess what God has for us. No one is authorized to add to, or to take anything out of, the commandments of the Lord (Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19). This should be extremely obvious, yet people do this all the time. Famous British actor Ian McKellen has stated that whenever he goes to a hotel where a Bible has been placed in the room, he tears out the page with Leviticus 20:13 because he supports sodomy. That does not change anything about God or His word. The prophet Jeremiah had the messages God gave him written down. When King Zedekiah heard those words, he took the scroll, cut it into pieces, and burned it. God gave every word back to Jeremiah, and the scroll was recreated (Jeremiah 36). We still have those words as part of the book of Jeremiah. The Greek pagan king Antiochus Ephiphanes banned the Bible. The French philosopher Voltaire predicted that the Bible would become irrelevant. It is reported that the house he stayed in while in Geneva, Switzerland, was later purchased by the Geneva Bible Society. Voltaire is gone, but the Bible is still by far the bestselling book in the world. While some do not literally take parts of the Bible out, or try to destroy it in print, they do the same thing by ignoring it in part or in whole. Many also try to add things that are not actually there. The Bible is the greatest piece of literature ever. Its words are a living expression of God Himself, and can never be exhausted. There are no masters of the Bible, only students. There is no need to try to change it. It is the greatest moral code ever. Our wisdom is to follow it as it is.
Day 2 – ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude
We are to remember God’s commandments, and teach them to our children in both word and deed. When God spoke on Mount Sinai, the mountain was covered with dark clouds which produced thunder and lightning. It burned with fire and smoked. Yet there was no visual manifestation of God Himself that the people could see. They only heard His voice. They were to learn from that how God wants to relate with us. We are not to attempt to relate with God through visual representations, whether they are supposedly of Him, or anything else. Man is visually oriented. The large majority of information our brain receives is through our eyes. Our eyes are actually formed in the womb directly from the brain, and are directly connected to it by the optic nerve. This is how our brain perceives the natural world. However, when it comes to relating to the spiritual world, our eyes are irrelevant. “For we walk by faith, not by sight (2Corinthians 5:7)”. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2Corinthians 4:18.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).” The most important question is not “What have we seen?”. It is “What have we heard?”. God is not going to ask us how many miracles we have seen when we stand before Him. He is going to ask us if we have heard His word, and done it (Matthew 7:21-27, Luke 16:27-31, Revelation 20:11-15). Using visual representations is nothing more than idolatry, especially when spiritual power is attributed to physical objects. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). He cannot be contained in time (Exodus 3:14, Isaiah 57:15), or space (1Kings 8:27, Psalm 139:7-10, Isaiah 66:1, John 3:13). He is invisible (Colossians 1:15-16, 1Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 11:27). In the Old Testament, God momentarily manifested Himself visually in different forms at different times. This ceased in the New Testament because God had manifested Himself permanently in the flesh (John 1:14, John 14:7-11, 2Corinthians 5:19, Colossians 2:9, 1Timothy 3:16). Jesus is the visible part of the invisible God (John 1:18, 2Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3). We cannot see Him now, but we will (Acts 1:9-11, 1Peter 1:8, 1John 3:2, Revelation 1:7). He is all of God we will ever need to see.
Day 3 – the LORD thy God is a consuming fire
Moses could not enter the promised land because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded (Numbers 20:1-13, Deuteronomy 3:27, Deuteronomy 4:21-22, Deuteronomy 34:4). They were not to make any image or likeness because God is a consuming fire, and jealous. This verse is often quoted when speaking of the blessing of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, but that is not what it is talking about. Neither is Matthew 3:11. It is talking about judgment. Atheists like Richard Dawkins like to find fault with the jealousy of God. It should seem strange that someone would not be hurt by their spouse committing adultery. Marriage is a covenant between a man and woman. They vow to never give that love that belongs to each other to anyone else. Why should God not be offended when we give the love that belongs to Him to dumb idols, or anyone or anything else? This is especially true since He is faithful. He deserves our faithfulness in return. That is the least we can do after all He has done for us (Luke 17:10, Romans 12:1-2). There are consequences to sin. For Israel, it was being driven from their homeland to worship the idols of the nations they had fallen to. Yet, God is merciful. If they repented, God would restore them. This is like a married person taking their adulterous spouse back (Jeremiah 3:8-9, Jeremiah 13:27, Ezekiel 23:43, James 4:4).
Day 4 – there is none else
Israel had experienced an unprecedented manifestation of God. He did mighty miracles and brought them out of Egypt to Himself. He spoke to the whole nation audibly. What was God’s purpose in doing all these great things? So they would know Him, that there is none else, and so they would keep His commandments. The phrase “none else” appears in 11 other verses (1Kings 8:60, Isaiah 45:5-6 & 14 & 18 & 21-22, Isaiah 46:9, Isaiah 47:8 & 10, and Joel 2:27). God is that concerned that we understand that He is indivisibly one. Not only is He not 3 persons, He is not even one person. He is a Spirit (John 4:24). A spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Webster’s dictionary says the definition of a person is “the body of a human being”. The only way God is a person is in the person of Jesus Christ. There is none else. In order to avoid this problem, some say He is three personalities. Again, Webster’s dictionary says the first definition of personality is “the quality or state of being a person”. If we attempt to apply the next one, “the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual”, or the next one, “a set of distinctive traits and characteristics”, we run into the same problem and an additional one. When one being has more than one personality, we call that multiple personality disorder. We must not assign definitions to God, the Bible, and the English language that do not exist in order to accommodate false doctrine. God is one. He said there is none beside Him (Isaiah 43:11, Isaiah 44:6 & 8, Isaiah 45:5-6 & 21, Isaiah 47: 8 & 10, Hosea 13:4, Zephaniah 2:15).
Day 5 – the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments
The Israelites had been attacked by 2 kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og, while in the wilderness. Israel won those battles, and took those lands. The tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, were given those lands instead of land to the west of the Jordan River. God had told Moses that Israel was to set up six cities of refuge so that someone who had accidentally killed someone could have a safe place to flee from the avenger of blood (Numbers 35). 3 were to be east of the Jordan, and 3 to the west. That way anyone would not have to go too far to get to one when they needed to. This was another way God was ensuring justice.
The commandments of God were described in 3 ways here - testimonies (edah – testimony, witness), statutes (choq – prescribed task, established and definite appointment, prescribed boundary or limit, condition, decree), and judgments (mishpat – court case, execution of sentence, justice, legal decision, right manner of custom). All 3 definitions have legal connotations. God is just. Too often people think of that in terms of judging sin. God is also just in that He always does the right thing. His laws are to ensure that justice and fairness are always done. Because God is so good, He even goes beyond justice to mercy. His judgment is not only condemnation. It also includes mercy (Psalm 89:14, Psalm 101:1, Isaiah 16:5, Isaiah 30:18, Hosea 12:6, Zechariah 7:9, Matthew 23:23, James 2:13).