Deuteronomy 4-5

A Covenant Breaking People.

“What I wouldn’t give if they’d always feel this way, continuing to revere me and always keep all my commands; they’d have a good life forever, they and their children!” – Deuteronomy 5:29 MSG

As we saw yesterday, the theme of the book of Deuteronomy seems to be the covenant-keeping aspect of God. The covenant is mentioned over and over again. It comes up again in our two chapters for today. Moses reminds the people once again of the covenant God had made with them. He had promised to give them the land of Canaan – the Promised Land. But His covenant with them had a clause that required them to obey. As part of His covenant, He provided them with the Ten Commandments, as a set of rules or regulations for them to keep. Moses reiterates the requirements at the beginning of chapter four. “And now, Israel, listen carefully to these laws and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you from the LORD your God. Just obey them” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2 NLT). Then at the beginning of chapter five, he goes back over the original Ten Commandments again.

Moses repeatedly tells the people to keep, to obey, to do them, to beware, to watch themselves, and to remember. He reminds them of God’s faithfulness and His compassion. But he also warns them that their failure to obey will result in their destruction and ultimate captivity. What is amazing is that God is predicting through Moses exactly what was going to happen. God knew the people were going to fail to keep His commandments. He knew they were going to be unfaithful and rebel against Him. He knew He was going to have to follow through on His threat to send the into captivity. But in spite of all this, God was going to prove His unfailing faithfulness yet again. “From there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. When those bitter days have come upon you far in the future, you will finally return to the LORD your God and listen to what he tells you. For the LORD your God is merciful––he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 4:29-31 NLT). Even in the midst of the punishment for their rebellion, God would make Himself known to them. He would not abandon them or destroy them. Instead He would show compassion and mercy. He would remember the covenant He had made and keep it.

God didn’t want to bring destruction on His people. He didn’t want to send them into captivity. He longed that His people would have a heart for Him. “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever! (Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB). God knew His people would break the covenant. He knew they would rebel. He knew they did not have the capacity or capability to hold up their end of the covenant. But it did not change His commitment to them. In fact, God would eventually provide a way for all mankind to keep His law and fulfill His commands – through the provision of His own Son. He knew we were incapable of keeping His law. So He sent His Son to do it for us, and to pay the price for our sin. He is the covenant-keeping God. He is faithful, even when we are not.

Father, I would not be here if not for You. I would not even have chosen to have a relationship with You if not for Your Holy Spirit drawingme to You. I can’t thank You enough for Your faithfulness and mercy. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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