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Deuteronomy 4 (ESV)

1 “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor. 4 But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today. 5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?



The vast bulk of Deuteronomy records God’s will for his people in the form of the law.  Before the law is given, Moses warns Israel not to add or take away from the law.  The latter we do by simply disobeying the law, while the former is a more subtle problem because we can do it with the best intentions.  We don’t want to offend God by having premarital sex, so we prohibit dancing.  We don’t want to transgress by getting drunk, so we ban drinking.  We don’t want to take God’s name in vain, so we never speak God’s name.  Such fencing of the law with legalism is as offensive to God as breaking it.  In Mark 7:9-13, Jesus criticises the Pharisees for adding to the Law in such a way that they could get out of honouring their parents.

When is it hardest for me to give God’s Word its due place in my life?  What needs to happen this week to make sure God’s Word receives the proper emphasis in my life?

Recall a specific time when God’s Word brought clarity and guidance to my life.  What happened?  How did Scripture fill your ache for God?



May I follow Your commands and precepts and be careful to observe them, for this is my wisdom and understanding in the sight of others.  (vv5-6)