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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Deuteronomy > Deut. 4:40 - The Call to Obedience


The Call to Obedience
Deut. 4:40

Introduction

As a result of the nation’s refusal to enter and take the land at Kadesh Barnea, God condemned that nation to death. For forty years the nation wandered in the wilderness and slowly died. A new nation arose, and in the book of Deuteronomy Moses is giving the new nation the Law that had been given to the previous nation at Mt. Sinai.

Within the second giving of the Law, there is a repetitive call for obedience to the Law. Various word and admonitions are used but the crucial point is that God expects His people to keep, observe, and obey His commands.

The Repeated Call to Obedience

    Text

Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live . . . You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you (4:1-2);

Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them (4:5-6);

You shall therefore keep His statutes and commandments which I command you today (4:40);

Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them (5:1);

Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you (6:1-2);

You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you (6:17);

Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them (7:11);

Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe (8:1);

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today (8:11);

Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always (11:1).

Also see: 12:1, 32; 16:12; 26:16; 27:1, 9-10; 30:15-16

    Thoughts

God commands the people to obey His Law, and Moses commands the people to obey the Law; the people were repeatedly instructed in their responsibility.

Various words are used to speak of God’s word to the people, words which are virtual synonyms, but with different perspectives: law, commandments, judgments, statutes, and testimonies.

The people were told to keep and not forget His words; they were to learn them and observe them; they were to obey them.

The Choices: Obey and receive Blessings or Disobey and receive Curses

    Text

Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandment of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known (11:26-28);

If you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today . . . all these blessings shall come upon you (28:1-2);

If you do not obey the voce of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments, and His statutes which I command you today . . . all these curses will come upon you and over take you (28:15);

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil (30:15);

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (30:18-19).

    Thoughts

Life is not filled with multiple and conflicting essential options; there are only two basic options: obey – disobey; blessing – cursing; submit – rebel; belief – unbelief; light – darkness; Theism – humanism; Spirit – flesh; God’s Word – man’s reason; life – death; salvation – damnation.

The two options are markedly distinct and different; they stand in stark contrast; they lead in opposite directions; they cannot be joined or synthesized.

The results of following either option are carefully stated; there is no doubt of the consequences; one lead to life and the other leads to death.

Conclusion

Oh, that they had such a heart in them
that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments,
that it might be well with them and with their children forever!
Deut. 5:29


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