Deuteronomy 4: Of Words, Hearts and the Nature of God

Songdove Books - Author's Bible open to Psalm119-9As I read through the Bible again, one chapter per day, I now come to the book of Deuteronomy and when it comes to firsts, the fifth book of the Torah does not disappoint.  Chapter four brings with it not one, not two, but three admonishments that we see sprinkled throughout Scripture and are more likely to recognize from other books of the Bible than from this one.

The first admonishment is one that it appears, many in today’s society have forgotten about, particularly those who wish to write and sell socially acceptable translations of the Holy Scriptures.

Deuteronomy 4:2  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.

Matthew 5:17-20  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Songdove Books - jesus-1364691665GLdRevelation 22:18-19  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

There are translations out there that diminish the Blood of Christ, the Godhood of Christ, and rumours surfaced briefly about a paraphrase of the Scriptures removing any reference to homosexuals all in a bid to make the Bible more palatable to the masses.  Due to these verses above, I cringe at what will befall those who authorized such changes to the Scriptures when they stand before Christ on Judgement Day.

The second admonishment gave rise to a Sunday School song:  Oh Be Careful.  This youtube video is very simple, but has the lyrics in the description.

This song has been vilified by those who feel it teaches a very “works” and “do’s and don’ts” based religion!  However, if you look at the lyrics of this song, you’ll find it solidly based on the following:

Deuteronomy 4:9  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Proverbs 4:20-27  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  21  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  22  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.  23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  24  Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.  25  Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.  26  Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.  27  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:23-24  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Choosing to watch what we say, see, hear, and do or go is not only Biblical, but shows God that we truly meant what we said when we chose to follow Him and accept Christ into our hearts.  I’ve already blogged extensively about this and reprised my writings so far on the connection between obedience and loving God with a recent post here.

The last admonishment found in Deuteronomy chapter 4, is regarding what God is and is not like:

Deuteronomy 4:15-19  Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:  16  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,  17  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,  18  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:  19  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

Deuteronomy 4:29  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Jeremiah 29:11-13  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  12  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Acts 17:23-29  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.  24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;  26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  27  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.  29  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Songdove Books - 07_Moses_Golden_Calf_JPEG_1024The issue of who God is and serving other gods instead has come up in my blog writings previously as well.  Perhaps the most controversial is that of who we worship during the Christmas season.    Sometimes we choose to worship other gods because they “appear” to come through for us when God didn’t.

God says in Isaiah:

Isaiah 42:8  I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

This is echoed in the giving of the 10 Commandments which I blogged about while going through the book of Exodus:

As a Christian author and an indie author at that, this last admonishment took on particular focus one day in July of 2014!  Would I give in to the god of money and write what sells, or would I serve the God of All Creation with the gift of words instead and rely on Him to guide my promotional efforts and put my books into the hands of those who need them?  You can read that blog post here:

Suffice to say that Deuteronomy 4 was a hard-hitter to say the least!  All three of these admonitions would be repeated at various times and places throughout the rest of Scripture, and their words are no less potent now in a world where “politically correct” and so-called “tolerance” rule the day.  How will you handle these three admonishments?  Does it matter whether God’s Word is held as closely as possible to the original languages’ intents?  Does God care how you live?  Does He care what you think or where you go?  On top of that, are you worshipping a god of your own creation, or the God of the Bible?  Tough questions!  How you choose to answer them is between you and God both now, and at Judgement Day.  How will you respond?