Pastoral Commentary for Deuteronomy 4:1-40
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
God is our Creator and knows us better than we know ourselves. He has given us commands to bless and protect us. This was why He gave His Law to Israel. God told them to obey His commands so that they could live and take possession of the land He gave them. We are not to add to God's commands or subtract from them. The Pharisees in Jesus' day added to God's commands in their efforts at self-righteousness. Today, many people want to subtract from God's commands in order to conform to the culture. When we do that, we fall into the same trap that Israel did when they worshiped the idols of their pagan neighbors. God tells us to "watch yourselves closely". Scripture warns us that "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, we must be continually on guard against sin and pay close attention to God's commands. Moses reminded the Israelites that when they encountered God at Mt. Sinai they saw no form, and thus they must not make any images of God. Since that time, of course, God did take on human form in the person of His Son, so pictures and images of Jesus are not idolatrous if we understand that we worship the real person, not the image. God warned Israel that if they fell into idolatry only a remnant would survive, nevertheless God promised that He would never abandon His people, for He is a merciful God. Truly God's greatness was revealed in His choosing Israel through His mighty deeds. There is no other god.