Moses lays down the commandment to obey the laws of God because Moses knows that obedience to God is the key for the Israelites to thrive in the promised land and that it was the key thing that their fathers didn’t do that had them forfeit the blessing that was supposed to be theirs. Today we highlight the power of listening and obeying the law of God that sets us up for thriving in this life.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules[a] 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.
(v.1) Moses lays out a simple formula for the Israelites to follow, listening and then doing the commands of God. We need to do both for we need to listen to what the commands are and then to fully listen is to actually do them. Action is the end result of truly listening. A child truly listens to their parent when they actually obey them. But listening and obeying is not a one time thing but is something that needs to be done continuously to sustain a relationship with Him. When we stop obeying because our first time obedience didn’t produce the results that we wanted than the purpose of our obedience is not to sustain a relationship with Him but getting what we want. In that moment we treat our relationship with God as a series of transactions of we do this then He does that and that is not a relationship that will last.
(v.4) Those who held fast or committed to the Lord are the ones that are alive for the promise. Those who obtain the promises of God are those that are committed to the Lord more than the promises of the Lord. The promises of God are many and here are three avenues of God’s promise.
There are promises to His people and all creation that are laid out according to His word such as the daily grace of the air we breathe.
There are the promises of God staying true to His character such as God being loving, good, righteous, and faithful.
Then there are personal promises that God gives to you through prophetic words or personal revelations but with the personal promises, they will not contradict or go against the first two. To check these personal promises, we must therefore know the word so that we can know clearly whether they are from the Lord or not.
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?
According to verse six, our obedience to the law is our testimony to the people around us. What our obedience testifies are the following:
If we obey and actually live like God, it testifies to the people that there is a God because they see His goodness in and all around us. It is when we look like the rest of the world in terms of how we deal with life issues is that there will be a lack of a testimony of God’s presence. When we live counter to the culture and love in the way that God loves for instance, it shows that there is a God. Our obedience is a physical action that testifies to an invisible God.
9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children
Our greatest enemy in our journey to listen and obey is forgetfulness. We are called to remember the law of God personally and generationally in that we are to pass onto people, the laws of God so that the community of God has an ongoing history of God’s goodness that will serve to testify to people for every time period.
12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments,[b] and he wrote them on two tablets of stone.
The people heard the words and received the stone tablets of the ten commandments but saw no form of God. We may not be able to see God but we have His audible word, His written word, and faith that glues it all together. The word and faith enriches the experiences we have with God.
Listening and obeying God’s word is key to thriving
Those committed to the Lord will see the fruition of His promises
Listening and obeying God’s word is a physical testimony to an invisible God
We must remember the words of God for forgetfulness is one of our greatest hindrance to thriving with the Lord.
The word of God and our faith in Him through that are crucial to living in the promises of God.