Hearken…TO DO Them – part 1
Posted on May 3, 2017
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Hearken… TO DO Them – part 1
Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.”
God in this passage demands our diligent attention to His Word and our diligence in doing His Word in our life. God wants us to be attentive to the reading, preaching, and teaching of His Word whenever it occurs. God is reminding us of His authority over us and our obligation as His children, if we are saved, to be living out and doing the Word of God with our life.
INTRODUCTION: “Hearken….to do them” – Moses having laid before the Israelites the law and teachings of the Lord for their nation, calls upon the whole assembly, in the most earnest and serious manner, to consider what influence these teachings and laws ought to have upon their conduct and practice. He tells them here, that doing the Word of God should render them punctually obedient to the laws of God, and very cautious and wary of offending Him, either by the addition to His Word by works, ceremonies, superstitious rites or the flat-out altering of His Word. Moses is teaching here that the absolute condition of their peaceful and happy enjoyment of their life lies in how they respond to, and live out the Word of God with their life. In our text, Moses emphasizes the importance of doing the law of the Lord that had already been poorly kept by this new generation.
WHY DO THEM? – “That ye may live” (4:1) – Jesus’ words serve as an appropriate consideration about doing the Word of God in our life. John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” True love for our Lord listens to the grave warning given by Moses: to be careful! We must watch our souls with all diligence our entire lives. It is not a blind obedience. Moses is about to teach them. So why do them?
- Because – Understanding is necessary if obedience is to be rendered. God’s authority is given in the context of education with a view to application, as God’s servant, Moses, will teach so that they may do. Just hearing the law is not sufficient. Hearing must be in order to do or live out our knowledge in actual practice in our life.
- Because – Though culture may tell us to talk, dress, and conduct ourselves one way, hearts that truly love the Lord seek to influence the culture with His ways. We must not allow culture to overcome God’s Word in our hearts as it did with Israel! If we will take care to remember the fear of the Lord our entire lives, we will be further reminded of the importance of not growing slack.
- Because – The Word of the Lord is not a burdensome thing to keep. His ways are full of life. When His statutes teach us His wisdom, it provides the opportunity for others to see and hear of the Lord’s wisdom. How merciful is our Lord to always grant forgiveness to those who are repentant. May we learn a greater passion for doing the statutes of our Lord. (Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;)
WE ARE COMMANDED NOT TO ALTER THE WORD OF GOD. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it…” (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.) – Why are we commanded not to change the Word of God?
- Because – We need the pure and complete Word of God so we know how to live and worship God the right way.
- Because – We can see what happens to those in the past that have not “hearken…. to do” the will and Word of God. (4:3)
- Because – The Law of God is the ultimate Authority – and it is the ultimate source of our freedom. With law there is also to be order. The two go together. The structured authority entailed in the legal codes in our society is what attempts to gives us harmony and peace. There is a connection we often overlook between authority and freedom. It is the authority of the law of the land which prescribes and protects our freedom. For there to be freedom, there must be authority. The same holds true in our spiritual life, for there to be freedom from the bondage of sin there must be an authority acknowledged in our life and there must be laws and teachings (the Bible) that we live our life by.
- Because – Our life depends on us obeying and doing the will of God with our life. In verse 3 Moses uses the incident at Baal Peor (Numbers 25:1-9) to illustrate from the Israelites own history that their very lives depended on obeying and doing the Word of God. Only those who hold fast the Word of God with their life will live the blessed filled life God has planned for them. (II Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.)
WE NEED TO CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD (4:4 – But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.) – Those that rejected God’s authority were denied the freedom of the land. They died as slaves to their own unbelief. But despite their unbelief, God was still going to be faithful to His promise.
- Central to our understanding of freedom, to living the lives God desires of us, to enjoying all the benefits of life, it is crucial that we hear, follow, and do the decrees and laws of God. God has not left us in the dark to determine how we are to live. We are not bound to an eternity of determining what is right and wrong. We are free from the pursuit of seeking God, for He has sought us and told us who He is and what He desires of us. His authority revealed in His law is our freedom.
- How do you cleave unto the Lord? – By loving His Word, by doing His Word. The Word of God is our life as Christians, and obeying God’s Word keeps us in fellowship with Him. God’s people need to be careful about not becoming too friendly with the world; this can lead to loving the world, letting ourselves be molded by the standards and wickedness of the world. This kind of lifestyle lived out by a Christian invites the chastening of the Lord into their life. (Hebrews 10:30-31 – For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.)
- We need to be cleavers to the Word of God and not leavers of the Word of God and its teachings.
WE NEED TO LIVE OUT THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE ABOUT GOD IN OUR LIFE AND DO IT. (4:5-6 – Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.) Why do we need to do this?
- Because – we have been taught it and commanded to do so by God.
- Because – it will help lead you to wisdom and understanding. (4:6a)
- Because – living out and doing the Word of God will give you a good reputation to those around you.(4:6b)
- Because – Time is short. There is an important reminder in these verses for us, with regard to the authority of God’s Law, with respect to those who have heard and are following God’s commands and those who are not.
- Because – Of the twofold benefit that happens when we are obedient to God. Our obedience shows wisdom and understanding. When others see that, they see the character of God. Wisdom is found in conformity to God’s authority. We get the benefit of being seen to possess wisdom and understanding, and God gets the benefit of a good Christian testimony on display for others to see and for God to use as a tool to help bring others to Him.
CONCLUSION: Deuteronomy 4:14 “And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.” We need to always be doing the will of God. We need to learn His Word, learn His teachings, learn His principles, and we need to keep all that we have learned and to do what we know.
Moses’ encouragement to Israel is to make sure they listen closely to the statutes and rules he commands them. They must remember to obey with exactness. This should not be confused with perfect law keeping. The entire reason the Mosaic sacrificial system was in place was to cover the sins of the people. Moses’ specific concern is seen in verse two. He does not want them to add to or take from the command of the Lord. Why is it so important that they keep the entire law in this way? Notice verse one. It is so they can continue to have life and take possession of the promised land. We too can take possession of the promised land God has planned for us. We, as the Lord instructed the Israelites to do, must do the Word of God in our life. We must live it out, keep it, know it and share it with others. Then by doing so we will open up our lives to see the promised life God has planned for His obedient children.