Peter Firth continued our series in Deuteronomy by reminding us that ‘Our main business in being here is to KNOW GOD.’ (J.I. Packer)
Deuteronomy chapter 4 has important things to teach us about knowing God and has been described as ‘one of the greatest revelations of God that we have in the Old Testament’.
We are reminded that the Israelites had failed to take possession of the Promised Land because they had been afraid of hostile nations and hadn’t kept the Lord’s commands, Moses wanted the next generation to make the most of the opportunity they were being offered if they obeyed God. In chapter 4 verses 1-40, which is described as the climax of Moses’ first address, he moves from contemplating the past to exhortation for the future. The whole section is framed with a call to obedience. Moses calls them to obey and issues a series of conditional promises at both beginning and end of this section.
Moses doesn’t just issue commands but also gives further instructions about their God – who their God is, what He is like and what He has accomplished – so that this time they will make a right response in obedience and God will be glorified. Dr R. Brown describes their failure to enter the Promised Land as being ‘due to a defective vision of God’. Their defective vision led to their disobedience with disastrous consequences. Moses repeatedly taught about their God so that they would know Him.
Peter took us back to the beginning of chapter 4 to remind us of how the Lord gave the Israelites both land, to provide for their physical needs, and the law, which was different and superior to the surrounding nations, so they would know prosperity and justice. If they obeyed God’s law the nations around would see their wisdom and understanding, reflecting the God they followed and pointing them to Him.
In conclusion Peter looked briefly at the text of Deuteronomy 4:32-40 as Moses reminded the Israelites of what God had done for them in the past – speaking to them directly, performing great and awesome deeds and delivering them out of Egypt.
By showing them a bigger vision of God, he wanted them to know their unique God as Provider and mighty Saviour, to acknowledge who God is and obey Him so they wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the previous generation but inherit the Promised Land and live long in the land and with their God.
Peter ended the sermon by asking us: How important is it to know God? We need fresh visions of God to keep us moving forward and God will only reveal himself to us if we are obedient to His commands, studying God’s word, engaging in fellowship and serving Him. As Moses encouraged the Israelites to pass on to the next generation, so we have a responsibility to do the same.
Reflect this week on these issues:
- How you will know God better;
- How as you grow in knowing God you will pass it on to the next generation (in and out of the Windsor family).