Keep them (God’s commands) 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.’ 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? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules as righteous as all this law that I set before you today? “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— Deut. 4:6-9
Three things stand out in this text –
1. The evangelistic nature of obedience to God’s Word.
2. God’s people serve a personal God who is near to them.
3. What an astounding picture of righteousness when God’s people are properly related to their God.
There is one warning in this text: Keep your heart diligently so you do not forget all these things God has done for you lest they (God’s commands) depart from you.
The very nature of evangelism rests on obedience to God’s Word. God’s Word is our wisdom and understanding. Keeping God’s commands are closely associated with God’s presence and power. The key is not just knowing about these commands or even memorizing them. The goal is to “keep and do them”. Their obedience in the sight of the peoples would have its own impact. This is not the full measure of their impact on the peoples around them but it was a good solid first impression. These other people groups would see their behavior and know the way they treated others indicated something about the God they served. The rest of the world should be able to observe the righteousness of God’s people and at least be aware that God is real (near to them), that He responds to their prayers (when God’s people call), and that He makes a genuine difference in their lives.
God’s people serve a personal God who is near them. Clearly this is a powerful impression in anyone’s books. When God’s people frame the way they lived with God’s Word, they will be unique. When God’s people firmly anchor their beliefs, priorities, and values in God’s Word, it makes a difference in the way they live.
Herein lies the secret to relationship with God. God’s people were to live life, make choices, and shape their values and priorities in life according to God’s Word. This simple obedience reveals God’s righteousness and demonstrates they serve a living God. We often complicate our relationship with God and overthink all that we think should happen. In some ways it is not much different that your relationship with your spouse or your kids or a friend. When we care about others we don’t usually need a complete check list of all that we should do. Granted, we live in a very frenetic world so at times we need to be very intentional not to forget our spouse or friends in the chaos of “us” being busy doing life. The key to our relationship with God should sound familiar – “take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen.” We need to do best practices with heart-care for God and His work in our life. The moment we devalue or neglect this reality, we are susceptible to anything that will catch our heart.
Heart or soul care does not happen by itself. The encouragement is, “take care” – watch over your own soul and heart, give attention to the nature of your own heart-response to God. Cultivate a value for who God is and what you have seen him do. If we stop appreciating and valuing all that God has done for us, we are bound to forget as we chase the distractions of this world. How does one recognize they are having trouble with the spiritual health of their own soul? The warning indicates that the problem is forgetting… we forget about what we have seen God do; we forget the closeness that God desires with us; we forget His Word is our wisdom and righteousness; we forget our lostness without him.
Pastor Brad Little