Deuteronomy 4 – Know, Obey, and Fear the Lord

Some thoughts for meditation following our daily devotional Scripture reading that is provided each week.

Having established Israel’s recent history, Moses transitions to God’s laws which were essential to his covenant with Israel.

Israel must listen to Moses’s teaching of the Law, for obedience is necessary for living in the land. Obedience brings life, disobedience brings death (1–4). Obedience was essential for wisdom and understanding; merely having and knowing the Law was insufficient, but walking in wisdom would make them like no other nation (5–6).

Indeed, what set Israel apart from every other nation was their God, who appeared and spoke to them, whom they could speak to in prayer and be heard, and who gave them good and righteous statutes so they would fear him (7–14).

Consequently, Moses warned Israel of the great danger of worshiping according to their feelings and own ideas, for that would result in idolatry and corruption (15–24). Moses foretold that the time would eventually come when Israel would corrupt their way and God would destroy and disperse them. Yet because God is merciful and faithful, he would deliver them when they called for help (25–31).

Moses concluded his message by pointing Israel to the fact that there is no God like the Lord who created mankind, spoke from the fire, and redeemed a nation by great miracles. Israel saw this so they would know the Lord. God let them hear his voice. God loved the patriarchs and chose to bless them and their descendants. Therefore, Israel must know there is no other God, and determine to obey him all their days (32–40).

While on the east side of the Jordan Moses appointed three cities of refuge, one in each of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh (41–43).


  1. God’s Word must continually be taught to know and obey it. No one innately knows God’s truth.
  2. Obedience is essential to wisdom. Merely knowing facts is insufficient. A great many fools are very smart.
  3. The majority of humanity are spiritually ignorant, corrupt, and idolatrous. The only reason some are not is because God loved them despite their sinfulness and enabled them to know and love him. The knowledge of the Lord separates God’s people from the world
  4. God cannot be known or feared apart from his revealed Word.
  5. God’s election is based solely on his distinguishing love. Faith and obedience are the evidence and results of God’s love.
  6. Worship that is driven and controlled by human feelings is anti-God and idolatrous.
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