Bible commentaries – January 26, 2020
Explore the Bible
Deuteronomy 4:1-9 is a call to obedience. Moses told Israel to “listen” (Deut. 4:1). The word “listen” in the Hebrew literally means to “listen to obey.” Moses’ exposition is coupled with God’s laws and commands. The stipulations that Moses puts forth were necessary for the Israelites to guard their lives and to guarantee successful possession of the promised land (Deut. 4:1-2).
Failure to follow the Lord’s command would have resulted in death. They were not to add to His words nor subtract from them (Deut. 4:2). Moses reminds the Israelites of what happened at Baal-peor to those who stopped following the one true God and followed Baal (Deut. 4:3). God destroyed them all. Moses also reminds them that the fact that they were still alive meant they followed God (Deut. 4:4).
The Israelites were to be a witness and example of faithfulness to God to the people of the land (Deut. 4:5-6). Moses said the result of their faithfulness would be that the inhabitants of the land would conclude, “This great nation is indeed a wise and understanding people.” Moses then points to the distinctive characteristics of Israel and God. God is always near when His people call upon Him (Deut. 4:7). No other nation had righteous statutes and ordinances to guide its people in their lives and worship (Deut. 4:8).
The Israelites were to be on their guard and not forget the things they had seen God do, or let the things they knew slip from their minds (Deut. 4:9). They were to teach God’s statutes and ordinances to their children and grandchildren (Deut. 4:9).
Religious education consisted of remembering the experiences with God in the past and teaching children to remember these truths. Failure to remember God’s blessings or to teach the children would have meant spiritual disaster for Israel. This could also lead to spiritual disaster for the church today.
Too often we use the “dip and skip” method of Christian living. We dip into God’s promises and skip His commands. Obedience gives guidance for living and brings honor to God.
Bible Studies for Life
Why am I suffering?
Job 11:13-16; 23:8-12; John 9:1-3
My friend’s coworker had wronged him but he was sure karma would ensure she got what she deserved. Karma is the concept of cause and effect practiced by some eastern religions. My friend felt he had suffered because of his coworker’s actions. I asked what he did to deserve this treatment. He said he hadn’t done anything. This was my point. Sometimes our suffering is not because of anything we have done or not done.
The Bible does make a connection between sin and suffering. The Bible also makes it clear that not all suffering is the result of personal sin. Suffering is a part of living in a fallen world.
Zophar is totally convinced that Job is suffering because of some secret sin. He doesn’t know what it is, but Job needs to repent, pray and reform his ways (Job 11:13-14). Once he has taken these spiritual steps, life would be wonderful (Job 11:15-20). This sounds a bit like “prosperity theology.” Zophar’s theology promotes a “righteousness for reward” system. A mature faith is more about a growing relationship with God.
Job says if he could see God and find Him, he would plead his case (Job 23:3-4). His defense rests on that he has faithfully followed God and kept His commands (Job 23:11-12). Job sees his suffering as a test from God, “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold” (Job 23:10).
Jesus’ disciples asked about a man born blind. They wanted to know if he or his parents’ sin caused his blindness (John 9:1-2). The disciples’ question reflected the ancient idea, as far back as to Job’s day, that suffering could be traced to a particular sin. Jesus doesn’t give an explanation but only says his blindness would be for God’s glory (John 9:3).
Sometimes we cause our own suffering and sometimes we suffer at the hands of others. A question we should ask in all situations is, “Lord, how can I give You glory in this situation?”
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