SanLo Community, an update for the week of September 15, 2019…
Careful Attention – Deuteronomy 4:1-10 – Pastor Eric
What do you pay careful attention to? We all pay careful attention to many things in life and in this world, but do we give God the same careful attention? Do we have the same obsession with the one person in the world that truly matters, Jesus Christ? Do we spend our waking moments to think and to ponder about God?
The central truth of this passage: God pays careful attention to us, which leads us to carefully follow Him. God’s loving obedience leads us to lovingly obey Him.
1. Covenant obedience never cuts corners on the Word of God. A committed love for God doesn’t add to the Word of God nor take away from it. When we love Jesus, we don’t want to misuse, change, or alter what the Word of God says. Rather we want to know exactly what God has said whether it is easy or not. (Deut. 4:1-2)
Moses reminds Israel of God’s ultimate covenant blessing. The promise that God has given to them in the Abrahamic Covenant. God’s blessing will come with an adherence to the Word. Moses challenges them to keep the Word. In Hebrew, “keep,” is translated to, “pay careful attention to.” This word appears sixty-five times in Deuteronomy so that they might never cut corners.
This is critical because if you cut corners on the gospel, then it can lead you to heresy. If you cut corners on theology, then it can lead to false doctrine. If you cut corners on morality, specifically what the Scriptures say about relationships, then it can lead to further broken relationships, marriages, and families. But the most tragic thing is, if you cut corners on God, then you will miss out on the blessings and joys that God wants to give you to both now and for eternity. Therefore, let us be vigilant and persistent to follow the Word of God, so we can follow our good and glorious God.
2. Covenant obedience walks in God’s abiding love. We are to obey God, because He loved us first. We want to obey God not because we have to, but because we get to. The gospel of grace compels us toward obedience. (Deut. 4:3-4)
Moses reminds Israel of what happened at Baal-peor. Moses reflects back when Israel did cut corners on God. At this time, they were at the final stop just before they entering the promised land, and the people began to prostitute the daughters of Moab to commit idolatry and immorality. The consequence of their sin was death, and the same consequences stand today for our sin as Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans speaks of an eternal death in Hell, a complete separation from God and His eternal blessing.
Yet, there is hope and salvation in this passage. In verse 4, “But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today.” It was the faith of God’s people that saved them. They believed in God, and they walked with God in His unending and abiding love for them. This is the good news of the gospel and as we look at the entire span of Scripture. We are fortunate that we to know more than Moses ever did, more than Israel ever did, because we have the New Testament. We know that Christ died for us, and He took our punishment upon Himself for us.
Philippians 2:6-8 says….”Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Christ was willing to take on God’s wrath and judgment due for you and me in order to save us from our sin, in order to show us what true love and obedience looks like. Therefore, we walk in loving obedience because God was obedient to die for us.
This is foundational, because our obedience is not to somehow appease God. We don’t have to earn our way toward God. This is religion, and Christianity is a love relationship with God. We are forgiven, so we go and sin no more. Our obedience then is not a list of I have-toos but a list of I get-toos. This is gospel obedience - a careful attention to God’s obedience leads us to obey Him.
3. Covenant obedience influences others toward God.
A. A missional influence causes people to wonder about God. As we obey God, our obedience ought to make people question who is this God we talk about is and who is this God we follow. (Deut. 6:5-8)
Moses reminds Israel of its purpose to influence other nations. They will cause other nations to think and to say, “Surely this great nation is wise and understanding people.” Their obedience will be a testimony and witness to God and His redemptive plan.
Applying this to ourselves, would people say the same thing about us? Would they know who is the God you love and obey? Would they even know that we were a Christian? Do their heads turn when they see you at work, in the community, or at school? Let us be faithful to reflect the gospel and Christ toward others.
B. A familial influence causes children to love God. When we build healthy families and healthy marriages, then our children are given a wonderful example of Christ. The family and the church family reflect the gospel of Christ to the next generation. (Deut. 6:9-10)
Moses challenges Israel to pay careful attention to Israel’s soul and now to their family. Make it known to your children and children’s children to remind them what God has done. Israel was never to forget God’s redemptive and saving work. Moses exhorts the people to recall a very significant moment in the life of Israel at Horeb, when God gave them the Ten Commandments. This was a cardinal point of faith for Israel as they received the Ten Commandments. God challenges Israel and us to teach our children the Word and His ways.
So, what do you love? What do you pay careful attention to? What do you share with your children and those around you?
Because what you love and pay careful attention to, you will ultimately obey and love. And what you love, you will influence others around you with. You can make a difference by your faithful and steadfast obedience as Christ has done the same for you.
Praise Songs: Praise To The Lord; ‘Tis So Sweet; Speak O Lord; His Mercy is More; Doxology