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Deuteronomy 5-8

by Chuck Smith

Now to chapter 5.

AND Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the judgments, that you may learn them, and keep them, and do them (5:1).

So these three things; you’re to learn them, you’re to do them and to keep them.

The LORD made a covenant with you (5:2)

A conditional covenant. They’re keeping His law; they’re doing His commandments.

The LORD talked with you face to face. (and I stood between the LORD and you at the time, to show you the word of the LORD: for you were afraid;) And God said, I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before me (5:4-7).

And now again the Ten Commandments are reiterated for us here in Deuteronomy. As they were given in Exodus. This is a repetition of the Ten Commandments.

And he said, God wrote them in the two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And it came to pass, that when you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain burned with fire,) that you came unto me, all of the heads of the tribes. And you said, Behold, the LORD God has shown his glory, his greatness, we heard his voice: but no man can talk with God and still live. Therefore, why should we die? and this fire consume us (5:22-25);

And so they commanded Moses to go and listen to the voice of the Lord and come back and tell them, and whatever God said they promised that they would do.

Verse twenty-nine:

O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever (5:29)!

This is God’s cry; this is God’s lamentation. “Oh that the people would hear Me and obey Me that they might be able to enjoy My blessings forever.” I’m sure that God laments over us. “Oh, if you would only follow me completely so that I can do for you all that I’m wanting to do.” We so limit that which God wants to do because He loves you so much. He is wanting to do so much for you.

Jude says, “Keep yourself in the love of God” (Jude 1:21). What does he mean? He means keep yourself in that place where God can demonstrate His love for you. God loves you so much. He wants to demonstrate that love but you got to be in harmony with Him. “Oh, that you would obey his voice. Oh, that you would be in harmony with the plan and purposes of God”. “For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards him”(2 Chronicles 16:9). If your heart is really completely towards God, Oh, what he wants to do in your life. Things that God longs to do for you. And so God cries over the failure of the people, and thus, His inability to bless them the way He is desiring to bless them.


Chapter 6

So in chapter six:

NOW these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land whither you go to possess it: That you may fear the LORD thy God, and to keep all of his statutes and commandments, which I command you. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of your fathers has promised thee, in the land that flows with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel (6:1-4):

This is called the great Shema, the great commandment.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (6:4):

Or “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah”.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might (6:5).

Now when the lawyer came to Jesus and said, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus quoted this, the Shema.

The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy might (6:4-5).

It is interesting that Jesus quoted from the book of Deuteronomy more than, I think, any other book in the Old Testament. He was very familiar with this book of Deuteronomy. He used His passages when Satan was tempting Him and he quoted often from the book of Deuteronomy.

Now this Shema it is almost for the Jew his Magna Carta. I mean it’s just whenever they would get together they would start to chant this. In their worship and feast services they would chant this, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one LORD:”(6:4). And I mean they really just chant it over and over and over again.

But it is interesting, in the Hebrew, there is a word for “one” which means a compound unity and another word for “one” which is an absolute unity. Now, we might say that we are one body gathered together here in Christ but we would use the word for a compound unit because there’s a lot of bodies here, but we comprise a oneness in Jesus. So, there is one body in Christ that is made up of many parts, the compound unity. That Hebrew word for one, the compound unity, is “achad”. Now there is another Hebrew word for one which means an absolute one, indivisible one. That word is echad.

Now as we look at this Shema, the very heart of the whole Jewish faith and religious system, “The Lord our God is one LORD”. If the word one Lord, the word “one” there is echad, you can have absolutely no argument for the trinity at all. An absolute indivisible one and no place for the trinity. If the word echad is used for “one”, you have then a compound unity. Very interesting because you know that the word echad is used. “The Lord our God is one LORD” the compound unity. The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, one Lord, one God, yet the compound unity, the three persons of the one God. It’s right there in their very Shema, their chant, the foundation of their whole religious system is this verse, this Scripture. And yet within it there is the idea of the compound unity of God, “The Lord our God is one LORD”.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, soul, and might. Now, these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart [first of all]: [secondly] you shall teach them diligently to your children, now you’re to talk about them when you’re sitting in your houses, and when you’re walking along the path, and when you’re lying down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they might be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the posts of your house, and upon your gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land that he sware unto your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you the great and goodly cities, which you did not build the houses, but you’re full of good things, which you did not fill, and wells that you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant; when you have eaten and are full: Beware lest you forget the LORD, that brought you out of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, [or reverence Him] and serve him, and shall swear by his name (6:5-13).

Now, God wanted them to have His Word and the thought of God just permeating their very life and their lifestyles. I like it. I think that we need to have more talking about God. Now when you lie down at night, now usually they of course just had one room the whole family would lie down in one room, just talk about God. When the lights are out and it’s dark just start talking about God and the law of God and the commandments of the Lord. When you wake up in the morning, start talking about the Lord. When you’re walking with your children along the path, talk to them about God. When you’re sitting down at the table, let your conversation be about God. Let it be just so much a part, let it be not just a part, let it be the totality of your life; just the Word of God and the things of God.

Bind them on your wrist, put them in the frontlets and so they had little leather pouches and they’d the commandments in these pouches and they tie them on their foreheads; these little boxes with the law of God tied there between their eyes. They’d wrap them on their wrist, they’d have the little masseuse on the door and in the masseuse a little copy of the law on the doorposts; they would just tack it up there. And they do today in the orthodox homes. They’d go in and out of the house. They’d kiss their fingers and touch the little masseuse the law of God. It’s signifying the love for the law of God.

I think that’s great. I love it. Write them on your dashboards. You know, just surround yourself with the Word of God, the commandments and the statutes of the Lord. Let it become just that vital part of your life you’re living. You know, it’s an interesting thing in Malachi it says, “and they that love the Lord spake often of him. And God kept a book of remembrances”(Malachi 3:16).

You know the neat thing about it whenever you get together with your friends you start talking about the Lord, the Lord always eavesdrops. He loves to hear what you’re saying about Him. “And God keeps a book of remembrances and they shall be accounted as his precious jewels in those days. “They that love the Lord spake often of Him.” Oh, that we would just talk about Jesus. When we lie down at night, when we get up in the morning, when we’re walking in the path, when we’re going places and we just surround ourselves with the awareness and conscienceness of Him.

Now he warns them not to forget.

Not to go after the other gods, the gods of the people around about you: (For the LORD God [again a warning] is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him at Massah (6:14-16).

When Satan said, “Hey, command this stone to be made bread.” Oh no, he said, “Jump off the temple here.” And we’ll get to the place in a little while “man shall not live by bread alone,” that comes. But when he said, “Jump off the temple because it’s written he’ll give his angels charge over thee, keep thee in all thy ways, to bear thee up lest at any time you dash your foot up against a stone.” And Jesus said, “It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Jesus is quoting here Proverbs the sixth chapter. He knew it.

Thou shall not tempt the LORD thy God. But you shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he has command you do. And you shall do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it might be well with you, that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers. To cast out the enemies from before you. And when you son ask you in time to come, saying, What are the meaning of the testimonies, and these statutes, and these judgments, which the LORD God has commanded you? Then you shall say unto your son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt: and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the LORD showed us signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and all of his household, before our eyes: And he brought us out from there, that he might give us this land [and so forth] (6:16-23).

It’s interesting to me that God was always seeking to strike questions in the mind of a child in order that the child might learn. So many things that were deliberately designed to create curiosity and questions in the minds of the children. God has put that curiosity into the heart of a child; and as a parent, use it. Take time to explain to your children when they ask their questions. Don’t just brush them off and say, “I don’t have time.” Sit down and answer their questions. God has given them the questioning art in order that they might learn. Take advantage of it and teach them the ways of the Lord.


Chapter 7

Now in chapter seven,

When God brings you into the land and cast out these enemies that are bigger and stronger than you are; And he delivers them from before you; and smites them, and destroys them; you’re not to make any covenant with them, nor show any mercy unto them: Neither shall you make any marriages with them. For they will turn away your son from following me, that they may serve other gods: and so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and you be destroyed suddenly. But you shall deal with them; and destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves, burn their graven images in the fire. For thou art a holy [or a separated] people unto the LORD thy God: and the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD did set his love upon you, did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than the people; for you were the fewest of all: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house when you were bondmen, in the hand of the Pharaoh in Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenants and mercy with those that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations (7:1-9);

Now earlier, we skipped over the law the second time through because we’ve gone through it in Exodus but in the law he said for—actually brings judgment upon the third and fourth generations to those that hate Him. But now here he declares that he shows mercy to a thousand generations to those that follow Him. So, how important that we follow the covenants of the Lord.

Now in verse twelve.

Wherefore it shall come to pass, if you will hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD shall keep unto thee the covenant of mercy which he swore to your fathers: And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee (7:12-13):

So they are a special people. They are need to—they need to be aware of the special privileges even as you, today, are a special people unto God; separate, holy, chosen. And God didn’t choose you because you’re so good-looking or because you were so loveable, but here is the sovereign grace of God in choosing. He chose you because He chose you, because He wanted to choose you and He has a right to choose whomever He wants. Oh, how I thank God for choosing me. What a thrill, what a blessing that God has chosen me.

Now some people get upset for the fact that God chooses but you really shouldn’t. God has every right to choose who He wants to associate with even as you have the right to choose who you want to associate with. Why should I deny God the rights that I want for myself? There are some people I don’t choose to associate with at all. Not that I’m snobbish or anything else but their lifestyles are so diverse from mine; there’s nothing that we could share in common. I really choose not to have any fellowship, close fellowship, with people who smoke cigars. I can’t stand the smell. Now I have that right to choose not to get in a car and be polluted. And God has a right to choose who he wants to associate with. That doesn’t bother me at all. It thrills me to think that He chose me, that He chose to associate with me. That is what really excites me. You say, “But that isn’t fair if God chooses not to associate with some people”.

I don’t know if it’s fair or not but that’s the right that God has and He has exercised that right. And who are you to challenge the fairness of God? You say but, “He may not have chosen me”. “Oh, how do you know?” “Well, I’m not a Christian.” “Well, why aren’t you a Christian?” “I don’t know. I’ve never seen a need to be one.” “Well, do you want to be a Christian?” “No.” “Then maybe He didn’t choose you. But don’t blame Him. You haven’t chosen Him either, have you?”

Now, let me assure you this. He has never rejected anyone either but He certainly leaves the choice up to you. And He says, “Choose you this day whom you will serve”(Joshua 24:15) and he said, “Whosoever comes unto me I will no wise cast out”(John 6:37). So if you don’t know if He’s chosen you or not, just accept Jesus Christ and you’ll find He did. And then you won’t argue with it anymore because He chose you, and after all why should you argue with that? You say, “But I don’t want to accept him”. Well then, that’s your problem. He probably didn’t choose you, and you’re in bad shape.

But here God elected by His own sovereign will to choose these people not because they were so great, not because they were so faithful or anything else, just He exercised His power of choice. His love for their fathers, the faithfulness of Abraham, that He made the promise to Abraham that through him, through his seed would the Messiah come. “All the nations of the earth be blessed”(Genesis 18:18). And so they are actually reaping the benefits of the faith of their father Abraham.

Now the warning again to keep the commandments,

do them and so God will keep you and he will love you and bless you and multiply you: he’ll bless the fruit of your womb, the fruit of the land, your corn, your wine, your oil, the increase of your cows and the flocks and your sheep, the land which he sware to give to your fathers. And you’ll be blessed of all the people: and there shall not be a male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee (7:12-15).

Now, again this is the covenant that God is making. It’s a conditional covenant; if you will obey, if you will do, if you will keep. Now it is interesting as you go back into the commandments of the Lord, much of what you read in Exodus and Leviticus is health codes. God tells them the kind of food they ought to eat. No junk food. Now it isn’t really right for you to just put all kinds of junk into your body and then ask God to keep you strong and healthy.

And so God gave to them laws that dealt with their diet, laws that dealt with sanitation and then he says, “Now, if you will keep these laws, if you will do them, obey them, then none of the diseases that came upon the Egyptians will come upon you”. Why? Because you’re following the good health practices that God has laid out. I think that it is wrong to deliberately dissipate our bodies and then ask God to keep us in good health. I think that he has given us good sense to use these promises and none of these diseases were conditional promises upon their doing and keeping, obeying, the commandment and the law of God.

Thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD shall deliver to you; you’re not to have pity upon them: neither shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare to you. If you shall say in your heart, The nations are more than we are; how can we dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but remember the LORD thy God did to Pharaoh, and all of Egypt; Moreover God will send the hornets in front of you to drive out the inhabitants. He’ll not destroy them all at once, lest the wild beasts increase upon the field [and all] (7:16-18,20, 22).

But little by little, He’ll conquer the land.

The LORD will deliver to you, and destroy them with a mighty destruction [and so forth] (7:23)

Moses continues with the warnings. Now these are important because if they fail at this point to enter in, then who knows what would have happened. It’s so important that they not become frightened and that they not lose faith and hesitate again. It’s important that they go in and conquer the land. So Moses is doing all that he can to build him and bolster their faith and their confidence in God.


Chapter 8

And all the commandments which I command thee this day you shall observe to do, that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land. And thou shalt remember all the way the LORD thy God led thee for these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not (8:1-2).

Now, who was the proving for? “All the way through these forty years of wilderness God led thee to humble thee and to prove thee, to see whether or not you keep the commandments.” Not to prove to God; He knew from the beginning, but to prove to themselves. Now many times God puts us through tests not to prove to Him anything about us; He already knows about us, but it is to prove to us. Sometimes we think that we are stronger than we really are. God puts us through a test to show us how weak we are and how we’ve got to depend upon Him. We can’t depend or rely upon ourselves; we’ve got to rely upon the Lord.

And God will oftentimes just put us through tests to prove us, to show to us our areas of weakness that we would not have confidence in our flesh but that our confidence would be in the living God. So God’s purpose was to humble them and to prove to them whether or not they would keep the commandments through the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.

And he humbled thee, and allowed thee to hunger, and he fed thee with manna, that he might know…that ye might know or make you to know; that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds (8:3).

Oh, another one that Jesus quoted to Satan, as Satan said, “Command the stone to be made bread”. And Jesus quoted this particular verse out of Deuteronomy, “It is written, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

And thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did your feet swell, for forty years (8:4).

Can you imagine that, wearing the same clothes for forty years and your feet not swelling in all of that walking in the wilderness? Boy, that’s a miracle. Through the forty years your clothes didn’t get old and your feet didn’t swell.

Thou shalt also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee (8:5).

Now there are some people today who are despising the chastening of the Lord. They’re teaching that you don’t need to be chastened of God, that all you have to do is lay claim, make your positive confessions that God doesn’t chasten. Well, there are certain ones that God doesn’t chasten, according to the Scriptures. You read it for yourself because some of you know. I’m on the radio.

For the LORD thy God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of the valleys and the hills; A land of wheat, and barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranate; a land of olive oil, a land of honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat the bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. And when thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he has given thee (8:6-10).

You’re to have a thanksgiving. Now the warning though,

Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandment, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command you this day: Lest when you have eaten and art full, and have built good houses, and you’re living in them; And when your herds and your flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied. Then in your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage (8:11-14);

And so the warning that your peril, the national peril will come not during the conquest, not during the development but in the times of national prosperity, there are the real dangerous periods of the history. When you become strong, when you are possessing the land, when you have eaten and are full, when you have an abundance, when you have a healthy bank account, then you are in great danger, the danger of forgetting God. I’m no longer trusting in God. You no longer have to trust in God, you think, because now you’ve got a bank account, you think. Who knows? You know they could—you could go to the bank tomorrow and they could be locked. What would you do?

We’re not to trust in riches but to trust in the Lord. By the time of prosperity is the time of danger because the danger is that we may forget God and we then are prone to attribute our success to something other than God. Well, it’s because I was so diligent, it was because I was so faithful, it’s because I was so good. And we’re prone to see the cause for the blessings to be something other than the true cause is because God is gracious and merciful and God is given us the power and God is brought us into this place. And we forget that it was God who did it for us and we begin to think that we did it for ourselves or it was something of us. We begin to give glory to something other than God for His wonderful goodness for us.

So beware, lest in the time of prosperity you forget God and begin to attribute the success of the nation to something other than God. And thus, you begin the evil practice of worshipping other gods; the gods of silver and gold, the materialistic gods of the world today.

For it shall be, that if you forget the Lord your God, and you walk after other gods and serve them, and worship them, [God said] I testify against you this day that you will surely perish (8:19).

God said, “I testify against you, you’re going to perish.”

And the nations which the LORD destroyed before your face, as they perish, so shall ye perish; because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God (8:20).

So the solemn warnings as Moses, as a hundred and twenty-year old man is talking to the people who are about to go in now and conquer the land. “I’m leaving you fellows. My time is limited.” He knew that the time had come. And his time is up, he can’t cross Jordan; God has told him that. So he’s giving them this final charge, final warnings, final instructions before he lays down his mantel and Joshua takes up and leads the people across Jordan in the conquering of the land that God had promised.

So Deuteronomy becomes an important book in the history of the people. All of the warnings are here. As I said, “You can never say that God didn’t warn you”. God is faithful. We, a lot of times, ignore the warnings but God is faithful to warn us and you have never fallen into any trap of what God warned you the trap was there. You’ve never stumbled except God warned you the stumbling stone was there. God is faithful to warn us. He warned them, he laid it out even as he warns us.

So, next week we’ll continue chapter nine through sixteen of the book of Deuteronomy. Shall we stand.

Great is thy faithfulness, Oh God my Father. Faithful to His word, faithful to His people, faithful to His prophets and if you will walk in His path of righteousness, you will know the blessings of the Lord. For they will surround thee and encompass thee like the air that you breathe. Oh, that men would walk with God and follow after him and commit their lives fully, totally, to obey His will; to be pleasing unto Him. May that be our commitment this week.

Oh God, that my life might be pleasing unto Thee in all that I do and all that I say. “Let the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight Oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer” (Psalms 19:14). When I lie down and when I get up and when I sit and when I am writing or wherever, may there be that conscienceness of God and the talking of God and of His ways and of His goodness and of His righteousness, that we might live in the continual presence, conscienceness of the presence of God, and thus, be pleasing unto Him. God be with you, bless and keep you in His loving grace through Jesus Christ.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.