“So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:23-24
The Lord had done so much for the children of Israel. He had answered their prayers by delivering them from the land of Egypt, which meant freedom from bondage and slavery and from the harsh and cruel leadership of Pharaoh and the Egyptian leaders. Because of the Lord’s great love for them, He established a covenant with the children of Israel and He provided the Israelites with leadership that was completely opposite of what they were accustomed to in the land of Egypt. The Israelites were abundantly provided for and protected as they journeyed through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Before entering into the Promised Land, the Lord graciously commanded Moses to instruct them as to how they were to live in the land.
Moses, nearing the end of his days, cautioned the Israelites to remember what they had seen and to keep it near to their hearts all the days of their lives and to share what they had seen with their children and grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:10). They were to watch themselves carefully especially since they had not seen a visual form of the Lord as He spoke to them at Horeb (Deuteronomy 4:15-20). The warning was specific and intentional, as Moses knew and remembered Israel’s tendency to form graven images, figures, and likenesses of things that they could “see” so that they could worship and serve the visual images. This sin, which was their weakness, would provoke the Lord to anger because the Lord loved them, was protective of them, and deserved their complete loyalty. Their tendency towards idolatry was corrupt and could lead to their destruction. Moses wanted them to know and to remember that the Lord indeed was loving, but He also was a consuming fire, that when provoked to wrath, would bring forth judgment as they had previously seen (Leviticus 10:2; Numbers 16:35).
Moses’ warnings to the Israelites to: remember what they had seen, to keep it close to their heart, to share what they had seen and had known to be true, and to watch themselves carefully, were the Lord’s loving, kind, and gracious words of guidance so that the Israelites would not stray and experience His wrath. As you read this passage, remember that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our weaknesses and what we are drawn to that will lead us further away from Him and closer to corruption. We, like the Israelites, are drawn to what we see. Some of the Lord’s promises to us may not be readily visible or even visible in this life; however, we should not fix our eyes on what is seen, but on what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18). We know that God cannot and does not lie. We also know of the promised future to come. As Moses forewarned the Israelites, you too must remember what the Lord has done, keep it close to your heart, share it with others, and watch yourself carefully so that you are not led astray.
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