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Deuteronomy 4:1-49

Moses was a Sheppard, it must have been hard for him to watch but not be permitted to accompany his flock as they finally cross over into the Promise Land. Imagine the responsibility of managing such a huge number of people, a people that are so prone to wander off in different directions. Got me to thinking about the way God sometimes uses Sheppard’s as leaders. The theme of Deuteronomy is love and obedience, the same agenda the good Sheppard has for his flock. The good Sheppard wants to take us out of the bondage of our own territory and lead us into the green pastures of the Promise Land.

The good Sheppard is willing to lay his life down for his sheep; he leads the sheep with love but at times the Sheppard must be harsh on the sheep when they wander. The Sheppard does not enjoy being harsh, he is only harsh because he knows the great danger facing the sheep that wander, realizing those that stray could permanently be separated from the flock forever.

Moses as a good Sheppard pleads with his flock to hearken to the word of the Lord by giving them reason after reason to obey God so that it will go well with them. Deuteronomy expresses the magnitude of God, His love for us and His awesome power as a God of consuming fire and a God of love.

In the words of my Pastor, “Yes, He's a consuming fire and those enemies of God shall be destroyed by that consuming fire. Consuming is just a qualifying word and that is a word that qualifies really the enemies of God; that which the fire will do to enemies of God. But that same fire transmits us into permanency because from us it consumes the dross and the impurities of our life. It's the refining fire of God burning within our hearts, consuming dross transmitting into permanency”.

March 25th

Idolatry Forbidden
Deuteronomy 4: 15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

This passage once more prohibits graven images from being made and especially worshiped. Unfortunately, archaeological digs all around Israel have found idols in the dwellings of ancient Israelites. They certainly broke this prohibition and many practiced syncretism. Today, some Christian churches have statues and other “graven” images in them. I wonder if God is displeased with that? Are icons OK, too? They aren’t graven, but do receive veneration and are images. Questions like these have caused schisms in the church before. The Iconoclast controversy being one of the greatest.

Even crosses have been banned from churches in some organizations that take passages like Deuteronomy 4 very seriously.

Astrology is also a form of worship, IMHO. It gives power to the Sun and planets and even stars that they do not have – the fate of human destiny, etc.

We don’t even have one description of what Jesus looked like, except Scripture says in Isaiah:

Isaiah 53:2–3

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (ESV)

God made fun of idols in the book of Isaiah, too:
Isaiah 40:18–20

To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move. (ESV)

Our passage from Deuteronomy 4 makes it clear that God is a spirit being and has no physical form… the only “form” God has taken is theophanies and the incarnation of the Son:

Philippians 2:5–8

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in 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. (ESV)

Perhaps I focus on this too much… or not enough. Is God concerned with things like this today? I would say his Word is eternal, so he must have some concern…

Maranatha! IC -|- XC

Prayer for Today:
Lord, thank you for your Word- it brings light and life! Bless the work of Voice of the Martyrs in carrying Bibles high into Nepal’s mountains. May your Word speak powerfully to those who receive these precious Bibles, causing many to place their trust in you. Amen.

I like to praise the Lord in my car. With music, animals, the wild follow me some days but I trust in You

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