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Monday, October 20th, 2014

Deuteronomy 4-6

Chapter 4

Now, Israel, pay attention to the statutes and ordinances I am about to teach you, so that you might live and go on to enter and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add a thing to what I command you nor subtract from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I am delivering to you. 3 You have witnessed what the Lord did at Baal Peor, how he eradicated from your midst everyone who followed Baal Peor. 4 But you who remained faithful to the Lord your God are still alive to this very day, every one of you. 5 Look! I have taught you statutes and ordinances just as the Lord my God told me to do, so that you might carry them out in the land you are about to enter and possess. 6 So be sure to do them, because this will testify of your wise understanding to the people who will learn of all these statutes and say, “Indeed, this great nation is a very wise people.” 7 In fact, what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him? 8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this whole law that I am about to share with you today?

9 Again, however, pay very careful attention, lest you forget the things you have seen and disregard them for the rest of your life; instead teach them to your children and grandchildren. 10 You stood before the Lord your God at Horeb and he said to me, “Assemble the people before me so that I can tell them my commands. Then they will learn to revere me all the days they live in the land, and they will instruct their children.” 11 You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, a mountain ablaze to the sky above it and yet dark with a thick cloud. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you from the middle of the fire; you heard speech but you could not see anything – only a voice was heard. 13 And he revealed to you the covenant he has commanded you to keep, the ten commandments, writing them on two stone tablets. 14 Moreover, at that same time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to keep in the land which you are about to enter and possess.

15 Be very careful, then, because you saw no form at the time the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the middle of the fire. 16 I say this so you will not corrupt yourselves by making an image in the form of any kind of figure. This includes the likeness of a human male or female, 17 any kind of land animal, any bird that flies in the sky, 18 anything that crawls on the ground, or any fish in the deep waters of the earth. 19 When you look up to the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars – the whole heavenly creation – you must not be seduced to worship and serve them, for the Lord your God has assigned them to all the people of the world. 20 You, however, the Lord has selected and brought from Egypt, that iron-smelting furnace, to be his special people as you are today. 21 But the Lord became angry with me because of you and vowed that I would never cross the Jordan nor enter the good land that he is about to give you. 22 So I must die here in this land; I will not cross the Jordan. But you are going over and will possess that good land. 23 Be on guard so that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he has made with you, and that you do not make an image of any kind, just as he has forbidden you. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire; he is a jealous God.

25 After you have produced children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, if you become corrupt and make an image of any kind and do other evil things before the Lord your God that enrage him, 26 I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that you will surely and swiftly be removed from the very land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. You will not last long there because you will surely be annihilated. 27 Then the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and there will be very few of you among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship gods made by human hands – wood and stone that can neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. 29 But if you seek the Lord your God from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul. 30 In your distress when all these things happen to you in the latter days, if you return to the Lord your God and obey him 31 (for he is a merciful God), he will not let you down or destroy you, for he cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them.

32 Indeed, ask about the distant past, starting from the day God created humankind on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it. 33 Have a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the middle of fire, as you yourselves have, and lived to tell about it? 34 Or has God ever before tried to deliver a nation from the middle of another nation, accompanied by judgments, signs, wonders, war, strength, power, and other very terrifying things like the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 35 You have been taught that the Lord alone is God – there is no other besides him. 36 From heaven he spoke to you in order to teach you, and on earth he showed you his great fire from which you also heard his words. 37 Moreover, because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants who followed them and personally brought you out of Egypt with his great power 38 to dispossess nations greater and stronger than you and brought you here this day to give you their land as your property. 39 Today realize and carefully consider that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below – there is no other! 40 Keep his statutes and commandments that I am setting forth today so that it may go well with you and your descendants and that you may enjoy longevity in the land that the Lord your God is about to give you as a permanent possession.

41 Then Moses selected three cities in the Transjordan, toward the east. 42 Anyone who accidentally killed someone without hating him at the time of the accident could flee to one of those cities and be safe. 43 These cities are Bezer, in the desert plateau, for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan for the Manassehites.

44 This is the law that Moses set before the Israelites. 45 These are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that Moses spoke to the Israelites after he had brought them out of Egypt, 46 in the Transjordan, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, in the land of King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon. (It is he whom Moses and the Israelites attacked after they came out of Egypt. 47 They possessed his land and that of King Og of Bashan – both of whom were Amorite kings in the Transjordan, to the east. 48 Their territory extended from Aroer at the edge of the Arnon valley as far as Mount Siyon – that is, Hermon – 49 including all the Arabah of the Transjordan in the east to the sea of the Arabah, beneath the watershed of Pisgah.)

Chapter 5

Then Moses called all the people of Israel together and said to them: “Listen, Israel, to the statutes and ordinances that I am about to deliver to you today; learn them and be careful to keep them! 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3 He did not make this covenant with our ancestors but with us, we who are here today, all of us living now. 4 The Lord spoke face to face with you at the mountain, from the middle of the fire. 5 (I was standing between the Lord and you at that time to reveal to you the message of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.) He said:

6 “I am the Lord your God, he who brought you from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery. 7 You must not have any other gods besides me. 8 You must not make for yourself an image of anything in heaven above, on earth below, or in the waters beneath. 9 You must not worship or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. I punish the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons for the sin of the fathers who reject me, 10 but I show covenant faithfulness to the thousands who choose me and keep my commandments. 11 You must not make use of the name of the Lord your God for worthless purposes, for the Lord will not exonerate anyone who abuses his name that way. 12 Be careful to observe the Sabbath day just as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 You are to work and do all your tasks in six days, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest. 15 Recall that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there by strength and power. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. 16 Honor your father and your mother just as the Lord your God has commanded you to do, so that your days may be extended and that it may go well with you in the land that he is about to give you. 17 You must not murder. 18 You must not commit adultery. 19 You must not steal. 20 You must not offer false testimony against another. 21 You must not desire another man’s wife, nor should you crave his house, his field, his male and female servants, his ox, his donkey, or anything else he owns.”

22 The Lord said these things to your entire assembly at the mountain from the middle of the fire, the cloud, and the darkness with a loud voice, and that was all he said. Then he inscribed the words on two stone tablets and gave them to me. 23 Then, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was ablaze, all your tribal leaders and elders approached me. 24 You said, “The Lord our God has shown us his great glory and we have heard him speak from the middle of the fire. It is now clear to us that God can speak to human beings and they can keep on living. 25 But now, why should we die, because this intense fire will consume us! If we keep hearing the voice of the Lord our God we will die! 26 Who is there from the entire human race who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the middle of the fire as we have, and has lived? 27 You go near so that you can hear everything the Lord our God is saying and then you can tell us whatever he says to you; then we will pay attention and do it.” 28 When the Lord heard you speaking to me, he said to me, “I have heard what these people have said to you – they have spoken well. 29 If only it would really be their desire to fear me and obey all my commandments in the future, so that it may go well with them and their descendants forever. 30 Go and tell them, ‘Return to your tents!’ 31 But as for you, remain here with me so I can declare to you all the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that you are to teach them, so that they can carry them out in the land I am about to give them.” 32 Be careful, therefore, to do exactly what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn right or left! 33 Walk just as he has commanded you so that you may live, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land you are going to possess.

Chapter 6

Now these are the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord your God instructed me to teach you so that you may carry them out in the land where you are headed 2 and that you may so revere the Lord your God that you will keep all his statutes and commandments that I am giving you – you, your children, and your grandchildren – all your lives, to prolong your days. 3 Pay attention, Israel, and be careful to do this so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in number – as the Lord, God of your ancestors, said to you, you will have a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.

6 These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, 7 and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. 8 You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. 9 Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates.

10 Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you – a land with large, fine cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with choice things you did not accumulate, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – and you eat your fill, 12 be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, that place of slavery. 13 You must revere the Lord your God, serve him, and take oaths using only his name. 14 You must not go after other gods, those of the surrounding peoples, 15 for the Lord your God, who is present among you, is a jealous God and his anger will erupt against you and remove you from the land.

16 You must not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Keep his commandments very carefully, as well as the stipulations and statutes he commanded you to observe. 18 Do whatever is proper and good before the Lord so that it may go well with you and that you may enter and occupy the good land that he promised your ancestors, 19 and that you may drive out all your enemies just as the Lord said.

20 When your children ask you later on, “What are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord our God commanded you?” 21 you must say to them, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt in a powerful way. 22 And he brought signs and great, devastating wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on his whole family before our very eyes. 23 He delivered us from there so that he could give us the land he had promised our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these statutes and to revere him so that it may always go well for us and he may preserve us, as he has to this day. 25 We will be innocent if we carefully keep all these commandments before the Lord our God, just as he demands.”