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Deuteronomy 4:1-14 - Chapter 4:44—chapter 26:19. Summary

Obedience the secret of success.

Moses here reminds Israel of the privilege it possesses as a nation in having the oracles of God committed unto it ( Romans 3:2 ). He urges obedience upon them as the one purpose for which they are to be introduced into the Promised Land. National prosperity depends upon this. And here we have to notice—

I. DISOBEDIENCE HAS ALREADY PROVED FATAL . He recalls the terrible experience in connection with Dual-peer—how the people in large numbers became lewd idolaters with the Israelites ( Numbers 25:1-18 .), and how fierce anger from the Lord visited the people. In Canaan they shall be exposed to similar temptations, but the chastisement at Baal-peor must not be lost upon them. Past judgments are to secure more complete obedience.

II. GOD 'S NEARNESS TO THEM SHOULD PROVE A HALLOWING PRIVILEGE . How gracious is God to dwell among them, always near at hand to be inquired of, a most serviceable King! He dwelt in their midst as a Pilgrim with his people. Upon his accessibility and wisdom they could always calculate. This distinguished Israel from the other nations. Such a privilege should of itself hallow them, and make them to abide under his shadow. Equally near is God still to all of us who seek him.

III. HIS LAW IS WISER THAN ALL MAN 'S DEVELOPED LEGISLATION . The surrounding nations had their laws and customs, but the superiority of the Mosaic code was admitted by all acquainted with it. It was an immense moral advance for Israel, as great an advance as in that rude age they could take in. Similarly, the morality of the gospel is ahead of all jurisprudence. Indeed, enlightened legislation and reform tend towards the scriptural ideal. God is wiser than man, and the Bible better than all acts of parliament.

IV. THE LAW WAS GIVEN AS A RULE OF LIFE FOR A COVENANT PEOPLE . They were redeemed from bondage, and then received the Law at Sinai to guide their redeemed lives. Obedience should be a matter of gratitude for deliverance , and would prove the secret of success. It is so still. "Christ redeems us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us." But as grateful and saved people, we feel that we are "under the Law to Christ" ( 1 Corinthians 9:21 ). And this grateful obedience proves the secret of comfort and success. It is the meat of life to do the wilt of him who hath sent us, and to finish his work ( John 4:34 ). Palestine becomes "paradise regained" to the grateful and obedient souls. We find a Promised Land where God's precepts are gratefully observed by redeemed souls. It is the attitude within, rather than the circumstances without, which constitutes life a blessed country and an antepast of heaven.—R.M.E.

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