The Ten Commandments: Deuteronomy 5 (7)
Pray Psalm 78.1-5.
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children…
Sing Psalm 78.1-5
Psalm 78.1-5 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word,
dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord,
things we have before by our fathers been told,
which we would not dare from our children withhold.
The glorious deeds of our God in His might,
and all of the works He has done in our sight,
together with all of the words of His Law,
would we on ourselves and our children bestow.
Read Deuteronomy 5; meditate on Deuteronomy 5.2-4
1. What do we learn about God from this chapter?
2. What does God require of those He has saved to be His own people?
The Law of God, in the form of the Ten Commandments, is prominent in Deuteronomy 5. Everything in chapters 1-4 has been leading to this moment, when Moses restates the laws, statutes, precepts, judgments, and testimonies God has prepared for His people.
We only understand the Law of God rightly as we keep in mind Him Who gave it. Throughout Deuteronomy 5 are glimpses, reminders, and implied teachings about God that should encourage us to embrace His Law as that which is best for us in every situation. Let’s take a closer look at some of these insights about God.
Moses first reminds us that God has made a covenant with His people (v. 2). On His own initiative, and for the blessing of His people and the entire world, God entered into a commitment of blessing and peace with the people He chose, out of the infinite depths of His love, to establish as His own people. That covenant committed God to fulfill certain precious and very great promises; it committed His people to always make sure they were in the path where God could reach and bless them.
Next, Moses reminds us that God revealed Himself and His will to His people (v. 4). He didn’t leave them to guess about how to gain the benefits and blessings He promised. He made Himself known in smoke and fire and a trembling earth, and through the deliverance from Egypt which He accomplished for them (vv. 6, 15). He wanted them to know that He is capable of fulfilling all that He has promised.
Knowing the frailty of His people, that they would not long remember what He spoke to them, He wrote His words on tablets of stone, that they will have them always (v. 22). These words show the people of God how to know full and abundant life, and to live safely for generations (vv. 32, 33).
In sum, God showed His glory and greatness to His people (v. 24), that they might believe in Him, fear Him, be grateful toward Him, trust Him, and keep covenant with Him according to His Word. For then all would be well with His people in the land God promised to give them.
Know God in His greatness, love, faithfulness, power, Presence, and mercy. And knowing Him thus, receive, learn, and obey His Law.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The beautiful covenant God made with His people then is still viable today. Through Jesus, and His perfect keeping of God’s Law, we can move forward to know God and lay hold on His promises more fully, and obey His Law more fruitfully. This is how we show Him our love and appreciation. “We love Him because He first loved us.” “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn. 4.19, 21; 5.3). “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11.30).
1. Why must we keep God in mind as we consider His commandments?
2. We’re not saved by keeping the Law, but we’re not saved without keeping it. Explain.
3. What can you do to show more love to God and your neighbor?
Thence is all excuse taken from them, unless, for the sake of manifesting their gratitude, they give themselves up entirely to God, and in return worship with sincere affection Him whom they have experienced to be so bountiful a Father. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 5.2
Lord, teach me to live from my proper vantage point each day, so that I…
Closing Prayer: Psalm 78.6-16
Ask the Lord to use you today to remind other believers of His greatness, faithfulness, provision, and love. And ask Him for strength to walk the path of His commandments in all you do.
Sing Psalm 78.6-16.
Psalm 78.6-16 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Lord, let all our children arise and declare
the truth of the Lord every day, everywhere,
and set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word,
and never forget all the works of the Lord.
Our fathers were stubborn; they would not obey;
when faced with their foes they in fear turned away.
God’s work of redemption they wholly despised,
forgetting the pow’r He had shown to their eyes.
T. M. and Susie Moore
Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).