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The Bible Jesus Read: Be Careful!
1. Be Careful : The book of Deuteronomy is a sermon and therefore loaded not just with theological truths, but with explicit exhortations, admonitions, entreaties, pleas to put into practice the ways of God. One of Moses’ most common pleas in Deuteronomy is to “be careful” or to “take care” (x35). Read through a handful of these examples (Deut. 4:9; 5:32; 6:3; 8:1; 11:16; 26:16; 28:1, 15). What does it mean to ‘be careful’? And what does it mean not to be careful? Do you have some familiarity with both?
2. Mission to the nations (4:5-8) : God’s elect nation Israel was commissioned with ‘come and see’ ministry, that by their worship (1 Kings 8:60) and the witness of their covenant obedience (Deut. 4:5-8), all nations would be drawn to God through them. Take a closer look at Deuteronomy 4:5-8. Together with your GG, try to imagine a scenario in which this interaction between Israel and the nations would take place. Does the evangelistic method prescribed here for Israel work today (Matt. 5:16)? How have you seen it do so?
3. Danger of Idolatry (4:15-24): God permits Israel to see many things (the phrase “your eyes have seen” is repeated in 3:21; 4:3, 9; 10:21; 11:7; 29:2), but he does not let them see himself. God’s refusal to be seen (4:15) and his refusal to be represented by visible things (4:16-19, 23) teaches Israel they must not worship things they can see. Where are we vulnerable to this idolatry, a worship of things seen?
4. The End from the Beginning (4:25-31) : Israel’s whole history is contained within Moses’ warning in Deuteronomy 4:25-31 (cf. 30:1-5). Given Israel’s missionary relationship to the nations discussed above, why is the judgment threatened in 4:25-28 especially necessary? And yet, how does this passage balance just judgment with mercy? And how is Israel (and believers today!) to enter into this mercy (4:29)?