26 March 2014

Deuteronomy 4:1-9

“So now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.” (v. 1)


Verse 1 states that keeping the commandments will lead to life. This idea may surprise the reader who is used to the New Testament teaching that salvation does not come by the works of the law, but by faith (eg Romans 9:31-32). However we should bear in mind that Deuteronomy seeks obedience from the heart (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is of course, different from mere legalism. Moses went on to show that faithfulness to God had already brought life, and wickedness brought death in Israel's experience (verses 3-4).

Obviously, keeping God's laws brings freedom and delight (Psalm 119:45, 47). This was Israel's true destiny in the land. Israel's laws were unlike any other nations, just as her God was unlike any other gods (Deuteronomy 3:24). Their righteousness implies that they bring salvation. Law and life are intimately related.

To Ponder

"Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long." (Psalm 119:97)

Bible notes author

Tevita and Meleane Siuhengalu

Tevita Maliepo Siuhengalu is an ordained minister with the Methodist Church in Tonga, who taught at Sia'atoutai Theological College for seven years. Tevita and his wife Meleane were mission partners with the World Church in Britain Partnership Programme between 1996 and 2001, and Tevita continued as minister in the High Wycombe Circuit, until 2004.