Summary: How precious God’s Word is! The Holy Spirit moves us to cherish that word and hold it dear in our hearts. Parts: A. By seeking your God in it. B. By clinging to it for life. C. By drawing others to its wisdom.
Text: Deuteronomy 4:1, 2, 6-8
Theme: Guard God’s Flawless Word
A. By seeking your God in it
B. By clinging to it for life
C. By drawing others to its wisdom
Season: Pentecost 15b
Date: September 13, 2009
Web page: www.caughtbyjesus.net/sermons/Guard-God_s-Flawless-Word-Deuteronomy4_1,2,6-8.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit leads us to cherish the words of our Savior, Jesus is Deuteronomy 4 as Moses addresses the people Israel before they enter the land of Canaan.
"[Moses said,] "Now listen, Israel, to the statutes and judgments that I am teaching you to do in order that you may live and enter and possess the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Do not add to the word that I am commanding you and do not subtract from it, in order that you may keep the commands of the Lord, your God, which I am commanding you. Keep them and do them, for this is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ’What a wise and understanding people this great nation is!’ For what nation is so great as to have gods close to them as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call out to him? What nation is so great as to have statutes and judgments as righteous as this entire teaching that I am giving you today?"" (Deuteronomy 4:1, 2, 6-8)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
He cherished every letter that came from her. His deployment had started six long months ago. No end date was in sight. These were the days before emails and webcams. Those handwritten letters from his sweetheart was his only lifeline out of those trenches to back home. Her love flowed through each stroke of the pen. He read and reread every letter until the pages were stained with his sweat. He treasured them, guarding them close to his heart. Yet his whole platoon knew when a letter came, for he eagerly shared the good news, beaming with hope.
We too, dear Christians, are on a battlefield away from our true home. "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12 NIV), as the Apostle Paul reminds us. The fight is fierce and the battle long. But your dearest Savior has written to you. Do we cherish his letters? Does our sweat stain their pages? Do we guard them in our hearts?
May the Holy Spirit increase our devotion to God’s Word, his love letter to us, as he works in us through these words he gave Moses to write. For just as Moses encouraged the Israelites to guard God’s flawless word, so also the Holy Spirit speaks to us today through these words, encouraging us to do the same. Keep that theme in mind, dear friends: Guard God’s flawless word.
A. By seeking your God in it
1. Why are we to seek God only in his word?
Guard God’s flawless word by seeking your God in it. That’s part one. The Israelites had looked elsewhere for a god. Do you remember how forty years earlier they looked to a golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai?
How many things today tempt us to look to them for health of for wealth rather than trusting the Lord! How often the world’s promises of happiness and fulfillment drown out our inner longing for God! How many seek a religious experience through meditation, music, emotionalism, medication, or anything else but God’s Word! How many seek a god in nature or inside themselves or in some other so-called holy book!
But God has not chosen to be found in the quiet dew before sunrise on a grassy plain. He’s not chosen to be found in the throbbing heart that beats within our chest. He’s not chosen to be found in the pulsating beat of musical tones or the solitude of a mountain monastery. Rather he makes himself known through his Word. That’s where we are to seek God.
The first words of the text make that clear, "Hear now, O Israel" (Deuteronomy 4:1 NIV). What is it that we hear? Words, of course. This call to hear, to listen, to pay attention, directs us to the words of the Lord, our God. Hear now, O Christians.
In the past God had directly spoken his promises to the forefathers of the Israelites. Think of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God spoke his promises to them that the land of Canaan would belong to their descendants and that from them the Savior would come. Now through Moses the Lord had these promises written down. Even though people would fail to speak his word to the next generation, that word remained written, so that you and I still today can hear the word of the Lord. His word stands firm, not subject to the vagaries of memory, for it is written. It is recorded on the pages of Scripture, recorded for you and me to search and learn and guard in our hearts.