Deuteronomy 4 part 2: No Eye Has Seen

Deuteronomy 4 was so rich (and LONG) a chapter that I decided to break it up into two parts. You can read part 1 here.

But let’s not waste any more time! Who’s with me?! Let’s Go!

While many of the themes of obedience and story continued in the second half of the chapter, Deuteronomy 2 had some very interesting things to say about the God who is writing the story and the people who are acting it out.

God vs. Idols

The people get a warning: when you enter the land, you may become complacent and will turn to idols. If you do, you will be exiled to foreign nations and be forced to serve their gods.

And these gods? They are made by human hands. They are objects of wood and stone. They are incapable of sight, hearing, eating, or smell.

Wait, what?

I am guessing that was set up as a contrast to God. If that is so. That means God has at least four of the five senses.

What a fascinating way to not only describe God, but to contrast him! Those other gods can’t do things that our God can. Our God has human characteristics. Specifically the sensory characteristics.

Interesting that Moses didn’t say that the idols were incapable of touch. I guess of all the senses, that is the one they actually CAN do.

And Another Thing . . .

God is also described as merciful.

If you want to know what merciful means, I would look at the next few phrases.

  • I will not abandon you
  • I will not destroy you
  • I will not forget you

I wonder if mercy means staying with someone to ensure that they are ok. Here’s why I think that.

Abandonment is a passive way of killing someone. Destroying someone is, obviously, an active way of doing it.

But God will do neither. He will remember his people and he will stick with them. Even when they have screwed up as royally as they will.

Speaking of His People

“For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.”

That is all.

6 responses

  1. Abandonment and neglect are two of the major downfalls of the Church today. We neglect those who aren’t our own, and in the process, slowly allow them to die. My heart breaks a little at the thought, but I know I’m part of the problem, not the solution.

  2. Okay, skipping ahead a bit, but I have a cultural context question. In Joshua I’ve watched the Israelites defeat a series of ‘kings’ (who seem to each be ruler of a town or city) as one unified nation of Israel, and then seen how they divide up the land among their tribes and clans.

    I don’t know this for sure, but is it possible that in that area at that time, it was basically unheard of to have a unified political structure at a national level? Is that part of why the Israelites win all these wars, because God has forged them into a whole unified nation unlike any other in the region? That last bolded bit reminded me of this. I wonder if God was the first nation builder to have a sort of social contract situation, where his people buy in to following him, rather than ruling by force as I’m sure many kings did.

    • Well, you do have to consider Egypt. They were a super-power at that time.

      I think the thing that sets Israel apart is that God is their king. They are a nation that he created for himself to bless the world. No one else can claim that title.

  3. I think the biggest idol today is trying to earn salvation by the work of our own hands. Throughout history, and especially with the Israelites they turn to idols made of their own hands. Which, in essence means they are praising themselves instead of thanking God for his work. When we try to earn salvation through works, we ignore what Jesus did for us and want our own work to be glorified.

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