Deuteronomy 4:24

The history of the Jews is an unanswerable argument in favor of the truth of prophecy and the reality of Divine revelation. The singularity of that history is such as can only be fully accounted for on the idea of a supernatural Providence interesting itself in their fortunes; but the strangest fact is in that, their own sacred books, this wonderful history is predicted with minute precision. The Book of Deuteronomy furnishes a series of these predictions, the extraordinary character of which is not removed by any date to which the book may be assigned. We may read this passage first as a prophecy, then as a warning.

I. A PROPHECY. It does not, as several later passages do, put the backsliding of the Jews hypothetically, but states the fact plainly that they will backslide - takes it for granted (ver. 25). There is a prediction:

1. Of national apostasy. The whole history of Israel, beginning with the time of the judges (Judges 2:19), is a commentary on this statement.

2. Of national rejection (vers. 26-29). How remarkably has this testimony been fulfilled in the rooting out of both Judah and Israel from their own land; in their scattering throughout the nations, in every region and country under heaven; in their preservation amidst all vicissitudes as a distinct people; in the conformity to alien worships, customs, and beliefs, to which they have so often been compelled; in the miseries and indignities which they have endured! Surely we are entitled to ask from the unbeliever that he should give us, when rejecting revelation, some satisfactory explanation of these coincidences.

3. Of national repentance (vers. 29-32; cf. Deuteronomy 30.). Though yet unfulfilled, there can be little doubt in the minds of any who study past fulfillments, that this prophecy of the repentance of Israel will in God's good time receive its accomplishment also (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26).

II. A WARNING. We learn the truths:

1. That backsliding is possible from a state of high attainment.

2. That backsliding is commonly of gradual development (ver. 25).

3. That backsliding may assume very aggravated forms.

4. That backsliding exposes to severe punishment from God. But, finally, and for our encouragement:

5. That backsliding, if repented of, will be graciously forgiven. - J.O.

Even a jealous God.
The assertion that such a quality as this belongs to God as one of the attributes of His moral character involves a number of deep and awful considerations; they seem to include the love as well as the holiness and justice of the Deity in one complex idea; and to form, from the union of these qualities in one attribute of jealousy, a touching, as well as a tremendous, picture of His feelings towards us. For let us remark, first, that the existence of jealousy in God implies the previous existence of love. If He had not loved us Himself He would have been indifferent to our dispositions towards Him. If He had not felt that love was due from us to Him, as a return for love already exercised towards us, He would not have resented its being withheld, nor made use of this phrase as declaratory of the state of His affections. In agreement with this idea we find that jealousy in God is never spoken of except with a reference to those whom, in one sense or other, He has called and chosen as His own; whose love therefore He has a right to claim as due to Himself, in virtue of some covenant relation; and whose love He has excited by some previous exercise of favour and benevolence. Any wandering of affections, any deviation from the truth of allegiance, however slight it may seem to the eye of indifference, carries wounds and provocation to that of jealousy, and we may therefore say that such behaviour as this, when existing in the people of God, is calculated to excite in Him a feeling of resentment analogous to that which unrequited love and infidelity excite in the heart of man. Let us also remark that this attribute is peculiar to the true God, to the Jehovah of our worship. The idols of heathenism were imagined to be ready to share their honours with another, and were never supposed to object to the devotions which were paid to deities of other names or of other lands. They felt that they had no exclusive prerogative to power. They felt, or rather their worshippers felt, that even while they were the objects of adoration, they had no absolute dominion. And what was then true with regard to them is equally true with regard to the idols and idolaters of the world at present. They have no jealousy of one another. They are only jealous of God, and exhibit no feelings of the sort except when He is the object of attraction. Again, let us remark that the natural objects of jealousy are the affections of the heart. Justice may, in some respects, be thought to fulfil the object of jealousy, but justice is a gross and inactive feeling in comparison with jealousy. The slights and wanderings which inflict anguish unspeakable on the heart cannot be put into a balance and have the extent of their criminality noted by weight. How, then, can we imagine that justice is the only attribute with which those are concerned whose duty it is to love God with all their heart, and who are directed to worship Him in spirit and in truth, if they would worship Him acceptably at all? Under faith in this attribute of God it is not merely actual sin that we are told to deprecate in ourselves, or in others, but it is the love of other things than God. Have we gone, for instance, to seek pleasure in the company of His enemies? Have we sought our bread in ways which are not His? Have we looked for comfort and peace and enjoyment in other objects than in His favour? Have we been betrayed into forgetfulness of His love in the hour of trial? Have we felt coldly in His service? Whatever our own opinions may have been on such subjects, and whatever may be the system of the world, we cannot deny, and we cannot doubt, that these, and all such wanderings of the heart, must be provocations to a jealous God. It is perhaps from considering in this manner the attribute of jealousy in God that we are best able to appreciate the danger of what is commonly called the world. The world sees the justice of God, and the world fears it, and therefore it is cautious of advising anything which may seem to provoke it. But if the words of our text be true — "If the Lord our God be a consuming fire, even a jealous God, what are the terrors of His justice compared with those of His jealousy? Compared with jealousy, justice seems a cold, deliberating principle. It comes, but its very name implies that it comes slowly and maturely. It comes, but it may be pleaded with; it may be reasoned against; it may be retarded or mollified by our reasonings. But jealousy is like fire. It comes to act, to consume; and little has the world gained for its votaries by teaching them to try not to offend the justice of God, while it encourages them daily to provoke His jealousy. For, lastly, let us remark on this subject the violence of those feelings which jealousy brings into action. Do we not see that among, ourselves it bursts at once the tenderest ties of which the heart of man is conscious? Founded on justice as its principle, but quickened by resentment in its action, it seems the most tremendous quality which we are capable of provoking against ourselves; and indeed, as it is peculiarly directed against that which is thought to be of all sins the most offensive — the sin of ingratitude — and of ingratitude, not for favours, but for love — it may well excite terror in those against whom it may be directed from our Maker. Let us close this subject with considering the degree in which we ourselves may be in danger of experiencing its exercise. If jealousy, which arises from love and proceeds only from love, is to be in proportion to that love which it proceeds from, what jealousy can be compared to that with which God is jealous now towards His people?

(H. Raikes, M. A.)

Amorites, Baalpeor, Bezer, Gadites, Israelites, Manasseh, Manassites, Moses, Og, Reubenites, Sihon
Arabah, Aroer, Bashan, Beth-baal-peor, Bezer, Egypt, Gilead, Golan, Hermon, Heshbon, Horeb, Jordan River, Mount Sion, Peor, Pisgah, Ramoth, Sea of the Arabah, Valley of the Arnon
All-burning, Consuming, Devouring, Fire, Honour, Jealous, Zealous
1. An exhortation to obedience
41. Moses appoints the three cities of refuge on that side of Jordan
44. Recapitulation

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Deuteronomy 4:24

     1185   God, zeal of
     4826   fire
     5762   attitudes, God to people
     8773   jealousy

Deuteronomy 4:23-24

     5211   art
     9513   hell, as incentive to action

February the Sixteenth Crowding Out God
"Lest thou forget." --DEUTERONOMY iv. 5-13. That is surely the worst affront we can put upon anybody. We may oppose a man and hinder him in his work, or we may directly injure him, or we may ignore him, and treat him as nothing. Or we may forget him! Opposition, injury, contempt, neglect, forgetfulness! Surely this is a descending scale, and the last is the worst. And yet we can forget the Lord God. We can forget all His benefits. We can easily put Him out of mind. We can live as though He were
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

(Third Sunday after Easter.) Deut. iv. 39, 40. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Thou shall keep therefore his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever. Learned men have argued much of late as to who wrote
Charles Kingsley—The Gospel of the Pentateuch

Political and Religious Life of the Jewish Dispersion in the West - their Union in the Great Hope of the Coming Deliverer.
It was not only in the capital of the Empire that the Jews enjoyed the rights of Roman citizenship. Many in Asia Minor could boast of the same privilege. [327] The Seleucidic rulers of Syria had previously bestowed kindred privileges on the Jews in many places. Thus, they possessed in some cities twofold rights: the status of Roman and the privileges of Asiatic, citizenship. Those who enjoyed the former were entitled to a civil government of their own, under archons of their choosing, quite independent
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Of the Cities of Refuge.
Hebron, the most eminent among them, excites us to remember the rest. "The Rabbins deliver this; Moses separated three cities of refuge beyond Jordan, [Deut 4:41-43;] and, against them, Joshua separated three cities in the land of Canaan, [Josh 20:7,8]. And these were placed by one another, just as two ranks of vines are in a vineyard: Hebron in Judea against Bezer in the wilderness: Shechem in mount Ephraim against Ramoth in Gilead: Kedesh in mount Napthali against Golan in Basan. And these three
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

That the Devout Soul Ought with the Whole Heart to Yearn after Union with Christ in the Sacrament
The Voice of the Disciple Who shall grant unto me, O Lord, that I may find Thee alone, and open all my heart unto Thee, and enjoy Thee as much as my soul desireth; and that no man may henceforth look upon me, nor any creature move me or have respect unto me, but Thou alone speak unto me and I unto Thee, even as beloved is wont to speak unto beloved, and friend to feast with friend? For this do I pray, this do I long for, that I may be wholly united unto Thee, and may withdraw my heart from all created
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The First Covenant
"Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice, and keep My covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me."--EX. xix. 5. "He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments."--DEUT. iv. 13.i "If ye keep these judgments, the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant,"--DEUT. vii. 12. "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, which My covenant they brake."--JER. xxxi. 31, 32. WE have
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants

The Unity of God
Q-5: ARE THERE MORE GODS THAN ONE? A: There is but one only, the living and true God. That there is a God has been proved; and those that will not believe the verity of his essence, shall feel the severity of his wrath. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' Deut 6:6. He is the only God.' Deut 4:49. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thy heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else.' A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Northern Coasts of Galilee. Amanah. The Mountain of Snow.
This coast is described by Moses, Numbers 34:7: "From the Great Sea to mount Hor: from mount Hor to the entrance of Hamath," &c. Mount Hor, in the Jewish writers, is Amanah; mention of which occurs, Canticles 4:8, where R. Solomon thus: "Amanah is a mount in the northern coast of the land of Israel, which in the Talmudical language is called, The mountainous plain of Amanon; the same with mount Hor." In the Jerusalem Targum, for mount 'Hor' is the mount Manus: but the Targum of Jonathan renders it
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Ninth Sunday after Trinity Carnal Security and Its vices.
Text: 1 Corinthians 10, 6-13. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us make trial of the Lord, as some of them made trial, and perished by the serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Epistle cxxvii. From S. Columbanus to Pope Gregory .
From S. Columbanus to Pope Gregory [89] . To the holy lord, and father in Christ, the Roman [pope], most fair ornament of the Church, a certain most august flower, as it were, of the whole of withering Europe, distinguished speculator, as enjoying a divine contemplation of purity (?) [90] . I, Bargoma [91] , poor dove in Christ, send greeting. Grace to thee and peace from God the Father [and] our [Lord] Jesus Christ. I am pleased to think, O holy pope, that it will seem to thee nothing extravagant
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

The Second Commandment
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am o jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.' Exod 20: 4-6. I. Thou shalt not
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

"They have Corrupted Themselves; their Spot is not the Spot of his Children; they are a Perverse and Crooked Generation. "
Deut. xxxii. 5.--"They have corrupted themselves; their spot is not the spot of his children; they are a perverse and crooked generation." We doubt this people would take well with such a description of themselves as Moses gives. It might seem strange to us, that God should have chosen such a people out of all the nations of the earth, and they to be so rebellious and perverse, if our own experience did not teach us how free his choice is, and how long-suffering he is, and constant in his choice.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

A Reformer's Schooling
'The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 2. That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Second visit to Nazareth - the Mission of the Twelve.
It almost seems, as if the departure of Jesus from Capernaum marked a crisis in the history of that town. From henceforth it ceases to be the center of His activity, and is only occasionally, and in passing, visited. Indeed, the concentration and growing power of Pharisaic opposition, and the proximity of Herod's residence at Tiberias [3013] would have rendered a permanent stay there impossible at this stage in our Lord's history. Henceforth, His Life is, indeed, not purely missionary, but He has
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Covenant Duties.
It is here proposed to show, that every incumbent duty ought, in suitable circumstances, to be engaged to in the exercise of Covenanting. The law and covenant of God are co-extensive; and what is enjoined in the one is confirmed in the other. The proposals of that Covenant include its promises and its duties. The former are made and fulfilled by its glorious Originator; the latter are enjoined and obligatory on man. The duties of that Covenant are God's law; and the demands of the law are all made
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Subjects of Study. Home Education in Israel; Female Education. Elementary Schools, Schoolmasters, and School Arrangements.
If a faithful picture of society in ancient Greece or Rome were to be presented to view, it is not easy to believe that even they who now most oppose the Bible could wish their aims success. For this, at any rate, may be asserted, without fear of gainsaying, that no other religion than that of the Bible has proved competent to control an advanced, or even an advancing, state of civilisation. Every other bound has been successively passed and submerged by the rising tide; how deep only the student
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Wisdom and Revelation.
"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness
W. H. Griffith Thomas—The Prayers of St. Paul

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