And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. — Deuteronomy 5:1
To “hear" means much more than to simply be aware of an auditory sound. How many times children hear their parents’ voices but simply ignore them, either because they are preoccupied or merely not interested in what is being said!
Growing up, I was a voracious reader. If I had a good book in my hands, the world often went by me completely unnoticed. Many times, my mother would call me to some task or even to dinner and wonder why she got no response since she knew I was just in the next room and clearly within range of her call. It was not that I was purposefully ignoring her voice. The truth was, the plot I was delving into had me so absorbed that I did not respond. I may have been vaguely aware of the sound of her voice, but it did not make enough of an impression to motivate any action on my part.
In today’s text, Moses began his address to the Children of Israel by calling all Israel to “hear” God’s covenant, but the implication was far more than just an admonition to be aware that someone was speaking. He was imploring his listeners to carefully note what was being said and then to follow through in obedience.
How important it is that we carefully attend to and follow the requirements of God! As believers, we find our lives and victories in the Word of God. Unless we know what He commands, we cannot obey Him; but if we know His commandments, believe them, and obey them, then His power goes to work in our lives.
God’s Commandments to us are expressions of His love, assurances of His concern for us, invitations to His blessing, opportunities to grow and bring Him glory, and occasions to enjoy His love and fellowship. Let us purpose to have our ears tuned to His Voice, and be ready to follow through on what He tells us.
After reviewing the history of Israel’s journey into the land God had promised them, in today’s text, Moses proceeded to recount the Ten Commandments and the other laws that had been given to the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai. Moses urged the people to obey the Law and reminded them of the consequences of disobedience.
The four key words of Deuteronomy are part of this address, which is the longest in Deuteronomy. These words are hear, learn, keep, and do. Moses began his dissertation by calling Israel to hear God’s covenant. The verb “to hear” is used nearly 100 times in the book of Deuteronomy. In fact, the traditional Jewish confession of faith is called “The Shema,” from the Hebrew words which mean “to hear, to pay attention, to understand, to obey.” True hearing means that the hearer must pay close attention, understand the message, and then obey the directions.
Scholars have identified a similarity in the treaties between nations in the ancient near East and in God’s covenants recorded in the Old Testament. Treaties were made between a sovereign and his servant, and included: a preamble, a historical prologue, stipulations, witnesses, and a conclusion giving curses and blessings. The Book of Deuteronomy follows this general pattern, and chapter 5 also reflects the first part of this form. The preamble is found in verse 1, the historical prologue in verses 2-5, and the stipulations in verses 6-21.
When God made this covenant, it included every following generation of the nation of Israel, not just those who were gathered that day at Mount Sinai. Most of the people who had been present at that occasion had died in the wilderness, but the covenant of God stood fast.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The second discourse: exposition of the Law
B. The exposition of the Decalogue
1. The reiteration of the Ten Commandments (5:1-21)
2. The explanation and application of the Decalogue
a. The events at Sinai reviewed (5:22-33)
b. The exhortation to obey the Law (6:1-3)
c. The explanation of the first commandment (6:4-25)
(1) The exposition (6:4-10)
(2) The ramifications (6:11-25)
(a) Concerning themselves (6:11-19)
(b) Concerning their sons (6:20-25)
Forced religious exercises and rule-keeping are not what God desires from us. When our hearts and lives are completely dedicated to Him in a love relationship, obedience to Him will be a natural result.