Deuteronomy 4

1“Now, Israel, listen to the laws and to the commands that I teach you. Obey them and you will live. Then you can go in and take the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2You must not add to the things that I command you. And you must not take anything away. You must obey the commands of the Lord your God that I have given you. 3“You have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor. The Lord your God destroyed all your people who followed the false god Baal at that place. 4But all of you who stayed with the Lord your God are alive today. 5“I taught you the laws and rules that the Lord my God commanded me. I taught you these laws so that you could obey them in the land you are ready to enter and take for your own. 6Obey these laws carefully. This will show the people of the other nations that you are wise and understanding. The people of those nations will hear about these laws. Then they will say, 'Truly, the people of this great nation ˻(Israel)˼ are wise and understanding.’ 7“The Lord our God is near when we ask him to help us. No other nation has a god like that! 8And no other nation is great enough to have laws and rules as good as the teachings I give you today. 9But you must be careful! Be sure that as long as you live you never forget the things you have seen. You must teach those things to your children and grandchildren. 10Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Horeb ˻(Sinai)˼. The Lord said to me, 'Gather the people together to listen to the things I say. Then they will learn to respect me as long as they live on earth. And they will teach these things to their children.’ 11You came near and stood at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain burned with fire that reached up to the sky. There were thick black clouds and darkness. 12Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You heard the sound of someone speaking, but you did not see any form. There was only a voice. 13The Lord told you his Agreement. He told you the Ten Commandments and commanded you to follow them. The Lord wrote those laws of the Agreement on two stone tablets. 14At that time, the Lord also commanded me to teach you the other laws and rules that you must follow in the land you are going to take and live in. 15“On the day the Lord spoke to you from the fire at Mount Horeb ˻(Sinai)˼, you did not see him—there was no shape for God. 16So be careful! Don’t sin and destroy yourselves by making false gods or statues in the shape of any living thing. Don’t make an idol that looks like a man or a woman. 17Don’t make an idol that looks like an animal on the earth or like a bird that flies in the sky. 18And don’t make an idol that looks like anything that crawls on the ground or like a fish in the sea. 19And be careful when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars—all the many things in the sky. Be careful that you are not tempted to worship and serve those things. The Lord your God lets the other people in the world do those things. 20But the Lord brought you out of Egypt and made you his own special people. It was as if the Lord reached into a hot furnace for melting iron and pulled you out of that fire. And now you are his people! 21“The Lord became angry at me because of you. The Lord swore ˻(promised)˼ that I could not go across the Jordan River. He told me that I could not go into the good land that the Lord your God is giving you. 22So I must die here in this land. I can’t go across the Jordan River, but you will soon go across and take that good land and live there. 23In that new land, you must be careful not to forget the Agreement that the Lord your God made with you. You must obey the Lord’s command. Don’t make any idols in any form! 24Why? Because the Lord your God hates for his people to worship other gods. And the Lord can be like a fire that destroys! 25“You will live in the country a long time. You will have children and grandchildren there. You will grow old there. And then you will ruin your lives—you will make all kinds of idols! When you do that, you will make God very angry! 26So, I am warning you now. Heaven and earth are my witnesses! If you do that evil thing, then you will quickly be destroyed! You are crossing the Jordan River now to take that land. But if you make any idols, then you will not live there very long. No, you will be completely destroyed! 27The Lord will scatter you among the nations. And only a few of you will be left alive to go to the countries where the Lord will send you. 28There you will serve gods made by men—things made of wood and stone that can’t see or hear or eat or smell! 29But there in these other lands you will look for the Lord your God. And if you look for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. 30When you are in trouble—when all those things happen to you—then you will come back to the Lord your God and obey him. 31The Lord your God is a merciful God! He will not leave you there. He will not destroy you completely. He will not forget the Agreement that he made with your ancestors. 32“Has anything this great ever happened before? Never! Look at the past. Think about all the things that happened before you were born. Go all the way back to the time when God made people on the earth. Look at all the things that have happened anywhere in the world. Has anyone ever heard about anything as great as this? No! 33You people heard God speaking to you from a fire, and you are still alive! Has that ever happened to anyone else? No! 34And has any other god ever tried to go and take a people for himself from inside another nation? No! But you yourselves have seen the Lord your God do all these wonderful things! He showed you his power and strength. You saw the troubles that tested the people. You saw miracles and wonders. You saw war and the terrible things that happened. 35The Lord showed you these things so that you would know that he is God. There is no other god like him! 36The Lord let you hear his voice from heaven so he could teach you a lesson. On earth he let you see his great fire, and he spoke to you from it. 37“The Lord loved your ancestors. That is why he chose you, their descendants. And that is why the Lord brought you out of Egypt. He was with you and brought you out with his great power. 38When you moved forward, the Lord forced out nations that were greater and more powerful than you. And the Lord led you into their land. He gave you their land to live in. And is still doing that today. 39“So today you must remember and accept that the Lord is God. He is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other God! 40And you must obey his laws and commands that I give you today. Then everything will go well with you and your children who live after you. And you will live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you—it will be yours forever!” 41Then Moses chose three cities on the east side of the Jordan River. 42If a person accidentally killed another person, he could run away to one of those three cities and not be put to death. But he could be safe only if he did not hate the other person and did not mean to kill him. 43The three cities that Moses chose were: Bezer in the high plains for Reuben’s family group; Ramoth in Gilead for Gad’s family group; and Golan in Bashan for Manasseh’s family group. 44Moses gave God’s law to the people of Israel. 45Moses gave these teachings, laws, and rules to the people after they came out of Egypt. 46Moses gave them these laws while they were on the east side of the Jordan River, in the valley across from Beth Peor. They were in the land of Sihon, the Amorite king that lived at Heshbon. (Moses and the people of Israel had defeated Sihon when they came out of Egypt. 47They took Sihon’s land to keep. They also took the land of Og, the king of Bashan. These two Amorite kings lived on the east side of the Jordan River. 48This land goes from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley all the way to Mount Sirion (Mount Hermon). 49This land also included the whole Jordan Valley on the east side of the Jordan River. To the south, this land reached to the Dead Sea. To the east, it reached to the foot of Mount Pisgah.)

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