“And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:1-2).
Sometimes, when people read the Mosaic Law they want to ascribe the passages therein to their own lives. That’s noble. But sometimes we take a passage like this one and say that if we are faithful in keeping this commandment that God will give us things. But, that’s not what this passage is saying. Remember what the apostle Paul said, “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). This being the case, what does Moses refer to when he writes that we will “Take possession?”
I want to suggest that he is writing about our salvation. in fact, in the next two verses, Moses gives an example of how God once saved Israel. But how does this apply today?
I think the promised land is akin to our salvation, even heaven. And following the commands has to do with the commands of salvation, that Jesus lived, died, and live again, for us. We cannot earn it, but we must trust him for it. It is important that we not add to Jesus work, such as happened to some who wanted to add obedience to the law to help earn salvation. All salvation is a work of God, not a work of man.
It’s tempting to add to God’s word. We negotiate with God all the time, don’t we? “God, if you do this, then I’ll do that.” But God does not negotiate. He grants. Then he expects loving obedience.
“Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Do you try to negotiate with God. Instead, go to him in prayer and simply declare your love for him without seeking for anything else other than the salvation he’s already granted.