Text: Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-9

Sunday August 29, 2021 (Pentecost 14)

Trinity – Creston/Mount Ayr

Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Our text for this 14TH Sunday after Pentecost is the OT lesson from Deuteronomy 4 that was just proclaimed.

Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to that being wise and understanding in your eyes looks foolish to the world but prepares us to be prepared for eternity. Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:

The setting for the Book of Deuteronomy is Moses in the Land of Moab, east of the Jordan River. He knows that he will not lead Israel across the Jordan (Num­bers 20). Thus, Deuteronomy basically consists of Moses’ final speeches with the Israelites.

In Deuteronomy 1–3, Moses recounts the history of the people, from the time they were at Mount Sinai after the exodus from Egypt to the present. This was a period of about thirty-eight years.

There at Sinai, God had made a covenant with the nation Israel. They were his chosen people. God had decided that from these descendants of Abraham would come the Savior of the world, the Messiah.

Now, in Deuteronomy 4, Moses, after recalling all that God had done for the Israelites these past thirty-eight years, looks into the future. In our text, Moses uses the phrase “a wise and understanding people.” That phrase, which Moses connected with the Israelites, also applies to us.

May the Lord bless our meditation as we consider three realities
concerning a wise and understanding people—the Israelites, and you and me. What makes one wise and understanding?

I. The Israelites were, and we have been, brought to faith in the one true God through the Word of God. This is one reality concerning a wise and understanding people.

A. The Word the Israelites had was that passed down from previous generations, and that which came to them through the ministry of Moses.

We have more of the Word of God—the writings of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy), the rest of the Old Testament, and all of the New Testament.

B. This Word reveals the one true God—the triune God. This Word reveals the Savior, the Son of God, who became man, born of the nation Israel.

1. He, Jesus Christ, sacrificed himself in payment for the sins of the world and arose triumphant from the dead.

2. Jesus is the Savior, for all who believe in him have forgiveness of their sins and everlasting life.

C. Knowing and having faith in the true God and the Savior is the highest wisdom one can haver

1. This is far greater than any earthly wisdom.

2. Understanding the way of salvation—by God’s grace through faith in Christ—is the greatest understanding.

D. We thank God that he made not only the Israelites addressed in our text but also us a wise and understanding people (v 6). Through faith in Christ, we have salvation. Rejoice!

II. Having the Word of God, the Israelites lived—and we live—according to it. This is another reality concerning a wise and understanding people.

A. In our text, statutes, rules, and commandments refer specifically to the covenant God made with Israel at Mount Sinai. These were guidelines as to how the Israelites were to live as God’s covenant people. Today, our guidelines are the Ten Commandments, which were a part of God’s covenant with Israel.

B. God’s Word, since it is his Word, contains the greatest wisdom. Also, because of his love, God gave the guidelines to the Israelites and us.

1. He knows what is best for his people and wants their highest good.

2. The ways of the Lord are ways of righteousness and blessedness.

C. God, who through his Word brought the Israelites and us to saving faith, enables his people through the same Word to keep his commandments and live according to his word.

1. The lives of a wise and understanding people demonstrate that they have been enlightened by God through his Word.

2. These lives will be noticed by unbelievers and can be a witness to them, drawing them to find out more about the beliefs of such a wise and understanding people.

D. We pray that God would help us to keep on living as his people and to grow in Christian living.

1. This means taking care of ourselves spiritually by continuing in the Word of God and holding to all the counsel of God without adding to or subtracting from Scripture.

2. This also means seeing to it that our children are taught and that they learn God’s Word.

3. This means receiving God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament every chance we get

III. God is near to his wise and understanding people. This is the third reality concerning such people.

A. This is a blessing of being in a faith relationship with the Lord and is possible because of the saving work of the Messiah.

1. God is near to his people, whom he has made wise and understanding because he loves them.

2. This fellowship with God, which we will enjoy throughout our earthly life, will continue first in heaven and then forever in the new creation.

B. Because God was so near to the believing Israelites, whenever they prayed to the Lord, he would always hear and answer their petitions as was best for them according to his good and gracious will.

This was a belief and reality unique to the Israelites, for the other peoples of the ancient Near East did not believe the same thing with regard to their false gods (who actually did not exist).

C. Because God is so near to us, he always hears and answers our petitions in the best way.

1. He does so, again, because of Christ, by whom we can come before the Lord in prayer.

2. Also, God is near us in the Lord’s Supper: Christ comes to us and gives us his body and blood.

D. May we continually take comfort in the Gospel truth that God is always near to us, his people, and that he will provide physical and spiritual care for us. Nothing can separate us from his love. Rejoice! (Romans 8)

Conclusion: How blessed we are that God has made us a wise and understanding people! Because of his love for us, we have the wisdom of saving faith, we display the wisdom of God’s Word in our lives, and we have blessed fellowship with the Lord, who is always near us.

All of this is possible because of Jesus, our Savior. Rejoice! Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.