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Chapter 4:32-43 (ESV)

Posted on February 05, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:32-43 (ESV) - For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you. And on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”

Then Moses set apart three cities in the east beyond the Jordan, that the manslayer might flee there, anyone who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without being at enmity with him in time past; he may flee to one of these cities and save his life: Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland for the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan for the Manassites.

Question to consider: What are some things that are unique about Christ when compared with gods made by men?

In today’s passage, Moses raises a fair point about the nature of the gods of the nations compared with the actions of the one true God. Those who try to portray the Bible as a fiction don’t actually deal with passages like this one. Moses was not allowed into the promised land. He has nothing to gain by convincing Israel to consider the actions of their God in order to keep His commandments.

If you study the nature of other gods, the priests and practitioners derive worship that engages in personal pleasure; they make a good income off of idols, and their gods seem like they were made in the image of man rather than the other way around. The fact that God would rescue a nation of slaves who had all but abandoned Him and topple mighty nations in order to give them the land does not seem like the invention of man. The fact that this same God desired to call these other nations to repentance and only brought judgment upon them as a last resort does not seem like the invention of man.

We can also extend these arguments to Christ. If Christ were the invention of man, He would have come as a conquering hero and not a poor infant in a manger. He would have amassed an army to do His bidding and not wrapped a towel around His waist and washed His disciples feet. He would have nailed His enemies to the cross and not taken our sin upon Himself. He came not to judge but to save. He came not to rule but to serve. One day He will come back to judge the living and the dead and to finally put an end to sin and death, but every aspect of His kingdom seems upside down when compared to the world in which we live.

People say they want to worship God in their own way, but that only works if God doesn’t exist. Moses was adamant that the reality of God should inspire the people to obey His commands so that they could enjoy the land that God was giving them.

The passage ends with the setting up of sanctuary cities for those who accidentally killed someone. Even in this, God showed mercy both to the one who committed the act and to the family of the victim. It would be hard for the family of the victim to see the perpetrator walking around every day after the loss of their loved one, and it would be hard for the perpetrator to continue to try and earn a living in a town after he caused the death of a neighbor. So God set up a way for both parties to gain some level of respite. Again, this level of mercy was not common among the gods of the nations.


Dear heavenly Father, may the reality of the life, death and resurrection of Christ fill our hearts so that we desire to do the things that please You. Thank You for mercifully providing Christ as our sanctuary, our refuge from sin. Amen.