"Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy son's sons."
Today: A Heart Check
Before the Children of Israel were allowed to go into the Promised Land, they needed to have their hearts prepared for the journey. They will need to honor their duties before God and complete the tasks ahead of them in the land. Moses, God’s faithful servant, is giving Israel guidelines, which could probably be considered a sermon on relationships, God with them, and they with Him.
Israel is directed to keep all of the commandments, statutes, and judgments that the LORD has given to them (Deuteronomy 4: verses 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8). In verses 6-7, this great nation is only great because of their relationship with the LORD, who is near to them. In verse 8, their nation’s greatness is due to having the “statutes and judgments” in the Law that God has given to them. If they honor their LORD and His Word (the Law), they will remain great.
In our verse (verse 9), Moses informs the people that these commands, statutes, and judgments from the LORD must be personalized by each individual in the nation. The obedience of each man, woman, and child is paramount for receiving God’s blessing in the land. They were each individually accountable for their part in keeping God’s Law.
Yes, primarily, these words were written and spoken to the Children of Israel. But as we see each one’s obligation in Israel, let’s think of applications that we believers can use today to help our families be what God wants them to be. What is the “spirit” behind these words being spoken?
“Only take heed to thyself.”
“Head’s up!” “Pay attention here!” To “take heed” is “to keep, guard, observe, give heed” (BDB).
“Only beware and take care of thyself” (K&D).
Three times in this chapter, the Children of Israel are warned to “take heed” to the information given. God must think this is vital information that each one in Israel must do and remember!
“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently…” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
“Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves…” (Deuteronomy 4:15).
“Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God…” (Deuteronomy 4:23).
God expects each of the Children of Israel to take to heart and pay great attention to what he/she is being told to do. This is their responsibility. No one can do it for them.
Likewise, it is so for each believer now. The responsibility that God places on us we must handle with great care. This is so true with our parenting. God, our sovereign Creator, puts into the home the exact child that He wants those parents to raise. God has not called my brother to raise my children or me to raise his. The Lord makes no mistakes. He calls each parent to bring up their own children in the way He directs. When a child is adopted into a family, he/she has now become the responsibility of those new parents. Parenting is a sacred obligation God places on the shoulders of each one He gives a child to. We strive to parent well for God’s glory and for our child’s sake.
God wants us to remember the things that He has done for us. But we seem to have short memories, and it is easy to forget what God says is important. What can help us remember? Come back tomorrow, and we will think more about this.
Quote: “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children” (Charles R. Swindoll).
 In the Old Testament, God’s blessings to His people are often tied to the Land and its prosperity. As they honored the LORD, so they were blessed in the Land.
 Brown, Driver, Briggs. Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, the electronic version in eSword.
 Keil & Delitzsch, Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, the electronic version in eSword. Deuteronomy 4:9-14.
 Swindoll’s quote Downloaded: Wednesday, February 17, 2021. From: https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/memories.html?p=2.