Deuteronomy 4:7
For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for?
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Deuteronomy 4:7-8. So nigh — By glorious miracles, by the pledges of his special presence, by the operations of his grace, and particularly by his readiness to hear our prayers, and to give us those succours which we call upon him for. So righteous — Whereby he implies that the true greatness of a nation doth not consist in pomp and power, or largeness of empire, as commonly men think, but in the righteousness of its laws.4:1-23 The power and love of God to Israel are here made the ground and reason of a number of cautions and serious warnings; and although there is much reference to their national covenant, yet all may be applied to those who live under the gospel. What are laws made for but to be observed and obeyed? Our obedience as individuals cannot merit salvation; but it is the only evidence that we are partakers of the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, Considering how many temptations we are compassed with, and what corrupt desires we have in our bosoms, we have great need to keep our hearts with all diligence. Those cannot walk aright, who walk carelessly. Moses charges particularly to take heed of the sin of idolatry. He shows how weak the temptation would be to those who thought aright; for these pretended gods, the sun, moon, and stars, were only blessings which the Lord their God had imparted to all nations. It is absurd to worship them; shall we serve those that were made to serve us? Take heed lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God. We must take heed lest at any time we forget our religion. Care, caution, and watchfulness, are helps against a bad memory.The general entreaty contained in this chapter is pointed by special mention and enforcement of the fundamental principles of the whole covenant Deuteronomy 4:9-40, the spiritual nature of the Deity, His exclusive right to their allegiance, His abhorrence of idolatry in every form, His choice of them for His elect people. Compare further Moses' third and last address, Deuteronomy 27-30. 7-9. what nation is there so great—Here he represents their privileges and their duty in such significant and comprehensive terms, as were peculiarly calculated to arrest their attention and engage their interest. The former, their national advantages, are described (De 4:7, 8), and they were twofold: 1. God's readiness to hear and aid them at all times; and 2. the excellence of that religion in which they were instructed, set forth in the "statutes and judgments so righteous" which the law of Moses contained. Their duty corresponding to these pre-eminent advantages as a people, was also twofold: 1. their own faithful obedience to that law; and 2. their obligation to imbue the minds of the young and rising generation with similar sentiments of reverence and respect for it. God nigh unto them, by glorious miracles, by the pledges of his special presence, by the operations of his grace, and particularly, as it here follows, by his readiness to hear our prayers, and to give us those succours which we call upon him for. Not so much for their number, for they were the fewest of all people; nor for the largeness of their territories, for the land they were going to possess was but a small country; nor for their wealth and riches, and warlike exploits, though they were not contemptible in either; but for their happy constitution in church and state, being directed and governed in both by laws which came immediately from God himself; for their knowledge of divine things, and for spiritual blessings and privileges they were favoured with, of which a special instance is given:

who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is, in all things that we call upon him for? God was nigh unto them in respect of relation, being their covenant God and Father, and they his sons and daughters, to whom the adoption belonged; and with respect to place and presence, his tabernacle being in the midst of them, the seat of his Shechinah, or divine Majesty, being in the most holy place, between the cherubim over the mercy seat; and he going before them in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, and who might be applied unto at all times for whatsoever they stood in need of; and who was always near unto them, to give them advice and counsel, help and assistance; to hear their prayers, and communicate unto them things temporal and spiritual they stood in need of: and so the Lord is nigh to all that call upon him in faith, with fervency, and in sincerity and truth; and herein the glory and greatness of a people, as of Israel, lies, in being nearly related to God, a people near unto him, both as to union and communion; and in having a communication of good things from him. God is both a God at hand and afar off, Jeremiah 23:23.

For what nation is there so great, who hath God so {g} nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

(g) Helping us, and delivering us out of all dangers, as in 2Sa 7:23.

7. For what great nation … hath a god so nigh] Both noun, élohím, and adj., ḳerobim, are plural. Elohîm may signify a god, or gods, as Deuteronomy 6:14 and elsewhere; or the general idea of Deity, this chiefly but not always in the mouth of, or addressed to, the heathen, e.g. Deuteronomy 5:24, Genesis 20:13, Exodus 31:18; or may stand for the God of Israel (cp. the deuteronomic 2 Samuel 7:23). Here it is either of the first three—a god, gods or God (R.V. marg.). The rest of the verse explains what is meant by nigh: He hears prayer and answers it by actual deeds. The prophets’ contrast of Israel’s experience of God with that of other nations is constant and remarkable—a proof of the experimental, practical quality of their religion. Jeremiah insists that the gods of the heathen are vanities and do not profit them (Deuteronomy 2:8; Deuteronomy 2:11; Deuteronomy 2:13 : broken cisterns, 28, Deuteronomy 16:19 f. etc.); cp. the Prophet of the Exile (Isaiah 44:9 f., Isaiah 47:12, Isaiah 48:17) and his argument that Jehovah alone promises and fulfils (Isaiah 41:21 ff.). To all the prophets, but especially to Isaiah, God; is not only the infinitely sublime, but the infinitely near, hearing prayer, ready to help, interested, vigilant and active in all the details of their everyday life. Legal Judaism lost this sense of the constant nearness of God, and did not compensate for the loss by its apocalypses.Verses 7, 8. - Translate, For what great nation is there that hath gods that draft near to it, as Jehovah our God whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there that hath righteous statutes and ordinances like this whole Law which I am giving before you this day? (comp. Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 34:17-20; Psalm 145:18; 1 Samuel 14:36; 1 Kings 18:26-29, 37; James 4:8). "True right has its roots in God; and with the obscuration of the knowledge of God, law and right, with their divinely established foundations, are also shaken and obscured (cf. Romans 1:26-32)" (Keil). The Israelites were to hearken to the laws and rights which Moses taught to do (that they were to do), that they might live and attain to the possession of the land which the Lord would give them. "Hearkening" involves laying to heart and observing. The words "statutes and judgments" (as in Leviticus 19:37) denote the whole of the law of the covenant in its two leading features. חקּים, statutes, includes the moral commandments and statutory covenant laws, for which חק and חקּה are mostly used in the earlier books; that is to say, all that the people were bound to observe; משׁפּטים, rights, all that was due to them, whether in relation to God or to their fellow-men (cf. Deuteronomy 26:17). Sometimes המּצוה, the commandment, is connected with it, either placed first in the singular, as a general comprehensive notion (Deuteronomy 5:28; Deuteronomy 6:1; Deuteronomy 7:11), or in the plural (Deuteronomy 8:11; Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 30:16); or העדת, the testimonies, the commandments as a manifestation of the will of God (Deuteronomy 4:45, Deuteronomy 6:17, Deuteronomy 6:20). - Life itself depended upon the fulfilment or long life in the promised land (Exodus 20:12), as Moses repeatedly impressed upon them (cf. Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 5:30; Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 8:1; Deuteronomy 11:21; Deuteronomy 16:20; Deuteronomy 25:15; Deuteronomy 30:6, Deuteronomy 30:15., Deuteronomy 32:47). ירשׁתּם, for ירשׁתּם (as in Deuteronomy 4:22, Joshua 1:16; cf. Ges. 44, 2, Anm. 2).
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