What Does Deuteronomy 4:31 Mean?

"For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.

Deuteronomy 4:31(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

This final book of Moses is a reiteration of the Mosaic Law which God gave to His people when they were redeemed from Egyptian slavery. For 40 years the disobedient nation of Israel, who murmured against the goodness of God, had wandered in the wilderness until a new generation of Israelites had grown up.

Moses was once again instructed to rehearse the Law of God in the ears of His chosen people as his final duty before the children of Israel were led, by Joshua, into the promised land of Canaan - and Moses climbed to the top of Mount Nebo, where he died.

By God's grace, they had been fed with manna and watered from the Rock of their salvation, for 40 long years. God proved to be a faithful and gracious Provider to His errant children.

Their clothes had not worn out and their feet had not swollen, despite their long, 40-year trek through the wilderness. God had given them many victories over their various enemies, including Og - the intimidating giant-king of Bashan, and Sihon - the formidable king of the Amorites.

Just before God was finally to shepherd His people into the land of Canaan, Moses reminded a new generation of Israelites of the character and attributes of the only true and living God Whom they served. He reminded them of the whole covenant they had made with the Lord on Mount Sinai. He read through the many statutes and judgements of the Lord. He reiterated the need to bring to mind all the benefits that they had received from the hand of their God.

Before going through the entire Law of Moses with its 613 requirements - including the first 10 moral commandments, the priestly code of practice, the requirement to follow certain feast days and festivals, the various sacrificial offerings, and the food and cleanliness laws, etc. Moses reminded the Israelites of God's goodness and grace, His kindness, and faithfulness, "for the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you - nor will He forget the covenant He made with your fathers, which He swore to them."

Apart from just two men, their forefathers had all died in the wilderness during the 40-year long trek because of their rebellious unbelief. Their forefathers had reaped the reward of their apostasy and disobedience and did not enter the promised rest. Nevertheless, God had made a promise to them and to their descendants forever... and God will never break His promise to His people - even though they prove faithless.

Moses spoke of the loving-kindnesses of the Lord which never ceases. He reminded them of the Lord's compassions which never, ever fails... for they are new every morning - just like the manna that they gathered day by day. Moses began His long and final message to the children of Israel by reminding them that God is good all the time and that His faithfulness is great - even when His chosen people proved to be an adulterous, unfaithful, and fickle generation.

Today, Israel has been set aside for a time, during which the Lord is working through a new Body of people - the Church. But let us never forget that the goodness of God never changes, for His gracious character never alters - He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The promises He made to that first generation of Israel will be fulfilled in God's time and in His way, for He has spoken... and will He not fulfil all the words that He has spoken to His people? Of course He will! And the promises He has made to the Church are equally firm and true, for His Word stands fast forever and ever.

As Christians, we can lose out on the promised rest that we have in Christ when we act like petulant children. Like those murmuring men and wilful women who died in the wilderness and did not enter the promised rest in Canaan, we too can forgo some of the rest and rewards that God has promised to those that love Him. We can forgo blessings in this life by not abiding in Christ, and we can forfeit rewards in the life to come, by living a carnal, legalistic life, rather walking in spirit and truth. But God will never break His Word to those whose faith in Him is credited to them as righteousness.

Both God's Word to His people Israel and His promises to His people the Church stand fast forever. To break His Word would be to deny Himself, for as Paul reminds us, "even if we are unfaithful, He remains faithful: for He cannot deny Himself." God cannot break His promises, for His Word endures into eternity.

May we treasure the goodness of the Lord and His great compassion towards us, knowing that He will not fail us, forsake us, or destroy us - for He will not forget what He swore to Israel, and He will not fail to carry out His promises to the Church. Praise His holy name.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, what a comfort to know that even when we are faithless, You remain faithful. Thank You that You are a compassionate God Who will never forget your promises to Your people. Thank You for this word of encouragement, and I pray that I may love You as I ought and live my life for Your praise and glory Thank You that Your faithfulness is new every morning - great is Your faithfulness to me. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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