The Consequences of Neglected Warnings

During the 1982 war in the Falkland Islands between England and Argentina, the Royal Navy’s 3,500-ton destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk by a single missile fired from an Argentine fighter jet. It caused some people to wonder if modern surface warships were obsolete, sitting … More


After a strong warning against idolatry (v.v. 15-20), Moses for the third time refers to the Lord’s refusal to let him cross the Jordan and enter Canaan (v. 21; Deut. 1:37; Deut. 3:26-27). Certainly his repetition of the Lord’s prohibition points out his deep disappointment. Since the people were about to enter the land, Moses told them to be very careful not to forget the covenant they had made with the Lord not to worship idols in any form (vv. 22-24). If they, or their children, or their grandchildren, should ever forget these instructions he spells out the consequences of neglecting that warning (v.v. 25-31). He tells how certain judgment will come with their dispersion among the nations, and with a great loss of life (v. 27) and a giving over to idolatry (v. 28). This actually took place in 722 B.C. From that time until Mary 14, 1948, when the modern nation of Israel was recognized, the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the world and had no national homeland.

Even though a portion of the Jews are back in the land they are still in deep trouble and a witness of their disobedience. When God brings them back into that land at the beginning of the millennium, as he predicted, they won’t be having the trouble they are having today. This is a tremendous lesson for us to learn. We are called to be a separated people who are not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). However, the trend is for churches to pattern their ministry after what the world is doing.


The warnings in the book of Deuteronomy were clear enough to help the Israelites, but they failed to heed them. A warning to me is not enough to make me obey. I must be living a separated life from worldly practices and take His warnings to heart.

Deuteronomy 4:21-31 (English Standard Version)

Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. "When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them."

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