In continuing his summation of the events leading up to their entrance into the Promised Land, Moses reiterated the importance of obeying God’s commands. “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…” He also reminded them of the necessity of teaching those commands to their children.
Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s dislike of idol worship as that of Baal of Peor and other gods. They were not to worship any carved image of any man, animal or inanimate thing, including the sun, moon or stars. God is the true God. No idol god is capable of performing the great things that they had seen in their deliverance from Egypt and sojourn in the wilderness. He warned them of the consequences of such idolatry.
The children of Israel were a special chosen group of people. Moses pointed out the many blessings that they had enjoyed within their covenant relationship with God. However, if they were to turn from Him, His wrath would come upon them. We know that on many occasions, they did turn from God and were severely punished. When they repented, He took them back and blessed them.
The second part of Moses farewell address to the Israelites began with a review of the Ten Commandments. They were a brief summary of the complete Law of Moses. Some have suggested that God condemns children and future generations for the sins of their parents. This is true only to the extent that succeeding generations are influenced by the examples of their ancestors. Each person is accountable for his own actions, whether good or bad and cannot be lost or saved because of the sins or obedience of anyone else.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” The “great commandment” summarizes man’s complete relationship with God. Failure to observe any command from Him is a failure to completely observe, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
As the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, it was important for them to remember to conduct themselves as God’s children and to teach their own children to be obedient to Him. They were entering a difficult phase of their lives. Men tend to become like their neighbors. The Canaanites and other nations about them worshipped false gods. That would be highly displeasing to God.