Don’t Play Games With God

Jerry A Collins

Deuteronomy 29




v   How should God’s past faithfulness motivate me?

v   What is it that God wants us to pursue?

v   What happens when we believe it is okay to sin?


Don’t play games with me! Webster defines this as acting in a deceitful, evasive, manipulative, or trifling manner in dealing with others.  Like ‘don’t play games with me—I want to know if you love me or not! We do not like being played games with. It is one of the more irritating things I can think of having done to me. When being reviewed for a possible contract renewal at the American church in London I felt I was being trifled with. The personnel committee unknown to me until several meetings into the process had already been meeting and discussing my future with others in the church without any input or questions or contact with me or knowledge by me at all. Not until I was confidentially told of this and reading minutes of meetings was I even aware of this. God does not want us playing games with Him. He told His people this before they entered into the land. He claimed them as His people and the people covenanted with God in agreement but they were sternly warned that God was not to be presumed upon or trifled with as to the stipulations of this agreement. This chapter serves to place this fact on the table for all to see.


The first verse explains that Moses is now calling on his hearers to commit themselves to the Mosaic covenant at Mt. Sinai. It is time for the people to step up to the plate and be counted upon to fulfill their obligations. In order to motivate them, Moses gathers all Israel vs 2 and reminds them of four things they have seen. These four things all express an aspect of God’s prior faithfulness to them as God’s people. (1) They saw what God did in Egypt—at least the older ones had vs 2-4. This historical review included ‘the great trials’ vs 3 probably their slavery, and they saw as well the ‘great signs and wonders’ probably referring to the plagues. There had been plenty to see and all of it in the context of God’s prior faithfulness and watch-care over His people. This generation had first hand eyewitness and as such their agreement with God would verify this reality and give preceding generations verifiable testimony of this eyewitness record. (2) Their clothes did not wear out these 40 years of wandering vs 5. They did not turn into rags. (3) You have not eaten bread, drunk wine or strong drink vs 6. The wilderness experience was designed to produce both obedience and dependence upon God for their needs and God did provide for them. (4) The recent conquest of Og and Sihon in the trans-Jordan area 7-8. They had even settled some of the tribes there. God Had promised—God had provided and here was the proof. They all knew it and now they must own it as true. You can see it but you must also believe it.

To this day vs 4  The new element Moses adds here is the people’s lack of understanding these acts of deliverance by God. Even at this moment. God wanted them to have it but they did not yet. They were only told to obey as a nation with the Law—even though some individuals had more understanding than others. There were some who did understand the character of God without the law such as Joseph not sleeping with Potiphar’s wife. Ezekiel and Daniel made many godly decisions which were not dictated by the Law. The disobedience and rebellion of majority originated from mindset that could not fully understand the implications of God’s works. The apostles asked Jesus why He spoke to them in parables. Jesus said it was so that the others would not understand. The disciples were to understand. The basis of obedience in the church—understanding—is different than the basis of obedience in Israel—the Law. One keeps order and the other develops maturity. We can say more about what please God because we have Christ’s commands that give us understanding not just obligation. So, for Israel blessing comes with obedience to the covenant God made with them through Moses.


 The moment 10-15 So this is the moment of truth—‘today’ mentioned five times. The stress is on the present committing themselves to obedience.

The scope 10-11 This covenant was for everyone, adults, children, tribes, and aliens. The scope of the covenant embraced even future generations vs 15. So the obedience of this present generation can have a great effect on those not yet born. So this arrangement is to be the aim of all in the nation no matter who they are. God expects all of the people to pursue obedience. No one in the nation will be let off of the hook and they will be expected to keep one another in line so that the nation will not be in peril.

The commitment 13 They were obligating themselves to be God’s people in conduct and actions. They would put feet to their commitment. God expects His people to commit, sacrifice, deny, take up their cross, submit, comply, decide, follow. We have a responsibility. We have the HS but we also must be filled by Him. God sees our needs but we must also pray for them. God reveals His Word to us but we must determine to study and apply it.


Be vigilant 16-18 They have also seen idolatry in Egypt 16. They are not naďve about this. They also saw the idolatry of nations they had passed through. Proximity to sin can entice you to participate. Israel had already been guilty of participating. They also knew that just one person vs 18 could defile many people to turn their hearts away too. Like poison it would spread from one heart to the next until many were infected. (Abe Lincoln did the same prosecuting the civil war with sweeping executive powers that curtailed civil liberties like stopping habeus corpus the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action." And arrests under military court authority to curtail spread of anti-war sentiment.) The people would need to be extremely vigilant against this sin when they entered the land since idolatry there too. No one should believe they can sin with confidence.

Sinful peril 19- 28 The one who says they have peace tho stubborn is in great peril 19-20. It is possible to have peace about disobeying the Word of God. This will only bring a calamity 22-28 that 1. destroys the one introducing the idolatry 20-21 so that he and his posterity will never be remembered again. 2. comes on the whole nation 22. You never sin in isolation. 3. It would be devastating to the nation 23. The land is unproductive, comprehensive judgment from Assyria and Babylon. 4. They will experience the full fury of God’s wrath against them 24-28. In response to the question the answer will be God’s wrath, anger, judgment, fury against their idolatry. God will not be trifled with. Future details vs 29 are not yet revealed but what has been is motivation enough to get with it and follow the Word of God.


1. We are called to obedience accompanied with understanding unlike Israel. It is understanding Jesus said that makes us reproducers. Israel called to obey but not reproduce. We called to reproduce which requires both obedience and understanding. 

2. God calls us to maturity not order. That call is for all of us not matter our social, racial, or financial status.

3. Understand that some sinners sin with confidence being at peace with their sin. It is God’s Word not peace of mind that determines what is good and what is bad.

4. What God did to land of Israel should be a warning to us—the consequences of disobedience, immaturity and lacking understanding is being dry and barren.