““Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.
Today’s passage is important, because it established a very important principle as the Children of Israel prepared to enter into the Promise Land: don’t add to or take away from the words of God. God (through Moses) wanted this to be a foundational concept for their nation as they developed in this new land that God had provided. The foundation of their new nation had to be that they let God speak for Himself, and they were not to try to add to that or take away from that.
John ended that last book of the canon of Scripture by adding a similar statement:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The challenging thing for us today is that we live in a culture that continually seems to add to and take away from God’s Word. The opening chapters of Genesis are an excellent example of this. For instance, many writers attempt to perform amazing “linguistic gymnastics” in order to to fit the notion of billions of years into Genesis 1. God has clearly told us that He created the earth in six literal days, and yet people regularly attempt to add to that message.
On the other hand, God has also told us that we will one day have to give an account of our lives before Him, but many Bible teachers seem to want to leave that part of the message out for fear of offending followers. How much better it would be if they would communicate the life-changing truths that God has given us!
God has given us the exact, precise message that we need for life. It behooves us to know and heed every last word!