Recently I have been listening to the dramatized NKJV of Scripture. I find listening often makes me aware of something I did not detect by sight (i.e., reading). As I was driving and listening today, one word piqued my interest; not surprisingly the word was 'wisdom'. Curiously, I was not listening to one of the books we commonly refer to as one of the "Wisdom Books". Rather, I was listening to Moses speaking in Deuteronomy; known by Jews as Devarim or Words and part of the Torah or Instruction.
The text of Deuteronomy 4:5-9 (NKJV) read... “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, (emphasis added) and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren..."
In the midst of many discussions today, Christian communities have a tendency to either isolate or accommodate the land into which we are to go with the Good News and possess with the saving grace of God. Some groups hide the statutes, afraid of offending others who see God's ways as strange, irrelevant, and even foolishness. Others attempt to teach the people in these lands these statutes. It seems to me that God intended neither.
An objective review of the selected text – and the words well before and after – makes it clear that God's people must "be careful to observe them" – and in so doing others in these lands will attribute such obedience as "wisdom and understanding".