The last paragraph of Deuteronomy chapter four begins the introduction to the second recitation of the Law for God’s people beginning with the 10 commandments. The purpose of these laws are seen in the two different givings of the law. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and He came down the mountain and found that the people had already broken them. In his anger, he smashed the tablets. By doing this, he illustrates the first purpose of that law, which is to expose our sinfulness. That’s what Paul says in Romans. Sin made him conscious of his sinfulness. The law should make us all aware of our sin.

The second time God gave Moses the tablets of the law; he placed them in the Ark of the Covenant, in the Most Holy place of all. This was a visual aid for man, illustrating that God wanted to live in the most inner part of man, i.e., his heart. It illustrated the fact that Moses will say literally in Chapter 6, verse 6 when he writes, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” Jeremiah will tell the nation years later that God intends “to write his laws upon your heart.” It’s our heart that God truly cares about.

None of us will ever be able to keep the whole law in every circumstance of our lives. I don’t think God expects us to. But above all, I believe he wants us to want to. He wants his laws on our hearts.