See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it.
Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.
Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.
He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.
And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully,
so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,
or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,
or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.
And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.
But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.
The LORD was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance.
I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land.
Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden.
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and arousing his anger,
I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.
The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you.
There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell.
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.