A Love For God.
Deuteronomy 9-10, John 14
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? – Deuteronomy 10:12-13 ESV
Moses went out of his way to remind the people of Israel of all that God had done for them over the four decades since He had released them from bondage in Egypt. He made sure they understood that it was “Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Deuteronomy 9:12-13). He broke the news to them that God was “not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:6 ESV). But he also told them, that in spite of themselves, God was going to go before them and deliver the land and their enemies into their hands. And all God asked for in return was that they show Him the love, devotion, obedience, and yes, fear, He so rightly deserved. Moses wanted them to understand the incredible nature of the relationship they enjoyed with the God who created the universe. “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:17-18 ESV). He wasn’t just some divine guide for living or a convenient source for food. He wasn’t some kind of talisman or good luck charm to help them win battles or overcome difficulties. He was the almighty, holy, righteous, just, powerful, loving, merciful and gracious God of the universe.
What does this passage reveal about God?
God desires that men show Him the honor and glory He deserves. He demands that they show Him the fear His power and holiness requires. He longs for them to understand just how incredible it is that He allows them to come into His divine presence, in spite of their sins and constant tendency to rebel against Him. God wants men to willingly obey and love Him because of all that He has done for them. Of all people, the Israelites knew first-hand the power and holiness of God. They had been given His law. They had heard what He required of them and what He would do if they disobeyed Him. But they had also experienced the incredible blessings that came as a result of obeying Him. They knew what it was like to have Him go before them, providing direction and protection. And they alone, of all people living on the earth at the time, had been given this unique relationship with God. And all He asked in return was that they love, fear and obey Him.
What does this passage reveal about man?
Even those who have experienced the love, mercy, grace and power of God in their lives, sometimes have a difficult time expressing legitimate love in return. We all struggle with obedience to God. Partly because of our sin nature. But also because our God is invisible to us. We live in a temporal and physical world where the spiritual is difficult to see and comprehend. So we make decisions based on what we can see. We tend to believe what we can touch and experience with our senses. We find ourselves trusting what we can hold in our hands and see with our eyes. The Israelites had visible manifestations of God’s glory and presence, and still struggled with trusting and obeying Him. They experienced countless displays of His blessings and still tended to fall out of love with Him when things didn’t go quite the way they expected. And we do the same thing today. But we have been given God’s Word as a constant reminder of who He is and all that He has done for mankind over the centuries. Not only that, God’s Word tells us what He is going to do in the future as part of the fulfillment of His divine promise to mankind. For those of us who know Him and have a relationship with Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, we have been given a glimpse into God’s faithfulness in the past and His faithfulness yet to come. We know how God solved the problem of sin and man’s inability to live obediently to His law. We know God sent His own Son to pay the penalty for our rebellion against Him and provided a way for us to experience forgiveness and a restored relationship with Him. We also know that God is not done yet. He is one day going to send His Son again to bring an end to ALL sin and suffering. He will restore order where there has only been chaos and put all things back the way God had intended them to be all along.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
Jesus came to provide salvation from sin and the penalty of death. He gave His life so that I might live – not on my own terms, but according to God’s divine will. Christ’s death not only provided me with salvation, but with the power of the Holy Spirit who makes it possible for me to live obediently and faithfully according to God’s will. Jesus promised His disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16 ESV). “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26 ESV). Jesus still expected obedience and love from His disciples. He told them, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21 ESV). But He also knew that they would be incapable of obedience and love without help. So He told them that they would receive divine assistance in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Like the disciples, I have the capacity and power to love and obey.
God’s requirements have not changed. He still expects us to fear Him, love Him, obey Him and serve Him. But He hasn’t left us to try in our own strength. He has placed His Spirit within us, and that power is now available to us, He resides within us. Which is why Jesus told His disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14 ESV). The Holy Spirit gives us the capacity to do great things in the name of God and out of love for God.
Father, I want my life to be an expression of love for You. I want to live in obedience to You and reliance upon You. I have no excuse for not doing so, because You have placed Your Spirit within me. I know I have the capacity to say no and refuse to listen to His directions for my life. I do it far too frequently. But help me to see that His power is the key to living obediently, joyfully, and powerfully. I want to let Him lead me and empower me to love You by living fearfully, obediently, faithfully and submissively to Your will for my life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men