12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. 14 “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. 15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. 16 Therefore, change your hearts and stop being stubborn. 17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. 18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. 19 So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. 20 You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. 21 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. 22 When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky!”
How we look at God affects not only how we will live but also how we:
Moses reminds us that fearing the Lord doesn’t revolve around a bunch of rules, it is relationship based. The call here is to “love him and serve him with all your heart and soul” We are to love the Lord not only with all our passion but with our entire person. But how we look at God will affect how we love God. An accurate view of God will free us to love Him with everything we have, instead of holding back we will hold on to Him. When we meditate upon His mercy and great love for us, we should be filled with love for Him. 1 John 4:19 says “We love because he first loved us.” Love doesn’t find its foundation in a feeling, true love is not something we fall into and out of, like a bed. Feelings are like the tides which ebb and flow, either drowning or draining the beach. Like the tide, feelings they have a tendency to come and go. But a real love for the Lord is built on a firm foundation, the unchanging character of Christ. Second our love for the Lord should lead us to serve Him with all of our life. Not only are we to love Him with all of our life but we should serve Him in every area of our life. All that we do in life we should do for God. When we let Him be the Lord of our lives, we seek to be His servants. So often we act as if God is there solely to serve us. God, why didn’t you answer my prayer or give me what I wanted when I wanted it? Instead of worshipping in the difficult times we tend to whine and ask the Almighty, why is life so hard for me? Instead of communing with Him we complain against Him. When it comes to being faithful we have a faulty mentality, we feel like since we were faithful and followed God He is now obligated to provide us with a happy and comfortable life, free from problems and pain. But to fear God really means to see ourselves as being the ones to serve Him? What can I do to obey and serve your will? An accurate fear of the Lord leads to absolute faithfulness, where a faulty fear leads to a fractured and fluctuating faith. An accurate fear of the Lord will be far reaching, not only will we love Him but we will love both friends and foreigners. We will become people who lavish love freely, people who readily love instead of being reserved in our love. Moses reminds them to love foreigners because they themselves had once been foreigners. Don’t become too good to share God’s grace for others, don’t forget that you were once a foreigner, living far from God’s plan and promise. Moses reminded them of God’s compassionate care, of how he lovingly leads and graciously guides. We have a God that takes His people from bondage to blessing, from ruined to redeemed, not so that we can become selfish snobs but to serve. Our love for God should lead to a love for others, to care for the poor and the foreigners who are far from God. We should marvel at His might and be moved by His mercy in such a way that we model His mercy to others: 17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. 18 He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice.” So why if we believe these things about God don’t we live in awe of the Almighty? Because even as saints we can still be stained by sin, that’s why Moses calls us to: “16 Circumcise your hearts, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” A circumcised heart is a changed heart, one that goes from being stubborn to being submissive. Instead of being hard hearted we become malleable and moldable. When it comes to the Savior are you submissive, or stubborn and stiff-necked? What shines through His Will or your and way? When we struggle to go our own way we forget who is the Savior and who is the servant. Moses warned the people that once in the Promised Land they would be tempted to look at all they had and think it was the work of their own hands instead of the gracious provision of God. They would trade a life of praise for one of pride. Life would become about self-effort instead of the Savior, it would revolve around their work instead His. Pride always puts us on a never ending path of performance. Instead of resting in the finished work of redemption we end up running on the never ending treadmill of trying. And no matter how much we achieve we never arrive. What about your heart, is there any hardness that needs healed, any callousness that needs to be cut away? What surgery does your heart require to be soft and submissive? Finally when we fear the Lord we should obey Him, “And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.” When we live to love the Lord we realize that the law God gives us is for our own good. Our obedience becomes based on love not obligation. Today we need to be reminded of the words of Jesus in John 15:9-12 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” When obedience revolves around relationship not rules, love will motivate us not obligate us. Moses reminds us that obeying God’s commands brings blessing not bondage; it is disobedience which brings disaster. Do you have a factual fear of the Father or a fraudulent one? Take some time to look at and evaluate how you love, serve and obey Him. Is it a delight or a duty? Do you live to love and please Him or is obedience just an obligation?