Friday, January 11, 2008

God Requires: Dt 10:12-13

"Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)
In the prophesy of Hosea, God spoke of the "ten thousand precepts of My law." (Hosea 8:12) While God spoke much with the nation of Israel, and laid out for them, in detail, His laws, statutes, and commandments, when you boil them all down, the requirements of God are quite simple. It is possible to focus so intently on the myriad of commandments that we can miss the heart of God that stands behind those commandments. So what is it that God really requires of us? What is it that God desires from us?

Fear: There are two kinds of fear. The first involves terror. For example, there have been times when I have woken up in the middle of the night thinking someone is in the house; this is terror. However, this is not the type of fear God is talking about. The second type of fear is centered in awe. It is not irrational or based on terror, but it is a heath respect and awe for the power of someone or something. For example, when working on an electrical outlet in my house, I am always sure to first turn off the breaker. Its not that I'm terrified of electricity, but I do have a healthy respect for it and the harm it can do if it is mistreated. When I approach God, I do so in an attitude of reverence, honesty, and humility. I am not terrified of Him, but I am keenly aware of the fact that He is God and I am not! He is the Father and I am the child! We should never presume that God is like us, even though he dwells with us, He is still God and we should never become irreverent, presumptuous, or indifferent in His presence.

Walk: Our walk not only speaks about our personal conduct but also our life message. Our walk is the outward expression of our inward faith, motivation, love, and conviction. God's desire is not that we would merely become like Him on the inside, but that the outward expressions of our life would also represent and express Him. It was said of Jesus that He is "the radiance of His [the Father's] glory and the exact representation of His [the Father's] nature." (Hebrews 1:3) Jesus' life expressed God, and so should ours. God is interested in our walk, that is why Paul exhorts us to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." (Ephesians 4:1)

Love: The Hebrew term used here for "love" is not an abstract form of love or mere devotion to an idea or person, but the word used in this passage literally means "affections". God desires that we would have hearts of affection toward Him, that we would desire Him more than the things in this world, more than other people, and even more than our very lives. When we first come to the Lord, we may still find that most of our affections are still attached to this world. So how do we develop hearts of affection towards God? Jesus told us that "no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.'" (Luke 5:39 NKJV) New wine is an acquired taste. The way to develop a desire for new wine is to continually taste it until we have lost a taste for the old wine and end up preferring the new. The way we develop a heart for the Lord is to continually enter into His presence until we find ourselves preferring Him over anything and everything this world has to offer.

Serve: God does not desire a service that comes from compulsion and forced duty, rather He desires a service that comes from the heart. Nether is our service to be half hearted, meant to merely fulfill some requirement or to please the expectations of men, rather our service should be with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. With God, it is an all or nothing proposition; we are either in or out, there is no half way. Jesus wrote to the church at Laodicea, chastising them saying, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16) Let our lives, and our service, not be cold or even lukewarm, let us be passionately hot for the Lord.

Obey: Jesus, confronting the religious people of the day, asked them, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46) Jesus reminded them that what we say is not as important as what we do. We can call Him "Lord" but it is our actions that will betray the truth. God has not only called us to His gospel, but He has also called us to obedience. Paul understood that, as an apostle, his mission was not merely to call people to belief, but also to obedience. Paul says of himself, "we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake." (Romans 1:5) We are called to obey, everything else is lawlessness. We can claim to be followers of Christ, but if we fail to obey Him, them we are just deceiving ourselves. We must never forget the exhortation of James, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22 NKJV)

David Robison

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