Monday, January 17, 2011

A template for pleasing God

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 10:12-22

TO CHEW ON: "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 and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good. Deuteronomy 10:12-13

Here Moses gives the Israelites — and us — a tidy list of five things that God expects of us:

"What does the Lord your God require of you..."

"but to fear the Lord your God..."
"Fear" (yare) means to stand in awe of, to reverence, honour and respect. Moses gave these instructions to the Israelites who had witnessed the plagues that God sent to soften Pharaoh. They ate and drank God's provision for them in the wilderness. They saw the lightning and smoke, and heard the rumble of His presence on Mount Sinai. They knew how awesome God was. We do well to review these pictures of God to put a little starch in our respect for Him.

"to walk in all His ways..."
"Walk" (halak) means to come, depart, proceed, move, go away. Every direction is covered. That's how everywhere and constant is to be our living out of His ways and doing the things He approves of.

"and to love Him..."
"Love" ('ahab) includes human love for another human, human love for God as well as human appetite for objects — food, drink, sleep, wisdom. Perhaps our relationship to those last gives us a model for loving God. Do we 'love" Him, long for Him, crave Him, need Him, have as much affection for Him as we have for food, drink, and sleep?

"to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."
"Serve" ('abad) means to labour, do work for another, serve as subjects, serve with levitical service. This service is not to be tentative or half-hearted. Rather it's to be filled with energy, enthusiasm, intention, devotion and focus. It's service that completely absorbs the heart (seat of appetite, emotion, and passion) and the soul (self, mind).

"and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes."
"Keep" (shamar) means to guard, observe, give heed to, keep watch over. Such paying attention implies a watchfulness over thoughts and actions that is often absent from our lives which have grown accustomed to relaxing in the expectation of grace.

Why do we live this way? It is certainly not to curry God's favour in a salvation-earning way. Rather, we do it because it's the way we were designed to work best. And when we do, we position ourselves under God's downspout of blessings. Read God's promises to Israel if they lived this way:

"And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled....

For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.  Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea,shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you."  -- Deuteronomy 11:13-15; 22-25

PRAYER: Dear God, I cannot live in this God-pleasing way without Your help. Please work in me the 'want to' and the 'how to.' Amen.

MORE: Spiritual disciplines
"We don't have to wonder how to meet with the Lord and experience Him. God Himself established paths—such as Bible intake, prayer, worship, service, evangelism, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and fellowship—which make our spiritual walk with Him simpler and more satisfying." from "Discipline Yourself" by Donald S. Whitney

Bible Drive-Thru

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...