And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask 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 observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? (Deut 10:12-13 NIV)
Continuing on in my trek through Deuteronomy, I got stuck on the above passage a few days ago. As I read through it carefully, I realized what a tall order this really is. Moses had just been reminding the people of all that God had done for them as He delivered them out of Egypt and sustained them through their wanderings. The thing to remember here is that God is not just asking for their love and obedience just because He is God, but because He loves them so much and wants what is best for them.
Remember that the nation of Israel in the bible is a picture of God's people, you and I, delivered from our own Egypts (our sin and old ways) into a new way of life. What God wanted from them is what He also expects from us. Like I said in the title of this post, it is a tall order to give God what He wants and deserves from us. So what does God ask of us according to the passage above? He wants us to:
1) Fear God. God wants to be revered. Reverence encompasses a healthy fear of God's power. Again, this is for our own good! Remember, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Pro 1:7)
2) Walk in all His ways. Isn't this easier said than done? Knowledge of the bible is the easy part. Living out our knowledge is a challenge at times because of the distractions of everyday life. Oh, and the fact that we are human, doesn't help our cause, now does it? (Ro 7:19)
3) Love God. As a friend of mind is so good at asking, "What does this look like?". What does loving God look like in your life? What should it look like? Loving Him is getting to know Him, not only through the beauty of creation but by reading His word. (Ps 1:1-3)
4) Serve God with all our heart and soul. God's wish list for us just keeps getting harder. I'm always convicted with the "all" part. God wants all of my attitudes, activities and actions to be focused on Him and Him alone. At least that's how I read this. We all have lives that we must live in this busy world (jobs, families, etc.), so we can not serve God in an official ministry capacity 24/7. However, our attitudes must be such that we treat everything we do as a service to God, showing His love and character to others in all that we do. (1 Cor 10:31)
5) Obey God for our own good. God only wants what is best for us. He is that perfect parent, full of love for His children, who wants to see us succeed in life. When we start to fret about all of the "rules", we must remember also His motive. (Josh 1:8)
As I said earlier in this post, these are tall orders God wants us to follow. How are you doing with them? Only you know how you stack up to what God has asked of you. The good news is, that God is there to help us change because He has given us His Holy Spirit. He wants us to succeed.