Deuteronomy 10:12, 13 – 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? (NIV 1978)
My Musings – “This is for your own good.” Ever have someone say that to you? Maybe your parent when you were growing up? Ever wonder why? Did you believe them at the time?
- Ever Wonder Why? – Perhaps it was because we were too young and immature to know what was best for ourselves. But if you were like me, you probably felt that you did know what was best, when in reality it was what we wanted, which wasn’t always what was best.
- Did You Believe Them? – Probably not. Because we have a tendency to think that we know what is best. But we should have believed them, because if your parents were like mine, they always did want what was best for me. And they were wise enough to know that often what I wanted was not what was best. In the end, it was for my own good.
Back to the verse. It might seem strange to be told to both fear God and love Him in the same sentence. Yet, getting back to when we were young, those were two of the basic emotions we had for our parents. We loved them, yet we feared them. But this was a healthy fear, for we knew we had nothing to fear from them if we did right.
And how do we do right? Not simply by observing what we are told (doing what is right). We’ve all done that too haven’t we? “I’ll do it, but I won’t like it.” What kind of obedience is that? True obedience is going “all in.”
- Walking – Not just walking in His ways, but “in all His ways.” We don’t pick and choose the ways that are convenient or that require little effort or sacrifice.
- Serving – Not just serving God, but “with all your heart and with all your soul.” For even if we were to walk “in all His ways” it means little if our heart and soul are not in it, or if they are only in it half-heartedly.
Now these admonitions were given specifically to Israel (His chosen people). How do they apply to us today (His Church)? Certainly not as a means of achieving salvation. For we know that we could never live up to it. But as a means of growing in Christ once having achieved salvation (“by grace through faith).”
As children, we did not grow up over night. It took time. And as we grew, something strange happened. We found ourselves no longer having to do what our parents said, because we were all grown up. But still doing the things that once upon a time they told us we should do (or not do). Because we had grown, and now knew that is was for our own good after all. And we did it. Not out of fear, because our fear had grown into respect.
My Advice – Fear (respect), walk (all in), love (because He first loved us), serve (heart and soul, not reluctantly or under compulsion), and observe (because it is the right thing to do and it demonstrates all the other things). Because it is, after all, “for your own good.“