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?
For the past few months my congregation and I have been going through the journey of Moses into the Promised Land that originally started with a promise made to Abraham by God. It is important to note early in this article that God has a promised land for each of us. Of course that ultimate land of promise is in heaven with Him in a mansion that has been built for us to reside in, but our promise land here on earth is found in the specific purpose He has laid out for each of us individually.
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 are the words of Moses to the Israelites as he prepared them for their Promised Land that was filled with purpose for their descendants. The question posed here is what does God require of us as we journey toward that land, as we look toward residing in our purpose, or better stated how to live a life that God desires us to live to the fullest.
Stated in these words of Moses are five simple directives to fear God, please God, love God, serve God, and obey God. For the sake of space and time I will not be able to go into deep detail about each of these points, but simply I can state that each of them can be found intertwined in the ten commands found in Exodus 20 and echoed by Jesus in Matthew 22:35-40. The verses in Matthew read this way, “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
There is a commission that we are to have an attitude of fearing, pleasing, serving, and obeying, but there is something about true love that helps us bring the first four right in line with God’s will for our lives. Paul in 1 Timothy 1-5-7 states that the commandants of our life should be derived from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith.
It is this pure heart that Paul talks about that gives us our genuine desire to please God through service to others. This is a direct act of obedience to God’s Word that shows that we are not scared of God, but possess a fear derived from reverence and respect.
John tells us in 1 John 4:7-10, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Fearing, pleasing, serving, obeying and loving are simple requirements when we consider that God sent Christ to forsake it all for us to have freedom from the bondage of our sin.
I have found that once we begin to understand 1 John 4, we begin to not only see why Deuteronomy is pertinent, but you will begin to see the truth in Jesus’s answer to the lawyer in Matthew 22. My friend God is love. That love should compel us to love others, which will result in a display of all the requirements needed to inhabit the promises from God. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Love God and I promise friend you will experience more than you can imagine. May God bless you and keep you and allow his face shine upon you and give you peace. God bless you!
Rev. Ewell Vernon is pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church in Lowgap.