Reading this passage, I remember sitting in class in seminary and hearing the professor discussing God’s Law. He pointed out that the stated reason so often for following God’s Law is that “it may go well with you.” As we read in verse 1, similarly, Moses says, “That you may live.”
When parents tell their kids to do something, what do you often hear? “Why?” Why should I listen? Why should I obey? God is a good Father and He repeatedly states that obedience is life. God wants Israel to be a “great” nation. Following God’s Law brings wisdom and understanding (6). It is through obedience that this nation was going to become “great” (7–8).
However, examine the warning of verse 9, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.” Obedience requires reminding ourselves of who God is and what God has done. This is why we encourage the spiritual disciplines—God’s Word, prayer, even sharing your faith all allow us to “keep our soul’s diligently.” They remind us of who God is and what He’s done in our lives. This is the truth that we must pass on to the next generation, why, so that they may live.
Before entering the Land, this second generation of Israelites needed to hear this. Obedience to God must be grounded in God’s goodness—His heart for His people. Obedience without the recognition of God’s Heart leads to legalism and is burdensome. However, when we understand that God’s heart in calling us to obey is for our greatest good, obedience becomes easier. God is not a buzzkill; He wants our best. He is our best. His way is our best way.
Questions for reflection:
Is there an area of your life that God has been calling you for obedience?
Do you struggle at times to believe that God wants your best?
How have you witnessed God’s heart and His love for you through past obedience?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate