The story of Israel began with God speaking to an average guy named Abram son of Terah. He was a pagan man living in a pagan nation. Genesis 12 records, “Now the Lord said to Abram…” that began the story. Here we see God’s Covenant to Abraham of land, seed, and blessing. In chapter 15, God told Abraham, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” About 440 years later, God’s Covenant with Abraham is about to be fulfilled.
Deuteronomy 10:12–21 records God’s expectations for the human side of the Covenant. Let’s briefly look at God’s requirements:
Fear—Modern Christians are often quick to point out that fear means more like reverence or respect. While true, fear also means…fear. As one commentator put it, it’s an “acute awareness of God’s moral purity.” When human beings witness angels in scripture their first words are often, “Don’t be afraid.” To look upon God means our life—He told Moses, “no man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20). Don’t water this down: fear means fear (Matthew 10:28).
Walk—Walking in God’s ways is to obey. On a rocky mountain pass, you can’t always tell a safe spot to put your foot. However, you can trust that a safe spot is the same spot that the person in front of you put theirs. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet (Ps 119) and on some of the narrow passes around Israel, light and sure footing was a life and death issue. Same with obedience.
Love—Here we see the motivation. We are called to love God, but have you ever considered how lovable God is? God loves us and wants our absolute best. He is our best. He wants us to want Him because a relationship with Him produces the best life we can have.
Serve—Similar to walking, serving God speaks of the mission that He has given us. This is more than obedience; this is the purpose of our lives—to make His name famous on the earth.
Keep his commandments and statutes—No person is going to live morally pure. God’s commands show us how we can live morally pure lives, but it also provides a means of reconciliation for when people fall short. In the Law of the Old Testament, this was done through the sacrificial system. Today, we have 1 John 1:9, which teaches confession and repentance. Keeping the commands also means taking advantage of God’s plan for our imperfection.
These are the things the Lord requires. Keeping these things are for “our good” (13). Not only that obedience to the Lord is based on His character—He is the King (14), He is “the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”
God is great, and Israel was to obey for their good and His glory. He made a nation out of one man—a nation through whom the world would know the One True God…if they obey.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate