By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 4-6
Key Scripture Verse: Deuteronomy 5:29 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever.”
These words that are quoted are the words Moses reiterated to the people that God had said to him when he had first given Moses the Ten Commandments. Moses is reviewing the law with the people, reminding them of the behavior that is expected of them and that they must uphold when they enter The Promised Land.
He reminds them of their covenant with God and how he loves them, that loving God and following his commandments will allow them to live an abundant life and that they are to teach the commandments to their children. If they would pass the teachings on and live by them, for generations to come God promised he would bless them.
But, God didn’t just want them to follow a set of rules. He wanted them to desire it in their hearts to follow his will. He wanted their hearts to “be inclined to fear” him. He wanted them to choose to respect and honor his will because they understood who he was and that he loved them and wanted what was best for them. Doing what pleased God would be in their best interest, because he would bless them over and over again—but not because of legalistically following a set of rules. He wanted them to love him and want to please him in all that they did.
God’s plans were for them to prosper and to live life with joy and for their children to enjoy the same.
If we could only remember that when we are tempted to do something other than that which is pleasing to God.
There is real spiritual warfare going on. There are insidious ways that we can be swayed to move away from God. And because of our human nature, we are going to sin—we are going to be persuaded at times to do our own will and to take things into our own hands. We will make mistakes and we will openly defy God at times, going against his teachings. Unfortunately, the Ten Commandments point out our sins, because it’s hard to uphold them in our lives.
So, what are we to do to remain faithful? We are to confess our sins when we have strayed. We are to strive to do God’s will and when we fail, we need to allow him to discipline us and to learn from our mistakes. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, to sanctify us, so that we not only know facts about what God wants, but we follow his will openly and with our hearts, desiring to be in relationship with him, respecting and honoring that he is God.
Just today I heard a young clerk at the grocery store complaining that she didn’t get to listen to a lot of rock and roll when she was younger, because she was only allowed to listen to Christian music which she mocked with a gesture of quotation marks around the word “Christian.” I thought to myself that she was lucky that her parents loved her enough to provide some restrictions, that their careful attendance to what she listened to was out of love. I hope she will one day appreciate that their guidance and choices for her were made in an effort to protect her from harm.
If we could only see it from God’s perspective—that his guidance and his laws are there for our protection, to keep us close by to him, to keep watch over us, to keep us from harm. If we could only have the faith that our “hearts would be inclined” to love, honor, and respect him as our loving father, as our God.