What Does Your God Require?

Deuteronomy 10-11  What does the LORD require?

This question might make your mind race ahead to Micah 6:8, a popular memory verse.  Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God… As Deuteronomy is written prior, you’ll note this is an extension of what God is teaching His people in Deuteronomy 10.  And these sentiments are quoted quite often through the histories, prophets, and Gospels.

10:1-11 a review of Moses’ ascent up the mountain, receiving the ten commandments, descent to see golden calf, God sets aside tribe of Levi to carry the ark and serve the LORD and bless in His name, ascent up the mountain to receive commandments again…  This is another review, because the people of God have forgotten so much, we all need review, but especially on the cusp of entering their new home, and renewing the covenant God has called them into.  

Verse 12, review is over–so now what does the LORD your God require of you?  Your love, and service, from your whole being.

Read Psalm 40:6-10:

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.  Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”  I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, You know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your hesed and Your truth from the great congregation.  

David spoke this, and indeed he partially fit the bill, but this is a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus, see Luke 24:44, and Hebrews 10:5-7.  

So the question looms–why the Law?  What does God require? Ultimately, the Law points to what God requires, rather than being what God requires. (see the Galatians series for more about the Law) 

He does not require robotic, unfeeling, stoic observance of the ten commandments.  He wants our whole being, our heart-soul-might, to love and serve and cling to Him.  And this is exactly what the Spirit will lead Moses to speak over and over to those listening.  

What does God require?  “To fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul.”   

Verse 15 God loves, God chooses…remember, this is not earned.  Israel was redeemed from slavery by God, and likewise we are redeemed from our spiritual slavery by God.  Not because we earn it. He chooses, He draws us near and reveals His love, and we have faith. You are not picked for God’s family because of your amazing skills, good looks, ability to earn money…  He sets His affections, and is faithful. He sets His affections despite the obstinacy of the people; of all people. There are none who could be said to be “worthy”…

Verse 16 So circumcise your heart! We will study this more in depth in chapter 30 when God tells us it is He who will circumcise our hearts.  And we can look back at Deuteronomy with Colossians 2:9-15 in mind, of how this is all fulfilled in Christ’s work: 

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions…”

Verse 20  fear, serve, cling, praise!  So unlike the ‘gods’ of the Egyptians, or of Abram’s forefathers, of Abram’s wife’s family, or any of the other cultures surrounding them…  those ‘gods’ were never to be clung to, they were to be feared as an enemy–as one who might be fickle and change his mind–as one who might even forget me or not hear me…he might show partiality to someone who hates me, or accept a bribe from someone who wants my downfall…but not YHWH!!! 

“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God who does not show partiality or 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…you shall fear the LORD your God, you shall serve Him and cling to Him and swear by His name.  He is your praise and He is your God…” 

Cling, keep close to; this Hebrew word is the same verb used of a husband and wife relationship.  Be so intentionally and intimately close that none can come between you and your God.

21-22  He is your praise, and your God!  He has done great and awesome things for you!  FOR YOU!!!! For you. Ponder how His great love is set upon each of His children.  

The chapter closes with a reminder of the promise and fulfilled from God’s first covenant with Israel.  Your fathers entered Egypt as 70 souls…but now number as the stars. Another reminder of the fulfilling of the covenant made with Abram/Abraham.  Let this remind you that God does not change, and is at work, even if ‘little by little’…

Chapter eleven is a string of therefores:

11:1  Therefore, love God and keep His charge.  

11:2-7 illustration, lesson from history; a reminder of the greatness of the Exodus, and of how God purged sin from among His people.  

11:8 Therefore keep the commands, the land is amazing, the work will be easier, the LORD cares for you!  Instead of irrigation–rain!

11:13 Obedience = love YHWH, serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, enjoy His blessings

11:18 Therefore, impress these words on your heart and soul; teach and talk and write…

11:22 If you go in full of pride and your own good ideas, you will fail.  But if you keep this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, then the LORD will fight your enemies, clear out the land and welcome you home, just as He has promised.  

Over and over, the people in this oral culture heard the call to love the God Who has loved them; to fear and serve and cling to Him, and to keep His words–not forgetting but keeping.  They are then reminded (remember Deuteronomy 6:4ff?) to impress these words on their hearts. Memorize. Keep. Impress. It is hypocrisy not to.  The people of God will hear His words and impress them on their hearts–and this effort is collective.  It is made easier as we teach them, talk of them while walking or sitting or going to bed. The people of God will keep His words together.  We need to hear, speak, learn, teach, sing, even dance as we rejoice in His words.

11:26 foreshadows the blessings and curses that will be further defined in later chapters.  Obey = blessings disobey = curse

Adam experienced this.  And now, in the covenant of grace we are freed from this cycle.  Jesus took the curse of the Law, and became sin for us. He redeemed us from the Law, which rightfully demanded our eternal death and damnation.  

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