Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What God Requires

Moses' sermon to the Israelites started with a review of all the wonderful things they had seen God do on their forty-year journey from Egypt. In Deuteronomy 10, he finally gets to the "and now". 

Moses' "and now" is the point of everything. It's the reason God brought them out of the Egypt, refined them through the years in the wilderness, and helped them take the Promised Land. 

God had rescued them, protected them, provided for for them and He wanted something in return. 

Sometimes I forget that. Relationships require "give and take" and our relationship with God does, too. One of the nice things about our relationship with God is that He tells us what He expects. We don't have to wonder. We don't have to guess. 

We know what God wants from us because He has told us. If we don't get it right, it's because we choose not to do so.

"And now, Israel, what does the Lord require from you, but 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 with all your soul, and to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?" Deuteronomy 10:12-13 nasb

Moses asked a question. What does God require other than this? The answer was simple. Nothing. 

The response God requires is an active response. Fear. Walk. Love. Serve. Keep. Attending a church service once a week will not be enough. It is an active, personal response, and it permeates every fiber of our being, every moment of our lives.

If we have a holy fear (or deep respect) for God and love Him with all our heart and soul, we will walk in His ways, serve Him without reservation, and obey His commands.

Moses knew it would be hard for his people, so he gave a one-sentence secret for perfect response.

"Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more." Deuteronomy 10:16 nasb

Cut away all the excess in our hearts, all the desires and idols in our lives, and stop stiffening ourselves against the Lord and His ways. 

Let go of what we want (and the things that keep us from loving God with our whole heart) and embrace what God wants.

It's simpler than we realize, and infinitely better than life on our own, without God. 

Today, let's soften our stiff necks and invite our Lord to look at our hearts. Let's allow Him to find that which needs to be cut away, and do what must be done. Circumcise our hearts. Cut away that which displeases Him. 

What does God require? Hearts filled with respect and love for Him and a demonstration of that respect and love by the way we live our lives. 

Let's love and live in such a way that the world knows the goodness of God by knowing us.
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