The Fear of the Lord, Study 21

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

 

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

 

Read the context:  Deuteronomy 10:1-13

I would like to suggest a spiritual metaphor from this context passage. 

First, in verse 1 God initiated and called Moses to come up to meet Him on the mountain.  Look up the following verses to find the spiritual parallel:  John 15:16, Ephesians 1:3-6, II Corinthians 4:6, Mark 3:13.  In each of these verses, who has initiated the relationship between God and us?  Take some time to reflect on this.  How do you perceive your relationship with God – you reaching up to Him or Him reaching down to you?  I think our default mode is to believe that we have reached up to God and in some measure have had to get His attention.  But the truth is that the initiation has all been from His side:  He has reached down to us and called us to come to Himself.  Pause and reorient your thinking; praise Him for His love and calling and work in your life.

Second, God told Moses to hew out 2 tablets of stone and bring them with him.  What does God say our hearts are like in Ezekiel 36:26 and Ezekiel 11:19? 

Third, what does God invite Moses to do?  Read the following verses to see the parallel for ourselves:  Matthew 11:28, John 6:37, Isaiah 55:1, Revelation 22:17, John 7:37.  This is God’s invitation to us:  “Come.”  Come to Me: up on the mountain, away from the clamor of daily life, to be alone with God.

Fourth, what was the purpose?  What was God going to do?  Read Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 10:16-17 to see the parallel.  Of Jesus it is written:  Psalm 40:8.  Several times over in the Gospel of John, Jesus says that He only said and did those things that He heard from the Father, that He never did anything of His own initiative but only what the Father told Him.  God’s Law, God’s will was within His heart, and He exemplified how we are to live by the Spirit.  Moses was to bring up the stone tablets and God Himself was going to write upon them His Law.  Even so, I must take time to meet with God alone and bring my stony heart to Him that He might write on it His Law. 

Look also at Romans 8:3-4.  According to verse 4, what will be fulfilled in us when we walk according to the Spirit?  Read on in Romans 8 to verse 7.  What can the carnal mind not be subject to?  So then, what can a person walking/living in their own flesh not do according to verse 8?  But that is not who we are (vs. 9).  We live by the Spirit and He teaches us to be subject to the Law of God in order that we might please God.  He writes His Law on our hearts.  This is God’s New Covenant promise. 

In the process of God writing His Law on our hearts, what happens to our hearts according to Ezekiel 11:19 and Ezekiel 36:26?  What does God also promise in these 2 verses to put within us?  What does this cause or enable us to do?  See also Romans 2:28-29 and II Corinthians 3:2-3; what do these verses tell us about our hearts?  It is God’s Spirit within us that writes God’s Law on our hearts, but now it is no longer a stony heart but a heart of flesh, one that is soft, malleable, able to feel and respond out of compassion.  It is a heart that lives and beats in sync with the heart of God, desiring to do His will, His Law.

Fifth, Moses was instructed to make an ark and to put the stone tablets with the Law written on it in the ark, an ark made of wood.  Read Exodus 25:10-22.  In our metaphor I would suggest that the ark is a picture of us and of our relationship with God.  We are only wood, yet we have been overlaid with gold: human frailty, with no real value in and of ourselves, yet God has clothed us with the very righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10, II Corinthians 5:21), and made us partakers of His divine nature (II Peter 1:4).  II Corinthians 4:7 uses a similar metaphor saying that we are but jars of clay holding the great treasure of Christ. 

What else was put in the ark besides the tablets of the Law?  See Exodus 16:33-34, Numbers 17:10 (see the context:  Numbers 17:1-10), and Hebrews 9:4.  In the ark of who we are, God is placing 3 things:  His Law within our hearts through the indwelling Holy Spirit; the Lordship of Christ, our great High Priest, who continually pleads His blood before the Father as our atoning, substitutionary sacrifice (Hebrews 7:24-26) and who saves us from sin as we follow Him in obedience (Romans 10:9-10); and trust in His provision for all our daily needs, both physical and spiritual (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:19).

Take a few minutes to pray for God to place these three things in your life, that they would become the center and the reality of your relationship with Him.  Ask Him to make your heart soft and to write His Law upon it; ask Him to cause the Lordship of Jesus to blossom in your life and to bear fruit; tell Him your needs and trust Him for His provision.  Thank Him for the gifts of Christ’s righteousness which clothes you, Christ’s Spirit who works within you, Christ’s atoning blood and intercession that frees you from the guilt of sin and clears your record forever, Christ’s provision for every need.

Over the ark was placed the “mercy seat,” the lid of solid gold with the 2 angels bending over it with wondering eyes (Exodus 25:17-22).  It was on that mercy seat that the High Priest brought the blood of atonement each year for the continued covering of the people’s sins (Leviticus 16:14-16).  In the same way our relationship with God is sealed and covered by the mercy of God displayed by the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11-12, 23-26).  This is the Gospel!  (Ephesians 1:7-10 & 2:4-10)  And Peter tells us that even angels desire to look into this amazing salvation (I Peter 1:10-12). 

According to Deuteronomy 10:5, what did Moses do after God had written the Law on the tablets?  And that is what we must do.  We first go “up on the mountain” to meet alone with God, to let Him write His Law on our hearts; then we go “down the mountain,” and through the leading of the Spirit and the Lordship of Christ, we work that Law into who we are, into the nitty-gritty of every day life and everyday relationships. 

Then what does God tell Moses to do in Deuteronomy 10:11?  Now we are ready to possess the Promised Land with the Law within our hearts:  this is the Kingdom of God within you, letting His Kingdom ways be lived out in your life so that His Kingdom comes to earth, His will is done on earth in the same way as it is in heaven.  Little by little we begin to possess the Kingdom, taking ground the enemy has held in our lives and claiming it for Christ. 

And now, what does the Lord require of you?  List the 5 things from Deuteronomy 10:12-13.  Look at just the 5 infinitives: 
#1:  to ____________
#2:  to ____________
#3:  to ____________
#4:  to ____________
#5:  to ____________ or to obey
Fear, walk, love, serve, obey.  This is what God desires and requires of us.

I don’t believe the order of these 5 requirements in our relationship with God is haphazard or insignificant.  A holy, humble reverence for God must come first:  an acknowledgement of our poverty and sinfulness before Him, of His greatness and purity and perfection, of the fearfulness of disobedience and His just right to punish that disobedience.  From that fear comes a carefulness in the way we conduct our lives and a desire to study and understand what His ways are.  As we conform our lives and our patterns of conduct to His ways, we begin to see the wisdom and the greatness of His love for us in the commands He has given us.  Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15) and “If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10)  Walking in His ways not only proves our love for Him, but it also produces love for Him in our hearts and keeps us within the protective covering of His love.  Out of that love springs service, a deep desire to serve and please the One who loves us so well.  This, in turn, leads to a life of obedience that issues from the heart – no longer merely outward conformity because we know it’s the right thing to do, but an inner transformation of desire and will.

As you conclude today’s study, pray over these 5 requirements.  Write them on a card and post them on your bathroom mirror or above your kitchen sink, some place where you will see them often, can keep them before you, and can pray through them continually.  These things are a work of God’s Spirit within us – not self-effort, but dependent prayer.

Add to your Fear of the Lord list what you have learned from this verse study.