Study 2 WHAT DOES THE LORD YOUR GOD ASK OF YOU?
GREAT QUESTIONS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Deuteronomy 10:12-13)
Have you ever seriously asked yourself, ‘What does God ask of me?’ This question was originally addressed to Israel (verse 12), but we are spiritual Israel; the Church of Christ is spiritual Israel, consisting of His own people (Acts 15:14). Although we know we are “not under law, but under grace”, the fact that we are under grace does not free us from the law (Matthew 5:17). Are we to renounce the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount or the Law of Love in 1 Corinthians 13 because we are not “under law” but under grace? Certainly not! Our great need today is to recognise as Christians the authority and relevance of God’s law for our day. God does not desire certain things of His children, but He requires them – “What does the Lord ask of you?” Always remember that whatever God requires or asks of us is always for our good – look at the last four words in verse 13. Here we are considering something which is not optional but imperative. On what grounds does He make His demands? Moses and Aaron made certain demands of Pharaoh in the Lord’s name (Exodus 5:2) – see how Pharaoh replied. He did not know the Lord, but we do. Who is He that He should require certain things of us? Please read the following verses carefully and notice that they place before us a wonderful revelation of the Lord, the One who seeks to conform us to His requirements.
- 1. Verse 14. God is revealed as the creator and possessor of heaven and earth. It is as my creator that He comes and makes certain requirements of me.
- 2. Verse 15. God is revealed as the One who has chosen us for Himself. This is a humbling truth and is gathered up in that great New Testament verse of Ephesians 2:10. It is the One who has chosen me for Himself who comes and makes certain demands of me.
- 3. Verse 17. God is revealed as the Sovereign Lord. He not only made us but is the One who exercises authority over us, and it is His right to require that we do certain things.
- 4. Verse 18. God is revealed as the universal provider. How reasonable it is, therefore, that having provided all for us He requires certain things of us!
- 5. Verse 21. God is revealed as our Redeemer. He redeemed the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, but we have been redeemed through the grace and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the bondage of sin and of the Devil – look up 1 Peter 1:18-19, and compare Deuteronomy 10:10-22.
What, then, are God’s demands? These are clearly set out in our key verses:-
1. “…to fear the Lord your God.”
This is His first requirement. What does it mean? Are we to be afraid of God? No – certainly not in the sense that slaves are afraid of their masters! This is not a carnal fear. We are not slaves; we are sons (Romans 8:14; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18). To “fear” the Lord means to trust Him, to act upon His Word and to fear to displease Him. Of the unregenerate we read that “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18); but what a different thing it is when we come to know the Lord as our loving Heavenly Father! Compare Genesis 22:12. Do we fear God like this?
2. “…to walk in all his ways.”
This may be very simply explained. By nature we go our own way (Isaiah 53:6), and we all like to get our own way and go our own way; but here is a question: Have you ever given up your own will to go God’s way? – compare Deuteronomy 10:16. The word ‘circumcise’ indicates separation and submission. God’s way is always best – look up and compare Psalm 18:30 with Psalm 145:17 – now look up Psalm 27:11, and compare Acts 9:6. We must come to the point where we desire God’s ways with all our heart.
3. “…to love him.”
Notice that God does not require simply that we love His service, His house or His truth; the question He put to Peter was this: “Do you truly love me?” (John 21:15-17). Surely if we truly love Him we shall automatically hate evil and the things that He hates (Psalm 97:10), compare Proverbs 6:16-19. What does the Lord ask of you but to love Him?
4. “…to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
The whole thought here is of undivided loyalty, and of course the primary service that He requires is indicated in Romans 12:1. Have you ever really given your body definitely, deliberately, voluntarily and completely to the Lord? See Romans 12:1. Have you systematically yielded the members of your body to Him – your eyes, your ears, your lips, your hands, your feet (Romans 6:13)?
5. “…to observe the Lord’s commands.”
This seems to gather up all that God is saying into one simple statement. Deuteronomy 10:13 should be our main desire, our primary concern, our burning passion – to observe the Lord’s commands, for they are always for our good. Remember that if we keep them, we must know what these commands are; we must immerse ourselves deeply in the Word of God; we must love the Bible, read it, study it and meditate in its truth and teaching, that it may never be said of us what Jesus said of people many years ago – look up Matthew 22:29. The most joyful people in this world are those who know God as their loving Heavenly Father and who seek to do those things which He asks of them, for their own good and for His glory.