Thursday, February 19, 2009

What does the Lord require of you?

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, 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 your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well being. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NRSV

Have you ever wondered what God really wants from you? Often I tend to quote Micah: do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. But that is not the answer given in Deuteronomy. This book of the law gives a long list:
-fear God
-walk in all of God's ways
-love God
-serve God with all your heart and soul
-keep God's commandments and decrees

Why is fear first and love third? Does fear make people feel more awe or reverence? Maybe fear keeps people in line. Fear, I suppose, would help a person stick to following/walking in Godly ways. However, I think fearing someone guarantees that the person will eventually run away! If you first fear, then follow, maybe love would eventually happen but that sounds very unnatural. Living in a state of true fear all the time is unhealthy for your whole body.

I think if you love first, walk in God's ways, then serve, then keep the commandments and see what the rewards are from all of those things then your reverence would be beyond understanding. But I am not sure about fear being the best motivator for these other things.

God, you want us to love, to follow, to serve, and to keep your commandments. Do you ask for our fear as well? Give us discernment, God, and help us to truly place you first in our lives. Amen.

Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims

1 comment:

  1. Rob Bell has a great take on that stuff. He says that the Israelites, coming out of slavery in Egypt, had to learn a better way to live. That's what he says the ten commandments are all about.* Instead of a list of rules to fear, it's simply a list of moral expectations. God did not want the oppressed to become the oppressors when they came out of slavery.

    So maybe God wants us to fear God instead of fearing anything else. I mean, if you've got to fear something...

    *This is from Bell's latest book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians.