So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land you will possess. ~Deuteronomy 5: 32, 33
Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it way go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. ~Deuteronomy 6:3
What a great reminder today. It is nice to be reminded that this whole thing is for our own good. Sometimes in the midst of those mundane days, it feels like futile. It’s not every day that I recognize the fruit and the good. But even more than that, it was nice today to be reminded that it’s not supposed to be like these mundane days. Do you ever have those days where you just get through the day? Where your faith is more like a personality trait than a relationship with the living and all powerful God? I’ve had a lot of days like that recently. And these passages just remind me that none of it is supposed to be this way.
In addition to the overall idea and feeling that there’s more, these verses also encouraged me to remember that my side and responsibility aren’t supposed to be passive either. Deuteronomy 6:3 says that we need to be “careful to obey” what God speaks to us. Now, in general I have a pretty high value on obedience and so it’s not one of the things that I would put high on my list of “struggles”. However, these verse paints obedience in a whole new light. God doesn’t ask for passive obedience but intentional obedience. I can choose to be obedient when things come up, but that is very different than being “careful to obey” everything the Lord commands. So a couple of application points and challenges- mostly for myself today.
1. Intentional obedience requires intentionally learning what to obey. If I’m going to intentionally obey what the Lord asks of me, I first need to know what He is asking. This requires an intentional effort to know and learn more of the Bible. Making sure I’m reading the Bible is a good way to start, but if I was going to take a test I would intentionally study the material- not just read it. I would take notes and study, memorize and review. So if I’m going to work harder at intentionally obeying- my first step is to work harder at remembering and understanding what to obey.
2. Biblical obedience is not a passive choice or simply a response to situations. The things that the Lord asks us to be obedient in are not just situational commands like “do not lie”. The Ten Commandments are more that way, and since those are the most well known commands, I think we tend to assume that all of God’s commands are like them. However, Jesus makes it clear that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind and strength- and that the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Both of these commands are not at all passive in nature or only in response to a situation that arises. What the Lord asks us to obey are a lifestyle. Not just a choice.