What Does God Want From Me? (Deuteronomy 10:12-22)

The question asked in the title today may be the most common question that comes to a pastor – though it may be expressed in varied forms. So what does the Lord want from his people – then or now? Well, the answer is rather simple, though, not to be trite about it, living it out in the details of life can be confusing at times. But, this is one time where it is not the Devil who is in the details, but the Lord God.

Look at this first verse in our reading today (verse 12). Moses gets really practical here with the application from all the history that he has been rehearsing about what God has accomplished and what the nation has done in response. Moses is essentially saying to this conquest generation: Here is what God wants from you …

–          To fear God – This means to appropriately honor and respect and acknowledge God accurately for who he is and what he has done.

–          To obey his commands – Does this need explanation? God has spoken; he has not stuttered.

–          To love God – Yes, this is a matter of passion and worship from a thankful heart that recognizes his goodness. Yet it is also evidenced, as is anything we love, by the amount of time and priority we give to it – to Him and to what He values.

–          To serve God – As immediately above, this means to prioritize those eternal values with all of who we are in our heart (mind) and soul (intellect, emotions, will) and strength (not stated here, but often in similar contexts).

Do you need some help and perspective in getting to the point of applying this? Look at verses 14 and 15, and see how they speak of something terribly vast, followed by something terribly small. In this context, it is the creation and the smallness of the nation of Israel – promised to Abraham individually, named after his grandson Jacob, comprising but 70 people some 400 years or so earlier when they all went to Egypt at the time of Joseph. And now, as Moses speaks to them, they numbered in the millions – and they, of all nations, were those upon whom God set his love… leading to a response of worship of lips and lives!

Hey! Listen! Don’t you see the same thing here about who we are in 2013?  We are those upon whom God has set his love by having Christ die for us. Out of all peoples, we have this calling, this truth made known to us, this grace lavished upon us through God’s Word and his sovereign arranging of circumstances of life that we may receive it and walk in its beauty. How do we respond to that? We do so with the worship of lips and lives. We praise God in the quiet moments of our personal adoration. We long to gather with others of like precious faith to join our praises in a swell we cannot render by ourselves, and we prioritize eternal values in the organization and administration of our personal lives and deeds.

Committing anew to this is …….. revival!

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Fear the Lord

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

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Take 2 Tablets and Come Back in 40 Days (Deuteronomy 10:1-11)

Today’s reading finishes Moses’ rehearsal of historic events before moving on to an important exhortation for the people – which will be our reading for tomorrow.

Here today we have the account of the replacement stones for those that were previously broken when Moses first came down from Mt. Horeb and found the nation worshipping a golden calf that was claimed to have essentially “jumped out of the fire.”  The Bible really is so full of humor. Here is something humorous you’ll have to link to in order to see. It is a Mel Brooks clip from the movie “The History of the World, Part 1.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah-WdAwVg9c

In the event that you were unable to see it, the scene shows Moses with 3 tablets of 5 commandments. And he says, “Here are the 15 commandments … (one drops and breaks) … ah, the 10 commandments from the Lord our God.”  So, to blow that scene all to pieces for you, let me tell you that in all likelihood, the two tablets EACH contained all 10 commandments (which we know from the archeological record of ancient Near Eastern Suzerainty treaties). Aren’t you so glad you’ve read this, and now you know things that nobody else in your office today will know!

So Moses again went to the mountain for 40 days, and again came back with the Commandments. This time they were not broken, but were rather put into the Ark of the Covenant. This oozes with all sorts of theological significance – see the book of Hebrews for the fabulous details!

Along with this discussion of the commandments naturally flows the issue of the family of Aaron (the brother of Moses) and also the tribe of Levi. As you know from the division of the Promised Land, there was no area given to the tribe of Levi. And there is no “Tribe of Joseph.”  That is because Joseph had a double portion – Manasseh and Ephraim; and the Levites were to be the religious leaders throughout Israel, with Aaron’s family being the priests. They would be supported through the tithes of the rest of the nation.

This passage today rehearses how, by God’s grace, the Lord renewed the covenant with the people. He didn’t need to do that. He didn’t need to do anything after Adam rebelled and led the whole human race into death and separation. God didn’t need to devise a plan of redemption that would be fulfilled by a new covenant in the person of Christ. He didn’t need to – again by HIS grace – bring it, in the course of life events, to your understanding that you may receive life eternal. But, as you have named Christ as savior, you know that he did indeed do that for you.

Feel revived yet?

Deuteronomy 10:1-11

10:1  At that time the Lord said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden ark. 2 I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the ark.”

3 So I made the ark out of acacia wood and chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I went up on the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. 4 The Lord wrote on these tablets what he had written before, the Ten Commandments he had proclaimed to you on the mountain, out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me. 5 Then I came back down the mountain and put the tablets in the ark I had made, as the Lord commanded me, and they are there now.

6 (The Israelites traveled from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah. There Aaron died and was buried, and Eleazar his son succeeded him as priest. 7 From there they traveled to Gudgodah and on to Jotbathah, a land with streams of water. 8 At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today. 9 That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as the Lord your God told them.)

10 Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights, as I did the first time, and the Lord listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you. 11 “Go,” the Lord said to me, “and lead the people on their way, so that they may enter and possess the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”