A Midweek Devotional - Loving Obedience
Does the Law of God still matter in the gospel age? How are we to understand the Law and how does that understanding impact the way we pass the Law down to future generations? These are BIG questions which we don’t have time or space to fully answer in a brief devotion. In fact, books have been written to interact with these questions. But for today, can we simply look to the Word and try to glean a basic framework? In anticipation of our time in Ephesians 6:1-4, let us look back to Deuteronomy to see a brief glimpse of the Law, of the family, and of the Love of God.
Wednesday, May 22nd
Larger Portion of Scripture - Deuteronomy 5-6
Focused Passage for Reflection - Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25
Reflecting on the Text:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Jesus affirmed Deuteronomy 6:5 as the greatest commandment. (He also included a second great command from Leviticus 19:18 — You shall love your neighbor as yourself.) In doing so, He wasn’t erasing the moral law, but was rather summarizing it (and thus affirming it). In Deuteronomy 6, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Moses does the same thing. He has just re-read the 10 Commandments to the people of God as they are preparing to enter into the Promised Land, and here he offered an affirming summary. “Love the LORD your God.”
So what does it look like to love God with all we have? The passage seems to say that at a minimum, to love Him means to talk about Him. It means that the LORD our God is our focus. He is at the forefront of our mind and heart in all we do. So we teach Him diligently to our children.
This makes sense. After all, we speak of that which we most love, or whom we most love. With that in mind, the verses here are one part assumption, and one part command. They assume that if we love God, we’ll talk about God. Yet it goes beyond mere assumption to actually command this. And the command is given in the context of family. So what do you talk about in your family? If you talk about what you love, do you talk about the LORD your God?
For some of us, that thought seems intimidating. We’re not sure we’re up for talking about God, even within our own family because there may be a question we can’t answer…maybe a question like the ongoing relevance and importance of the Law. If this kind of worry is holding you back, you can take comfort in the simplicity of Deuteronomy 5 and 6 (and in the connection we’ll make this Sunday in Ephesians 6).
In Deut. 6:20, Moses anticipates the question a son or daughter will most surely ask. “What does all this mean?” Put another way, “Dad, why did God give us these laws and commandments?” Moses then goes on to give an answer. Though volumes have been written to expound on this answer, Moses (again, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) gives a relatively simple response….
“Son, we have been redeemed! We were Pharaoh’s slaves, but now we are God’s people. He fought for us, He freed us, He gave us this land. Then, He told us what the new life in His family would look like.”
Okay, maybe that is my simplistic paraphrase, but the even more simplistic paraphrase is this: redemption comes before obedience / loving obedience flows out of gracious redemption. It was true in the age of the Law, and it is true in the gospel age. You and I, if we are in Christ, have been redeemed from bondage to sin. For us, loving obedience still flows out of gracious redemption.
Is there more that could be said? Sure! Many of the Paul’s letters in the New Testament were written to expound upon this simple truth. But expounding on the truth doesn't change the underlying reality: God redeems sinners and welcomes them into His family. He did it then. He does it now. With that simple, beautiful truth in mind, let us speak of God within our earthly families. Let us speak of His gracious redemption. And let us speak of our loving obedience.
Questions for personal reflection:
Does the call to “Love the LORD your God” sound like a command or a privilege to you?
Are there ways in which you are still looking to obedience to secure favor with God?
Are there ways in which you are communicating this type of propositional obedience to others?