Thursday, May 13, 2021

Deuteronomy. Day 28, A Sermon On Loving The Lord, Part Two

In Part One of Moses' sermon on loving the Lord he urged Israel to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5) In the second part of his sermon we see examples of how people live when they love the Lord.

Those who love the Lord will love His laws and commandments and promises. "These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) We tend to spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about the people and the things we love, don't we? We get excited about what we love. We display enthusiasm about what we love. If we love the Lord the way we ought to love Him then we'll think about Him a lot, talk about Him a lot, spend time studying His word, spend time in prayer with Him, and spend time thanking and praising Him for all His goodness toward us. Those around us will know we love the Lord by the way we talk about Him and give Him credit for all our blessings and victories. 

Moses talks about writing down the commandments of the Lord. Most of us have some favorite Bible verses, don't we? We have verses we've memorized because they commemorate a great thing the Lord has done for us. We have specific verses we tend to turn to when we're feeling down. We have verses we use to assure ourselves of the Lord's promises. Moses says, "Take these favorite verses and write them down where you can see them. Let them remind you of the Lord's great power and promises. Display them where you and your family can see them on a regular basis. The word of God should be a huge part of your life if you love the Lord."

Those who love the Lord won't neglect thanking Him for their blessings. "When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you---a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant---then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." (Deuteronomy 6:10-12) The Lord alone did these great things for Israel. Israel did not do these things on her own, nor did any other gods do these things for her, which brings us to the next point.

Those who love the Lord won't turn from Him to idols. "Fear the Lord your God, serve Him only and take your oaths in His name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and His anger will burn against you, and He will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not put the Lord to the test as you did at Massah." (Deuteronomy 6:13-16) 

Massah is where the Israelites quarreled with Moses and with the Lord because no water was found there. (This account is found in Exodus 17.) They questioned whether the Lord was really with them or whether He was going to do anything for them, saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?", after He had already displayed His great power and great love for them through signs and wonders performed in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness. In times of distress we might find ourselves wondering, "Has the Lord left me? Does He no longer love me? Is He not going to come to my assistance?" But it's in those times when we must cling even tighter to His holy promises, for He promises never to leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5) The Lord loved us before He created us. He loved us after He created us, even though we fell from grace, and this is the proof: "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) While we were still sinners---while we were worthless reprobates incapable of doing anything for the kingdom of God---the Lord sent us a means of salvation. If He loved us before we were redeemed, how can we doubt He loves us after we have been redeemed? He loves us today. He will love us tomorrow. He will love us for eternity.

And on the subject of love, those who love the Lord will want to obey Him. "Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees He has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said." (Deuteronomy 6:17-19) Obeying the Lord doesn't guarantee us life will be easy all the time. We live in a world polluted by sin where bad things happen even to good people. We live in a world where we deal with unbelievers on a regular basis, and these unbelievers sometimes treat us poorly. But I'd far rather walk through this fallen world with the Lord by my side than to try to navigate it on my own. If the Lord is with me then I have the peace of His presence, the promise of His provision, the comfort of His love, and the blessing of His guidance. If we are guided by the Lord we'll bring far fewer problems upon ourselves. We can't control what others do but we can allow ourselves to be led by the Lord and thus avoid falling into many a pit of sin.

Those who love the Lord will want others to know and love Him too. We'll tell them what the Lord has done for us in hopes of leading them to the Lord to experience His goodness for themselves. "In the future, when your son asks you, 'What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?' tell him: 'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders---great and terrible---on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land He promised on oath to our ancestors. The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.'" (Deuteronomy 6:20-25)

We owe the Lord our love. He has loved us like no one else ever has or ever will. 

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