Summary: The life of total commitment that God requires of us is only possible through a close relationship with Him. Our text gives us four main keys to help us develop a close relationship with Yahweh and to live a life that is totally devoted to Him.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Much Given – Much Required
Introduction: Have you ever wondered what God wants from you? Most of us probably have given at least some thought to that question. Micah 6:8 asks the same question, “What does the LORD require of you?” His answer is that God wants you to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Now Moses poses the same question to Israel as they are preparing to enter the place God has promised them. Moses has already reminded Israel of God’s faithfulness and power to deliver them from Egypt and to miraculously provide for them over the past forty years. Moses essentially says, “Remember what God has done for you. Now, Israel, here is what God requires in return.” God had blessed and provided for them time and time again. He gave them His Presence, His word- the Law, food, protection, deliverance, and victory. What did God want in return? He wanted them to be totally committed to Him in love and obedience. He wanted them to enjoy a close relationship of love and trust with Him. As God of the universe, He held exclusive rights to their entire lives. However, His desire was that they would choose Him above all else and live in close relationship to Him. The demands that He made upon them apply to us today as well. What does God require from us? He wants a people who are totally and exclusively committed to Him.
Proposition: The life of total commitment that God requires of us is only possible through a close relationship with Him.
Interrogative: How can we experience this intimate relationship with our Creator?
Transitional Sentence: Our text gives us four main keys to help us develop a close relationship with Yahweh and to live a life that is totally devoted to Him.
I. Follow His Principles of Covenant Relationship (vv. 12-13)
The five requirements listed in verses twelve and thirteen are not necessarily an exhaustive list of the principles of covenant relationship. Rather, they are basic ingredients that should be found in a proper relationship with the Lord of the universe. Moses expounds upon them and reemphasizes them through the remainder of his address. To take away any one of them would result in an imbalanced relationship with a wrong view of who God really is. The wording should give us a grand indication that it really is all about Him. Our part is to give Him the allegiance and loyalty that He alone deserves. What does the Lord require from us? In a word - everything. He wants us to give Him all that we are so that we might begin to know all that He is. Let’s take a look at these principles of covenant relationship with God.
A. The Required Attitude
1. Fear Yahweh (12)
When Moses speaks of the fear of the LORD in this passage, he is not referring to a sense of terror or dread. Yahweh wants closeness with His people and has no intention of terrifying them. He loves them (15) and wants no harm to come to them. The fear of the LORD includes a sense of reverence and awe that acknowledges the infinite greatness and sovereignty of God. God requires His people to hold Him in highest regard because of who He is. The fear of God is mentioned over one hundred times in the Bible in a positive way with obedience and faith.
Abraham is a good example of one who feared God, yet had a relationship so close that God called him His friend. When Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, an angel of the LORD stopped him and said, “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12, NIV). Then, in Isaiah 41:8, God refers to Abraham as “Abraham, My friend.”
The New Testament reaffirms our need for the fear of the Lord. In Luke 12:5 Jesus says, “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Also, the New Testament church knew the value of the fear of the Lord. “It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31, NIV). Even Gentiles who did not have Israel’s covenant with God found proximity with Him through fear and obedience. Peter’s visit to Cornelius showed the God “accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:35, NIV).
So, God desires that we have a healthy reverence and respect for Him. This is part of the required attitude every believer should have. Love is the other major factor of a proper attitude towards God.