And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him…
Who obeys this command? A part of my hearers obey it in some degree. They esteem God above every other object. They consider His glory as their highest interest, and communion with Him as their supreme happiness. It is their greatest grief that their treacherous hearts are so prone to wander from Him. Their most fervent desires pant after Him. And when in a favoured hour they find Him whom their "soul loveth," they hold Him fast and will not let Him go. I have no reproaches for these. But are all such? Would to God all were. But there is no service without love. "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Supreme love to God will certainly produce self-denial for His sake. It will habitually avoid everything which He has forbidden, and obey, not a part, but all He commands. Supreme love will seek communion with its object more than any worldly pleasure. It will pant after Him and after greater conformity to Him; it will seek His glory as the highest interest; it will renounce the world and idols and cultivate a heavenly mind. Unless we have that which will produce all these effects, we have no supreme love to God; and if we have no supreme love, we have no love at all; and if we have no love, as there is no neutral state, we are His enemies. It was God that made you what you are, and put you into a world which He had richly furnished for your use. Have you nothing to do with Him, or He with you? Do you imagine that He created you and raised you so much above the brutes, and put you into a world on which He had expended so much labour, that you might wander from Him in the regions of darkness? that you might seek your happiness out of Him, and live in rebellion against Him? that you might spend your life only in preparing to live in this transitory state? or that you might live only to eat and drink? As God is true, He sent you into His world for the same end that a master sends a servant 'into his vineyard — to labour for Him. He has sent you into the field abundantly furnished with powers and means to serve Him, and has strictly commanded you to use these talents in His service. Say not that He is too far above you to be apprehended. He has brought Himself down, and spread Himself out before you in His works and word, and it is only to unbelief that He is invisible. Having sent you into His vineyard, He looks after you to see whether you are faithful or not. Has He nothing to do with you? His eyes are upon you every moment — upon the very bottom of your heart. Did your Creator turn you loose into the world, to run wild in pursuit of your own imaginations, without law or restraint, intending to look no further after you, but to throw you out from His care? Woe to you if He had done this; though this, I fear, you have often wished. But He did no such thing. His intention was still to follow you with His care, as beloved creatures, whom His own hands had formed — to exercise government over you — to establish eternal communion with you — to lead your desires up to Him — to fill you with His own sublime happiness, and to make you a part of an harmonious, blessed, and glorious kingdom. To accomplish these ends He put you under law — a law admirably calculated to unite you to Him and to consummate your happiness. The unreasonable will complain of anything, and murmurs have filled the world because this law requires the heart. But were it otherwise — were God to relinquish His claims on the heart and compound for outward service only, would it be better then? Could they be happy here, could they be happy in heaven, without a holy heart? They had better never been born than be excused from loving God. Should God give up His law, still they are wretches to eternity without love to Him. The law enjoins nothing but what in the nature of things is essential to happiness. From this moment you must either renounce your Bible, or understand that God accounts you rebels for not loving and serving Him with all the heart and soul. He admits no excuse. Your plea that you cannot, is only pleading guilty. A heart that refuses to love the Creator and Redeemer of the world, is the very thing for which God condemns you — is the vilest rebel in the universe.
(E. Griffin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
WEB: Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,