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…
That was the Divine intention from the very beginning. God does not disclose His purpose all at once, but out of consideration for our capacities and our opportunities and our necessities He leads us one step at a time, as the wise teacher leads the young scholar. What wise teacher thrusts a whole library upon the dawning mind of childhood? A picture, a toy, a tempting prize, a handful to be going on with, and all the rest covered by a genial smile: so the young scholar passes from page to page until the genius of the revelation seizes him, and life becomes a sacred Pentecost. This thought supplies a standard by which to measure progress. What are we? To what have we attained? Are we still among the beggarly elements? Do we still cry out for a kind of teaching that is infantile and that ought to be from our age altogether profitless? Or do we sigh to see the finer lines and hear the lower tones and enter into the mystery of silent worship — so highly strung in all holy sensibilities that even a word jars upon us and is out of place under circumstances so charged with the Divine presence? Still keeping by this same line of thought, notice how the promises were adapted to the mental condition of Israel. What promises could Israel understand? Only promises of the most substantial kind. Moses addresses himself to this necessity with infinite skill (Deuteronomy 10:22; Deuteronomy 11:11, 12). Still preserving the marvellous consistency of the whole economy, we cannot fail to notice how beautifully the sacrifices were adapted to the religious condition of the people. This explains the sacrifices indeed. What was the religious condition of the people? Hardly religious at all. It was an infantile condition; it was a condition in which appeal could only lie with effect along the line of vision. So God will institute a worship accordingly; He will say to Israel, Bring beasts in great numbers, and kill them upon the altar; take censers, put fire thereon; spare nothing of your herds and flocks and corn and wine; have a continual burnt offering, and add to the continual burnt offering other offerings great in number and in value. Israel must be kept busy; leisure will be destruction. There must be seven Sabbaths in the week, and seven of those seven must be specialised by fast or festival or sacred observance. Give Israel no time to rest. When he has brought one bullock, send him for another; when he has killed a ram, call for a thousand more; this will be instructive to him. We must weary him to a higher aspiration; to begin this aspiration would be to beat the air, or to speak an unknown language, or to propound a series of spiritual impossibilities. Men must be trained according to their capacity and their quality. The whole ceremonial system of Moses constitutes in itself — in its wisdom so rich, its marvellous adaptation to the character and temper of the times, — an unanswerable argument for the inspiration of the Bible. So far the line has been consistent from its beginning, what wonder, then, if it culminate in one splendid word? That word is introduced here and there. For example, in Deuteronomy 10:12, the word occurs; in Deuteronomy 11:1, it is repeated. What is that culminating word? How long it has been kept back! Now that it is set down we see it and acknowledge it; it comes at the right time, and is put in the right place: — "To love Him."
(J. Parker, 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,