"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God by walking in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
Deuteronomy 6:4), and with this he ends. The sum of the Law, and the sum of all his exhortations. It all and always comes back to this (Ecclesiastes 12:13): "What doth the Lord require of thee?" etc. We have here:
1. The central requirement.
2. The all-embracing requirement.
3. The indispensable requirement; that for which nothing else can be accepted as a substitute.
4. The requirement of kindness - "for thy good."
5. A reasonable requirement. This love and obedience were due from Israel for God's mercies to them. As in the gospel, grace precedes, obedience follows. Saved by grace, we are to make such return as is possible by loving and fearing God, and diligently keeping his commands (Luke 7:47; Romans 6:13; Romans 7:6; Ephesians 2:8-11). - J.O.
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."
What doth the Lord thy God require of thee.
Homilist.The true life of man is the life of practical conformity to Divine claims. All is summed up and expressed here.
I. LOVING REVERENCE.
1. Fear of not acting worthily of the object of love.
2. Fear of offending the object of love.
II. PRACTICAL OBEDIENCE.
1. God has "ways," that is methods of action —
(1) (2) 2. To walk in God's ways is — (1) (2) (3) III. HEARTY SERVICE. 1. Perfect freedom. 2. Sunny cheerfulness. 3. Thorough completeness. All the powers fully employed. (Homilist.)
(2) 2. To walk in God's ways is — (1) (2) (3) III. HEARTY SERVICE. 1. Perfect freedom. 2. Sunny cheerfulness. 3. Thorough completeness. All the powers fully employed. (Homilist.)
2. To walk in God's ways is —
(1) (2) (3) III. HEARTY SERVICE. 1. Perfect freedom. 2. Sunny cheerfulness. 3. Thorough completeness. All the powers fully employed. (Homilist.)
III. HEARTY SERVICE. 1. Perfect freedom. 2. Sunny cheerfulness. 3. Thorough completeness. All the powers fully employed. (Homilist.)
III. HEARTY SERVICE.
1. Perfect freedom.
2. Sunny cheerfulness.
3. Thorough completeness. All the powers fully employed.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(E. Griffin, D. D.)
1. First of all "to fear" Him. Not to be terrified, that is the natural man's religion. Unless taught of God men look upon Him with alarm. Hence religion is a sepulchral and gloomy thing to them. To the Christian all is reverse. He has no alarm; he courts God's presence and feels that presence to be the inspiration of hope and joy.
2. Next "to walk in all His ways." All the ways proceed from one source and terminate in the same again. There are varieties of expression, but one religion. A way of righteousness, a way of truth, a way of peace, and a way of pleasantness.
3. Then "to love Him." If the fear enjoined were terror, it would be impossible to love. Love is the germ in the heart that blossoms and bursts into all the fragrant fruits demanded by God's holy law. The law, like the imperious taskmaster, says, "Give me fruit," and you cannot; but love softly, progressively, originates and develops all the fruits of the Spirit. The absence of this love is the absence of Christianity. This love, lost in the Fall, regained by the Cross, is the result of seeing God's love for us. The measure and extent is "all your hearts." Not cold, calculating preference; but warm, cordial attachment — attachment not blind and unintelligible, but with all the soul.
4. Also "to serve" Him, service in the sense of worship. The word liturgy strictly means service; here service means adore, pray, and praise; worship outwardly, publicly, and privately with all the heart. We learn the essence of all true acceptable worship before God. Not material glory, ritual splendour; but depth of sincerity, intensity of love, the supremacy of God in the heart.
5. What is the end of all this? First, God asks this, not for His benefit, but for our good. Is there no benefit in meeting together in the house of God, in unloading the thankful heart in praise? When you give the greatest glory, worship, and homage to God, the reaction of it is showers of blessings, mercies, and privileges upon yourselves. God requires this in His Word, in seasons of affliction and prosperity. He requires it that holy effects may be seen, and that men may feel that religion purifies. It is also good for the world. The best evidence that you are Christians is in what you feel, suffer, sacrifice, and do; not as servants obeying for reward, but as sons serving God out of affection.
(J. Cumming, D. D.)
1. Reverence — "But to fear the Lord thy God."
2. Obedience "To walk in all His ways." To go when He tells us, and to take the way He has prepared for us. Matthew Henry says, "It ought to be the care of every one of us to follow the Lord fully. We must, in a course of obedience to God's will, and service to His honour, follow Him universally, without dividing; uprightly, without dissembling; cheerfully, without disputing; and constantly, without declining: and this is following Him fully."
3. Love — "And to love Him." This exhortation comes in beautifully to prevent the possibility of reverence becoming a terror, and obedience servility.
4. Service — "And to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul." Conviction, principle, truth, sentiment, and emotion find their level in service, as the waters of the river do in the sea. Life, of every kind, is energy from within towards an outward object.
5. Diligence — "To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good."
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