Tuesday, March 09, 2010

What Does God Want From Us?

Maybe we should see what God asked of those who served Him.

This is what Moses told the gathered masses after his second journey down the mountain with tablets of stone autographed by God:
"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?" ~ Deuteronomy 10:12-13

This is what Moses' successor Joshua told the two-and-a-half tribes who remained on the far side of the Jordan River:
"Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul." ~ Joshua 22:4-5

This is what David, in his final days, told his son Solomon:
"I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: 'If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.' ~ 1 Kings 2:2-4

Micah relayed God's case against Israel in poetry:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
   To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God. ~ Micah 6:8

This is what was prophetically revealed through Zechariah of the Lord's charge to a future high priest named Joshua, through whom He would forgive all sin in a single day:
The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.'" ~ Zechariah 3:6-7

Leaders and kings who miserably failed their tasks were said to have walked in their own ways, or the ways of their fathers. Those who pleased God were the ones spoken of as having walked in His ways.

They walked. They moved. Either toward Him ... or away from Him.

The good ones kept His commands, yes. But was it just obedience for the sake of being good?

Or was it also that they loved and served the Lord, heart and soul ... saw His requirements as for their own good ... held fast to Him ... believed in His promise ... feared His justice, and acted justly ... loved His mercy ... and walked humbly with their God?

What does God want from us now?

This is what Jesus gave as His commandment to His closest friends after washing their feet:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." ~ John 13:34-35

And they did not forget this simple instruction (Romans 12:10, 13:8; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22, 3:8; 1 John 3:11, 3:23, 4:7, 4:11-12; 2 John 1:5, et al).

After all of the 613 precepts of the law given by angels through Moses, does that seem too simple?

Jesus said that the law and the prophets pend completely on only two commandments:
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ~ Matthew 22:37-40

And He said that one instruction - so simple that we teach it to our children as we were taught it when children - summarizes them all in a scant few words:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." ~ Matthew 7:12

If we can master that simple thing, love that acts - and even if we can't, but try! - we're equipped to tackle His last instruction:
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

What does God want from us?

The same thing now as always:

Believe. Fear. Obey. Serve. Walk. Love. Act. Do. Go. Make. Baptize. Teach. Endure.

And He will be right there with us, every step of the way.

4 comments:

Les Ferguson, Jr. said...

Good reminder--thanks!

Donna G said...

It sounds simple to "love", but most of the organized church has failed miserably at it for all my life. I am glad to be a part of a group that has love as a priority....finally!

Steve said...

Thanks for putting Matthew 28 in perspective. Too often we have rushed out to make disciples (or more honestly - to baptize) without first becoming adherents of the lifestyle of Jesus. As a result, we have made disciples of our own form of doctrine.

Keith Brenton said...

Thanks, folks.

Steve, I agree; I think we really do need to get past the days of "belief" being defined as simple mental assent.

Jesus walked.

And if we want to follow Him, we're going to have to keep on the move.