christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 26:16-19, conclusion to the commandments, part one

Read Deuteronomy 26:16-19 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 24:10-26:15, tenth commandment chiastic structure

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic.)

The next paragraph which follows the explanation of the Tenth Commandment, is a strong paragraph:

Deu 26:16-19 {p}

“This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.” Deu 26:16-19

Close quote! In other words, verse 19 concludes the speech that has continued unbroken since Deu 5:1.

“This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments …” Which statutes and judgments? The statutes and judgments Moses has been explaining since Deu 5:1 – the Ten Commandments (Deu 5); and the explanation of what it means to keep the Ten Commandments (Deu 6-26).

“Therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.” My old pastor used to say, whenever you see a “therefore” in Scripture, you have to go back and find out what it is there for. We are to be careful to observe them with all our heart and soul, because it is the Lord our God who commands us to observe them. We humans serve and obey whoever or whatever is our god. If money is our god, then we serve and obey it; if success is our god, then we serve and obey it. If God is our God, then we serve and obey Him. Another way to say the same thing, is to look at who or what we are serving and obeying – that is our real god, no matter who we tell people our God is.

The last time we had language similar to “all your heart and all your soul” in Deuteronomy, was here:

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deu 13:1-3

“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Deu 11:18

‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,’ Deu 11:13

“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, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” Deu 10:12

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deu 6:5

To love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul, is to obey Him, to observe His commandments with all our heart and all our soul. Conversely, the one who obeys Him, loves Him. This is why Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Mat 7:21-23

Lawlessness, is Torah-lessness. It is God’s Law that Jesus is speaking of, for it is the one who does His Father’s will who enters the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is not preaching a gospel of salvation by works of obedience. He is saying that the one who loves Him, obeys Him. Obedience does not save us. But obedience merely reveals which company we are with, like a uniform. The one who obeys Him is the one who loves Him.

(It is the one who practices lawlessness or Torahlessness who is commanded to depart from Jesus — the one who makes it their practice to flaunt God’s Law. Not the one who slips once in a while.)

Why is obedience such a big deal? Because it is the nature of human beings to serve and obey whoever or whatever is our god. Who we obey reveals who we truly love. He wants us to love Him, because we love Him, not because of fear of punishment or some other reason. But He is being careful to tell us over and over again that the one who loves Him will obey His commandments, because there is an enemy of our souls out there who is trying to convince us that obedience doesn’t matter. He does not want us to be deceived by the deceiver.

Continued: deuteronomy 26:16-19, conclusion to the commandments, part two

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