Basic Law (Deuteronomy 10:12-22)
If you were to ask someone if he were moral, he would likely answer “Yes.” “I’ve never murdered, never committed adultery. I don’t drink. I pay my taxes. I am a moral person.” That reasoning shows that we consider some moral principles more important than others-“I can tell little white lies and be moral. I can speed and be moral.”
God has a basic moral code. This code is what the law is all about. Moses has just recounted how God gave him the Ten Commandments and then he issues these instructions.
Commitment, vv 12-15
What does God require of his people but to follow him in five ways? That there is an answer to the question, “What does God require?” shows that God has requirements. Some want us to believe that God really has no requirements–We can do whatever we choose, because God doesn’t care. Yet, God expects certain behaviors from his people–God has requirements. God has requirements for you.
- Fear.This refers to the highest reverence. God expects his people to revere him, to look upon him as awesome and holy. This will impact our behavior when we worship.
- Walk in all his ways.In Scripture, “walk” often refers to lifestyle. Here, God is telling his people to live their lives according to his ways. We can’t do what we want. These are God’s ways. We must, therefore, do what God wants.
- Love God.Love refers to value; we place value on those things we love. The great commandments is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mk. 12:29-30). When we love God, we place him first in our lives.
- Serve him with entire heart and soul.This refers to serving God in worship and daily living. We must honor God each day we live.
- Keep his commandments and statutes.This refers to the highest level of obedience. Obedience will keep us close to God. What God commands is for our own good. God isn’t trying to be cruel. Parents aren’t trying to be cruel in what they tell their children.
The reason for these requirements is outlined in verses 14-15. The entire creation belongs to God. Yet, God delighted only in the fathers of the Israelites. God chose their descendants after them above all people. Because God had chosen this people above all other people, he expected them to honor him.
We, too, need to honor God. God deserves to be honored by us–God needs to be first in our lives. He has chosen Christians to receive his blessings.
Circumcision, vv 16-19
God tells these Israelites to circumcise their hearts. Just as physical circumcision is cutting away the foreskin, spiritual circumcision is cutting away stubbornness. Throughout their history, the Jews have been a stubborn people. God had told his people in the wilderness not to gather manna on the Sabbath, yet some attempted to do so anyhow (Ex. 16:26-28). The people made a golden calf and worshiped it (Ex. 32). In order to please God, we must get rid of our stubbornness–We can’t do things our way. We need to believe and do what God wants.
These people should circumcise their hearts based upon God’s character. Based upon God’s character, God’s people have certain requirements.
God is the great God.
- He is God of gods and Lord of lords.These are Hebrew superlatives. Moses doesn’t mean to imply there are other gods; rather he is showing how great the true God really is.
- He is mighty and awesome.
- He is fair–he shows no partiality and takes no bribe.
- He cares for those without defense.He cares for the widow and orphan. He loves the stranger and gives him food and clothing.
Since these Hebrews were strangers in Egypt, they should love the stranger. We need to be a benevolent people. God has blessed us, and we should bless those without such blessings.
Consecration, vv 20-22
These people are to fear God. Fearing God does not mean that we need to be afraid of God. Rather this means that we should give the proper respect to God. We need to give the proper respect to God. “Conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear (1 Pet. 1:17). “Fear God and give glory to him” (Rev. 14:7).
Too many times we do not give the proper respect to God. Do you worship as faithfully as you could? Do you concentrate on what’s taking place?
These people also are to serve God. This refers to worshiping him. Do you worship as faithfully as you could?
The Hebrews are to hold fast to the LORD–not to swerve from what he has said. We must stay fast; we can’t move from what God has said. “Like a tree planted by the waters; I shall not be moved.”
They are to take oaths in his name rather than the of some other deity.
God has done wonderful things which their eyes have seen. Their fathers went down into Egypt with seventy persons. The LORD made them as the stars of heaven.
We should honor God for he has done wonderful things. He raised his Son from the dead. He has forgiven our sins.
Are you following God’s “Basic Law”?