Deuteronomy 11.1, 2
“You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always. And consider today (since I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen it), consider the discipline of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm…”
John 16.8-11; Hebrews 12.5-11
God is appealing to Israel’s love for Him – because of His promises and redeeming grace – but, as we recall, Israel was not merely to love the Lord. They were also to fear Him. Sadly, love for God is never a completely adequate motivation for obedience, not even in the age of grace. God commands His people to run their race with energy and obedience, looking to Jesus, the quintessence of God’s promises and the agent of God’s redemption (Heb. 12.1, 2). But, in the same context, having reminded them of His grace and called them to faith and obedience, He also reminds them of His ability and determination to discipline those who fail to adhere to the way of righteousness unto which He has redeemed them (Heb. 12.3-11).
Such discipline is not pleasant. The people of Israel, assembled on the plains of Moab, would know that their hard-hearted fathers had all perished in the wilderness. Those hearing Moses would have seen God’s discipline, known its pain and sorrow, and have therefore been motivated to obey Him out of fear that such might befall them yet again.
God calls His people to obedience out of gratitude and love, but also out of fear.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.