Deuteronomy 6:1-2 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgements, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. (KJV)
The Message calls the fear of the LORD “a deep reverence,” a deep respect tinged with awe and veneration. Moses is telling the children of forefather, Israel, that he is about to teach them Yahweh’s commandments, judgements, and statutes and they are expected to live by them when they enter the land He has promised and will hand over to them. There are ten commandments and many judgements and statutes. Purpose: to hold the LORD in deep reverence and they will have long lives.
My Daddy use to say, “My house, my rules.” We knew if we did not follow the rules there were consequences and when we obeyed there was peace and reward. Because Daddy said what he meant, and meant what he said, and he kept his word, we learned to listen to him. He demanded respect but he also earned our devotion through consistency, discipline in love, and through his provision.
The LORD is providing the land, giving it into their hands, is setting out the guidelines, explaining the benefits of obedience and the consequences of disobedience so all understood the expectations. Today, people say, “You have to earn respect.” I respectfully disagree. Respect is given because of authority. It is demanded. Without respect for authority there is entitlement, lawlessness, discord, and no value for life.
The LORD our God says, “fear the LORD your God.” In other words, I AM the authority and I demand respect. He wants us to love Him too, but that is our choice. Respect–not an option.
I am thankful for a Daddy who taught me this lesson at home. He was right! The last word was his because it was his house! Daddy died many years ago. However, the lessons learned linger on to this day and his children continue to hold him in very high esteem even though we now know he did not hang the moon.
Proverbs 1:7 states: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Knowledge): but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Deuteronomy 10:12 echos Deuteronomy 6:1-2: And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul………”
Deuteronomy means repetition of the law, or a explaining of the law for a second time. The actual Hebrew name for the book is elleh haddebarim or “These are the Words.”
Isn’t this the question we all at least think if not ask out loud: What does the LORD require of me–just what does He want me from me?”
The answer is simply HARD!
- Fear of the LORD–not as a judge though He is but as a Father who wants what is best, tells you the rules, consequences for compliance as well as failure, and then follows through.
- Love the LORD–not required but desired as He loves us first and proves it every day.
- Serve the LORD–not as a slave but as a co-laborer with devotion, loyalty, and our best effort.
Certainly not hard to understand. Any twelve year old can comprehend this. The doing it in my selfish, want to do it my way, in my time nature, well, that is not so easy.
This has all been a restatement of the first commandment: I AM the LORD thy God, thou shalt have NO other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3) Deuteronomy!