Deuteronomy 10:12, 13, 20 “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, to love Him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I commanded thee this day for thy good. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God ; Him shalt thou serve, and Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His name.”
Deuteronomy means repetition of the law, or an explanation of the law for a second time. The actual Hebrew name for the book is elleh haddebarim or “These are the words.” Deuteronomy is repeating words of Exodus 20. We homo sapiens learn by repetition and each generation must learn anew.
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 from me?” The answer? A twelve year old can understand. The doing, well that is not so easy. Jesus simply said, “Follow me.” Moses gives a few more details about what that looks like in Deuteronomy. In fact, this is a restatement of the first commandment of the ten: “I AM the LORD thy God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, thou shalt have NO OTHER gods (emphasis mine) before me.” (Exodus 20:1-2)
Israel is a nation of many, numbered as “the stars of heaven” birthed from a family of seventy who entered Egypt during Joseph’s life. (Deuteronomy 10:22) This nation is now entering a land given to them by God to be named for its patriarch, Jacob renamed Israel, to whom the promise of a nation was given. (Genesis 32:28)
Moses has been preserved. He is more than 120 years old. Moses has led, put up with, instructed, been God’s spokesman, and wandered with this tribe of doubters. The nation has been preserved for forty years of wandering in the desert until all the doubters are dead. Moses now asks the question: “Ok, do you know what is expected? And why? Well, let me remind you, one more time!”
The first of the ten commandments (statements) are then repeated in succinct form: God is FIRST. You remember this. Make this priority #1! This is how you keep Him first. Get this right and the rest will fall into place.
This is not God being selfish, egotistical, or self-absorbed as some accuse. This is a LOVING heavenly Father saying “keep your eyes and heart on me and I will take full responsibility for you, your children, and your children’s children! This is the universe He created, so who knows better how to run it? We need to remember we are dust and dust ain’t that bright. We must look to Someone who knows way more than us. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He sees all, knows all, is everywhere at the same time, and He keeps all His promises. Who better to stand in fear (awe) of?
John J. Parsons writes: “The word translated “fear” in many versions of the Bible comes from the Hebrew word yirah, which has a range of meaning in Scriptures. Sometimes it refers to the fear we feel in anticipation of danger or pain, but it can also mean “awe” or “reverence.” In this latter sense, yirah includes the idea of wonder, amazement, mystery, astonishment, gratitude, admiration, and even worship. The “fear of the LORD” therefore includes an overwhelming sense of glory, worth, and beauty of the One True God.” He also beautifully states: “…at the cross of Yeshua we see both God’s fearful wrath for sin as well as God’s awesome love for us. ‘Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.’” (Hebrews 12:28-29)
We must determine to keep the LORD first and foremost in our thoughts, decisions, dealings with others, and to follow His commandments, statutes, and leadership daily. As the psalmist wrote: “I have set the LORD always before me because He is at my right hand (See Fear Not Daddy Holds Your Right Hand, Feb. 3, 2016), I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)
Treading in awe,
The Fear of the Lord by John J Parsons