Deuteronomy 10:12-11:7 (Part 1) – Do You Love Me? Full-On, With All Your Heart?

Posted: January 18, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 10:12-11:7 (Part 1 of 7)

A Call to Love and Obedience

 

We talked about prayer, yesterday, as the key to a closer, more intimate relationship with God. Just like with our spouses, the way that they became our spouses was that we invested time and effort into the relationship such that we got to know our spouse on more than a surface level. Prayer is that vehicle by which we get to know the Lord our God on a personal, intimate level. However, we can get to know people pretty well without investing our hearts in them. That’s the difference between a spouse and a friend. When we put our heart into a relationship like we do with our spouses, there is a transcendence that occurs. When you love someone, there is a connection on a deeper soul level than when you are just good friends with someone. When you are in love with someone, your heart rises when you see them. When you love someone, you want to be with them as often as you can. When you love someone, they are with you even when you are not with them. When you are gone away from them, you cannot wait to be back in their presence. When you love someone, you sometimes just enjoy being with them not having to say anything or do anything but just being with them in their presence. When you love someone, you want to learn their likes and dislikes, their quirks and odd behaviors, and what makes them tick. When you love someone, you want to do the things that will make them happy, not necessarily because you may get something back out of that but rather because doing those things make them happy. That pretty much explains love as we know it among us humans – husband and wife, parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, siblings (well, after they are grown up, LOL!), and so on – all of the closest of human relationships. We want to make these relationships as good as possible so that they will grow, deepen, and flourish into something that transcends the people involved.

 

How much do we want that to be our relationship with God? Are you and I in love with God? There is often a lot of lip service from people saying that they love God? But do we really love him with the same amount of emotional investment, the same amount of time investment, the same amount of caring investment that we do with, say, our spouse or our children? Just as Jesus asked Peter repeatedly if Peter loved Him, we must ask that question ourselves? How much do we love God? Is our relationship with God like a dead marriage, where you know that each other is there but you are just existing together?

 

One of my faults is that maybe that I am too rational and too much of thinker. In a conversation, yesterday, about with my oldest daughter a mutual hopes and dreams for my granddaughter and it was my prayer that she gathered the best of her ancestry not the worst. From my oldest daughter and me, I hope that she gets my and Meghan’s drive to succeed, our willingness to put in hard work and do whatever it takes to make things work and succeed, our rational approach to the world, and our willingness to understand other peoples’ motivations (rather than just seeing the world from our own point of view). Yet, at the same time, I hope that even though my ex-wife, Meghan’s mom, was off the deep end about a lot of things that drove people nuts and out of her life, there was one thing that I admired about her was her willingness to stand up for what she thought was right (even if it was obvious to everyone else that she was wrong). I told Meghan that I hope Ralyn gets a modified version of that – the ability to know what was right and stand up for and not cower and fold when things got tough as Meghan and I often do. We are conflict avoiders and I don’t want that for Ralyn. I want her to be that perfect mix of reason and passion/strength.

 

Having said that I am often like I said too much of a thinker and not enough passion. I can reason my way out of not standing up for something. I can reason my way out of not take a dangerous, uncharted course of action. I can reason my way into seeing another person’s point of view even if it is detrimental to me. I am an academic-type. A thinker who thinks too much. I sometimes make my relationship with God too much of an academic exercise, I think. How much do I love God? How deep is my relationship with Him? I can recite to you all the reasons that I know with conviction that God exists? I fully believe in a rational way that God created the universe. It is the only logical explanation. I can reason through God’s redemptive plan. I understand it fully and completely from a rational point of view. I fully and completely understand the substitutionary sacrifice of my Lord And Savior Jesus Christ and what it means to my eternal future. But how much do I love God? How much passion do I have for Him?

 

When it comes down to it? Am I willing to show how much I love God by doing His will when it seems by human standards to be completely idiotic? How much do I love God? Am I passionately in love with Him and am I willing to walk through the doors that are dark on the other side and I cannot see the end? As Martin Luther King once said, “Faith is taking that first step when you cannot see the whole staircase!” How much do I love God? Is He more than academic debate to me? Is He the passion of my life? Are my prayers perfunctory or all-in passionate pleadings with my Maker?

 

This question is the one that jumped to mind this morning as I read through this passage for the first time of the three times that we will hit it over the next few days. Let’s read Deuteronomy 10:12-11:7 together today:

 

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

 

14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Love and Obey the Lord

 

11 Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. 2 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; 3 the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country; 4 what he did to the Egyptian army, to its horses and chariots, how he overwhelmed them with the waters of the Red Sea[a] as they were pursuing you, and how the Lord brought lasting ruin on them. 5 It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, 6 and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth right in the middle of all Israel and swallowed them up with their households, their tents and every living thing that belonged to them. 7 But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done

 

Just as God wanted each Israelite male to be circumcised as a symbol of obedience, He also wanted it to be a symbol of love. He wanted them to see beyond the surgical procedure and understand its meaning. It should be a symbol of submission to God inside their bodies, in their hearts. Then, they could begin to imitate God’s love and justice to others. If we love God passionately, it will spill over into relationships with other people. When we get our heart right with God, when we love Him with reckless abandon and with passion, we will begin to see a change in how we live our lives and how we treat others and how we serve them.

 

How much do you love God? Sure, yes, we must have the academic, rational side of our relationship with God. We must be able to defend our faith with conviction and belief and an understanding that ours is indeed a rational faith that truly can be defended. However, academics will only get us so far. Passionate love for God must be there also. Passionate love for God changes things. Passionate love for God can lead us to do things that a purely rational understanding of God would talk us out of. Passionate love for God will lead us up the staircase when we can only see the step in front of us. Passionate love for God will lead us through an open door when the light is not on, on the other side. Passionate love for God will lead us to do the impossible. Passionate love for God will lead us to do things that others will say are crazy. Passionate love for God will lead us to change the world!

 

How much do I love God? Am I passionate in my pursuit of Him and what He wants out of me? Am I submitted to Him and His will for my life because I truly do love the Lord my God? Or is it an academic ascent, an academic recognition, with no heart?

 

How is it with you?

 

Amen and Amen.

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