Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 8-10
Today’s Reflection: Deuteronomy 8:5-6
5) Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. 6) So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.
You can’t read the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Old Testament of the Bible, without coming away with a strong sense of the importance of the Law. Genesis starts by explaining how everything went wrong when Adam and Eve broke it. Exodus is largely concerned with restoring Israel through it. Numbers is the story of how Israel was disciplined through the wilderness by it. And the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy almost exclusively focus on it. Yet there is a question that is both all throughout these books yet with an answer that seems somewhat elusive: how can man keep it?
This text about Commandment-keeping talks about God being to Israel as a father is to his son in terms of discipline, it talks about walking in the ways of God, and it talks about fearing (or respecting) God. These are all relational concepts, so it becomes clear that the secret to keeping the Commandments of God lies in being in a relationship with God. It is through this father-child relationship, that respect (or fear) for God is instilled, an example for us to follow (or walk in) is set, and discipline to help us keep the commandments is established. This makes more sense when we understand that the Commandments are a guard to protect and maintain our relationship with God and our relationships with each other.
Another important point is that there are multiple aspects connected to this commandment keeping relationship. Some may begin with loving God like a father and desiring to please Him. Others may begin by respecting Him as awesome creator and wanting to honour Him. Others still may see the rightness of His teachings and law, and begin by making an effort to keep them faithfully. The point: there is more than one route leading to a relationship with God. There are different approaches here, but all can lead to the same destination. As believers we have to rely on Godly wisdom and ALL of the truths in His Word as we observe the experiences of other believers. The last thing we want to do is unfairly judge someone else’s walk with God, just because it doesn’t resemble ours.