THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
FEAR AND SERVE THE LORD
August 8, 2011
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Moses asks a basic question to God’s people Israel. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you ….?” (Dt 10:12a). Christians today are the new Israel, the new people of God. More specifically, it is the Roman Catholic Church, in which subsists the fullness of God’s revelation. Though what Moses will say is the very same question that needs to be answered by all of God’s people today, I will only address CFC-FFL.
Now, CFC-FFL, after 30 years, with the fullness of God’s strength being available for your work, what does God ask of you?
It is important to realize that everything, including ourselves, belong to God. God created everything according to His divine plan, and we are to try to understand what that plan is and what God’s purpose is, so that we can apply ourselves accordingly. “Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the Lord, your God, as well as the earth and everything in it.” (Dt 10:14).
One group supporting the RH bill today and opposing pro-lifers is the Freethinkers. They are atheistic. They just believe in using their minds and their reason. But they fail to realize that God gave them their minds, and God gave them their reason in order to know Him. They want to live their lives according to their own desires, perhaps even averring that they follow their consciences. But they are just creatures who belong to the Creator. And it is the Creator who has the ultimate plan, the One who knows what is best for His creation. When we stray from that plan, or worse, when we reject that plan, then we suffer dire consequences.
So think about this very fundamental reality: everything belongs to God.
And who is this God? He “is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (Dt 10:17a). He “has no favorites, accepts no bribes; who executes justice” (Dt 10:17b-18a). Now all that sounds familiar. Yes! It is what we learned through our theme for last year 2010: “The Almighty! Just and Righteous is He!”
We learned about awe of God. We learned about the proper place of worship. We learned about redemptive suffering. We learned, and hopefully are continuing to learn, the lessons of Job.
Now what did this Almighty God do? God in his love chose you in preference to all other peoples (Dt 10:15)!
God chose a slave people who were nobodies in the world, who on the human level had no future at all, except one of abject slavery. Like the Hebrews, we too were no people. But God called us and raised us to be His people and servant. Now we have direction and purpose in life. Now we have a future full of hope. Now we have the great privilege of doing the very work of God.
That should elicit great gratitude, and a corresponding desire to give our lives over to God. After all, apart from God our lives were worth nothing. Now we have everything–renewed marriages, strengthened families, brethren in community, a great evangelistic and missionary work. And after our work on earth, we get to bask in God’s eternal glory in heaven!
But back to what God asks of us. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord which I enjoin on you today for your own good?” (Dt 10:12-13).
First, we are to fear the Lord. We are to be in awe of Him. We are to recognize who He is, the awesome Almighty God, the Creator, the Savior, the Omnipotent One. He is the one who owns us. We are to worship Him.
Second, we are to follow His ways exactly. We are to live according to His ways. We are to be holy as He is holy. We are to strive for perfection as the heavenly Father is perfect. We are to reflect His image and likeness, in which we were created. We are not to veer away from His plan and purpose.
Third, we are to love and serve the Lord. The first and greatest commandment Jesus gave us is to love God with our whole mind, heart, soul and strength. Then knowing that God has His plan for the life of the world, which He will accomplish through His people, we are to serve Him. Jesus is our Master. We are to do His will. We are to give of ourselves, such that God will have a willing and faithful instrument to use.
Fourth, we are to keep His commandments and statutes. We are to obey God in all His ways. This includes not just the call to holiness, but the command to go into the world and proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus.
Now notice something. God enjoins on us His commandments “for your own good.” In the hands of God we are in the best of hands. If we live according to His plan, we are assured of a good life. If we follow His ways, we will be fulfilled and always joyful.
But do most people, including Christians, realize that? No. They continue to live their own lives according to their own desires and ways. That cannot be the way with us. So we are further told: “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.” (Dt 10:16). Let us repent of going our own way, of hardening our hearts to the call of God, of not giving all of ourselves to His work.
Let us fear and serve the Lord, let us cling to Him and fully trust in His goodness, let us invoke His name for our lives, our families and our community. “The Lord, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve; hold fast to him and swear by his name.” (Dt 10:20).
Through the last 30 years, God has done great things for us, as He brought us to do mission throughout the world. Let us continue to be His servant, through whom He shows His glory (Is 49:3). “He is your glory, he, your God, who has done for you those great and terrible things which your own eyes have seen.” (Dt 10:21).
Praised be our God! Onward to mission! Our God is now our strength!
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