A Voice in the
"He has shown you, O man, what [is] good. And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic6:8)
As this is being written (August), not long ago while our evil president eulogized two slain security officers in the capitol rotunda, he perverted this verse into "O man, this is the good life..." This, from one whose presidency has characteristically been "presidential" as he enjoys all the official perks. He has enjoyed "the good life."
While the president went on to make his misapplications, Scripture is saying something different here. Something which an evil person like Mr. Clinton does not understand. Jesus summarized it best, "Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Mt12:34) While evil men retort, "Leave me alone to my Private life" God has a standard of "Good and Evil." And so, Scripture shows us "O man, what is GOOD..." This standard was known in the very beginning.. the "tree of knowledge of Good and Evil" (Gen2:17)
We can go through Scripture and study God's covenants manifested over earth's 7000-year history. We can see how God issued directives for people to live by. To not commit murder. (Gen9:5-6) The Law, as given to Israel.(Ex20) Grace and truth, as it came through Jesus Christ. (Jn1:17) We can study doctrines of Propitiation, Redemption, Predestination, Sanctification; and on and on it goes. We can understand that Salvation has always been by "grace through faith" and that it comes from God; (Eph2:8,Jn6:44) whether it was during Moses' time, or after Jesus rose from the dead.
But remember, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no way enter into it. (Lk18:17) What child really understands, fully, that which we have just rattled off in the previous paragraph? There is something even MORE BASIC to being pleasing to God. To being "accepted" by Him. The very Core and "Foundation" for all these other complex concepts.
In the book of Deuteronomy Moses is reviewing Israel's "recent" 40 year history. As God's Law was handed down Israel had responded, "All the words..the LORD has said, we WILL DO." (Ex24:3b, Deu5:27)
While the Law consisted of "you shall NOT DO" or "you SHALL DO" what did God respond to their promises? "Oh that there were such a HEART in them.."(vs29) You see, it is the "heart" that is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer17:9) beyond full human comprehension. Israel had proved their own wickedness for 40 years. And so Moses spends a few chapters describing what God's desire is for them. In years to come, David would break the law by committing adultery, murder and lying. But his "heart" was the thing which God chose, as "the LORD has sought Him a man after His own heart." (1Sam13:14) Man looks on the "outward appearance but the LORD looks on the heart." (16:7) As Jesus would say later, "do not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgment." (Jn7:24)
The First and Great Commandment (Mt22:38) is: "The LORD our God is one LORD. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." (Deu6:4-5) There is "no commandment greater" (Mk12:31)
To love God. This is not an emotional "feel good" state, where we repeat some "worship mantra" over and over "I love You, Jesus...I appreciate You.." as we sway back and forth! But the word Moses uses over and over is "fear." God says, "..that they would fear Me.." (5:29) Moses repeats, "..that you might fear the LORD your God.."(6:2) "..to fear the LORD our God, for our good always."(6:24) As he asks the question, "What does the LORD your God ask of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes.." (10:12-13)
Our devotion to God involves our "entire being." Notice the order; heart, soul, might. (6:5) Jesus is the One Who knows the "division of soul and spirit" (Heb4:12) Our love of God must begin at the very core of our being...in our spirit (heart). From there, the intellect joins in, with the soul (mind). And then, that which we know and believe results in action with our body (might). "..so faith without works is dead" (Ja2:26)
For people to claim that God accepts us "just as we are" and that we "don't need to change" when we "become a Christian" is to utterly deny the very essence and core foundation of what it means to "love the LORD your God." Thus, God says "fear Me and keep all My commandments."(5:29) Moses reminds, "fear the LORD..to keep all His statutes."(6:2) To "serve the LORD your God.."(10:12) "..and keep His charge and His statutes and His judgments.." (11:1)
No. This is not "salvation by works." This is salvation "unto good works."(Eph2:10) The works result from our love for God. As Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." (Jn14:15) As the spouse whines when the partner no longer shows interest, and goes off to do their own thing, "you don't love me anymore!" Love, and compliance with the wishes of the object of that love, go hand in hand.
What does God love? Justice (Ps89:14) Mercy (Ps136) Humility (Is57:15) ...to "walk with God." (Gen5:24) He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked. (1Jn2:6)
So, we "fear the LORD..for our good always." (6:24) We understand that God intends good for us. This "love" and "fear" assumes "trust." "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Pr3:5-6)
As we learn to trust, God provides times of learning and disci- pline. "..as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you." (8:5) Jesus Christ, Himself "learned obedience" (Heb5:8) In Israel's case, God allowed them "to hunger." (8:3) And then showed His provision with manna. For the person who trusts, earthly needs are met. (Mt6:33) But we must "remember the LORD..God, for it is He who gives [us] power to get wealth." (8:18)
Sometimes He also tests us. "If a prophet rises among you..gives you a sign or a wonder" and leads you down another path to false doctrine (Gal1:8) "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet.. For the LORD your God is TESTING YOU to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deu13:1-3) This "test" the modern apostate "church" is failing miserably!!
One who truly loves God will seek to be diligent. "All the things I command you, be CAREFUL to do it. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it." (12:32) Taking care to "every jot & tittle" of God's will.
As in Christ's "simplicity" (2Cor11:3) to that "little child" seeking the "kingdom of Heaven" (Lk18:17), the Heavenly Father pleads, "My son, give Me your heart, and let your eyes watch My ways. (Pr23:26)