The Old Covenant Demand of Obedience


The Old Covenant Demand of Obedience

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?…This day the LORD your God commands you to observethese statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful toobserve them with all your heart and with all your soul.(Deuteronomy 10:12-13 and 26:16)

As we saw in our previous meditation, the grace of God provides what we need for growing in a life of obedience. Now we will begin to see that God’s law demands obedience (whole-hearted obedience), but it does not provide the necessary spiritual resources for living an obedient life.

When Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Moses restated what God’s law required. "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but…to walk in all His ways… and to keep thecommandments of the LORD…therefore you shall be careful toobserve them with all your heart and with all your soul." Remember, the commandments of God called for holy living. "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). The measurement for this required holiness was God Himself. This represented a high and lofty standard, far beyond what man could reach on his own.

Additionally, God was not calling them to an external religious behaviorism, but to wholehearted obedience: "keep thecommandmentsobserve them with all your heart." From deep within their innermost being, the children of Israel were to fully obey the Lord. They were to truly and sincerely observe all that the Lord had commanded. There were to be no inner reservations orhesitations.

What the law demanded was good. "The law is holy, and thecommandment holy and just and good" (Romans 7:12). Yet, the resources were lacking. Man could not measure up on his own. "For allhave sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, this perfect law offered no help to change man into what it required. "The law made nothing perfect" (Hebrews 7:19a). Praise God, there is a provision that can accomplish what the law cannot do."On the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope" (Hebrews 7:19b). That effective hope is the grace of God.

Lord God of holiness, I bow to Your holy law as good and just. I desire to live what the law demands. Yet, I confess my failures, as well as my inadequacy to improve myself. I rejoice in Your better hope. By Your grace, please shape my heart into a life of growing obedience, Amen.


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