Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. (Deuteronomy 11:22)
Relate: There is a theme that runs straight through this chapter in Deuteronomy. Let’s look at it:
“You must love and obey” (1)
“Keep in mind” (2)
“Therefore, be careful” (8)
“If you obey” (9)
“If you carefully obey” (13)
“But be careful” (16)
“So Commit yourselves wholeheartedly” (18)
“Teach them… talk about them… write them…” (19-20)
“Be careful to obey” (22)
“If you obey” (27)
“you must be careful to obey” (32)
From the first verse to the last, this chapter is all about how the Israelites need to respond to the commands of God. Moses has reviewed them with the people and now they are about to head into the promised land. He won’t be going with him and most of this book is his final instructions. During those instructions he says “be careful” thirty-four times. I think he’s learned something after leading the Israelites for forty years: When it comes to obedience, we’re often not very careful. We tend to be quite flippant in how we respond to God’s Word.
React: Well, maybe you’re not, but I know I sure am. When a command in scripture starts tugging at my heart I usually have one of three responses: 1) I will obey it… for a little while. 2) I will explain it away, or 3) I will ignore it.
Do I tend to do that with others too? Boss says to focus on a certain thing and for about an hour or two, perhaps as long as a couple days I will. Then I go back to normal. He comes up a week later and asks about how I’m doing with it and I’ve have a hundred and one excuses ready. He encourages me to get back to it I say, OK. An hour later it slips the mind and I am right back to where I was before. Anyone else been here? For my married friends, replace “boss with “wife” or “husband”. Does it sound familiar?
The fact is, it all comes down to desire. I want to do what I want to do and as long as someone else’s commands line up with what I want to do then I will be careful to follow those commands. If I truly do desire to live for God then I really will be careful to obey Him. I’ll be teaching others those commands, I’ll be talking about them at every opportunity, I’ll be writing them down. So if I’m not careful in my obedience, then the question is, where is my desire? Why is it not for God?
Help me not to take what You have said, and certainly not what You have done flippantly. Your desire for me caused You to pick up a cross and walk that lonely road. Let my desire for You lead me to pick up a cross and follow You. Help me to never forget what You have done for me. Help me to never ignore what You have called me to do for You.