“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
I always enjoy the fact that my reading plan puts me in both the Old and New Testaments each day. I especially enjoy it when the readings seem to reinforce the same ideas. Today the theme was how obedience to God leads to blessing.
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told that they will be blessed in the promised land if they obey the commandments of the Lord. In Matthew, Jesus tells His listeners that the wise obey the commands of God and in turn, are set on a solid foundation.
Moses gave the Israelites a picture of what it meant to obey the commandments of God. It meant to love the Lord, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and rules. I think the key thing here is that it all starts with love. The active obedience of walking in His ways and keeping His commandments and rules are simply demonstrations of love for God. This is in line with John 14:15 when Jesus said, ““If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Obedience is a (super)natural response to God’s love for us and a demonstration of our love for Him.
My big idea: if you want to more faithfully obey the Lord, don’t try harder to behave well. Instead, humble yourself under God’s mighty hand and fall more and more in love with Him. Do this by coming to a better understanding of just how much He loves you.
In Matthew, we learn that just knowing or simply agreeing with Jesus’ words are not enough. Jesus tells us that “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock”. If we desire to be like that wise man we are to “do” the words of Jesus. So, what does it mean to “do” Jesus’ words? It means to act on them. It means to listen, hear, believe and respond to the words of Jesus.
My big idea: if you want to be like the wise builder who does Jesus’ words and establishes himself on a firm foundation, don’t exert more effort in trying to make the sand under your feet feel more firm. Instead, spend more time getting into the word of God that the word of God might get into you. Allow your heart and mind to be transformed by the living word of God that you might walk by faith and allow the Holy Spirit to empower you to step out in obedience.
Both Moses and Jesus made it clear that there is a choice to be made. Life or death. Good or evil. Wise or unwise. Rock or sand.
My prayer is that, by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I am continually filled with a willingness, desire and strength to obey the Lord – regardless of the temporary costs or consequences. I pray that my obedience would be motivated by love and not fear. I pray that I will always be grateful for the fact that God loved me first, despite my disobedience. I pray that my life will always be built upon Christ the solid rock and foundation of truth. For His glory and my joy.