Fourth, WE TOO NEED TO LEARN TO RESPONDING APPROPRIATELY (vv. 39-40)
What is the result of all of this? What conclusion is to be drawn from these claims and from this theologically oriented interpretation of history?
Moses tells us in vv. 39-40, which in the Hebrew is the conclusion.
“9 know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
What is the proper response to the knowledge that the Lord is the Lord over all: that He has assigned the created order to the nations, but has chosen Israel out of all the nations to be his special inheritance?
What is the proper response to the knowledge that the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt?
What is the proper response to the fact that the Lord has made a covenant with each and every generation of Israel?
What is the proper response to the recognition that the way one treats the Lord’s commands is a reflection of the way one treats the Lord himself?
The proper response is 1) right thinking and 2) loving obedience.
1) First, note the strong theological statement in v. 39.
“So acknowledge today and take to heart that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”
The statement is remarkable, among other reasons, because Moses makes this a conclusion of God’s revelation to Israel through history and through his sovereignty over the nations.
The similar statement in v. 35 confirms this: Why did the Lord bring Israel out of Egypt with great signs and wonders? So that He might make Himself known to Israel.
This we know, both from the Old Testament and the New Testament, that God has revealed Himself in a general way to the whole world both through His creation and through His actions. But is this enough? NO.
2) For second, we note in v. 40 that Israel is to respond to what it has seen and experience with obedience. Israel has been selected from all the nations to receive the revelation of the Lord.
And yet it is all too easy here to fall into the trap of commanding obedience for the sake of blessing or out of fear of reprisal. We should instead, here, understand obedience as the proper response to the Lord because it shows a receptivity to God’s love and grace and a responsiveness of love.
For to obey God is an act of love.
What is the reason for obedience in this chapter of Deut?
It is not blessing.
It is not out of obligation.
It is not out of fear.
All of these are present within this chapter, no doubt.
But no, the overwhelming reason for obedience according to this chapter is that obedience is the proper response to what God has already done for Israel. What has he done?
The Lord has made His commandments and Himself known to Israel.
1) He is offering to have a relationship with Israel. How remarkable it was when the Lord revealed His name to Moses. This is His essence and identity. He then at Sinai descended upon the Mountain to make himself known to the entire nation. Then on top of that, he entered into the Tabernacle so that he might even dwell among his people.
2) He also gave Israel a collection of laws and statutes by which they should live and worship him. We saw in vv. 1-8 that there is a connection between how someone treats the Lord and how someone treats his commandments are related.
The Lord is offering Israel Himself and His laws.
Take it or leave it.
If Israel takes it, there is blessing in store. If Israel leaves it, there are curses in store. The good life, the blessed life, the full life is to be found in responding to God’s actions by choosing to be in relationship with Him and choosing to obey his commands.