Deuteronomy 7:9-10 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.
Once again we have Moses trying to drill it into the people’s heads that Yahweh alone is God, and He’s not to be fooled with. Being used to the idols of Egypt, they didn’t really think about God as having any real power in the here-and-now, either for good or for bad. In that they were much like a lot of people today! The emphasis here is on God’s faithfulness, Moses makes it very clear that hating God, that is, ignoring Him and His rules, is going to get you into a world of hurt. Part of the conscience that God designed us with gives us the expectation of punishment after we’ve done wrong. It wasn’t until Christ that such punishment was ultimately dealt with. Here, Moses is using the expectation of punishment as a tool to try to keep the people on the right path. Actually, human beings need boundaries. If we sense no boundaries, we tend to get anxious. Our whole lives, the time we are least anxious is when we are in the womb, and it is no coincidence that we have the strictest boundaries at that point. Many parents fail to realize that children need boundaries for their emotional health and development. The rules/boundaries God sets for us are not to restrict us but to guide and protect us. That’s why here and so many places in the Bible love is connected with obedience. That’s why the very next verse says, “Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.”
Just a few minutes ago I was thinking how blessed I am that my parents raised me to acknowledge when I was in the wrong. That’s not to say I don’t get defensive sometimes, or that I have a perfect track record by any means, but that was part of my upbringing. As a pastor I deal constantly with people who have great difficulty with that. As I was taught in seminary counseling class, and as I have seen in my own experience, there’s no such thing as a totally one-sided divorce, for example. (I’ve seen some pretty lopsided ones, but there’s always something.) Before God, we have nothing we can rightly accuse at all, though mankind has tried to accuse God of all sorts of things ever since Eden. I need to help people realize how much they are loved and how much they are forgiven by God, so that they will in turn love and forgive those close to them, not carrying the weight of the other person’s faults and sins. Our own are more than heavy enough, and Jesus tells us to give them all to Him. (Matthew 11:28-30) I don’t have the wisdom to get that through to people, but I can speak the truth in love and the Holy Spirit can use His words through me to set people free.
Father, thank You for this very timely reminder. Thank You for what You’ve already done through me this morning. I do pray that in all things Your name would be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!