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To Fear and Obey

Mount Sinai

“‘Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear Me and to keep all My commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!’” (Deuteronomy 5:29)

When God first appeared to the Israelites when they were camped at Mount Sinai, they were terrified. They saw Him as a glorious, awesome God, and they knew they had no right to look upon Him. “This day,” they said, “we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.” They begged Moses to speak to God for them, promising to do everything that God told them to do.

And God was pleased with their words. He saw their hearts, and He knew that they truly did want to obey Him. He had revealed Himself to them as a God of glory, and He was glad that they feared and reverenced Him. Because of that, they were willing to obey Him. God told Moses that He wished His people would always have such a heart, “that it might go well with them forever.”

Let’s stop right there for a minute. God said that He wanted the people to obey Him that it might go well with them. He wanted their obedience so He could bless them for it. He wanted things to be good for His people.

For some reason, I think we sometimes downplay this part of God’s character. We see Him as a holy, awesome God, and that is definitely true. But when we think about Him in this way, we somehow skip over the fact that He’s also a loving God. He made us, and He wants a relationship with us. He wants to bless us. He doesn’t want our obedience so He can have an army of subservient slaves; He wants our obedience because that’s what He made us for. We were made to serve Him, and when we do, things go well with us. God’s desire for us is that we not only fear Him, but also keep His commandments. We obey Him because we both fear Him and love Him. That is what God wants for us.

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