Deuteronomy 5:1 (HCSB)
1 Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am proclaiming as you hear them today. Learn and follow them carefully.
I think it is probably safe to say that the vast majority of Americans cannot list the Ten Commandments. I would go so far as to say most American Christians probably cannot list the Ten Commandments. Sadly enough, I’m not sure if I was put on the spot, if I could name them myself.
“Learn and follow them carefully.” These commands had been given to the Israelites already, and Moses even points that out. But these commands are important, and should not be forgotten. In fact, the importance does not end with just the Ten Commandments that Moses recites here, but it extends beyond, into the “statutes and ordinances” that follow. And this mindset, this attitude, can be very foreign to us, at least it can be to me.
Here’s how things often go with me: I am attentive, I observe the rules, I do what is asked and expected, sometimes even going above and beyond, until I get what I want. Then? Well… once I have what I want, I am not so attentive, not so observant of the rules, I do what I want and expect, and am lucky just to meet the bare minimum. But see, that’s not what Moses is conveying to us here. Moses is saying, at the doorstep of Canaan, with three tribes already possessing at least part of the land they will be living in, “Learn and follow [these commands] carefully.” There’s no thought of taking their foot off the gas and coasting. See, the physical goal might have been Canaan, but the real goal, the spiritual goal, is continuing to be strived after for the Israelites, and that is to be fully reconciled with God.
So even though God is delivering His people to the place He promised, their journey is not over. And Canaan is just a symbol of the final deliverance that Jesus brings. And in the meantime: we “learn and follow them carefully,” in order to keep God our focus, our foundation, and our Father.
Lord, thank You for Your guidance. I am sorry for my selfishness, my self-centeredness. I pray for a heart that seeks You first in everything, and learns and follows Your word, that You have graciously provided us so that we can know You better, and be molded into the children You designed. Amen.