| LIFE AND DEATH |
I appreciate how clear and forthright God is to the people in this chapter. He tells them that they are going to undergo both His blessing and His curse. But He also tells them that He will again gather them to Himself, to restore them and have mercy upon them.
The greatest promise that God gives the people is the promise to circumcise their heart so that they will love the Lord. As you will remember from yesterday’s reading, it is one thing to be marked externally as set apart for the Lord, but it is another to have your heart set apart, that God is the true hope and desire of your heart. Whereas Deuteronomy 10:16 called the people to circumcise their own heart, here God promises to do the work of transformation Himself. Truly, there is nothing greater than the gift of faith.
Not Too Hard
It is interesting that God so poetically and forcefully makes the point that that this commandment is “not too hard for you.” We have skipped much of it, but Leviticus and Deuteronomy is choke full of commands and laws and instructions for the people. Why does God now say that it is not too hard?
Because the heart of the command isn’t willful obedience. The heart of the command is faith. That is why verse 17 contrasts obedience with worshiping other Gods. What the Lord truly requires of the people is that they seek Him, that they love Him, that they trust Him.
What is truly wrong with sin isn’t a lack of conformity to a law, but a failure to trust that the Lord is good. From the beginning, from the failure of Adam and Eve, humanity has failed to trust that God’s command is good. Instead we have said that we know a better way to live than the way the Lord has required.
I hope that you are beginning to see that the story of the Bible isn’t a story of God, like an angry parent, trying to get people to behave. The story of the Bible is a story of a good God calling a people to Himself to see that He is the Lord and that the Lord is good.