Day 14: May 17, 2017: Loyal to God
Deuteronomy 10:20-22: You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.
I saw an advertisement on You Tube the other day for a company whose mission is to help businesses return to connecting with their customers on a personal, first-name, friendly basis. In the digital age so much of business is transacted between people who are complete strangers, or who do not ever see or talk to one another. The ad began by remembering the days when businesses were locally owned and customers knew the shop owner and employees personally. The sales pitch then was that this company, through their sophisticated internet technology, could help businesses establish similar personal connections with customers in the digital age.
What would be the point of a company trying to build personal relationships with its customers? Obviously the overall goal would be to create customer loyalty. Customers who feel that a business knows and cares about their lives and needs are much more likely to stick with that business for a long time.
Moses doesn’t use the word “loyal” in this text, but the idea is there. He is urging the Israelites to “stick with” God for the long haul: “You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.” The Exodus generation was not loyal to God. They constantly turned away from him. This new generation of Israelites, preparing to enter the Promised Land, had the opportunity to do things differently.
The reason for the Israelites to loyally fear and serve God was God’s loyalty to them. God had been loyal to his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He promised that their descendants would become a great nation as numerous as “the dust of the earth” (Gen. 28:14) and God kept this promise. Moses reminded Israel of how God had multiplied them: “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.”
God had also promised Abraham that his descendants would serve another nation for many long years but that eventually God would bring them up out of that land to the land of Canaan (Gen. 15:12-16). Once again God kept this promise. He did “great and terrifying things” to Egypt and delivered Israel from slavery. He guided Israel through the wilderness and provided for their needs. He punished the Israelites that rebelled against him but kept his covenant with the nation. He brought the new generation of Israelites to the door step of the Promised Land. So God was perfectly loyal to Israel and his purpose was that Israel would become his loyal, obedient people. Psalm 105:43-45: “So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!”
As great as Israel’s reasons for being loyal to God were, our reasons as his church are even greater. We are the full recipients of all that God did for and through Israel, for we have received redemption through Jesus the Messiah. Jesus has rescued us from slavery to sin. Jesus has filled us with His Spirit and united us to God. Jesus has called us to put his teachings into practice and to take the good news about him throughout the world. Therefore the exhortation of Moses in our text applies also to us: “We shall fear the Lord our God. We shall serve him and hold fast to him. He is our praise.”
God is not a business who provides goods and services to us. Rather, God is our Lord who has bought us for himself at the price of his Son (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Therefore, let us be loyal to God!
Take time now to thank God for his loyal love and to pledge your loyalty to God again. This prayer can help you get started: “Almighty God, thank you that you keep your word. Thank you that your love does not change. Thank you that even when we are faithless, you remain faithful. Help me through your Holy Spirit to loyally fear and serve you all the days of my life. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”