God’s desire for his people to live obediently with renewed hearts

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

Deuteronomy 5:29

God’s desire toward his people is revealed in this verse. He desires a constancy in purpose and vigilance in seeking his ways in all things.

This is one of the few times that God is actually pleased with the response of Israel, at this most pivotal of events in their history. This is the scene at Sinai, when God has rallied his people to himself after delivering them from the oppression of Egypt and bringing them through the dangers of the desert wilderness. He has revealed himself to them in the awe-inspiring display of the thunderous, smoking mountain, speaking the Ten Commandments to the entire assembly. The people recoil in fear having heard the penetrating heavenly voice speak the words of the covenant directly to them. In response, the people urge Moses to be the one to go near to God and to intercede for them.

Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? You go near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and you speak unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto you; and we will hear, and do it.

Deuteronomy 5:25-27, 29

In the recognition of the majesty and power of the one true God, Israel can only respond with the famous agreement: “you speak unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto you; and we will hear, and do it.” This is the response that God desired; not for them to merely be fearful of him, but for them to respect who he is enough for them to be willing to hear and to do. As a parent who knows what’s best for their children, God desired his people to respond to him from the heart with obedient understanding for their own good. He even says that if they obeyed, it would go well with them and their children. Obedience to the ways of God would provide the best outcome for their lives and their descendants.

It is then that God reveals his deepest desire for them: if only they had hearts that would seek him always, it would go well with them. If they would remain vigilant to his ways in all things, they would be blessed. In this rare moment in time, he sees his people truly desiring to be obedient to himself. But he knows they will rebel, not because they don’t believe him, but because their hearts are hard. He longs for a time when they might have renewed hearts of faith that will cause them to walk in his ways in all things and at all times.

This is truly God’s desire for everyone: renewed hearts of obedience for those who have demonstrated sincere faith in his revelation of himself, just as he revealed himself at Sinai. When we come to recognize the majesty of the Father working through Yeshua, then like Israel of old we should come to Yeshua as they did to Moses, saying, “you speak unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto you; and we will hear, and do it.” When we place our faith in Yeshua as teaching us the truths of the Father, just as Israel did toward Moses in that ancient wilderness, we receive the ability to fulfill this longing of our Creator: to have hearts that fear him and vigilantly keep his commands always.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.

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