Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always. Deuteronomy 5:29
The teenage years are sometimes among the most agonizing seasons in life—for both parent and child. In my adolescent quest to “individuate” from my mother, I openly rejected her values and rebelled against her rules, suspicious their purposes were merely to make me miserable. Though we’ve since come to agree on those matters, that time in our relationship was riddled with tension. Mom undoubtedly lamented my refusal to heed the wisdom of her instructions, knowing they would spare me unnecessary emotional and physical pain.
God had the same heart for His children, Israel. God imparted His wisdom for living in what we know as the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:7–21). Though they could be viewed as a list of rules, God’s intention is evident in His words to Moses: “so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” (v. 29). Moses recognized God’s desire, saying that obedience to the decrees would result in their enjoyment of His ongoing presence with them in the promised land (v. 33).
We all go through a season of “adolescence” with God, not trusting that His guidelines for living are truly meant for our good. May we grow into the realization that He wants what’s best for us and learn to heed the wisdom He offers. His guidance is meant to lead us into spiritual maturity as we become more like Jesus (Psalm 119:97–104; Ephesians 4:15; 2 Peter 3:18).
How has God’s wisdom helped you grow in your relationship with Him? In what area of your life do you need to heed His wisdom?
Loving God, help me to trust that You know what’s best for me.
Just prior to Moses’ words to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 5:28–32, he’d given them a complete review of the Ten Commandments (vv. 6–21) and reminded them of their initial response of fear and awe when God’s presence had enveloped Mount Sinai (vv. 23–27; see Exodus 20:18–21).
God found their response of fear and reverence entirely appropriate (Deuteronomy 5:28). Then, intriguingly, we catch a sense of longing in His voice: “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always” (v. 29). We’re to “fear” Him in the sense that we recognize His holiness and the respect and honor due Him, yet His heart yearns for us. It’s helpful to recall the words of Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”