Grace is a completely undeserved favor bestowed from one person to another. God’s love and grace are the foundation of his relationship with humans.
God desires the best for his children and does everything in his power to give us the best.
The message of Moses to God’s people in Deuteronomy 5 describes how God intends to bestow his love, grace, and blessing on humans.
God Actions for Humans
At the heart of our life with God is his gracious love. Let’s read Moses’ words and see how this truth is evident.
Moses convened all Israel, and said to them:
“Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances that I am addressing to you today; you shall learn them and observe them diligently.
“The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.
“Not with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.
“The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the fire.
“At that time I was standing between the Lord and you to declare to you the words of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain” (Deuteronomy 5.1-5).
(1) That fact that God is willing to make a covenant with humans is an illustration of his love and grace.
The Hebrew word for “covenant” is used 80 times in the Old Testament. It literally means “to cut a covenant.”
When a covenant was made between two people, they would take the best-fattened animal from their flock and “cut” it into two pieces. Then, the two people would walk between the two pieces symbolizing their dedication to the agreement.
Their action said, “If I do not hold to the agreements of this covenant, you can do to me what we did to this animal.” (See Jeremiah 34.18-20)
Imagine the humility and love of God, who is willing to bind himself to an agreement with people whom he has created.
(2) That God personally interacts with people is a profound illustration of his loving and gracious character.
God is infinitely more than Aristotle’s “unmoved mover.” Aristotle was right in stating that God is someone who moves things and people without being moved himself, but God is far greater than this.
God desires to speak with humans face to face. We may not experience God’s message as the Hebrew people did, but we all have the opportunity to personally interact with him daily.
(3) God, who makes covenants and personally interacts with people, delivers people from slavery. Moses frequently alluded to God’s gracious intervention for the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt.
Jesus, too, described God’s liberating power for us.
He said, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever.
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8.34-36).
God’s love and grace are on display through his actions. Yet there is more. God’s love compels him to teach us how to live the best life possible.
God’s Principles for Humans
God gave Moses ten principles (the Ten Commandments), which were designed to make life with God and other people the best it could be.
Moses related the first principle, just as God delivered it to him.
Speaking for God, he said, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me” (Deuteronomy 5.6-7).
False gods can be as oppressive as nations that use other humans as slaves. Here are some modern examples of slavery to false gods.
— In yesterday’s blog article I wrote about Robert Courtney, the pharmacist who diluted chemotherapy drugs and affected the lives of 4,200 cancer patients.
Courtney was active in the church he attended, but the false god he served caused great harm to many families and brought shame to Jesus Christ.
— When we give ourselves to addictions, we are serving a false god that will steal, kill and destroy our lives.
— The recent revelation of the mental strain that is part of sports and entertainment stars is another example of how a god other than the One True God will not give us the advertised abundant life of fame and fortune.
Contrast these images with a band of nobodies who followed Jesus through Galilee and to Jerusalem. They left everything and followed Jesus because they recognized God’s grace and love in his words and actions.
Peter summarized their experience and said, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6.68).
Jesus eclipsed all of the so-called “gods” of culture and revealed in his attitudes, actions, and teaching the life that all humans long to experience. Jesus alone – “no other gods before me” – had the message that gives abundant and eternal life.
Know and Do
Moses began his message with these words, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances that I am addressing to you today; you shall learn them and observe them diligently” (Deuteronomy 5.1).
God has loving acted on our behalf. He humbles himself to make a covenant with us. He desires to personally interact with us.
He sets us free from slavery of sin and self. He gives us direction for life.
The smartest thing we can do is to know and do what his principles for the abundant life.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent Bible student and lover of God. He and I have a YouTube video on this passage that can be viewed on the Bob Spradling channel. Please check it out.
I am indebted to many authors, who inform my thinking and benefit my life. Peter Craigie’s commentary on Deuteronomy has been very helpful.
Please email your prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.