Longing for Consistency–A Short Reflection on Deuteronomy 5:29

Posted: September 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

InconsistentLast week I was involved in an exchange of text messages with some friends. The topic of conversation was how to translate Deuteronomy 5:29. As that discussion ensued I had to flip to the text in my Bible and find out what it said. As I did, the words struck a chord within my own heart. This academic discussion was used by the Lord to offer rebuke and encouragement.

The text in question reads, “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” (NIV). The ESV reads, “Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” Although the ESV is closer to a literal reading of the text, the NIV gets the passage right in terms of meaning.

To get to the point, these are the words of God  to Moses. The Ten Commandments have been given to Moses from Yahweh, and Moses has delivered these instructions to the people of Israel at Sinai. Prior to Moses receiving this revelation, the people of Israel had asked Moses to go and speak to God on their behalf (5:27). If he would, they declared that they would “listen and obey…whatever the LORD God” would tell Moses (5:27). In response to this “heart” of obedience, Yahweh declares that he wished that this would always be true of their hearts! Of course as we read the story we see that Israel does not always have a heart inclined to obey their God.

As I lingered over that verse and the surrounding context, I felt the immediate applicability to my own life. I want to obey the God who bought me with the blood of His own Son (1 Cor 6:20). I desire to live a life that is worthy of the gospel (Eph 4:1). There are days when, by God’s grace, the desire to live a holy life is so strong that I live worshipfully and joyfully (though never perfectly). Then there are days when I fall apart and run headlong into selfishness, pride, arrogance, laziness, etc. And because that is a cycle of my life that leaves me exhausted, I long for the day when I put off this body of flesh that is prone to wander. I long for heaven where my inconsistent love of God will be no more!

Oh, that I always and consistently had a heart that was inclined to fear God, keep his commandments, and live for his glory. I long for that day. But till that day, may the Spirit of God fill me up and cause me to walk as Jesus walked.

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