Matthew 4:10 ESV
Deuteronomy 6:13 ESV
Deuteronomy 10:20 ESV
Early on in life I learned a few difficult lessons that have served me well. While my dad was a kind and a fair man, he was immovable about a few rules and concepts.
About the only rule I had was that I had to do whatever he said.
There was a catch…I needed to do it when he said it (like right then) and every time after I had to remember what he said I was supposed to do.
When I would forget (and I did forget) he wasn’t mean or anything, but I would get “the look”.
I knew what the look meant.
Most of the time (like 99.9%) it meant we had already talked about it and what I just did was not okay.
My dad also had certain concepts (beliefs) that he was pretty ‘set’ on.
One in particular was putting God first in everything and worshiping only God.
That meant the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac and the Son of God, Jesus.
I had to learn there were specific rules he had. At the time I thought they were weird, but I didn’t argue with him. For example, there was one specific board game that was ‘banned’ at our house. It was supposed to answer questions and could tell you about unknown things.
I did not (have not) used that board game. I’ve never owned one or had one in my house as an adult. I told my kids it wasn’t okay and Grandpa said so. They all respected him and knew him to be a man of truth, so that was about all I had to say.
The point was and is that my dad absolutely believed what was written in Matthew 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
My dad took that seriously…SUPER Seriously!
As a result, even 35 years after he is no longer on earth, I still take it seriously.
I have ‘bells and whistles’ that go off in my head if I sense I’m about to do something, or even think something that would indicate that I am not putting God first. The concept that God (what God thinks, and what God would have me choose) needs to be first is ever before me.
Please understand, I am not saying that I am without sin…only Jesus was without sin. I’m saying that the concept of putting God first was something I was taught to desire more than anything else.
The children of Israel were also taught by Moses and by their parents that they need to put God first.
In Deuteronomy 6:13 they were told, “It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.”
They were told that over and over again. In Deuteronomy 10:20 Moses wrote, “You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.“
I’ve intentionally used both examples because of the word FEAR.
The Hebrew word for fear in Deuteronomy 6:13 is ‘yare’. It’s a verb that means ‘to fear’ in Hebrew. This kind of fear is a holy fear of respect. It’s a put God first kind of fear because God is creator God. God is sustainer God. God IS Love. God IS the breathe of life. God IS eternal.
Then, the Hebrew word for FEAR used in Deuteronomy 10:20 was also ‘yare’ but more explanation was given by Moses. This time, Moses said we are to serve God, hold fast to God, and completely trust God.
There IS no other GOD.
In other words, nothing else compares to our God.
When I was a wee lass, my dad wanted me to understand the truth about God.
He meant it, and I knew my dad took it seriously…so I took it seriously.
In Deuteronomy 10:20, the Hebrew word for serve is ‘ṯa·‘ă·ḇōḏ’ and it means to labour, serve, cultivate, or work. All of those definitions are fitting. We give our effort to God. All of our efforts are for God. That honors God.
In Deuteronomy 10:20 the Hebrew word for ‘hold fast to’ is ṯiḏ·bāq. It means to cleave or to cling to God. I love that! It means we can hold God ever so closely…we hold on tight and cling to God.
That’s exactly what God wants us to do!
And in Deuteronomy 10:20 the Hebrew word for swear by is ‘tiš·šā·ḇê·a‘ and it means to take an oath only to God, to worship only God, and to promise (wholeheartedly) you will serve only God.
The Hebrew believers I’ve met in my lifetime take the name of God seriously. They take giving an oath to God as a serious and solemn event.
My dad kept the name of God and putting God first seriously as well.
I knew when I was very young it was important as well.
Spiritual Practice: Take an Oath
Promise to worship only God.
In God, Deborah