“Keep them and do them; for that will be your wisdom and your understanding.” (Deuteronomy 4:6)
In today’s first reading, we hear Moses instructing the Israelite Nation: “And now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, gives you.” (Deuteronomy 4:1). Moses told them: “do them (i.e., obey the commandments); that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land…”
There is surely a connection between our obedience to God and the quality of our lives. Do you desire to be very successful in life? Then, do not disregard God. To get a clearer understanding of this fact, let us consider what God said to Joshua shortly after the death of Moses: “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.” (Joshua 1:8). In other words, obedience to God produces success.
Jesus also expresses this very fact during the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33). To seek righteousness is to strive consciously every day to think, speak and act right in accordance with God’s words. To seek righteousness is to grow daily in the fear of God, being careful to avoid sin at all cost.
The question is: “why is it so difficult to keep God’s words?” Firstly, we do not love God. Jesus told us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) If our love for God is genuine, we would do all it takes to obey Him, without counting the cost. The letter to the Hebrews states: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4).
Secondly, we find it difficult to obey God’s words because we do not trust God. Deep within us, we do not believe there is any value in keeping God’s commandments. Somehow, we have come to believe the lie of the devil, that by “eating of the fruit” we would not die but our eyes would be open, we would be like God. The bottom line of all these evils happening in our society today is that we no longer trust God’s ability to bless us with genuine wealth and prosperity if we seek righteousness. Indeed, we no longer believe that God exists.
Child of God, as you hear (or read) these words, do not harden your heart. Renew your trust in God; believe that there are uncountable blessings that come with obedience to God; believe that you will never regret whatever sacrifice you make to keep God’s words; believe that no one can ever worship God in vain – “that He is a rewarder of all who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). Anyone who tells you that you have to contribute money to the church before God will bless is a liar and a thief. The only seed that God demands is to let your light shine, to walk in righteousness, to avoid sin, and love your neighbour as yourself.
In conclusion, Jesus tells us today: “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my trust in you and help me to obey. Amen
Bible Study: Deut. 4:1,5-9, Ps. 147:12-13,15-16,19-20, Matthew 5:17-19).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu