What God Requires

Who really thinks about this question these days? For much of society God doesn’t exist and if He does He’s just some impersonal entity which merely initiated natural processes and remains invisible, silent, and distant, so there are no requirements to consider, which would explain why society has so badly run amuck these last millennia. To others who say they know Him the list of requirements is long and stifling. But are God’s requirements really burdensome? Are His commandments ponderous? What does God really require of us? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Let’s look at this question from this angle. In Matthew 22:36 Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment. He quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” We usually read that without considering its significance. We stop at “love the LORD your God” and the implications of the rest of the sentence are ignored. What are the things in life we love with all our heart, soul, and mind? How can we love to the completeness and fullness of those requirements? We often have trouble loving our own families much less to that degree. But we do love our electronics, TVs, computers, cell phones, sports teams, hunting and fishing, pets, cars and bikes, you name it, on which we spend a profound amount of time, money, and energy. These things we think about, fantasize about, spend money and time on, devote our lives to, are consumed by. And in doing so God is shoved aside, minimalized, marginalized, ignored.

Following this statement Jesus continued, “This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Jesus summed it up for the interviewer: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” That drastically cuts down on the list of requirements.

Micah says something similar but simplifies God’s requirements this way: “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) This is spoken by a Jewish prophet but is spoken to everyone everywhere. Mankind has been told. God has not disappeared into the vastness of the universe to let us wander the earth directionless. The justice and kindness part we can pretty much understand, its the “do unto others” philosophy everyone believes in and stated by Jesus in the positive sense (love your neighbor). But the “walk humbly with your God” part is a bit more problematic, because we have to think about what it means to walk with Him. Kind of like walking with your friends to the mall, down the hall, in the car or backyard. There is the presence felt of each other, the words passing between, the sharing of thoughts, hopes, dreams, and the emotion of peace and joy in each others presence. Except for the times, of course, when you’re at each other’s throats, competing for the one-upmanship. But that’s not what you hope for or desire. You seek out friendship because of the qualities of joy and delight it brings, not your betterment att he other’s expense.

Think about it, how are you seeking friendship with God? How are you walking with God, humbly or otherwise? As it is said in Joshua (Josh. 23:11) “So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God.” Diligent indeed. Because if you really love Him, you’ll be delighted to spend time with Him. You will not be disappointed. Because as the Psalmist said, (Psa 37:4) “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” This is best understood as not of getting all the desires you wish for, but that He will implant in your heart all the desires that will satisfy. Is that not the good life?

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