I believe that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. By the time he completed the book of Deuteronomy (also called “the Pentateuch” or “the Law”), he had written 187 chapters. According to others with greater patience than me, these chapters of the Law contain 613 commandments. That’s a bunch to keep in mind!
At times, however, we are permitted a glimpse at the “CliffsNotes” summary of what God was saying to His people.
Moses, in today’s reading, provides us with one of those summaries. He introduces it clearly in 10:12, 13 in the form of a question, “. . . And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you . . . ?” In other words, “If I were to give you the minimalist version of what God wants of you, what would it be?” After giving an answer in the 10th chapter, he then restates it in 11:1. “Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.”
I’m a simple person. I boil it down to:
Love God and do what He says!
The “loving God” part is more than a transient, feelings-based response after a stirring song or a moving testimony. It is a response of regular and ongoing surrender.
The “do what He says” part requires, first of all, that I regularly remind myself of His words. For the nation of Israel, they were to do that with verses on their heads and hands and through daily conversations in their families. (See 11:18-21.) That would provide them with ongoing reminders.
But “doing” is more than “knowing.”
Eventually, there is the real response in words, thoughts, and actions. And, according to Moses, there would be blessing in obedience . . . and cursing in disobedience. (See 11:26-32.)
The danger, I suppose, in “CiffsNotes” is that complex issues are oversimplified. That certainly can be true if we reduce the blessing/obedience idea from above to an overarching equation for life today. Potentially, any problem we have would be seen as a result of some act of personal disobedience. The expanded, New Testament commentary assures us that this is not necessarily the case. Difficulties are experienced by even the godliest of people.
It is nevertheless true…there is blessing in obedience!