“These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land” (12:1). One word, here, jumps out at me: “careful.” The instructions God gave to Israel were not optional, they were not to be followed only in part, and they were not to be taken lightly. The apostle John declared, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. . . . whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:3,6). For John, “ought” does not merely signify a possibility or an option; he has explained that we can know we have come to know him because we obey his commandments. To say that we know him, while not keeping his commandments, makes us liars. If we are in Christ, we will obey him, even if not perfectly.
And, so, Israel, and we, must be careful to obey our God. Israel was to destroy the pagan shrines and idols and worship God in the way he instructed. They must not live as the ungodly lived. In all things, they must live as the people of God. Of course, for Israel, as it is with us, the problem is that we do not do this perfectly. But we must intentionally and diligently and regularly and carefully (how many adverbs should I add in, here?) seek to live according to God’s Word, always looking to the finished work of Jesus as our certain hope.
Each commandment Thou hast given
Is a waymark on the road;
Leading up from earth to heaven,
To the blessed throne of God. -- Daniel S. Warner, 1888 (Yes, I know I like hymn lyrics. 😊)