As Christians, we’re called to be different. That’s a no-brainer. Don’t get drunk. Don’t have premarital sex. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t cuss. You’ve probably heard those commands. And chances are, you’ve heard them from the supposedly “good” people of the world — Christians.
Now, don’t get me wrong, those statements are true. We are, indeed, called to be different. But there’s a reason why. Most people know God’s commands, but if they don’t know the reason behind those commands, they’ll likely continue living in disobedience.
So today, I want to answer a question that you ask: why should I obey God?
God himself provides an answer in Deuteronomy 7. Moses is preparing the Israelites to enter Canaan. Part of the instruction Moses gives is God’s law. In fact, the word “Deuteronomy” can be translated as “second law.” In Deuteronomy 7, God speaks through Moses to provide the Israelites with — yes, difficult demands. However, He explains why the Israelites should obey Him.
Israel is told that God will hand seven powerful nations over to their control. However, God demands that His people completely destroy them. In other words, the Israelites cannot intermarry with them, make treaties with them, show mercy to them, or allow their pagan idols to remain (V. 1-5).
Ugh, here are the demands. Here are the rules. But wait, there’s more!
Moses writes, “For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure” (V. 6 NLT).
Here is the first reason why we should obey God: we are chosen.
Notice what God says. The Israelites are God’s chosen people. And because of Jesus Christ, we are too!
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (NLT).
It’s a privilege to be chosen. Think about it. God desperately desires to have a relationship with you. He’s waiting for you to accept your invitation. You are chosen, so you should accept the invitation and obey God.
In verses 7 and 8, God tells the Israelites why He has chosen them. Moses writes, “The LORD did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the LORD loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the LORD rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt” (NLT).
The Israelites are not chosen because of their military strength, population, or economy. Instead, God chooses them because He simply loves them. He has promised prosperity to their ancestors (including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
The same is true for you and me. God does not choose us to be His chosen people because of our success, outward appearance, or strength. Instead, as He tells the Israelites, God simply loves us and wants to keep His promise. Therefore, we should obey God because He loves us.
In verses 9-15, God shows Israel yet another reason why they should obey Him.
“If you listen to these regulations and faithfully obey them, the LORD your God will keep his covenant of unfailing love with you, as he promised with an oath to your ancestors” (V. 12 NLT).
Then, God begins to provide more benefits, including: high fertility, plenty of grain, plenty of wine, plenty of olive oil, large herds of animals, prominent blessings among the nations, and various other benefits (V. 13-15).
You see, the third reason we should obey God is because it results in blessings.
So, yeah. God wants us to be different. He desires our obedience. He calls us to live the straight and narrow. But there’s a reason behind it all.
Here’s the takeaway: God calls us to obey Him because He has chosen us by love to receive His blessings.