In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at God’s law as summarised in the ten commandments and started by examining the first commandment: ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We’ve seen that the first commandment requires that you acknowledge and worship God by remembering, esteeming, honouring, loving, desiring, fearing, trusting and praising him; and by hoping, delighting and rejoicing in him; and by being zealous for him. But how else can you worship God?
Another way we should worship God is by obeying him. If God is your god, then there must be a desire to worship him by doing what he says. Otherwise he is clearly not your god!
The LORD confirms this idea when he tells Moses to explain to the Israelites that they must obey him if they are to be his people: ‘Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites’ (Exodus 19:3-6).
The prophet Jeremiah also reminded the Israelites about the link between having God as your god and the obedience expected. He said ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:…when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you’ (Jeremiah 7:21-23). And again Jeremiah says: ’This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Tell them that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the man who does not obey the terms of this covenant–the terms I commanded your forefathers when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God’ (Jeremiah 11:1-4).
In the New Testament, the apostle John gives us another example of the teaching that if you belong to God you must obey his commands: ‘This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world’ (1 John 5:3-4).
So have you claimed to have God as your god? Is that reflected by your obedience to his commands?
Sadly, we must confess that we have not been as obedient as we should be in our worship of God. But thankfully, the Son of God was completely obedient and you can have his obedience put to your account if you trust in him. So do you?