Obedience with Love

The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.
(1 Kings 8:57-58 ESV)

After the building of the temple, King Solomon prayed to the Lord and then gave a benediction.  This excerpt is a part of the benediction.  Within this passage, we see a great, theologically-informed view of holiness.  He says, “May [the LORD] not leave us or forsake us“.  He acknowledges that Israel required God’s presence.  For what?  “That he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways…

Here are two implications:

1. We cannot walk in all His ways and keep His commandments without His presence.  This is even more of a reality for the Christian, because “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).  Apart from the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t even want to follow Jesus, and we would be unable.

2. Our pursuit of holiness should be driven by our love for Him.  Notice in verse 58 that in order to walk in all his ways, etc., the Lord must first incline our hearts to Him.  The more that we grow in our love for Jesus, the more we will desire to submit to His will.  Obedience without love is Pharisaical.   Obedience because of love is good.

This benediction was originally for national Israel.  But let it echo on our lips.  The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.

Today’s reading:

1Ki.8:33..
Prov. 11
Jonah 2
James 3

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