WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 10, 2021
TOPIC: DO WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU
BY T. O. BANSO
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-14 New King James Version).
Every student knows that the most important part of the question paper in an examination is the instructions. It tells you the number of questions you are supposed to answer and the compulsory ones. It can also tell you how you should answer the questions and the number of hours you have to spend answering the questions.
Sometimes some students ignore the instructions or don’t read them well and, therefore, answer more than the required questions. Or they could answer the expected number of questions but excluding the compulsory questions. Some students only discover their mistakes after they have left the examination hall.
I have been in examination halls in the past where I heard colleagues shouting, “more paper, more paper.” In other words, they had exhausted the answer sheets given to them and needed more from the invigilator to answer the remaining questions! If you were not sure of yourself, you would doubt if you were writing the correct answers! You had not exhausted your answer sheets with the same number of pages, yet your classmates were asking for “more paper.” You would wonder what they were writing.
Sometimes when you discussed with your colleagues after the examinations what they wrote that made them request for “more paper”, you would discover that they had written what was not required of them. It is not wrong to ask for more answer sheets when writing an examination but the candidate must ensure that he is writing what is expected of him, not irrelevant things that will not fetch him marks. I heard one student say that he had to write so much so that the examiner would pick the answers he wanted!
After the results are released, it is not the students who asked for “more paper” the most that score the highest. The best students in examinations are not often those who write the most but those who write the answers – what the examiners expect of them.
I always joke with students after writing an examination by asking them, “Did you pass?” Some will tell me, “They have not yet marked our papers” or “The result is not yet out.” But those familiar with my question would say they passed. In other words, they were sure they had passed based on the answers they wrote.
In examinations, it is not the students’ responsibility to determine what the examiners require of them; the examiners do. The students’ responsibility is to give the examiners the answers that they require of them. The students just waste their time when they write what the examiners do not require. This is one reason some students fail.
If you’re working with a boss, it is important to know what he expects of you. If it is not clearly written, it is wise to find out so that you are not being evaluated based on expectations you are ignorant of. If it is unwritten and you served a former boss well based on your discretion, your current boss may have a different expectation. Therefore, it is better to ask him what he wants from you. In formal organizations, there is a clearly defined job specification for every staff, which is the basis for performance evaluation. There is no reward for labouring ignorantly.
God has expectations from His children. He requires some things of us. We must not relate with God ignorantly claiming to serve Him but doing what He does not expect of us. We could even be doing more than He has asked us to do like a student answering more questions than the examiner expects of him.
We must not behave like the students asking for “more paper” in the examination hall but who are seriously writing irrelevant answers that would not fetch them marks. The examiner will not be sentimental. He will reward him accordingly with failure though he had sweated in the hall!
Deuteronomy 10:12-14 says, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (New King James Version).
This scripture tells us what God requires of His children. We can break it down to these: (1) Fear God (2) Walk in all His ways (3) Love Him (4) Serve God with all your heart, and soul (5) Keep His commandments and statutes.
This scripture is indeed in the Old Testament and we are no longer under the law but these requirements cannot be completely said to be irrelevant in the New Testament. Although we are under grace, not the law, we are not excused from obeying the Word of God. Neither are we permitted not to fear the Lord i.e. reverence Him, or walk in His way, love Him, and serve Him with all our heart and soul.
Jesus said in Mark 12:29-30, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (New King James Version).
Also, Luke 10:27 records similar words of Jesus thus: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself” (New King James Version).
You can see that Deuteronomy 10:12-14 mentioned loving the Lord and serving Him with all your heart and soul. God still requires this from His children today. Do you fear the Lord? Do you reverence or esteem Him? Do you walk in His ways? Do you love the Lord and serve Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do you obey His Word?
One could do everything he knows to do but fails to do what God requires. It could be compared to writing unnecessary answers in an examination. The student may be impressed with his answers but he is not the one that will mark his script. A wise student will answer questions based on what the examiner requires of him.
Saul was guilty of unnecessary sacrifice. God required obedience but he promoted sacrifice above obedience. He was rejected because of this. The prophet Samuel told him, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel15:22 New King James Version). Many people still do that today. They give God what they want; they don’t give Him what He requires of them.
Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (New King James Version). Three additional things are mentioned here: do justly (justice or what is right), love mercy (kindness or compassion), and walk humbly with God (live in humble fellowship with God).
Some people neglect these things and prefer doing other things. They don’t give to all their due. They don’t show mercy or are not compassionate. And they don’t maintain constant fellowship with God in humility, “setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness” (Micah 6:8b Amplified Bible). Therefore, they do not please God.
Make God’s priorities your priorities. Do what God requires of you, not what tickle your fancy. In Psalm 50, God rejected the animals His people were bringing to Him as a sacrifice. He said, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:12-15 New King James Version). Fulfil God’s requirements; don’t do what appeals to you. Genesis 4:4-5 says the LORD respected Abel and his offering but He did not respect Cain and his offering.
In Matthew 12:1 the disciples of Jesus plucked heads of grain to eat on the Sabbath and the Pharisees told Him what they did was unlawful on the Sabbath. In answer, Jesus said, among other things, “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:7-8 New King James Version). The Pharisees were being legalistic when God required mercy.
People could engage in different religious rites and never do what God requires. Being religious is not the same thing as being godly. When God requires mercy, religious people could be pursuing stoning to death someone they had caught in adultery as the Scribes and Pharisees did in the story recorded in John 8:2-11. Yet, their hands were not clean. Jesus told them that anyone who was without sin among them should throw a stone at the woman first. He exposed their hypocrisy. The woman’s accusers left one after the other and Jesus told her to go and sin no more.
Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone (Matthew 23:23 New King James Version). In other words, justice, mercy, and faith were more important than tithing. But the scribes and Pharisees neglected them. They misplaced their priorities. God’s priorities were not their priorities.
Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (New King James Version). These are things God requires of His children. But many neglect them and occupy themselves with otter things that are not important to God.
Hear what the Lord says in Isaiah 58:6-7: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (New King James Version). Did you see that? God rejected their fasting because while they fasted, they oppressed their workers and fought and quarreled.
However, the Lord said if they engage in the fast that He had chosen, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:8-9 New King James Version). Indeed God’s ways are higher than man’s ways and His thoughts than man’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). Some people neglect to do simple things God requires of them but get busy doing complicated things He has not asked them to do.
Examine your life. Are you doing what God requires of you? Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23 New King James Version).
Do what God requires of you. This is the summary: love God and love fellow human beings. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the first commandment. Obedience is the fruit of love. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15 New King James Version).
The number one mark of obedience to God is to give your life to Jesus and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. God requires this of you. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). If you’re not born again, give your life to Jesus now.
The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. According to Jesus, there is no other commandment greater than these two (Mark 12:29-31). The apostle John said the love of God is that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). Romans 13:10 says love is the fulfillment of the law.
Hear the conclusion of the whole matter from the writer of Ecclesiastes: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New King James Version). Do what God requires of you, not what appeals to you.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I will not do what appeals to me; I will do what God requires of me. Holy Spirit, help to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength Lord. Help me to reverence and esteem Him. Help me also to love my neighbour as myself. God’s priorities shall be my priorities in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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