Today's devotion from Deuteronomy 11.
As chapter 11 opens Moses exhorts the people to obey, but it isn't until verse 8 that we fully understand what Moses is saying. He writes, "Keep every command I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to cross into and possess the land you are to inherit," (Deuteronomy 11:8, CSB) In wording the phrases like this, Moses is saying that our strength doesn't come from love, but from obedience. Our motivation to obey is the love that we have for God, but our strength, or our becoming strong, comes from keeping His commandments.
When I think about being strong, I think about physical strength. In order to gain physical strength, I must use resistance training. You might also think about gaining intellectual strength by preparation. Maybe you think of studying philosophers and strategists. Or it could be that you think of being emotionally strong, and can withstand difficulty and trials without breaking a sweat. But what strength is Moses talking about?
It is a strength that can only come from obediently following God. It is not something that comes from me training my muscles or sharpening my mind, but from a disciplined walk with God. For example, I am positively taking a specific action of obedience. I am also intentionally focusing my mind in order to resolve to obey. I am having to discipline myself to study His word and apply His word. It is both physical and mental. Yet, there is the spiritual aspect of it as well. I will only undertake this task when I do so from the spiritual empowerment that He offers.
This is crazy sounding in a way, because we would describe ourselves as not being strong enough to do these things that God has commanded. However, we gain strength in doing those things that we feel too weak and unable to accomplish. What can we do? That's when it hits us: He is our strength. When we seek to do what He has called us to do, then He goes before us to make the way, He walks beside us to carry the load, and He follows behind to catch the mistakes. When we are truly seeking to walk with Him, He is devoted to encouraging and enabling us to do the unimaginable.