Every one of us is in a relationship with another person, a person dear to us. It may be a mother, a father, a husband/wife or a child. It can be a brother or sister or a dear friend; the point is: if you love someone dearly, you want to please him/her. How much more are we not to want to please our Father in Heaven. If we love Him, we surely want to do what He requires of us. The question is: do we know what He requires of us? Do we really know? Is it even a priority in our lives, or do we worship Him out of mere routine, or because it is expected of us?
What does YHVH require of us? The essence of what YHVH requires of us is summed up in Deuteronomy 10:12-13.
12 “Now, Israel, what does YHVH your Elohim require from you, but to fear YHVH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep YHVH’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
Lets look at this in more detail. YHVH requires us to:
- fear Him
- walk in all His ways
- love Him and serve Him with all our heart and soul and
- keep His commandments and His statutes
We will now look at each of these in a bit more detail. What does it mean to fear YHVH?
One of the major problems in the community of believers, and I include Christian and Messianic, is that there is no or very little fear of YHVH. Before we continue, let us first agree on the meaning of the Biblical term “the fear of YHVH.” The fear of YHVH is not the same as fearing a spider on your wall. To fear YHVH is to have reverence and respect for Him. To fear Him is to live your life in such a way that you do not do anything contrary to His Word, in order not to disappoint Him. The Dictionary of Biblical languages explains this fear well.
There are different facets of fear of YHVH
These different meanings are derived from the contextual use of the Hebrew word “yirah” or fear in the Bible. We can derive four facets of our fear of YHVH.
3711 יִרְאָה (yir·ʾā(h)): n.fem.; ≡ Str 3374; TWOT 907b—1. LN 87.4–87.18
- reverence, fear, i.e., a state of piety and respect toward a superior (Ex 20:20; Pr 1:7); 2. LN 25.251–25.269
- fear, terror, i.e., a state of great anxiety and alarm (Dt 2:25; Ps 55:6[EB 5]; Jnh 1:10, 16); 3. LN 53.53–53.64
- worship, i.e., the act. or speech of showing profound reverence toward a superior, which may include ritual action (Ps 5:8[EB 7]; Job 4:6; 15:4; 22:4); 4. LN 25.206–25.222
- awesomeness, i.e., that which causes wonder and astonishment (Eze 1:18), note: for MT text in 2Ch 26:5, see 80111
Let us go into a bit more detail for each of these to see how we find it in Scripture.
We can glean much from this. Firstly, YHVH tests us in order to see if we indeed fear Him. Consider Job. In Job 1:1, we read that Job feared YHVH. The accuser said that Job was righteous only because he is prosperous. YHVH allowed Satan to test Job, but in these severe trials, Job continued to fear YHVH (Job 1:22).
Our true nature is exposed when we face difficulties. I do think the test is more for us, for YHVH knows our hearts. He knew Job feared Him before he was tested, He also knew Job would stand through this trial.
Secondly, YHVH tests us in order for us to fear Him. When we are tested, we are reminded that He is in control, and that we are to fear Him.
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for Elohim has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”
Think about all the trials the Israelites went through, the bitter water at Marah, the lack of food, the collecting of manna, the Sabbath commandment and many more. Did they pass the test every time? Do we? They did not, and we do not, but every time they were tested, served as a reminder for them, as for us, that we (them and us) are to fear YHVH.
Fear of punishment
What happens when we sin? We experience fear of punishment. This is a healthy fear to have. It is like a child fearing punishment after trespassing their parents’ command. It reminded me of the fear the people experienced when Ananias and Sapphira were punished for their sin of lying (Acts 5:11).
What YHVH does not want us to have is a fear of others. We are not to fear people and what they can do to us (Is 51:7). We are only to fear YHVH.
To fear YHVH is to worship Him. YHVH wants us to worship Him, but He wants us to worship Him according to His instructions, not like the heathen do (Deut 12:30-31) and not according to our own ways. Remember what happened to Nadab and Abihu…
1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before YHVH, which He had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of YHVH and consumed them, and they died before YHVH.
To see YHVH’s wonders and His creation produces fear in us for Him. This fear is a knowing of His magnificence, His majesty. It causes wonder and astonishment in us. This is what the early assembly experienced, a sense of awe.
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
8 Let all the earth fear YHVH; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
Now that we have delved a bit deeper into each facet, ask yourself: do I fear YHVH like this? Search your heart to see if you indeed fear Him. I know; I am going to!
Walk in all His ways
The next requirement, according to the passage in Deuteronomy, YHVH has for us is to walk in His ways. What are YHVH’s ways? How are we to walk in His ways?
11 Teach me Your way, O YHVH; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
1 How blessed is everyone who fears YHVH, Who walks in His ways.
3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.
To walk in YHVH’s ways is to keep His commandments! His will is revealed to us through His Word. He wants us to be obedient to Him. He will not tell us to do anything contrary to His Word. People sometimes claim to have heard from YHVH, but quite often, what they heard is contrary to His Word. Would He do that? Would He give you an instruction or confirmation contrary to His Word?
A nice way of testing the logic is to use an extreme example. We know YHVH commanded “do not commit adultery” but if you really like another person’s spouse, could you ask YHVH if it is OK, and He will allow it? Never!
It is interesting to note that we can’t claim to know Him, without keeping the commandments. The one who claims that is called a liar!
1 John 2:4–6
4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of Elohim has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
Love Him and serve Him with all our heart and soul
The third requirement is to love and serveHim with all our heart and soul.
5 “You shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
What does it mean to love YHVH with your heart and your soul? The answer is found in the book of Kings.
1 Kings 8:61
61 “Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to YHVH our Elohim, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”
Y’shua also taught this!
37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Y’shua was giving a summary of the commandments here. YHVH gave us commandments on how to love Him and on how to love our neighbor. When you read the first five books of the Bible, you will see that it is so. Y’shua was not making a new commandment here; He was reaffirming what was given previously. Y’shua kept the commandments perfectly, and He didn’t change or annul any (Matt 5:17-19), He was without sin, and we know that sin is breaking the commandments.
31but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.
To keep His commandments and His statutes
The last requirement from our passage in Deuteronomy is to keep YHVH’s commandments. The word keep is often used in relation with the commandments. It is the Hebrew word “samar“. ‘Samar” means to keep, to guard, to observe, to care for and to obey with diligence and in detail.
9068 שָׁמַר (šā·mǎr): v.; ≡ Str 8104; TWOT 2414—
1. LN 13.1–13.47 (qal) keep,i.e., cause a state or condition toremain (Job 2:6; Ps 17:4); (qal pass.) be kept, set aside (1Sa 9:24+); (hitp) keep oneself (2Sa 22:24; Ps 18:24[EB 23]+);
2. LN 37.119–37.126 (qal) guard, watch,i.e., limitaccess and movement of persons or objects in and out of an area, implyingprotection to or from the object being guarded (Ge 3:24); (qal pass.) besecured (2Sa 23:5; Ecc 5:12[EB 13]+), note: for qal act. ptcp. as noun, see 9070.5;
3. LN 36.12–36.30 (qal) observe, keep, i.e., obey a command with diligence and in detail (Lev 19:30); (hitp) observe for oneself (Mic 6:16+);
4. LN 27.55–27.60 (qal) be careful, beware, pay attention, make sure, watch oneself, guardoneself, i.e., learn or remember information and take care to watch for dangers (Dt 5:32); (nif) be careful (Ex 23:21);
5. LN 35.36–35.46 (qal) care for, tend, keep,attend to, take care of an object, implying concern for the objects cared for (Hos 12:13[EB 12]),1
When you do a search on the word “samar” together with the word “commandments,” you find them used together 249 times. Some of these refer to specific commandments, but eighty-six of these references pertain to the obeying of YHVH’s commandments. When you do a similar search in the Apostolic Scriptures, you get comparable results.
Can we know this and still deny the importance of keeping YHVH’s commandments?
Have you noticed how closely related all the above are? To fear YHVH is to keep His commandments, to walk in His ways is to keep His commandments, to love and serve Him is to keep His commandments! YHVH wants total devotion and obedience to Him. He is a jealous Elohim, not wanting to share His beloved with another. Another passage in Deuteronomy states it beautifully!
4 “You shall follow YHVH your Elohim and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.
The beauty of all this is that not only do we please our Father when we are obedient to Him, but it also results in blessing for us.
22 “For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love YHVH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, 23 then YHVH will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 24 “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea.
19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving YHVH your Elohim, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which YHVH swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
The choice is ours. Can we still rebelliously refuse to be obedient?
Can we, knowingly, still follow the ways of man to worship YHVH on the first day of the week, while He instructed us to worship Him on the seventh day, the Sabbath? Can we continue to murder innocent babies through abortion knowing that He instructed us not to murder? Even if we do not participate in this, do we sanction it by keeping quiet. Do we boldly proclaim His truth or do we fear what others can do to us? We can certainly take a leaf out of the book of Jonathan Cahn, who boldly proclaimed YHVH’s truth at the inauguration breakfast of the President of the United States.
What else does YHVH require from us?
These four requirements is not all YHVH wants from us. There is more! What an absolute delight! Please do not stop reading yet, the best is yet to come!
6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of Elohim rather than burnt offerings.
The Hebrew word “hesed” is translated as loyalty.
2876 II. חֶסֶד (ḥě·sěḏ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 2617; TWOT 698a—
1. LN 25.33–25.58loyal love, unfailing kindness, devotion, i.e., alove or affection that is steadfast based on a prior relationship (Ex 34:6, 7);
2. LN 79.9–79.17 glory, i.e., lovely appearance (Isa 40:6);
3. LN 88.66–88.74favor, i.e., the giving benefits (Est 2:9), note: for another interp in Ps 52:3[EB 1], see 28751
What does YHVH require, when He said through Hosea that He delighted in “hesed” rather than sacrifice? We can understand this loyalty or devotion in two ways. Firstly, a mutual covenantal faithfulness and secondly, loving kindness. These are inter-weaved in this word; YHVH wants us to be fully devoted to Him, to know Him and to love Him. This is where the difference between religious adherence and scriptural obedience comes in. Allow me to explain the difference.
The first is done out of obligation the second out of love. Religious adherence is also done in order to be seen by others. That is what the Pharisees did, their tzit-tzit were longer than anybody else, and they prayed in order to be heard. Is this to be our motivation for being obedient or are we to do it out of love?
Y’shua quoted Hosea 6:6 twice, once in the context of the keeping of the Sabbath (Matt 12:7) and the other time in the context of associating with sinners (Matt 9:16). In both cases, we see the Pharisees being so stuck on being “correct” that people were disregarded. We see a lack of loving kindness, only religious adherence. Things haven’t changed much in the believing community!
Not only did YHVH say He wants devotion, but He wants us to know Him. This is what I meant with the best is yet to come.
I was amazed to see that this phrase “knowledge of Elohim” in Hosea, refers to a relationship with YHVH. YHVH wants to have a relationship with us! While this is no new revelation, to me this was a treasure I discovered. We often read the same verse and then one day when you read it again, you decide to look up the meaning of a word and wow, what a revelation!
6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of Elohim rather than burnt offerings.
So, these two things, devotion and relationship, are a higher priority to YHVH than “sacrifice” or religious adherence. Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying the keeping of the commandments is not important. We have seen that YHVH require obedience from us, but as I said before, He wants us to obey Him out of love, not out of routine. He wants obedience, not religious adherence! Let us study this in more detail!
This “knowledge” spoken of is the Hebrew word “da at”
1981 I. דַּעַת (dǎ·ʿǎṯ): n.fem. and masc. [oth qal inf.cs. of 3359]; ≡ Str 1847; TWOT 848c—
1. LN 28.1–28.16 understanding, wisdom, i.e., a knowledge with focus on moral qualities and its application (Ge 2:9; Pr 2:5), see also domain LN 32.24–32.41;
2. LN 28.1–28.16 skillful, i.e., knowledge applied to a craft (Ex 31:3);
3. LN 34.1–34.21 knowledge, i.e., information of a person, with a strong implication of relationship to that person (Pr 2:5; 9:10; Hos 4:1), note: in Pr 29:7+ for another interp, see 1982; in Isa 53:11+ for another interp, see 1983;
4. LN 30.56–30.74 unit: בְּ־ בְּלִי דַּעַת (b- belî dǎ·ʿǎṯ)1 unintentionally, formally, without knowledge, i.e., to act. in a manner that has no forethought (Dt 4:42);
5. LN 32.42–32.61 unit: דַּעַת רוּחַ (dǎ·ʿǎṯ rûaḥ) foolish notion, vain thought, formally, knowledge of wind (Job 15:2);
6. LN 25.33–25.58 concern, i.e., a caring about the lot or situation of someone, as a kind of compassion (Pr 29:7)1
Prior to this use, we find YHVH telling Israel through the prophet Hosea what He has against them.
1 Listen to the word of YHVH, O sons of Israel, For YHVH has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of Elohim in the land.
This knowledge referred to here, is also the word “da at.” I do believe it goes even deeper than this.
YHVH considered Abraham, Moses and David as friends. What an honor to be called a friend of YHVH. We can study their lives to see how we are to live to gain friendship with YHVH.
11 Thus YHVH used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of Elohim.
David was also a friend of YHVH. YHVH called him a man after His own heart, a Hebrew idiom meaning “someone who has the same tastes and preferences”
22 “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’
“A man after my heart” is an idiom
I have always found the phrase “a man after my own heart” very endearing. It expresses a fond kinship in a charming way.
However, there are (at least) two meanings of the word after that would make sense in this phrase.
One is after in the sense of in imitation of someone, in other words, “your heart takes after or resembles my own.”
The other is in the sense of following or pursuant, as in “you are attempting to win my affection.”2
We also find a clue in Acts 13:22: “who will do all My will.” David was a man after YHVH own heart for he will do YHVH’s will. In Psalm 25 we find another clue.
14 The secret of YHVH is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
The word “secret” is the Hebrew word “sod” which means confiding, a state of intimacy and trust and intimate fellowship
6051 סוֹד (sôḏ): n.[masc.]; ≡ Str 5475; TWOT 1471a—
1. LN 28.68–28.83 confiding, confidence, i.e., the act. or state of intimacy and trust, with a focus of reliance on secrecy to maintain that discretion (Ps 25:14; Pr 3:32; 11:13; 20:19; 25:9+);
2. LN 11.55–11.89 council, assembly, i.e., a socio-political group that advises as well as governs or rules (Ge 49:6; Job 15:8; Ps 89:8[EB 7]; 111:1; Jer 23:18, 22; Eze 13:9+);
3. LN 11.1–11.11 group, i.e., a gathering of persons for any purpose (Jer 6:11; 15:17+);
4. LN 33.294–33.298 counsel, i.e., the giving of advice about a plan of action (Pr 15:22+);
5. LN 30.56–30.74 plan, i.e., a purposed plan of action, implying thought and purpose (Am 3:7+);
6. LN 30.56–30.74 conspiracy, i.e., to engage in joint planning, implying harm toward another (Ps 64:3[EB 2]; 83:4[EB 3]+);
7. LN 34.1–34.21 intimate fellowship, i.e., a very close, personal association with another or a group (Job 29:4; Ps 55:15[EB 14]+);
8. LN 34.1–34.21 unit: מֹת סוֹד (mōṯ sôḏ) friend, formally, men of confidence, i.e., one who is trustworthy in a relationship and worthy of confiding in (Job 19:19+)1
This is how this word “sod” is translated in the Complete Jewish Bible
14 YHVH relates intimately with those who fear him; he makes them know his covenant.
and in the ESV it is translated as friendship
14 The friendship of YHVH is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Could we be friends with our Creator, just like Moses and Abraham and David? This is what Y’shua said!
14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you.
To be called a friend of YHVH is certainly the most honorable of honors. Should we not aspire to such an honor? It is possible. Fear YHVH, keep His commandments and do His will. Spend time with our Heavenly Father in prayer and study. He wants to reveal Himself to you and He wants to have a relationship with you; He wants to be your friend.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Tags: Ananias and Sapphira, awesome, commandments, Deut 10:12, devotion, fear God, fear YHVH, friend of God, friend of YHVH, Hos 6:6, keep commandments, love, Nadab and Abihu, relationship, reverence, serve, terror, walk in His ways, worship, Y'Shua, Yhvh
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