Read This Week’s Passage: Deuteronomy 14:2–29
Love Leads to Changed Behavior
Within the covenant structure of Deuteronomy, God first makes clear that salvation is from Him alone, by grace, not through right actions (chapters 1–4). As we fall in love with God, our response of gratitude changes our hearts (chapters 6–11) and ultimately leads us to greater obedience. In Deuteronomy 12–26, Moses describes a life in covenant with God, living out love for Him in every action. While these chapters are usually described as “law,” they contain much more instruction and what to do in certain cases. And they are loosely organized around the order of the Decalogue, with clusters of applications related to and in order of each of the Ten Words, which are universally applicable to all people for all time. I prefer to call these examples Application Laws rather than Civil Laws. Civil Law is not a very helpful category, because the Ten Words can be civil as well as universal. In addition, all of the normally so-called Civil Laws have universal principles that are still applicable to all people at all times, even if we no longer live in a theocracy.
Deuteronomy 14 is in the section on the third Word, relating to taking God’s name in vain. Again, this actually refers to “bearing God’s name,” which means to live so that people will look at us and see that we belong to God. And here is where it gets interesting, because all parts of our lives matter to God, not just the big things. Even what we eat matters to God and shows to the world who we follow (cf. Dan. 1). How we worship also matters to God, not just that we worship Him. Caring for the poor, as well as those who work for God, is a crucial part of living out God’s will. These are not done in order to be saved, but because we are saved!