Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”” (Joshua 22:5, ESV)

Joshua’s charge to those Israelites who would live beyond the Jordan to the east.  He rightly connects the love of God with obedience to God’s commands.  Jesus does the exact same thing in the New Testament:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, ESV)

God is not interested in our words and vows of love and commitment, so much as he is interested in the demonstration of our love by our keeping his commandments.  There is a narrow line to walk between keeping God’s commandments because we love him and keeping God’s commandments because we think it will earn his favor.  We must understand the difference and not fall into that particular trap.

Notice the verbs of devotion:

  1. Observe – God’s commandments
  2. Love – the Lord your God
  3. Walk – in all his ways
  4. Keep – his commandments
  5. Cling – to him
  6. Serve – him with all your heart and soul

We have a happy practical example of this in the person of Mary, the first one to see our risen Lord.  In his devotional Morning and Evening, Spurgeon comments:

 But notice how Christ revealed Himself to this sorrowing one—by a word, “Mary.” It needed but one word in His voice, and at once she knew Him, and her heart owned allegiance by another word, her heart was too full to say more. That one word would naturally be the most fitting for the occasion. It implies obedience. She said, “Master… If you can say, “Master,” if you feel that His will is your will, then you stand in a happy, holy place.