Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Deuteronomy details the covenant renewal that Moses addressed to Israel on the verge of their conquest of the promised land. A major theme repeated throughout the book is the call to covenant faithfulness. Chapter 30 begins with the possibility of restoration, anticipating a period of unfaithfulness in which Israel brings upon itself the curses laid out earlier in chapter 28. At some future turning point, after they had been dispersed among foreign nations, they would call to mind the covenant of God and realize they had brought the curses on themselves. They would return to God and obey His commands, and He would restore their fortunes and regather them. In the context of this address, this passage is not primarily prophetic; it is meant as a warning of a potential future and a call to obedience in the present. Verse six is a foreshadowing of the new covenant in which God would circumcise the hearts of His people and again pour out His blessing on them. He still calls for faithfulness and twice reminds them of the Shema, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The commandments God gave His people were not something that was too difficult; they were not too high or too far away, but God had put His laws in their hearts and in their mouths so they could do them. Then Moses set before them life in God and in His covenant, or death and curse away from God in unfaithfulness. It isn’t a simple one-time choice. It is a life-long commitment to covenant faithfulness, to living in love for God and for the community. He is our life and our length of days.
Matthew 7 is the end of the sermon on the mount. He has given an overview of a godly life, touching on many different aspects of life in relationship with God and man. A large part of His message could be summed up with, “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” In this chapter, he begins with judging in hypocrisy; seeing and knowing what is required and pointing it out in a brother’s error, but being unwilling to personally take up the charge and obey.
He commands all those who hear to ask God for His good gifts, to seek Him and to knock until the gate of life is opened to them. This is a persistent pursuit of God and His way.
He warns against false prophets, which immediately points out the necessity of knowing the scripture, and shows that men are known by their fruits; the practical outworking of the thoughts and desires of the heart. To hear the sworn covenant of God and to walk away in stubbornness is to be a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit. There are those who claim a knowledge of God and claim to do mighty things in His name, but He casts them off as workers of iniquity. They are not doers of the word, like the man who builds on the rock, but are hearers only, building on the sand.