Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them. (Deuteronomy 7:9-11)
Who Is The Lord?
The question may be asked to identify the whole character of God. Most do not believe there is a Creator who demands worship and obedience rejecting the Bible as a book of myths. Many accept the idea of an eternal God but fail to fully understand the nature of who the Lord is. They view Him in partial clips of His love or His wrath without accepting the whole image of how He is portrayed in the Bible. When the Lord brought the Hebrews out of Egypt, He reminded them often that He was not like any gods the people had seen in Egypt or that other nations worshiped in their polytheistic wisdom. The one that delivered the nation from bondage was God, the faithful God who does not lie and keeps every word He established with the previous generations as well as the generations to come. There is nothing man can compare to the nature of the Lord God. As Moses writes the final chapter in the brief history of Israel since it departed Egypt forty years before, he reminds the people of their failure to appreciate and acknowledge the awesome power of the Lord God. Without a deep love for the character of the Lord the nation of Israel would not soon remain. This would form the history of Israel as they would enjoy a united kingdom for more than one hundred years before falling into civil war dividing the nation; leading eventually to its destruction and bondage. Why did the nation fail? How did a people so blessed above all peoples on the earth lose everything? When the heart of the people forgot who the Lord was and walked in their own paths, their doom was sealed.
Salvation must begin with knowing the Lord is God and God alone. There is no other. The worlds were created by the mouth of God. When He spoke the world came into existence. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth because He is God. Egypt had been the greatest power on the face of the earth but God destroyed them through His mighty works to illustrate to all men the gods of men were nothing and He was God. The deliverance of Israel was not done by their hands as they were incapable of saving themselves. They had been in bondage four hundred years and could do nothing to free them from the harsh affliction of Pharaoh. The plagues inflicted on Egypt came from the hand of God. When the night came in the final plague and all the firstborn died except among the Hebrews, this was the hand of the Lord showing His incredible power and might that He was God. Crossing the Red Sea on dry land was by the mighty work of the Lord God who then destroyed the army of Pharaoh in the same sea. Throughout the forty years of wilderness wanderings, the Lord gave the people water from rocks, manna on the ground and quail from the wind to feed and nurture His nation. No enemy could stand against Israel because God was the Lord and no power on earth could defeat Him. Moses reminds the people of the Lord God – He is God.
Believing that God is real is just the beginning of knowing who He is. His great power is manifested in so many ways but the character of the Lord is defined by His love and His wrath. The mistake that most men make with God is to believe that He is a single faceted God who is nothing but love. He is a faithful God who keeps His word for generations showing His love in innumerable ways. This is highlighted by His mercy, His grace and His everlasting love. It is easy to focus on this appealing nature of God to the exclusion of everything else. Often in the history of Israel the Lord showed His love. Having compassion on them in bondage, protecting them from the enemies that would have destroyed them, giving them water to drink when they were thirsty and feeding them with an abundance of food characterized the love of God. Moses had brought Israel to the border of the Promised Land as the hand of God would give them victory over all the peoples of Canaan and give the people great blessings. Knowing God understands His love, His kindness, and His benevolence. But love Him is not all He requires. The Lord God is a faithful God who demands His people obey Him. This means to keep His commandments. Never has the Lord extended love towards any people without the expectation of obedience. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in Eden, he blessed them above measure but expected them to obey them. They rebelled and were punished. Israel was a holy people as a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth but when they disobeyed the word of the Lord, He punished them. Moses said that God will repay those who hate Him. Jesus would later explain that when a man did not obey the word of the Lord He did not love the Lord. Obedience is an expression of love and disobedience is an act of hatred. God does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Knowing God is knowing He is God and that all the blessing of heaven resides in the character of the eternal one but if men refuse to obey the word of the Lord, there will be consequences. Salvation is not by grace alone and never has been by grace alone or Israel would have never been destroyed. Knowing the Lord God is keeping the commandments, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord God commands, to observe them. Anything short of this is failing to know who God is and the nature of His character.