What God Requires
I'm not by nature a "details" person. You've probably noticed that as you've been reading these short devotions. I don't catch some mistakes because I'm more of a "big picture" kind of person. That is no justification, just an acknowledgment of the way I tend to be.
I think Moses said what he said in Deuteronomy 10:12-21 for people like me: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise."
Naturally, Moses was not in any way diminishing the need to get the details right-the books of the Pentateuch are all about details. God is a god of details. But, in following the details, God also didn't want His people to loose the big picture, either. In fact, the details were meaningless without the big picture (Isaiah 1:12-15). And, what is the big picture? Respect God. Love God. Serve God. Obey God.
We need to remember that even today. While the Law of Christ is not as detailed as that of Moses, we, too, can become lost in the details of baptism, singing, praying, aspects of the Lord's Supper, attendance, attire, marriage, divorce and remarriage, giving, etc. As with the instructions of old, such an understanding does not diminish what the Bible teaches on any of these subjects, nor their importance in the lives of Christians today. It does, however, remind us that getting wet without a desire to really serve God does no real good. It reminds us that simply keeping the pew warm for a while does no real good if we didn't come to serve, worship and learn about God. The object is not to drop a check in the collection plate and then walk away contented. The object in any of these actions is the same as in Moses' day: Respect, love, serve and obey God. It is only in doing these that baptism, singing, giving, the Lord's Supper or any other outward action that we do has any kind of divine acceptance. It is important to "get it right." But, it is more important to "get it right" for the right reasons.