It was on this day that Moses acknowledged that the people had affirmed their desire to hear and to do all that the Lord would instruct them:
“So it was, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. And you said: ‘Surely the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives… You go near and hear all that the Lord our God may say, and tell us all that the Lord our God says to you, and we will hear and do it.’ Then the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me: ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you.’” (Deuteronomy 5:23-24)
Though they professed to Moses a commitment to do whatever God expected of them, also according to Deuteronomy 5, God knew what was really in their hearts:
“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5: 25)
Even though their voices were saying, “We’ll obey,” it wasn’t in their hearts to do so. All of us have to potential to follow this example. We can have every intention of doing something that should be done, only to discover that it wasn’t really in our heart to do it. Circumstances change and our emotions subside and our heart eventually betrays what’s really there. Where Israel is concerned, within a few weeks of pledging their obedience to God, they ended up worshiping a golden calf, declaring, “This is your God, O Israel, that brought you up out of Egypt.”
It’s amazing to consider that a people who promised, “Whatever God says, we’ll do,” could change their minds so quickly and do exactly what He said not to do. He said, “I am the LORD you God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of bondage. You are to have no other gods before me, no graven images of anything in the earth, the heavens or the seas” (Exodus 20:2-4). When Moses did not return according to their time table they designated a graven image of gold to be their deliverer. How could this happen? A passage in the New Testament may provide the answer.
“Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:21-25)
Where Israel was concerned, could it be that many of them were merely hearers of the Word and not doers of the Word? They very quickly turned aside from what they were supposed to do and did the exact opposite. Perhaps it’s because they had suddenly forgotten who they were and what they were supposed to be.
It’s imperative that we be willing, as James said, to lay aside all filthiness and all things that would cause us to forget who we are and what we are supposed to do. It is expected of us to be those who truly hear what He says and then sincerely do what He says. If He has our heart – if His Word is in our heart – and it is in our heart to please Him, then He’ll have the rest of us, as well – mind, body and spirit. So then, let us determine within our hearts to be more than hearers of the Word; let us be doers of the Word. Let’s put His Word into practice and be reminded every day of who we are supposed to be in Messiah.