Incentive: “something that incites or tends to incite to action or greater effort, as a reward offered for increased productivity.”
We can be so quick to judge the nation of Israel; after all they had seen and heard and experienced, how could they possibly have misgivings in surrendering their lives to the Great and Awesome God?
Sadly, we are no different, so quick to forget and given to doubt, needing to be pushed and prodded into obedience. Why we are so easily enticed away from Him is baffling, but nevertheless reality.
His commands are given for our good, “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13), but He does not force His children into compliance.
Rather, the LORD God in His grace and compassion provides His Gracious Incentive that His children would wisely choose to enter into His promise by faith, and there experience His blessings.
Consider His Gracious Incentive
- His Gracious Incentive is an appeal to remember personal encounters with His discipline and greatness.
- Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the Lord your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm, 3 and His signs and His works which He did in the midst of Egypt… — 7 but your own eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which He did, (11:2-3, 7).
- His Gracious Incentive is an invitation to listen and be transformed by His love to obey and experience His blessings.
- It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, 14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. 15 He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. 17 Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you, (11:13-17).
- His Gracious Incentive is a proposal to free will, providing necessary insight to choose wisely.
- See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known, (11:26-28).
How do we respond to His Gracious Incentive?
What a blessing to have recorded in the pages of Scripture the LORD’s dealings with a stubborn, obstinate people who needed unending coaxing and His Gracious Incentive to experience His blessings! We are the fortunate recipients of the lessons learned; let us be moved to action by His Gracious Incentive.
- Let us intentionally remember our personal encounters with His discipline and greatness.
- Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, (2 Timothy 2:8).
- “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives,” (Hebrews 12:6).
- When we find ourselves wandering in the wilderness, forgetting and leaving our first love, let us be quick to remember and repent.
- But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first… (Revelation 2:4-5).
- Let us accept His invitation to listen and be transformed by His love to obey and experience the blessing of His presence.
- “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments… 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” [John 14:15, 23-24]
- Let us surrender our will to His, as we listen carefully and rely on His Holy Spirit and His Word.
- But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; (John 16:13).
- Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:1-2).
May we respond to His Gracious Incentive and wisely choose to enter into His promise by faith, that we may experience His blessings.
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; (11:26-27).