Loyalty Matters to God

Why is it that most of the pictures were of dogs when I searched for a photo to represent loyalty?

What is it about dogs that they have generated a reputation that epitomizes loyalty?

Do you know the joke that dog is God spelled backward?

I could have used a photo of one of my five previous dogs, but I just had to share the one above.

The expression on this precious German shepherd made me laugh out loud.

I bet this dog is extremely loyal to their human(s).

But seriously, what does it mean to be loyal? And why does loyalty matter to God?

Loyalty Matters to God | Defining the Word Loyal

Unswerving in allegiance is the first definition of the word loyal at Merriam-Webster.com.

The next three sub-points of the definition all start with the word faithful.

  • Faithful in allegiance.
  • Faithful to a private person.
  • Faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.

A few other popular synonyms include steadfast, devoted, dedicated, and true.

How does Deuteronomy 12:29-32 help us answer why loyalty matters to God?

Loyalty Matters to God | Deuteronomy 12:29-32 Study Questions

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land. (Dt 12:29)

Why is God removing the nations from this specific land to give to the Israelites? (See Genesis 15:12-16 and Deuteronomy 18:9-13)

How is God proving His loyalty to Abraham and the Israelites, Abraham’s descendants?

The time had come for God to fulfill the covenant promise made to Abraham four generations prior.

What does Genesis 15:16 reveal about God’s mercy and justice?

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in the promised land as strangers among these same people groups. Mostly, they lived peacefully, yet separate from those around them, especially regarding their worship of God. Now, four generations later, God was exercising His justice on those nations’ “iniquity” or “sinful practices”.

Review these examples of how Abraham and his offspring were instructed to treat those unrelated to them: Genesis 17:10-13; Exodus 22:21, 23:9, 23:12; Leviticus 19:33, 22:17-19; Numbers 9:14 and 15:13-16.

Why does God encourage this treatment of non-relatives? (Also See 2 Peter 3:9)

30 take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ (Dt 12:30)

The phrase “serve their gods” is another way of saying “worship their gods”.

As the Israelites transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a more settled one, why might they consider inquiring about serving the gods of the prior residents?

What consequence would Israel suffer if they failed to follow God’s instructions?

31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. (Dt 12:31)

Moses had already listed several abominable practices these nations were known for practicing. (See Deuteronomy 18:9-13)

Why does Moses specifically mention again the horrid practice of sacrificing children in fire? (See Deuteronomy 18:9-13; Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2-5)

This type of sacrifice goes against healthy parental instincts and violates innocent life.  

32  “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Dt 12:32)

Why is the phrase, ‘You shall not add to it or take from it’ included here? (Compare Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:1-3 with this phrase in mind.)

The primary concern in Deuteronomy 12:29-32  is to remind the Israelites to resist the temptation of shifting their loyalty away from the God who had brought them out of Egypt and provided for them during their nomadic years.

Loyalty, or pure worship of the God who created everything, was the issue at stake for the Israelites. (See Deuteronomy 6:4-6)

Worshipping God was about responding appropriately to what He had already faithfully done for them and trusting He would remain loyal to fulfill all His promises as they entered the promised land.

Loyalty Matters to God | Deuteronomy 12:29-32 Application

Using Ephesians 5:11 and 2 Corinthians 6:16-11 below, how do the commands in Deuteronomy 12:29-32 apply to Christians remaining loyal to God?

11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eph 5:11)

16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
       “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17    Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
       and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you.” (2 Co 6:16–17)

Just as the Israelites were to remain loyal to God and obey His commands in proper worship, Christians must do the same.

Christians need to study the Lord’s scriptures to be properly equipped by the Spirit to keep us alert to whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, [and] if there is anything worthy of praise. (Php 4:8)

This practice will help us stay loyal, steadfast, faithful, etc.

Reflect on your level of loyalty to God. Is there anything you need to do differently? Why or why not?

Who in your lifetime has modeled loyalty to God for you? Write a prayer of thanks to God today for them. Consider sending it to them to encourage them if they are still living.

Describe why loyalty matters to God based on this study.

Being our creator, it is appropriate for God to require our loyalty. But what is even more outstanding about our God is His loyalty to us, as shown throughout the scriptures, even when we struggle to remain loyal to Him.

How has God shown His loyalty to you?


Barbara Lynn

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