“Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you.” (v. 28 NIV)
One of the first words a child learns is, “[Be] careful!” This is true in just about every language. When I was growing up there was a Dutch lady in our neighborhood who would always say, “Pas op, Jantje!” (Watch out, Johnny!) And when we lived in Japan, we often heard parents say, “Abunai!” (Danger! Look out!)
In any language, these are words of warning. And warnings are important. They are meant to help us, or protect us from harm.
In today’s reading, we also see a number of warnings. Moses repeatedly tells the people of Israel to “Be careful!” What he means is, “Be careful to obey!” He wants the people to heed and follow God’s instructions because he knows that when they do that, things will go well for them.
There are many ways to mess up our lives. The root of our trouble usually is that we have not been careful about following God’s instructions. That was often Israel’s problem in the Old Testament, a problem that eventually led to their downfall. A warning that goes unheeded can have tragic consequences – especially when that warning comes from God.
Lord, help us to be careful to obey your instructions. Amen.