Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! Deuteronomy 5:29

So many times in Deuteronomy God says, “so that it might go well with them” (4:40; 5:16, 29; 6:3, 11, 18; 8:16; 12:25, 28; 19:13; 22:7).

The motivation for obeying God wasn’t forgiveness. They were already forgiven. God had forgiven his people because he was looking forward to the time when Jesus would take the punishment of their sin upon himself. So the motivation for obeying God was about life going well for them and their children.

God’s commands were designed for their protection and provision. As the people followed these commands they were showing they trusted God and believed his ways were best. Their obedience was for their good, so his blessings would flow into their lives.

Earlier Moses had written: “See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’” (4:5-6).

They were to observe the laws and decrees to demonstrate that Israel was a great nation with wise and understanding people. It would make them look good if they obeyed God. Their lifestyle would impress others.

Often we misinterpret why God gives us guidelines. We see them as restrictive and think that God wants to limit our happiness. Indeed, the opposite is true. God knows that happiness comes from living according to his ways and one day all will recognise it.