A famous old saying goes “actions speak louder than words.” Have you ever heard it said like this? “Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.” These truisms have been passed down through many generations and are no doubt easily translated into similar sayings around the world. We all live with the reality that while what we say is extremely important and hopefully conveys our sincere intentions and honest desires, if we do not follow through and actually carry out those ideas and promises, the words become quite meaningless.
Do you remember the story of Moses’ and Pharaoh, written for us in Exodus 7 – 14? For centuries the ruling monarch in Egypt was called Pharaoh and was considered to be both a divine deity and a mortal ruler. However, in his interactions with Moses his words and his actions were certainly not at all consistent. With each succeeding plague, he became increasingly aware that he was powerless and that “the Lord is the righteous one” – Ex. 9: 27. This awareness would cause him to make promises that he would let the Israelites leave as soon as that particular plague ended. However, without follow through, his words became simply meaningless ideas. The Egyptians paid a high price for their leader’s refusal to “fear the Lord” and to act upon the words that he proclaimed.
There has always been a clear correlation between the concept of “fearing God” and someone’s behavior. Over and over Moses told the people that their words of awe and wonder, reverence and respect, needed to be demonstrated through their life choices. “Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever” – Deuteronomy 5: 29. Do you think this promise is still true today?