Deuteronomy 10:20 says “You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear.” This verse comes within the context of Moses reminding the Israelites of God’s commandments and exhorting them to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Let’s explore what it means to “hold fast” to God according to this passage.
The Context of Deuteronomy 10:20
Moses was addressing the new generation of Israelites who were about to enter the Promised Land. He reviewed how God had miraculously delivered their parents from Egypt and called them into a special covenant relationship at Mount Sinai. God gave them the Ten Commandments and other laws to follow so they could live as His treasured possession. Sadly, that generation rebelled against God and perished in the wilderness. Now Moses exhorted this new generation to learn from the mistakes of their parents and wholeheartedly commit themselves to following the Lord.
It Means Loving God With All Your Heart
The call to “hold fast” to God in Deuteronomy 10:20 is essentially a command to love God wholeheartedly, with all your being. This verse immediately follows the great commandment to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut 10:12). To hold fast to God is to tenaciously grip onto Him by loving Him sincerely and deeply from the heart.
It Means Choosing to Serve God With Loyalty
Holding fast to God also implies a decision to serve Him with unwavering loyalty. Deuteronomy 10:20 parallels “holding fast to God” with serving Him. Serving the Lord means obeying His commandments, walking in His ways, fearing Him, clinging to Him, swearing by His name, and praising His greatness (Deut 10:12-21). True love for God will be expressed in loyal service to Him.
It Means Relying Solely on God
To hold fast also conveys clinging to the Lord exclusively, looking to no other gods or idols for security and provision. Moses called the Israelites to circumcise their hearts and stop being stubborn (Deut 10:16). They needed to remove any rivals from their hearts and rely completely on the Lord who had miraculously cared for them in the wilderness. Holding fast requires undivided loyalty and dependence on God.
It Means Persisting in Faith Through Trials
Holding fast to God also implies an unwavering grip on Him in the midst of trials. Deuteronomy emphasizes how God humbled Israel through hardship then miraculously provided for them, to teach them reliance on Him alone (Deut 8:2-5). To hold fast is to cling to the Lord when tested, believing He will faithfully sustain you as you call out to Him (Deut 4:30-31). It means persistent faith in God’s promises.
It Means Clinging to God’s Covenant Love
At the heart of what it means to hold fast to the Lord is clinging tightly to His steadfast covenant love. The root word translated “hold fast” comes from a word meaning “to stick to, cleave to, or cling to.” It conveys adhering firmly to something or someone. As Israel clung to the Lord in love and obedience, they experienced the blessings of His faithful covenant love in return (Deut 7:9). To hold fast is to cherish God’s steadfast love.
Holding Fast Requires Rock-Solid Commitment
In summary, to “hold fast” to the Lord your God is to grip firmly onto Him with an unwavering rock-solid commitment of your whole being – heart, mind, and soul. It includes:
- Loving God wholeheartedly above all else
- Choosing to serve Him with loyal devotion all your days
- Depending fully on Him to provide your needs
- Trusting in His faithful love through every hardship
- Clinging to Him exclusively, removing any idols or rivals from your heart
This kind of steadfast devotion is only possible by God’s grace at work in our hearts. As we behold His glory and goodness, our hearts are drawn to love and cling to Him above all else. By the Spirit’s enabling power, we can hold fast to the Lord with tenacious grit that withstands the winds and waves of trial. Our faithful God is worthy of such undivided loyalty and love from all who call upon His name. He promises to sustain all who hold fast to Him.
Old Testament Examples of Holding Fast
There are several examples in the Old Testament of those who held fast to the Lord:
Caleb Wholly Followed the Lord
After spying out the Promised Land, Caleb “remained true to the LORD” while others gave a bad report (Numbers 14:24 NLT). His loyalty earned him the blessing of inheriting land at the age of 85 (Joshua 14:6-14).
Ruth Clung to Naomi and Her God
Ruth left her homeland and clung to her mother-in-law Naomi after both their husbands died. She also held fast to Naomi’s God, confessing “your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:14).
Josiah Held Fast to the Lord
Unlike most kings of Judah, Josiah “did not turn aside to the right or to the left” but followed the Lord with all his heart (2 Kings 22:2). He purged idolatry and restored obedience to God’s law.
These examples and others model tenaciously clinging to the Lord through varied circumstances and challenges. They teach us to hold fast no matter what storms may come.
How to Hold Fast to the Lord
Since holding fast requires wholehearted commitment, what practical steps can help us grip firmly onto God?
Delight in God Each Day Through Prayer & Scripture
Set aside time to enjoy the Lord’s presence daily through His word and prayer. Let His glory and love capture your heart and nourish your soul.
Keep God’s Commands with Careful Obedience
Put God’s words into practice each day. Seek to obey Him with care, starting with the little details. This trains you to hold fast when facing bigger challenges.
Depend on the Spirit to Empower Persistent Faith
Ask God to strengthen your grip on Him, especially when trials come. Rely on the Spirit’s power to endure hardship and cling to Jesus.
Surround Yourself with Others Who Hold Fast
Get plugged into a Bible-believing church family. Join a small group for mutual encouragement. Wise friends will help anchor you to the Rock.
Remove Rivals and Idols from Your Heart
Refuse to set your hope on lesser loves that cannot satisfy. Keep your heart’s affection undividedly loyal to the Lord.
Stay Alert to Deception That Loosens Your Grip
Watch for the enemy’s lies and worldly messages that can gradually pull you from Jesus. Hold tight to the truth of God’s word.
The Blessings of Holding Fast
While holding fast to God requires committed effort, His word also highlights the abundant blessings for those who cling to Him with persevering faith:
- Guidance, provision, and help in trouble (Psalm 91, Isaiah 41:10)
- Strength and preservation through trials (Psalm 94:18)
- Peace, protection, and stability (Isaiah 26:3-4)
- Fruitfulness even in old age (Psalm 92:14)
- Eternal inheritance and reward (Hebrews 10:23, Revelation 2:25)
In seasons of hardship or prosperity, our faithful God is working all things for the eternal good of those who love Him and hold fast to Him (Romans 8:28). He is able to keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before His glory with great joy (Jude 1:24). Clinging wholeheartedly to the Lord is always the safest place to be – anchored to the Rock who never fails.
New Testament Exhortations to Hold Fast
While the specific phrase “hold fast” is not used frequently in the New Testament, there are many exhortations that convey the same idea of firmly gripping onto Christ by faith:
Hold Firm to Your Confession of Faith
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Keep clinging tightly to your trust in Christ and the gospel hope.
Hold Fast What You Have Until I Come
“Hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and keeps my works…I will give him authority…” (Revelation 2:24-26). Remain spiritually awake and obedient until Christ returns.
With Endurance, Run the Race Set Before You
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Persevere in following Jesus, no matter the cost.
Keep Yourselves in the Love of God
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 1:21). Abide daily in Christ’s love through obedience and prayer.
We must rely on God’s grace and the Spirit’s help to follow these exhortations with tenacious devotion to Jesus. He is worthy of a grip on our hearts that the forces of hell cannot break. Christ alone is the anchor for our souls that never fails, even when storms rage. So let us hold fast!