Wednesday, December 1, 2010

David Loved God's Laws (And you should, too!)

David Loved God's Laws (And you should, too!)

There are many reasons why people don't go to church. Some weren't raised by church-going, God-believing parents. Others went to churches to start, but it was as a chore to them, because they got no spiritual nourishment from the preacher, poor were his abilities to preach and shepherd, so they dropped out, and the pastor failed to go after the one sheep. But there's this other group I'm concerned for, and those are the sheep who don't want to hear God's laws, nor do they want to feel their conviction. If you had a good Dad while you were growing up, he had laws in your house, didn't he? And they were good laws, too, because they kept the house affairs in order, and kept you out of trouble worse than the trouble you were in with him at the moment that you disobeyed, because the law of the hand against where you sat down when you disobeyed his other laws let you know he loved you, because later on you realized that kept you from spoilage. So it is with God's laws. They are good laws, they keep us in order, and obedience breeds absence of consequences for disobedience. God also equates our obedience as love for Him, because we obey our good Father's wishes, and then He needs not chasten us while we obey. "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him." - Deut. 8:5-6. And then there's Hebrews: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." - Heb. 12:6-8. Obedience also is a demonstration of faith, which also pleases God. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." - Heb. 11:6.

In Psalms, David proclaimed his love for God's laws: "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts." - Ps. 119:97-100. "I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love." - Ps. 119:113. "I hate and abhor lying: but Thy law do I love. Seven times a day do I praise Thee because of thy righteous judgments. Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them." - Ps. 119:163-165. Now let's examine these statements David has made concerning God's law. David meditated on them all the time, so he has written. Why do you suppose he did that? I think I've found the answer in Josh. 1:7-8; "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Whoa, now, there's a good reason to love His laws; they will make us prosperous and successful! But notice God instructed Joshua to study the laws day and night! And look what else David said; they made him wise! He found himself wiser than his teachers and the ancients. So all wisdom comes from God, just as He said in Exod. 28:3; "And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office." See how God gave wisdom to men in this passage? Lastly, he says loving God's laws brings great peace and nothing shall offend them. Well, if we live by laws, don't we have order, and isn't there peace in order? And if we accept what laws we have, is there any offense in the keeping of the laws?

Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy have the heaviest concentration of God's laws. God's famous Ten Commandments are in Exod. 20:1 - 17, and are repeated in Deut. 5:6 - 21. (Many people don't realize the repetition unless they've read the bible several times.) Leviticus is a manual for the Levite priests, and many of the laws concern all the Israelites. The title means "And He called", and the deeper concept is that He calls us to holiness through the obedience of His laws. Leviticus has a dual theme: the way to God concerning sacrifices and through the priests, and how to walk with God through the sanctity of living your life by His instructions. While we don't do much in the way of sacrifice, we still hold many of His laws regarding walking with Him as wisdom in this country. So long as the Israelites obeyed the laws, they had peace and safety, and for breaking any laws, they had sin and trespass offerings.

One might sadly think, "Oh, that Adam and Eve had not sinned in the garden, that we should have only had one commandment to be concerned with." Well, consider the wisdom Jesus gave us during His ministry. In the Gospel, Jesus summed them up into two commandments. A shyster of a biblical lawyer asked him a question: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'" - Matt. 22:36-40. Can you see how all the laws in the bible are so wisely nestled into these two commandments Jesus gave? As we love ourselves, so we should love our neighbor, and If we study and obey the bible, indoctrinating all His laws into our daily life, then we show God how we love Him with our heart, soul, and mind. God's laws are perfect, because obeying them all means absolutely nobody gets hurt physically or mentally by anyone else, and if there is hurt, the law has reparations for that instance.

Now there are some who speak of the bible concerning an age of the law and age of grace; this is not said well, because it seems to imply that there was something wrong with the law, or that the law has some kind of malevolence to it in contrast with grace. I tell you, the law and grace both are good; it's the people that there is something wrong with, and that something is disobedience.  God's grace was in both the Old and the New Testament: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." - Gen. 6:8. And Lot, too, found grace from the Lord; "And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life..." - Gen. 19:16-19. And Moses, he too found grace in the sight of the Lord; "And Moses said unto the LORD, 'See, Thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and Thou hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Yet Thou hast said, 'I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight.' Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee, that I may find grace in Thy sight: and consider that this nation is Thy people.' And He said, 'My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.' And he said unto Him, 'If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight?  Is it not in that Thou goest with us?  So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.' And the LORD said unto Moses, 'I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know thee by name.'" - Exod. 33:12-17. And Gideon, too, he found grace in God's eyes; "And the LORD said unto him, 'Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.'  And he said unto Him, If now I have found grace in Thy sight, then shew me a sign that Thou talkest with me." - Judg. 6:16-17. And of course, God gave him the signs he asked for. So now let us see these four instances of proof that there be no need for an "age of the law and age of grace" distinction, because we know full well God's laws applied in the New Testament and beyond into today, and God's grace was also available in the Old Testament as well as it is today.

For the modern Christian, this passage of Scripture is considered a concept of owning grace through Christ Jesus; "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..." - Rom. 8:1-16. Perhaps it may be considered more accurate to say an age of sacrifice and an age of grace embodied in the death of Christ Jesus on the cross, because we no longer do burnt or meat offerings, nor do we do offerings of animals of any kind, Because Jesus' perfect sacrifice eliminated the need for further sacrifices for sin.

Nonetheless, let us now go enlightened by all this to study the word of God day by day for as often as we are able, and soak up the wisdom of God. As did Joshua and David, let us strive for His wisdom to work in our daily lives, that we, too, may be prosperous, have good success, and be obedient to the Lord.

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