Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. -- Psalms 119:18
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The law is, above all, revelation. When Jesus said He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, He meant that He would reveal it in practice, inhabit it and give it life. The law isn’t just about telling me how to live and please God – though we could do worse than see it that way, and many of us do.
From the very first the law was meant to reveal the nature of God, His concern for justice, His hatred of pettiness, oppression, and of our general lack of love toward one another. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is so different from the concept many cultures had of their gods. He was not capricious. He was not in it for Himself. He did not use people or laugh when they failed – though He does indeed laugh at their arrogance.
So God looks at all these people wandering around on the planet. How does He make them understand He’s not like their idols and the gods of their imaginations? You have to give the devil credit here, because he did a fine job admitting that there is a spiritual realm while perverting the idea and effectively convincing people that the gods are like them except with more power and immortality. God has to correct that. He picks one man, his family, and his descendants. He sets them apart, allows them to be enslaved and then delivers them. The very first thing they learn is that their God is superior to and completely unafraid of the gods of the Egyptians. Jehovah makes a mockery of them all.
The next thing God reveals is that He requires obedience and trust because He knows, not just more than humans, but better. Then He gives them His Law. And what does He tell them? I am God. You don’t have to worry about any other gods. You don’t have to try to appease the things these other tribes and nations worship when you go into this new land I am going to give.
The next thing you need to do is take one day out of seven to meditate on Me and My law, to turn from the daily grind, to rest and remind yourselves who I am.
The reason the Sabbath is so important is most of the law can be reduced to doing and conforming. The Sabbath is about transforming, about meditating – we might even say, marinating, in the Law, having the opportunity to see myself reflected in God’s Law. By finding out who God is, I find out who I really am.
Our next step is to realize how important family is. Honoring our father and mother means that we recognize something is uniquely vital in our family relations, something that may be nearly impossible to get from any other source. This is that first triad, as Bob often points out, that reveals to us the relationship within the Godhead.
Outside the family, God wants us to understand that other people have the same rights, the same hopes, the same divine spark that we have. They are not beasts to be exploited. We have to respect their rights to life, property, and freedom. We need to respect their family and their relationships, to see the sacredness of marriage, that the vows we take before God are to be taken with reverence and fear, and never to taken lightly.
This is God’s nature. Honor, respect, beauty, and truth are all found in the law. God knows what is real. He knows what is true. He does not want us to be fooled or to live in a delusion because He loves us. Wondrous things, indeed.