Read His Words Before Ours!
Don’t play in the street.
Don’t touch the stove.
Don’t climb on the bookshelves.
Sometimes, kids think all parents say is NO.
As my girls are growing up, they have commented how I am mean or never let them do anything fun.
Of course, they are exaggerating, and as adults we laugh at their limited perspective.
But then we do the same thing to God.
We complain about all the RULES.
We think He’s trying to take away all our fun; when in reality, He desires our good.
Just like we want to keep our children safe, God wants to protect us. Just as we LOVE our little ones and long to watch them grow and learn, God wants that intimate RELATIONSHIP with us too. After all, we ARE His children!
In Hebrews we are reminded that God’s discipline is not only for our GOOD, but so that we can“share in God’s holiness!” In the book’s thirteen chapters, the author proves how JESUS provides a NEW and better way to relate to God.
We see without a doubt that God longs for us to know Him deeply and personally. This RELATIONSHIP then transforms us. All we do stems from our love for God, in response to His love for us.
In the Old Testament, God established a covenant with the nation of Israel.
He provided them with rules covering EVERY single aspect of their daily lives.
We can easily get “stuck” reading through Leviticus, with all the regulations regarding what they could eat, what they could wear, how they could cut their hair, what days they could work. Not to mention all the offerings they had to bring and the exact ways they needed to be prepared and presented.
We might start to think God is pretty legalistic, and demanding.
We are mistaken.
As the Israelites made their way from Egypt to Canaan, they set up a Tabernacle every time they camped. There, God dwelt AMONG them.
This was VERY different from the distant gods the pagan people of the land worshipped.
God DID give specific instructions for building of the Tabernacle, both in material and directions for construction. He also laid out clear directives for how to worship and even enter the Tabernacle. (See Exodus 25 to 30! Yes, it took 6 chapters for all the instructions!)
Again, we might look at all these rules and picture God as a domineering dictator. We would be very, very WRONG!
The Israelites were coming from Egypt, where people worshipped gods galore.
Pharaoh himself was considered a god, but even he prayed to the gods of fertility, agriculture, astrology, knowledge, magic, and the afterlife.
In all, the Egyptians had over 40 false gods, each one demanding sacrifices in return for their favor and blessing.
When the Israelites escaped after 400 years of slavery and made their way to Canaan, they were bombarded with new false deities.
While the Israelites had a transportable Tabernacle, the people of Canaan had elaborate temples where gods and goddesses were worshipped. Just as these temples were in the center of the city, life revolved around pleasing one deity after another.
The people were at the mercy of the gods, hoping they sacrificed enough, but never knowing for sure how the gods would respond.
The Canaanites went to great lengths in attempt to earn the gods’ favor, including severe fasting, mutilating themselves, and even sacrificing their children.
God, in His GOODNESS, was working to protect His people from this awful lifestyle of emptiness and brokenness.
He offered a very DIFFERENT way to worship;
He offered a RELATIONSHIP!
God is NOT a dictator.
In Deuteronomy 30, God reminds the Israelites of their CHOICE to obey and be blessed, or turn away and experience His discipline.
Unlike the deities of the time, GOD made it VERY clear what He expected, and ALWAYS followed through on His promises to bless His people when they obeyed.
Thousands of years have passed since the days of the Tabernacle, but we have the same opportunity to CHOOSE to “love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
As we give ourselves to God, we are delighted to discover that we are
NOT regulated by a long list of do’s and don’ts.
Rather, LOVE is the ONE “rule” we live by.
With Christ, we aren’t left wondering if we’ve “done enough.”
We rest in knowing that HE did all of the work for us.
When He died in our place, paying the debt we owed because of our sin and giving in exchange His completed, perfect righteousness to us, HE finished the work on our behalf.
From Genesis to Revelation, we see a beautiful story of redemption as the Creator God reaches out to US so that we can KNOW Him and become like Him.
What about YOU?
God is inviting YOU to be in RELATIONSHIP with Him,
to let Him transform HOW you live and ultimately WHO you are.
Will you let God’s rule bring your freedom TODAY?
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!