Walking with God and desiring that He lead our lives sometimes leaves us with many questions.
Am I supposed to be waiting on God or did I miss the answer?
Does God will ________ for me?
Is the deceiver interfering with me hearing God correctly?
Do I attempt to counsel this wicked person or just be an example?
What’s God’s purpose for me?
What’s my place of service in His kingdom?
Why does God feel so distant?
The answer is found in our own quietness. We must spend daily time in the word, pray for what we find spoken to us in the word, and then be still with God so His ‘fine tuning’ can take place in our heart. Without this time we will only find frustration and fear. We will seek the world to compensate for the guidance we don’t allow and then rest assured the deceiver has his way to draw us off course. This could happen to anyone, it’s God’s grace and mercy that make it possible to get back on the path that God has designed for us. All man has fallen and failed, that’s why God became man to make sure we could find the path to Heaven.
We have a tendency as fallible human beings to view people through a filter of our own life experience. We see people through our strengths. It’s hard to be vulnerable in a world that looks to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. It may seem dramatic to call the world the devil, but there is no doubt that the traits that exemplify the earth (selfishness, pride, greed, lust, anger, hate, racism, etc.) are representations of sin and thus the deceiver. It is extremely difficult and vitally important that we show compassion and sympathy for individuals as we focus on the fact that our battle is with the spirit and not the flesh. (Ephesians 6:12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but… against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. God has created all people, some to serve as a guide we imitate, some as a guide to show us what not to do, some as an opportunity to ‘come along side’ and grow with. Every person we encounter is an opportunity to learn and grow in relationship with God in the process of sanctification. We cannot allow our life experience and our expectations (of others and for ourselves) interfere in the opportunity to mature, learn, and teach as God places people in our lives daily. How many people can you think of that you have rejected in judgement? Can you look at that person and see what they have taught you without anger in your heart? Can you develop wisdom (viewpoint of God) and love them for what they have taught you? True maturity comes through perseverance in the submission to Jesus. We must thank God that He brings tests to our lives, sometimes in the form of people, to mature us and draw us closer to Him and His purpose for us in His Kingdom.
These laws can shed light on God’s desire for us today. We can become closer to Him as we identify His character through His instruction. We can function well in this darkened world by walking in His light. We can be noticeably set apart as we follow the lead of the Creator. God used these laws to, most importantly, bring Glory to Him. He wants the credit, the attention, and above all, our love. The laws sound crude to us today but there is always relevance in God’s words. Sacrificing of animals shows God’s desire for us to give up the idols that cloud our ability to focus on Him and His better provision. Clean food speaks to God wanting us to avoid the contaminating filth that consumes the world around us and to become clean vessels so that the Holy Spirit and dwell and grow inside of us. The Sabbath is God desiring that we spend time with Him, not just weekly like the law but daily so that our path is made straight in His continual guidance. All of God’s details in terms of time and measurements show His precise control over a world that looks to be in chaos. It is larger than we can imagine and God has this timed and placed down to the second and millimeter. Who better to lead than the engineer of the universe?
Created Relationship/ Brought Attention to Him
God’s greatest desire if for this world to turn to Him in all of His Glory as: Creator, Sustainer, Protector, Provider. People then, just like now, like to take credit where God has been at work. God made His laws to continually guide His people back to Him. He not only desires our focus be on Him, but that we are in continually relationship with Him. His laws attempt to accomplish this but the sinful, selfish nature of people combined with their free will leave God wanting. So as a father He provides His guidance in His instructions. Examples include: Sacrificing of animals- God required the best that the people had. These were the unblemished, best, and most valuable animals. He desired that they let go of prized worldly possessions to focus on Him and the possession of His presence. Clean Food- God doesn’t want His people to be defiled with the things of this world. God wants a clean vessel that He can work in to grow His kingdom. This also kept His people healthy when they sought lesser items around them. The Sabbath gave the people a dedicated time to refocus on Him and remember His provision. God wanted them to continually return to Him and trust in His timing. His commands that pertain to exact dimensions and time lead the people to focus on His design. It wasn’t just obedience to accomplish the small details but the attention and relation to the importance of those details as they grow to encompass all creation.
Kept Order/ Set Apart His People
When God put forth His precepts He wanted His people to interact with this world in a way that created growth, both in the world and toward Him. When the people followed the leadership of God or the leadership of His chosen who ruled in the ways of God, the people of this world trembled at the presence and abilities of God’s people. They blew horns and shouted, crumbling the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:20), they stood inside a furnace without being burned (Daniel 3:19-28), they brought fire from heaven to consume the king’s men (2 Kings 1:9-14). The power of God is found in obedience to His design and will. Following the instructions of God allowed His people to prosper and be noticeably set apart. The laws also kept order among His people. God designed us and knows how we should interact among each other. God creates order and exemplifies order in His being. Since we are His people we should allow His order to be shown in our interactions through adherence to His design.
The laws set forth by God show His desire to guide His people to the best life possible. That life is found in relationship with Him. He was a Heavenly Father before He ever was addressed that way by King David. He wanted His people to find joy and prosperity in union with the One, Eternal God. His allowance of sacrifice to request forgiveness is the mercy of a father. The laws that instruct interpersonal relationships/ government show how a father would desire His children act toward one another and in public. His instruction on food and cleanliness assured that His children were healthy and growing in their physical nature. His timing allowed His children to excel above the sinful nature of the earth. The laws may sound harsh or unnecessary but isn’t that the same feeling we had as children toward our parents when they created rules that we didn’t see the need in only to appreciate them when we had children of our own?
A trend exist today where people brush aside the Laws and Protocols that God gave to Moses after the Israelites were lead out of Egypt. Just like people now, the people had a tendency to forget about God and His desires for them if it wasn’t continually in front of them. Even then, they tended to turn away from God. God lead His people with pillars of smoke by day and fire by night, He provided food and water when none were available, and He parted The Red Sea and The Jordan River! People assume that if God Himself walked up to take them by the hand, they would believe and follow. That is doubtful because everyone carries an expectation of what God would look like, and if He didn’t match that standard they wouldn’t accept Him or His provision. Proof is found when God did come to earth and was rejected by The Pharisee who had studied God and His prophecy all of their lives. They not only turned away but killed God’s Word made flesh because they disagreed with how God chose to present Himself. We all have a tendency to humanize God. We forget that what God is transcends our ability to comprehend Him fully. God, in His Grace, decided to help His chosen focus on Him through Laws and rituals that personified (1)His character, (2)kept order/ set apart His people, and (3)created relationship/brought attention to the Creator, Sustainer, and Lord of the universe. As with all things of the Old Testament, they were all shadows of the truths to come. Let’s look at a few ways we can identify with God as He shows us His character, desire for us, and desire for His kingdom.
Please look at this link and its list of the 613 commands of God in the Old Testament. Each one has a purpose to guide His people as well as create understanding of Him through their compliance.