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.
Encounters with God, whether real or imagined, draw people closer to God. It’s their faith in those moments that draws the glory to God. It’s the eyes to see, ears to hear, and heart to receive that take the coincidence out of God’s actions in this world. God created a subconscious that draws us closer to Him. That is why people admit that there is a basic knowledge of right and wrong. God works in your subconscious, in your heart, behind the scenes of your sinful will. There is a spiritual battle that takes place in our subconscious. It’s reminiscent of the angle and devil on our shoulders in the cartoons. One of the devil’s greatest tools is hiding the nature of the devil in the battle and pretending your own will is good. Acknowledging our sinful nature shows us that many times we must see that it’s our will on one should and the will of God on the other. Power comes from shining the light of God on the spiritual battle of our subconscious and following God instead of the deceiver disguised in our sinful will.
This world as become chaotic as sin runs rampant. In the chaos people look to leaders to find a way to improve the situation as it falls deeper into darkness. People follow bad/false teachers into positions where they dig in to defend against any opposing view. They feel that they must now match every opinion with a response which represents their personal position. This only acts to create opposition and division in the world. The people we follow are the people we become! As follower of the perfect leader we must brace ourselves with Jesus. When we interact with the world we have to be the influence and not become diluted in our walk with the Lord. We have to be the influence through our actions and our imitation of Jesus, not our wordy opinions and feeble attempts to verbally change the world. It’s easy to talk about Jesus, true Christianity is being an example to the lost so much so that they want to know about the Holy Spirit that guides you. Attempting to verbally influence the world while living in a contradictory means is the easiest way to push people away from the savior and soil what a relationship with Jesus Christ is truly meant to be. The deceiver uses the shallow faith of these misguided people to turn others away from the path to God and put a stigma on the freedom from death found in Jesus.
Followers of Jesus must be gentle. The definition of gentle is acknowledging the power of Christ within you so much so that you don’t have to force your own power upon people. Imagine picking up an injured animal, you know you are capable of hurting them further so you hold back in an attempt to nurture them in their struggle. Lost souls are injured by sin. Be an example of gentleness and trust that the Lord is at work.
VERSE: (Zechariah 8:20-23) “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
HISTORY: Jerusalem was completely destroyed at least twice, once by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-10) and again by the Romans under Titus in AD 70. The Mongols destroyed at least a portion of the city around AD 1260, and the Roman emperor Hadrian destroyed it in AD 135. In addition, the city was captured at least 40 times and besieged at least 23 times.
THOUGHTS: Many times throughout the Old Testament we see God allowing His people to be conquered and spread over the land. It always comes in the wake of them turning away from His commandments and guidance. (Zechariah 7:13-14) “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known… This seems to only be a punishment for those people. But once we realize that all things are done for the glory of God, I wanted to think deeper. What if God scatters His people to spread His presence over the earth? God’s judgement acts like a droplet of water to cause a ripple that spread to the corner of the earth. These people turn from God so He scatters them, they find the error in their ways and turn back to God from their foreign land. Now God has placed His people over all the earth who turn to Him and lead the other nations to turn to His as well. (seen in Zech 8:23 above) What a wonderful thought to see how God uses what seems to be a punishment for His people to not only draw them back to Him but also to spread His name and glory throughout the earth. How great if the God serve!
God could have easily walked His people directly out of Egypt and into The Promised Land. As His people stood at the border they doubted whether they could defeat those who already lived in the land. They only perceived what their frail human form could accomplish while underestimating the power and faithfulness of God. Today we are guilty of the same offense. We humanize God, His judgement and His ability. We choose to only obey the things we can understand. We are left in the wilderness of this world where the grace of God still provides provision but in a way that falls short of what God intended for us to have. Are you willing to have the faith of Joshua and Caleb? (Numbers 13:30) But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 14:6-9) Joshua … and Caleb …, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord.
Are you willing to walk in the guidance of a God that wants to lead you into His promised provision and eventually into His presence in Heaven? Live in communication with God and ask what His desired provision is for you. Present your questions to Him and allow His answer to guide your heart. Be willing to sit in silence and accept His answer spoken softly to your spirit. Live in Him and don’t follow the rest of the world in to a wilderness to parish apart from the light of your Lord.