Here at Preparing the Bride, I’m telling GOD’S STORY. Presumptuous?! Not when simply looking at scripture, because scripture is the unfolding of God’s story to us who read it.
How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? We learn GOD’s Story. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked.
GOD’S STORY Part 4: Why the LAW?
“Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from your law.”
I asked the LORD, What is the next thing to share of Your Story?
He led me to the Ten Commandments. Really? Yes! Okay.
Why the Law to share with you?
You will know Exodus 20, where the LORD lists the summary version of His Law: the 10 Commandments. Exodus and Leviticus are full of GOD’s laws for various contingencies. But the Law is encapsulated well in the 10 Commandments.
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.”
But why was the Law necessary?
Sin, yes. But why didn’t GOD just send His son in the first place? If Jesus didn’t come to replace the Law but to fulfil it (Matthew 5:17), why didn’t He just arrive in front of the Hebrews in the wilderness?
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of GOD.” (Romans 3:21) But first we need to know we’ve sinned in order to recognise we have fallen short. The Law teaches us our inability to keep it. Who hasn’t made a mistake and hoped and prayed we’d not suffer the consequences? That fear, that prayer, enables us to see we’ve fallen short. The Hebrews needed to learn GOD’s perfection before they could recognise their fallibility. So they needed to know GOD’s standard, His Law — They certainly weren’t going to find it in the heathen Egyptian society.
And so, why the Law? So we can know we’ve broken it, so we can know we’ve sinned, so we can know we’ve fallen short and need a Saviour… and then value The Saviour: Jesus, the Jewish Messiah Yeshua.
What does the Law signify?
Whilst GOD very much wanted relationship with the Hebrews, the fear of GOD pervaded their hearts. They saw the power of GOD in the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud. They saw His power in the parting of the Red Sea. And so, they pushed Moses up front and said, ‘You talk to GOD and then tell us what He says.’
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:18-19)
This was immediately after the 10 Commandments had been announced. The people were willing to obey but didn’t want intimacy with GOD. The Law gives rules, requirements and we turn it into religion. But GOD wants relationship.
So, why Jesus?
Millennia after the Hebrews in the desert Jesus arrived, and He fulfilled the Law we failed to follow, with two commandments that encapsulated GOD’s standard even more succinctly,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself.’ ” (Luke 10:27)
Even further, through Jesus we can receive freedom today… overcoming the Law through the grace of faith in GOD.
John wrote in chapter 8 of his gospel, “If the son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” Faith in Jesus, the son of God, offers us freedom from the Law as we receive Him and His love. We discover our choice to follow the Law changes; no longer do we follow out of a sense of duty or fear, but out of the desire to love others just as He has loved us. We are free as the yoke is lifted! “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The Law makes us aware of our failure to keep it. But we don’t have to live in fear and anxiety about the consequences of our weaknesses. Rather, we can know we have been saved from ourselves — our sinfulness — through the blood of Jesus.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) Like little children innocent of their faults, we can embrace Jesus and His Father, knowing Jesus is the Truth and GOD the Father is a GOD of love. The sin of the past is left behind and the new has come: walking as Jesus walks, saved through faith in Him and living beyond sin because through faith in Jesus our sin is forgiven and blotted out.
So, the knowledge of GOD’s Law provoked mankind to realise our sinfulness and Jesus has released us from the yoke of the Law when we choose to follow Him.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
When we look at GOD’s Story through the lens of His Law, we recognise that the Hebrews and all the descendants, save one, were imperfect. It is through that one exceptional person that any and all can be rescued from imperfection.
We cannot escape GOD’s Law but we can learn to live the Law as embedded in the principle of Love, GOD’s love. And a part of GOD’s story is to recognise His identity. GOD’s identity is that He is Love.