The Lord said to me, even if Moses and Samuel were standing here pleading with Me, I would not show these people any mercy. Make them go away; make them get…
Whenever I go through the “Moses Chronicles” – that is, from Exodus to Deuteronomy, I am always overwhelmed with the long list of laws written down. “You shall not eat unclean animals”, “You must give these as a grain offering”, and such that seem to sound too complex, apart from the “basic” Ten Commandments. But what had boggled my mind this evening is the consequences for disobeying these laws are usually harsh…like stoning the sinner to death.
Knowing that these seem to have changed when the New Testament opened, I asked God does it mean that these laws have become void and null. I wouldn’t explain it in an attorney’s jargon, but Romans 7 gave me a refreshing revelation.
Apostle Paul explained how we were redeemed from the law’s punishment through the blood of Jesus. Now, in the OT, one way to redeem a person from sin is through blood sacrifice – kill the lamb and sprinkle its blood on the altar. Jesus, then, became the ultimate sacrifice, as He shed His blood to redeem us all; past, present, and future. Paul mentioned that we have “died to the law through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4). But he also had taken note that the law is not really the sin, but when we know more of the law, the more we rebelled against it because of our sinful nature (Romans 7:7-20). Originally, the law said, through Moses, it was given because of their hardheartedness. But Jesus came not to abolish the law but fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Truly, the law sounded harsh but when Jesus came, He redeemed us all…the mercy of the Lord fulfilled the redemption of the law itself, and those who come to die from self are redeemed from death, accomplished by trespassing the law.
What overwhelmed my heart is the greatness of this redemption. The mercy of the Lord is so unfathomable, I couldn’t believe how great is His love. What the hard-headed Israelites at the wilderness did not realize, is now so open to everyone. I just pray we all come to see it. How great is Your love, Lord, how great!
When the Lord calls you to jump into the sea, will you jump? Looking at the blue, crystal sea way up from a thousand-foot cliff side, it looks scary. But if you just look at the waters, you wouldn’t mind the scary height because at the end you will how worth is the risk of jumping.
That’s how the Lord called me. From a nonchalant bench warmer at church, I wanted something more from just going to the usual Sunday service and daily five-minute quiet times. I wanted an up-close and personal, uncompromised, intimate relationship with God. He’s just waiting for me to get out of my box…to seek more of Him and know Him more.
Such was His call. On how I described the sea diving challenge, that’s how I felt when He called me to become deeper with Him. But I came to the cliff side with a lot of baggage – and these were expensive in the world’s price tag. It’s hard to detach from them, especially that I’ve earned them for years with sweat and blood. Since no diver can jump into the sea with a giant bag of accolades and degree, I put it down. It took me so much of my time to think of it, but what is the world’s recognition if I don’t have my Lord’s nod of favor towards me.
Still, I stuffed into my pockets the purses filled with a few paper bills, my tiny organizer booked with my planned schedule, and other small stuff that might help me in case of emergency. Then, with closed eyes, I jumped. When I did, all my paper bills and my organizer flew off into the wind! I was devastated and angry, wondering what to do without them. For a few meters I was exasperated and a bit regretful for jumping off that cliff. I once got everything but now I got nothing. But then, realizing I don’t need them when I dive into the sea, they have become useless to me. At last, with one mighty splash into the blue waters, I found that this sea is even more rewarding than any of those that I’ve gained. Its waves cleansed and refreshed me inside and out. And when I got deeper, I even saw the mystifying beauty of the heart of the ocean, with all its corals and creatures. I do not regret this moment, for even decades of my self-earned achievement I will not exchange this moment.
This is the call of the Lord to His Bride – us, the church. As God is a holy God, He is not into compromises and asks us to strip ourselves away from the idols of our hearts (Leviticus 11:45). When I said yes to become closer to His heart, He striped me away of two things that were too close to me: my right on my money and my right of time. No, I do not mean that God is a cruel God, but when we are willing to surrender everything, always be ready for the testing. When He did took these two things at the moment, that’s when I learned that they were a hindrance to seek for a deeper relationship of Him, for I was too worried about them. But also expect that when He tests you in these things, He will give you a lot of insights and lessons that will enlighten. The moment that these things are gone for a while was also the moment I learned how to fully depend on Him – 100%! Until now, I’m still in the learning process, but that’s when I began to understand more on how to lean on Him and not on my own resources.
We shouldn’t be afraid when we are to decide to become more intimate with Him. Let’s not be like the Israelites in Moses’ time who were scared when the Lord appeared in their camp. It hurts when God strips us off our pride. But when we get into the deeper waters of His glory, we find ourselves anew. We may not be perfect, but with refined hearts, we become even close enough to hear His heartbeat.
“This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.” -Deuteronomy 26:16
Every law mentioned from Exodus to Deuteronomy sounded so rigid that that the downside of following it to the detail like a pressured schoolboy may cause have the Israelites to become a religious frenzy – like the Pharisees who obey the commandments without their hearts in it. However, the Lord knew how frail a human heart can be, that He warned through Moses to do all these statutes “with all their heart and with all their soul”.
The Lord did not give commandments to make His own people robots. Since He knew how these people can become so disobedient (and we can see it throughout the Old Testament), He gave these laws as a guide. Truth is, the Ten Commandments is the very heart of the law but God continued furthermore to gave detailed laws on festivals, food, marriage, and even on executing justice. The Mosaic law, in fact, is similar to a nation’s constitution. However, the ancient Isrealites viewed them, not as a loving guide, but as strict rules to obey (and to rebel against), and so the Lord reminded them that they must be carefully followed with everything they are.
When we practice out own religious right, at times, we have the tendency to become so religious, we do them like living zombies. Even in following the Word of God, we sometimes lose heart in doing it, but just do it for the sake of doing it. Yet, the Lord tell us to do these things with our whole selves. Of course, we should not just go to church, be nice to others, pray and read the Bible without a heartfelt intention. Rather, when we obey and follow His Word, we should not do it for the sake of the “being Christian” trend, but really follow it just because we love Him and we love doing His Words.