And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
Today's lesson establishes the principles of kingdom, that we in our "Democratic" societies might not understand today.
First, let us note, God has Moshe to cut two more tablets, as the former tablets had been destroyed. Note that that which was totally made by God, the first set of 10 commandments had been destroyed. The Israelites (and we by extension,) are so sinful that something made entirely by God could not stay in our presence, and God presents the 10 Commnademtn once again to Israel, but this time on two tablets cot by Moshe. In all the scenes on the mountain, we see God as law giver. This was one of the original functions of a King, to be a just law giver.
In these days of extreme freedom, we often resent law givers. Since we are free, we see no need for laws. We see this in traffic every day. How many people actually obey the speed limit. Most treat it as a suggestion, making the road a more dangerous place. The same with running red lights. Many people are too inconvenienced by those silly red lights, and go through any way, also making the world a more dangerous place. Young people think many things we older people do to be silly. Sex only in marriage, how silly, majority rule in California, no way if it interferes with self defnined rights.
Now go back to Deuteronomy. What does God ask? That we fear (repsect) him, walk in his ways, love him, werve him and observe his commands given for our own good. (Emphasis mine). Now indeed there are two reasons why we should obey God, and treat him as our king, the first of which many miss. God made the heavens and earth and everything on them (including us), and as creator, he has the right to expect our obedience. IN other words, God is king by reason that we are his creation and we belong to him, something in modern times we do not really like, but Paul reexpresses it elsewhere in Corinthians. Who does a man's body belong to, why his wife. And a women's body, who does it belong to, but her husband, giving a whole new push into marital fidelity.
The second reason we are to obey God's laws is because they are "given for our own good".
Sometimes we mix up what St. Paul and society say. Are Christians free? Clearly yes, but we are free to use our minds and bodies in a way that glorifies God. We are not free to do as we want, but to seek his will. Unfortuneately, many people accept the rules in the Bible as a red light or speed limit sign, just as a suggestion. That is why the church is so weak today. We look at the Bible and think of it as one great book of suggestions, and we lose out.
When we buy something, it usually comes with an owners manuel If we are smart, we will use that manuel and follow its instructions so that the care will last longer. Do we stick the gas nozzle in the tail pipe? Of course not, that could lead to an explosion. Do we put water in the crankcase? of course not, that would ruin the motor. God has created us with more care than GM ever made a car, and has given us a basic model that we should use. Our owner's manuel is the Bible, which we should consult more often than we consult our car's owner's manual.
On this last Sunday of Kingdomtide, let us remember that the true kindom is a place where we truly obey our kingdom. Let us also remember, Yeshua gives us the spirit to give us the strength to obey him.
Shalom b'Yeshua ha Moshiach
Mar Michael Abportus, OSL