You walk into a white room. Everything is white; the ceiling, the walls, even the door that you entered by is white. There is no furniture or anything noteworthy in this room except a small red square on the opposite wall. You approach. As you get closer you can make out a round domed button in the centre of the square with a few words beside it. The instructions read, ‘Do not press this button’. What is going through your mind right now? Is it ‘Why can’t I press that button?’ or ‘What will happen if that button is pressed?’?
Rules do this to us. When we are told not to do something, it is quite difficult to not want to! Being told ‘don’t’ can make us think that we are missing out on something. Rules make us feel restricted in some way and can bring out rebellion in us.
GOD gave His people rules. For some people, this is not a surprise since GOD is mean and angry and wants to restrict any fun, and that is as far as they go. But this is not GOD, and this is not what He was doing. From my earlier post, Eagles’ Wings, I touched on the words that GOD spoke about the people being His treasured possession. If we look again at the rules being given under this truth, we can see that they weren’t to restrict but to bring freedom. They weren’t given by an impersonal GOD but by a Father teaching His children.
The Israelites had been in slavery for a very long time. This was all they had known for several generations. They had been under the whip of slave masters of Egypt so now they needed the care of a parent. The commandments were not to restrict, but were rules and directions to live in freedom.
A parent would not let a child grab at a boiling kettle or let them run across a road. These commandments were to guide the people to live away from Egypt and its influences, and grow, instead, as GOD’s children.
The Israelites and us can approach these commandments in two ways. We can approach as a slave or as a child of GOD.
To live as a slave means that your highest calling is to obey. You do as you are told because otherwise you will be punished. A slave lives in fear of the whip and the discipline. The slave obeys because there is no other option. The commandments in the eyes of a slave are restricting and offensive.
To live as a child of GOD means that your highest calling is to love. Before any of these 10 commandments there is a greater command. Jesus was asked about what commandment was the most important by the people trying to win favour with GOD by their own obedience.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
The greatest command is to love GOD. It is a natural progression to say that as children of GOD we obey because we love Him. We take His commandments seriously because they protect us from death and give us life and freedom. These rules in the eyes of a child of GOD, show us a Heavenly Father that loves and cares for our complete well-being. They are not restrictions but boundaries for a healthy and happy soul. The boundaries aren’t tight but offer wide open spaces. Our loving Father chooses life for us.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7
This page shows me leaving behind the shackles of slavery and walking into the freedom of being called His child. My slavery does not look like the Israelites version, but that doesn’t mean that I have not been a slave. In the section from Galatians, Paul is saying that we have all been slaves, but we are ‘no longer’ slaves. If we have accepted GOD’s adoption, we have been moved from the state of slavery and placed into GOD’s family as sons (sons – as having full inheritance not partial or excluded from inheritance) and heirs. We were once slaves to sin and death, the worst of all slave masters’, but have now been given sonship by GOD.