Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. … Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” ~ Deuteronomy 4:1, 2, 6
“Your parents sure are strict,” I remember hearing often as a child. My parents had simple rules: If they told me to do something, I should do it. If they told me not to do something, then I shouldn’t. Looking back, I don’t know if I’d classify them as strict. I think my parents simply had expectations.
Yet, I was resentful of those expectations sometimes. My parents’ expectations seemed to limit my fun. It was hard for me as a child to see that my parents always had my best interests in mind. It was hard to see the wisdom in their expectations.
“Your God sure is strict! Look at all those rules you have to follow! Look at all the fun that your God takes away!” We’re tempted to look at God’s law that way sometimes, aren’t we? We are tempted to subtract those parts of God’s Word that are unpopular or counter culture. Satan whispers in our ears, “God is restricting your freedom with all these laws!” Except, just the opposite is true.
In the Word of God for today, we read, “Follow them so that you may live.” Except we can’t follow them perfectly! That’s why God sent his Son, Jesus, to keep all of his commands. Jesus kept them perfectly for us. He came so we can have life, life to the full. Every command God gives us, even the ones that are unpopular for many people, are for our good. Following those commands doesn’t restrict our freedom, it shows our wisdom. Following all of God’s commands is a way to say “thank you” to God for all his blessings.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us life by offering the life of your Son, Jesus, in our place. Help us live according to all of your commands which we know are for our good. Amen.