Posted on: 20th January 2020
“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”
Reading the Old Testament account of the children of Israel leaving Egypt and wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, I am fascinated by their actions and attitudes. The book of Leviticus is known to be full of law and full of drastic consequences for their actions.
But why do we need laws? The preacher Andy Stanley describes Law’s as guardrails, protecting us from harm. If you have time this week, have a read of Leviticus 19, or search for some of the most unusual laws that exist. Ask yourself the question, “Why was that law brought in?” Leviticus 19:14 says, “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling-block in front of the blind, but fear the Lord.” Can you imagine needing a law like that!
In Matthew 7:12, Jesus sums up the law and the prophets by saying, “In everything [including tripping others up when they can’t see], do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
This week, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about the rules and laws that you are striving to follow. If you are like me, I often find it overwhelming. No matter how many things I do right, it is the things I don’t do that I focus on the most. No matter how hard I try, I know I cannot live to the expectations of myself, let alone others.
Let’s follow Jesus’ example. He came to simplify live and give us all the chance to connect with God. When he lived a sinless life and died on the cross, the punishment of sin was taken away. That made it simple for us to live Holy, not because we keep all the laws, but because we accept his forgiveness.
This week, spend some time thinking about how you can simplify your life. Think about what the life and death of Jesus means to you.
Posted on: 22nd October 2018
“Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.”
Remember. That was the word that Moses shared with the people of Israel after he came down from the mountain. He had been in God’s presence and was sharing with them the standard that God had set.
What do you think of when someone talks about rules? I love listening to my children playing games. Some games are easier to play than others, because they have less rules. Hide and seek is easy – everyone hides, somebody seeks. The only issue arises when you have to decide what you have to count to before you can begin to search. But it is the made up games that cause the trouble, because no one knows the rules and therefore anyone is free to suggest an improvement to the game. We started car journeys looking for yellow cars. We now count cheese on wheels, minis and soft tops! The rules continue to grow.
Re-reading the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy 5, I am reminded again at the sense and purpose of the law. I was brought up ‘having’ to rest on a Sunday. This felt like I was restricted from doing what I normally do. But the law was set to bring freedom. There was a period in the history of the children of Israel that ‘choosing’ to rest was never an option. Imagine the luxury for a slave to be able to have a day off every week! Maybe this week is a chance for you to take a rule that has been set and see the freedom it brings.
We have been considering respect this half term. My prayer is that, as you reflect on the devotions and scriptures we have looked at, that you challenge yourself to respond positively. Respect is not a list of rules that we expect everyone to keep. It is an attitude that we pray that all will choose. Respect can result in different responses to different people. Will you listen to something that has been said and obey?