Monday, July 10, 2017
What Does God Expect?
God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After they crossed the Red Sea and Pharaoh and his army were destroyed, God promised to bless them if they would obey him in Exodus 15:26. “…If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” Later,God offered to make a contract or covenant with Israel, as Exodus 19:4-6 describes. “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”
Having seen His miracles on their behalf the people were interested, so God gave them a condensed version of what they would be expected to do, to see if they were really interested. It only showed the general ideas and did not go into details. This condensed summary of his expectations is known commonly known as the Ten Commandments, and is found in Exodus 20:1-17. Without a clear understanding of what he expects, it would be impossible to obey him.
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:1-7)
If Israel agreed to the contract, they would have to commit to not worship any other gods besides God himself. They were not to worship anything in nature, by bowing down to it, or offering sacrifices, or even by making pictures of statues of it. They were to recognize it was God who provided the food, Creating the animal or plant, and enabling them to obtain it, and were not to give the credit to anything else, including the animal or plant. He would take offense if they did so, but would richly bless anyone who honored him. They were not to use his name lightly or in a disrespectful manner.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
They were to constantly remember that God had created the world and that it belongs to him. As a reminder, they were to set the Sabbath day aside as a special day, doing no work, but dedicating it to God, rather than their own ends. In addition, they were to show their respect by treating other people with respect if they wanted to receive God’s blessings. Failure to do so would result in serious consequences. The rest to the Ten Commandments deal with how we treat other people.
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. hou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.” (Exodus 20:12-17)
By obeying God’s lay, and respecting the rights and property of other people, the Jews would be showing their respect for God. In return, God promised to bless them in various ways. Leviticus 26:3-12 gives additional details about what God will do if they will obey him.
“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
They would be protected from diseases, from drought and famine, from invasion by other countries, and from worrying about having shortages. They would also experience a closeness with God, with him accompanying them on a daily basis. Romans 2:11-15 indicates the same is true for those who are not Jews if they will obey God’s principles. “ For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
Clearly, if we care about our children, and their future happiness, it would be worth teaching them to respect God by following his law. The book of Leviticus provides complete details about keeping the principles listed in the Ten Commandments. For more teaching on God’s law visit the Section on Leviticus, or check out my book, Loving God, Loving Man, at https://www.amazon.com/Loving-God-Man-Essence-Levitical/dp/1514616521/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8.