tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? [galatians 4:21]
left to ourselves, we will always “listen to the law” because we desire slavery.
we desire to be ruled by something other than God, which is why our history is rife with tyrants and despots, and slavery to legalism. when God gave moses the law, he was pointing to himself–his great Name and he spells it out very clearly:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“you shall have no other gods before me” [exodus 20:2-3]
“hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [deuteronomy 6:4-5]
when we make the bible about us, we miss the point. we see it isn’t about following rules, for the sake of rules, the slavery of obedience: the bible is about the coming kingdom of God, the praise of his great name, his glory!
a search for the phrase “i am the LORD” in the blue letter bible results in 183 instances of God demonstrating his power and his name! take some time and soak in the Lord proclaiming his power and might–his argument is undeniable and overwhelming! a small sampling:
i am the LORD your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the LORD of hosts is his name. [isaiah 51:15]
“Behold, i am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? [jer 32:27]
and i will break down the wall that you have smeared with whitewash, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be laid bare. when it falls, you shall perish in the midst of it, and you shall know that i am the LORD. [ezekiel 13:14]
i am the LORD. i have spoken; it shall come to pass; i will do it. i will not go back; i will not spare; i will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord GOD.” [ezekiel 14:14]
(eziekiel probably has about a hundred pronouncements that God makes about his character!)
but i am the LORD your God
from the land of egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior. [hosea 13:4]
we don’t want this kind of God–a dangerous and awesome God–we want a God we can ask for a set of rules, perfectly obey them and checking them off our “to do” and “to not do” list to feel secure. our God isn’t like that. he is like the description of aslan in the lion the witch and the wardrobe-when confronted with the fact that aslan is a powerful lion, the character susan asks if he is safe–mr beaver responds:
“safe?” said mr beaver …”who said anything about safe? ‘course he isn’t safe. but he’s good. he’s the King, I tell you.”
we want a safe God we can control, and so we prefer slavery to law rather than surrender to a sovereign and steadfast Christ. we want rules instead of resurrection. the law cannot and was not meant to save us–it is meant to emphasize our desperation for a God who is the only one who can save us–
take some time to read psalm 107 and bask in the truth of what it means to seek the Lord–it isn’t in rule following, but in crying out the the Lord in our affliction, distress, slavery and lack of ability to follow the law. recognize that when God responds and saves, he does not do it because we were good enough, but because he is sovereign we desperately need a savior. the refrain that plays over and over, the one that breaks our slavery to sin, to foolishness, to our own self-sufficiency, is this:
“let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!” [psalm 107:various]
thank him for his steadfast love today! you are no longer a slaves but sons of daughters of Christ–not because of his rules, but because of his sacrifice!
~ conor eastman