The Place of the Law
Today’s reading: Numbers 14:1-15:41
My selection: Numbers 15:32
32 While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
The law could not save but it could and did condemn. Furthermore, the commandments were not prioritized as if some were more important than others. Breaking the Sabbath, knowingly and openly, was an act of direct rebellion against God. It was no less of a sin before God than making a graven image, blaspheming His name, or adultery.
We err when we think the law can save (Romans 3:19-20). We err when we think the law is irrelevant (Matthew 5:17-20) . We, as Christians, trust in Christ for forgiveness, but we seek to obey the law for His glory and our own good. We fail to keep it perfectly, but we must not take lightly what He has commanded. Curiously, I recently had a conversation with a businessman who says he seeks to keep the ten commandments but, apparently, sees no problem opening his business and working every Sunday.
Certainly, Jesus shed light on the fourth commandment in His teaching, which we will see when we get to the gospels. He declared Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” and said that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. He confirmed exceptions for emergencies, like an ox in a ditch, for works of service, like healing, and works of necessity, like picking grain for immediate consumption.
My challenge: Take seriously God’s law, not as a basis for salvation and acceptance before God, but as a basis for guidance in doing His will. Be thankful that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law perfectly and has taken upon Himself the punishment for our failures to keep God’s law. Let your law keeping be done as an act of gratitude to God.
Tomorrow’s reading: Numbers 16:1-18:32