Readings in Deuteronomy 23-27; One of the most discussed challenged topics in the Bible is the matter of the Law; the Mosaic Law. In Deuteronomy we have the “2nd Law” given to the New Generation of Israelites preparing to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of Wilderness Wanderings. Their parents are dead and Moses is the last to die up on Mount Nebo. But before Moses makes his journey up the Mountain, he reiterates what was given on Mount Sinai. Almost everyone knows the 10 Commandments written by the finger of God, and the second set as well. The Ten Commandments have been a staple in Judaism and Christianity. The question repeated by every generation is “Do we still have to obey the Mosaic Law?” It is an interesting question, but there is a deeper question – Do we govern our lives by laws? Today in our global culture we find tremendous push back from any kind of law. One push back is the requirement to wear or not wear face masks in public. As i write this blog the world is entrenched in a Pandemic called Covid-19. As of today over 600,000 have died and millions more contacting it. We have seen restaurants, bars, schools and businesses closed. The underlying question is “when do we return to normal?” What is normal? I think this is different for each one of us to some extent. My fear of life today is we are living in a Judges 21:24 time. The verse says, “in those days there was no king, and everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.
Now i must admit most of the challenges with the Mosaic Law is about the dietary restrictions. But there is much more to the Law. In the chapters we read this week there is a subtitle called “Sundry Times.” These are various Laws to govern culture situations and protection of society. Laws like, a woman is not to wear men’s clothing, proving or disproving whether a wife was pure at her wedding; adultery and sleeping with man and woman outside of marriage; and restrictions on who can and cannot enter the Temple. A chapter on divorce; when arguments arise between men; how to bring in the first fruits as an offering to God. Obviously, looking at these Laws our culture IS NOT paying attention to any of them. As the title indicates there are two possibilities for society – civility or chaos. Today i live in a state of chaos, mankind is rebelling in nearly all sectors of society around the globe. Man without God wants to be free to live and do as he pleases without any consequences or regrets; especially having someone tell him he cannot do what he wants to do. A person without the Holy Spirit does not act like a man that God breathed life into, instead he acts like an animal – operating only on instincts.
I made a statement one time “if everyone has their own rights, then no one has rights.” This may appear to be messed up, but think about it if everyone does what they want, their freedoms will overlap others freedoms and rights. Which mean my rights end when they compromise someone else’s rights and this is self-restricting and no one can live completely without affecting someone else’s life.
Today we are having protestors trying to de fund the police across our nations. There is city officials advocating and passing legislation to do exactly that. To me this is absurd! I do hold the belief that there needs to be accountability for those who are put in place to protect and support humanity. The cry is for JUSTICE. I do not want justice, I want MERCY!
In Romans 13, Paul advocates that people [believers] are to obey laws, kings and those who have oversight over us. I know this in itself sounds ridiculous in light of the many tyrants who have been in control in history. When mankind is left to govern himself; lawlessness prevails. [Exodus 32-34]
There is a purpose for the laws and for oversight protects from civil authorities; that said the very people placed in positions of leadership and protection of the people MUST have accountability. The Laws were given for man to have guidance on how to live out not only their own life, but how to live with each other. Laws are for the perpetrator and lawless. If we live our lives both morally and civilly then we have no fear of the Law. Since humanity is depraved and has a fallen nature – Laws are necessary. Are some laws unnecessary and ridiculous? Yes, and they need to be revised. Order and civility mark a nation and people. Today we live in a self-serving, no sacrifice on my part society. We have forgotten how to live as a people, focusing only on the ME!
Exodus 14:11-15; 15:22-25; 16:1-12 ; 17:1-3
Grumblings, fear, obstacles and impatience. As we come out of this pandemic, many are starting to devise “way forward” plans. When we read about Israel coming out of Egypt, we find that at every turn the people GRUMBLED at Moses – not the LORD GOD, but Moses. Leadership must always be on display during and after a crisis. As Pastors, State and country leaders all across the globe look to move past the quarantine orders and try to move their respective areas back to a “Normalcy,” there will be must scrutiny about plans and progress.
I have written a couple Facebook entries that expressed the concern that people, institutions, churches and governments will try to “Go Back” to what life was like before. To me that is like trying to put the genie back into the bottle after it has been let out. Israel always wanted to GO BACK to Egypt when something became inconvenient or uncomfortable. Even when they were on the cusp of going into the Promise Land the first time, many let their fears and anxieties rule the day. Something that Israel never did learn the during the 40 years of “Wilderness Wanderings” was that GOING BACKWARDS was not an OPTION. No matter the problem they faced going forward [armies in pursuit, no water, no food, or giants in the Land] going back to what Egypt offered was never considered by GOD. It was HIS plan that Israel should always live in the Promise Land. He made this known to Abram, Isaac and Jacob multiple times.
Now, as Christianity has stepped up during this pandemic to make sure that services and care for their congregations took place; the NEXT STEP is a vital one. Will Churches and Believers move forward? During this critical time, there has been great outpouring of people providing humanitarian relief and support – AMEN. But we must remember that the CHURCH must be the Light in the World not Government bail outs and stimulus packages. I laud the great benevolence and care provided by the masses – But I know they are looking to get past this time and return to their normally comfortable life.
This begs the question: what have we learned from all of this?
- In difficult times mankind will pull together to help those in need
- Governments will try to eradicate the problem
- Money will be the first choice to eliminate the discomfort from the crisis
- The Church can be counted on to COME out of isolation to be a Light to the World
- People will always grumble against Leadership
- There will always be those who rebel against the PLAN
- People are more in a hurry to get past an issue than to learn the LIFE LESSONS of going through it
- People are always in a hurry to get control back of their lives
- God is God in the good times and the difficult times
- Life adjustments must be made individually, not levied by Public opinion
- Mankind can live without all the excesses; basic needs always outweigh the wants in a crisis
These are just some thoughts I have about this phase of the pandemic we are experiencing. The bold question to be answered by all of us; believers and non-believers alike: WHAT DID THIS PANDEMIC DO TO ME? WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF? God has provided this time for a reason. If we only look at the minute details of the pandemic, which I am sure many books will be written about- then we have missed this ETERNAL MOMENT!
I think this pandemic is a wake up call to the Church to get busy with God’s mission of saving the Lost through the Gospel and charity. In that this is a global problem I also believe it is a warning to mankind to become human again. Mankind had gotten to a point of such myopic living the reins had to be pulled back. A third thing I think should be that we learn what is essential and what is luxury. I had hoped we would stay in this until Christians become unified and collaborative – my fear is we haven’t learned anything.
So Going Forward, not Backward what is it that the LORD GOD wants you to learn and do?