There is a wonderful rhythm to God’s actions and intentions with the Law. The commandments are given after God rescues the nation of Israelites from Egypt.First salvation, then the law. We see this as far back as we can look into the scriptures. In the garden, God establishes relationship wIth Adam and Eve, sets them free, then gives them the law (just 1). Jesus teaches the same principle in the New Testament. “If you love me, keep my commands.” Only after a relationship with God do the commandmentsbecome a blessing. The word delight is used over and over in the Psalms when thinking about the law and commandments. Psalm 112:1 Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands. (Notice the rhythm). The New Testament echos the same truth, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,”.In relationship with God, the commandments are invaluable.
This week begins a 13-week study of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). The Israelites had left Egypt as slaves and were being called out to meet the God of all creation. Moses had led them out and brought them to the mountain of the Lord, Mt. Sinai. Here, God met Moses and gave him the ten words. These were the foundation of who God was…His character. The commandments have shaped and formed cultures and societies ever since.
God spoke these words thousands of years ago…yet, they are still true and valid today. One of God’s character qualities is immutability…He never changes. What peace and security we have, knowing that God’s Word never changes. We can trust God in whatever He says. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” We have a God who never changes…we have a Savior who never changes…we have foundational law that never changes…we of all people are blessed!
John Ortberg relates an incident from the life of philosopher Dallas Willard: Someone once asked Willard, “What is reality?” He responded, “Reality is what you can count on.” The questioner followed up with, “What is pain?” Willard answered, “Pain is what happens when you bump into reality.” These words God spoke in Exodus 20—they’re not rules. Neither are they laws in the way we are often accustomed to thinking of laws. That is, they do not exist in order to make life run a certain way. These words of God exist in order to make life possible in the first place. They are laws in the sense that gravity is a law, or that the speed of light is a law. Reality: It’s the way the universe works.
Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:1-17 (day two) “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” ROMANS 3:19-20
These set of rules have been a bedrock for western civilization for thousands of years, and yet, it seems odd for Paul to state that one of the purposes of the law is to point out our sin. In fact, that is one of the great tenants of our faith, but not in a deterring way. These great tent poles of righteous behavior gives us an anchor to which we can tether our fallen natures. They serve as a reminder of a better way, and a more perfect path. They ultimately point us to Jesus who came to fully live, and to fully obey so that we may further tether our faith to his redeeming example. Don’t be discouraged by the set of rules, be encouraged that God loves us enough to give us guide posts to help steer us.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”” JOHN 14:21
However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24a)
I’ve wrestled with this passage all week, and I don’t think it is about what I thought it was about. I’ve wondered how this passage developed theologically and why God’s wrath is described the way it is. I was greatly excited to have one more chance to call us to be a repentant people (v.10, 17), and then I got to the last verse of this last chapter of David’s reign.
The final verses cause us to consider worship. We find David worshipping where the wrath of God stopped, and 1 Chronicles notes this is the exact spot where Solomon would build the temple. From David until Christ, God’s children would make their way back to worship in that very spot where the mercy of God reigned.
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel,... 2 Samuel 24:1
Would we be okay with a God who is never angry? Our world would have us believe if God does exist then he most certainly would love us just the way we are. But in truth no one would settle for a God like that at all. A God who doesn’t get angry is a God who doesn’t love. A God who doesn’t get angry is far off, uncaring of the affairs of humanity, indifferent. A God who doesn’t get angry, is a God who doesn’t redeem.
The only reason we know God’s mercy and grace is because he gets angry. An angry God is an intervening God. So, no, we wouldn’t be okay with a passive, indifferent God.
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 24 (day five) Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.”
What was David’s motive behind the sin?Why was God offended by this particular census?God had even given instructions for taking a census (Exodus 30). So we know that God is not anti-census. Others have offered really good explanations in this blog. I would like to give you one that I find compelling. I believe that this census indicates a lack of faith in David. He seems to be deeply interested in the exact size and strength of his army. David has forgotten God’s promise that victories will not be determined by strength or numbers, but rather trust in God (1 Samuel 14:6)- a promise he believed as a teenager when he stood up against Goliath, but has forgotten as an adult. His trust was in his numbers not God’s power or promises. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) Which promises do we need to remember and trust in today?
What was so bad about a census? To our western mind, a census does not seem to be a bad idea. In Exodus 30 though, God specifically required a ransom for each man counted in a census. Since no reason is given in Scripture for the ransom, scholars have speculated as to the why. Israel was considered God’s army, so when a leader counted the available soldiers, he was appearing to claim the army as his own. In 1 Chronicles 21, we also learn that Satan had moved David to conduct the census. That cause and effect is never good!
Regardless of the why, David had sinned against God. It was David’s repentance after the fact that revealed David’s reputation as a man after God’s own heart. We all sin…but it is how we deal with that sin after the fact that reveals our relationship with God. God is ready to forgive when He sees a heart that is truly repentant!
We recognize David least when he is behaving most like a clichéd tyrant—employing his power to bend the world to his will. The writer of 2 Samuel makes apparent that God has established and nurtured the nation for his own purposes. David now behaves as if he has outgrown those purposes, and he moves Israel to a war footing to expand his geopolitical influence in the region. David had determined to take action, and the Lord said, in effect, “Okay, your will be done.” When human beings speak that phrase to God, the final result is good, always. When God speaks that phrase to human beings, things will not end well.