The parent that loves his child, sets boundaries. They are boundaries to protect the child, but also to train the child to live in a loving way with God and in a loving way with others.
One of the greatest gifts God ever gave man was His commandments, and it comes to us in the setting of a story, our story. God's relationship with us doesn't start with the Ten Commandments, but in a garden with a handful of directives, rules and laws: tend the garden, name the animals, hands off the tree in the center of the garden. But how quickly the laws are tossed aside. Desiring to be our own rulers, to be like God, to give orders rather than receive them, we violated the arrangement. From there we began pointing fingers, covering up, hiding, and murdering.
Fast forward to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and we see God's promise of land and blessings, but because of our lying, deceit, and trickery we end up as slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh rarely makes it down to Goshen, but his law frequents the place. He barks out orders from his fancy throne. More bricks. Less straw. No vacations. No unions. No time off. And anytime we make a request, he figures we've too much time on our hands and ups the brick quota. Life in Goshen is drab, with little singing and dancing, and less laughter.
Late at night when no one else can hear our cries, God does. Late at night when no one else can see our tears, God does. We then witness our God taking our side in a show down with Pharaoh; and Pharaoh losing ten out of ten times, and we are free to leave. Freedom--it's a sigh of relief, but we have to be very careful with that word. Everybody serves somebody. We are lousy at being our own boss, and are thankful for God's gift, the Commandments, which by the way are nothing like Pharaoh's laws. These laws call us to love our Loving God and to love each other. No wonder the Israelites looked at the Commandments as a Great Gift from God. They clutched their copy of the law to their chests and danced with it.
In a move reflective of Exodus, God raised Jesus from the dead and gave to us the gift of His risen Spirit. In this act, the law of God is written, not on tablets of stone, but on our hearts. We are given the capacity to be faithful, not fickle. We are empowered to keep the law as an expression of wise gratitude for the gift of a way of life defined in the law. The Word becomes flesh. Jesus becomes for us the definition of the law. Everything the law says, Jesus is.
From the new book, "Dancing With The Law", by Dan Boone, we are learning that the Israelites loved God's law, and for us to see just how true this is, please read three passages in Psalm 119: verses 33-40, verses 97-112, and verses 129-135. You may never see the Commandments in the same way again. For your devotional thoughts today, focus on these five little verses from Psalm 119.
Psalm 119:35 "Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it."
Psalm 119:97 "Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all day long."
Psalm 119:103 "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
Psalm 119:111 "Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart."
Psalm 119:129 "Your decrees are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them."
May the Good Lord bless and keep you today, and never forget that you are loved!!!