1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
To many people, words like “commandments,” statues,” and judgments”, are “fighting words.” We naturally recoil from the implication of having boundaries super imposed on our thoughts and behavior. We rebel against all boundaries as much as possible. Our mantra is this: “Laws are Made to be Broken!” “We are Born Free and We will Die Free!” The heart says, “No one is going to tell me not to touch the paint!”
While the creation is in selective, but constant revolt against God and nature, the Creator knows far better. The Lord God knows that commandments [collectively, The Law], statutes [legal decrees], and judgments [righteous sentences] are necessary to have an orderly life, a stable society, and any hope of personal happiness.
To live where men do that which is right in their own sight is to live in chaos.
God wants His people to enjoy life. Jesus said He came to give a super-abundant life to all who follow Him (John 10:10).
Patiently does the Lord explain why He has given to humanity, in general, to Israel in particular, His commandments, statues, and judgments.
First, the Law was given to the people of God, “that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it” (Deut. 6:1). One of the first lessons a child of maturity must learn is obedience. It is for their own safety and welfare. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). Every conscientious parent recognizes how difficult it is to exercise his God-given authority over his children. The delicate balance of being tough, yet tender, is not easy to maintain. Many parents intensify a rebellious spirit by being dictatorial and harsh. Others yield when their authority is tested. When a strong-willed child resists, the pressure to give in for the sake of peace and harmony can become overpowering.
I am reminded of the mother who wanted to have the last word, but could not handle the hassle that resulted whenever she said no to her young son. After an especially trying day, she finally flung up her hands and shouted, “All right, Billy, do whatever you want! Now let me see you disobey THAT!” (Our Daily Bread).
On a more serious note, Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, “The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master” (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis). Every person will find a master in life. The only question is, “Who will it be?” Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). The people of God will want to obey the Lord.
Second, the Law was given to the people of God. “that thou mightest fear the Lord” (Deut. 6:2a).
In The Chronicles of Narnia, an allegory by C.S. Lewis, the author has two girls, Susan and Lucy, getting ready to meet Aslan the lion, who represents Christ.
Two talking animals, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, prepare the children for the encounter.
“Ooh,” said Susan,
“I thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie.” said Mrs. Beaver.
“And make no mistake, if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knee’s knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then isn’t he safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.
“Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Of course, he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you!” (Our Daily Bread, February 17, 1994).
Third, the Law was given to the people of God that. “thy days may be prolonged” (Deut. 6:2b). God has put eternity in our hearts.
We want to live.
We want to live on earth as long as possible.
There are seven stages of a person’s life: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills. Some stages are better than others.
Some of us are in the Pills Stage, because we want to prolong our days.
The Lord would have His people prolong their days as well.
Jesus tells us how that can be done. “Love the Lord God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Fourth, the Law was given to the people of God, “that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily” (Deut. 6:3a). The Lord wants His people to prosper, and increase mentally, physically, spiritually, and materially. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2).
Fifth, the Law was given to the people of God, that Divine promises can be kept. The Lord God had promised the fathers of the Second Exodus Generation a land “that floweth with milk and honey” (Deut. 6;3b). The sin of murmuring, unbelief, and rebellion had kept the Exodus Generation from enjoying the promise of inheriting Canaan, which flowed with milk and honey. Moses was telling the Second Exodus Generation not to follow in the footsteps of their parents, but to be different. They could be better.
The Second Exodus Generation could be different by not complaining, by not rebelling, and by not murmuring against the Lord.
The Second Exodus Generation could be better than the previous generation. All they had to do was to faithfully observe the Law, and do it.
The comedian, Larry the Cable Guy, has built a successful comic career out of the praise, “Get ‘er Done!” But God said it first to His people 3500 years ago. “Just Do It!”
The ultimate purpose for the commandments, statue, and judgments, was to have fellowship with the Lord. God wants an intimate relationship with His people. For that to happen, five conditions must be met.
First, there must be faith that God exists, for, “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Second, there must be a seeking of the Lord’s face. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). True fellowship with God is not entirely casual or haphazard. The eleven o’clock Sunday morning worship hour may bring out the “Nod to God Crowd”, but a sincere seeking of the Lord will occupy the heart of the serious soul throughout the week.
Third, confession of all known transgressions is mandatory. The psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).
Fourth, there must be the cessation of known sins in as far as possible. The heart prays it will not enter into temptation, and will be kept from the Evil One.
Fifth, there is to be an abiding faith, and lingering trust. Biblical faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The word for substance means “to set under”. Undergirding the things hoped for is faith. The reward of faith is to see the things hoped for.
Moses was a man who began to enjoy special communion with the Lord at the age of 40, and he kept on having intimate communion with God for an additional 80 years, until his death at the age of 120.
Because of his own relationship with the Lord, Moses was able to become a source of blessing to others who believed God speaks to His people.
The Hebrew people were ready to follow the man who followed God. In his dying days, Moses took advantage of that, and said to the people of Israel, “God loves you. Obey Him and prosper. Farewell.”