Friday, March 18, 2011

Law as Gift

This week I was reading Luke 6:1-11.  A few thoughts that really impressed me were related to the point of the Law.  Ultimately, the Sabbath and the entire law are not meant to be oppressive burdens.  That's the problem that results from legalism.  God's reason for giving the law is as gift. (As well as to show us our sinfulness when we reject it.) But I'm going to focus on the gift part.

In v. 5 Jesus says, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Now this can be read as Jesus saying, "Look here pharisees, I'm God I don't need to follow the law. I am the law!"  Kind of like a corrupt policeman.  But in the context He's talking about David and that David (and Jesus and the disciples) were doing what "some pharisees" (v. 2) considered work (and other pharisees didn't).  But David and his companions, to stay alive ate the consecrated bread. Jesus point is that people (sons of men) are Lord over the sabbath and that the sabbath is not Lord over them.  
The Sabbath is a gift designed to give life.  God mandates rest becuase we need a break, that we need rest,  we need to refocus, we need to trust in God and not in our own efforts to truly enjoy this life.  But if Sabbath becomes a burden if it ends up destroying life v. 9. thats a problem.  That's a corruption of the law.  That's a teaching that needs to be fixed.

We need to see all of the law as gift and not just a burdensome list of rules meant to weigh us down.  When we believe that God is good and trust his gift of law we see that.  Not stealing, coveting, hurting, lying, sleeping around, cheating on our spouses, lusting, boasting etc. is a gift.  When we don't do those things our lives and more joyful because they are less painful, and less oppressive for ourselves and for those around us. Instead we are supposed to be serving, loving, being patient and humble. If we praise God and give thanks, and follow the "do" commands we see our lives being filled with joy and meaning.  

God's commands are gift, and meant to give life.  When we see this it makes all the difference in how we see God. (Authoritarian taskmaster v. concerned and loving Father)

Basically it comes back to that first temptation of Satan...when he asks Eve to question if God is really good.  Can you really trust him?  Don't you think he's holding out on you?  I used to think of God as Iron fisted, and capricious like Zeus waiting to throw Lightning at me if I screwed up.  

Now that I've screwed up a lot, and rarely been hit by lightning I know he works a different way, a restoring and redeeming way.  I hope you see that too. 

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