[Reflections on the Old Testament Lectionary Reading for Mar 6, 2011]
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.'” (Ex, 24:12 NRSV)
Why did God give us the law and commandments? According to this passage, God gave them to us for our instruction. Notice first that they are a gift not a burden. Notice second that they are for our instruction rather than for our condemnation.
So why should we obey God’s laws and commandments. It is surely not to avoid condemnation. Yet many follow the rules set forth in Scripture and their congregation out of fear. They have been taught that in order to avoid the condemnation of hell they must give their life to Christ. They are taught that they are saved by grace rather than works. But then they judge their own and others “faith” by the degree to which they measure up to these rules.
If these rules are a gift for instruction, then perhaps they were given in order to enhance our lives rather than to threaten us for our transgressions. Perhaps God has given us the law as an owner’s manual from our maker. Perhaps the law was meant to instruct us in how to live more fully on earth. Who better than our creator to show us what manner of living is consistent with our design and purpose?