The Law Was A Matter Of The Heart

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For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:11-20)

The Law Was A Matter Of The Heart

It is easy to view the Law of Moses as solely a physical law of animal sacrifices and keeping of ordinances. There were many parts of the Law requiring precise understanding of how to make sacrifices, burn incense, length of days, clean versus unclean, penalties for disobedience, keeping of festivals and Sabbaths among a hosts of meticulous requirements imposed by God. The foundation of the covenant between God and Israel was circumcision. Without this sign there would be no salvation for the Jew. Reading the text of the Law can be overwhelming with its handwriting of requirements.

The Law of God did not begin with Israel. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God gave them a law to live by. It was basic in its presentation as they had a choice of eating from all of the trees of the garden but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were forbidden. They chose to disobey God and were cast out of the Garden. Man became so rebellious it required the Lord destroying all life on earth save eight souls. Abraham lived under the law of God requiring obedience. His sins were made public in the story of Genesis as he struggled with law keeping. Apart from the Law of Moses, the Gentile city of Nineveh received the grace of God to hear a prophet proclaim the joy of salvation. The whole city repented and the Lord spared them. For the last two thousand years, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been given to the world to save man. There are commands that must be kept. Without the keeping of the law of Christ there will be no salvation. What is common in all the generations who have striven to keep the Law of God? Obedience from the heart.

God’s will is not hard to understand. He has not made His will so difficult that man can complain it is too mysterious. The word of God has always been very near to man as the Lord has revealed Himself in various times and various ways. Keeping the commandments of God are rather simple in their nature: we have the choice of life and good, death and evil! It does not matter which time period we examine the law of God the choice has always remained the same. Adam and Eve had the choice of life or death and they chose the latter. Israel keeping the Law of Moses had a choice of good or evil and they chose evil. Keeping the Law (whichever law that is) is loving the Lord with all the heart, soul, mind and body. It requires walking in His ways, keeping His commandments, statutes and judgments; and having a heart of love to serve the Lord obeying His voice. The faithful who are blessed are those who cling to the Lord with all their hearts. Under the Law of Moses, the Lord gave Israel a choice to serve Him with their spirit more than their sacrifices. What good would a burnt offering have upon the Lord God if the heart were full of sin? The Law of Moses required a faithful heart.

There is a great lesson for the church today that can offer worship in a pattern of law-keeping and yet the heart can be far from serving the Lord. The Christian has a choice of serving the Lord from keeping rituals week in and week out or pleasing the Lord with a daily walk of heart felt, deep and abiding love for the God who saved them. The choice remains the same: choose life or choose death.

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