“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)
The Statutes And Judgments And Commandments Of The Lord
When the Lord gave Israel the Law, He intended for them to understand a very important principle of obedience. The blessings of God would be granted to the people only if they listened, observed and kept the statutes, judgments, and commandments as prescribed within the law. Often students of the Bible will view the giving of the Law of Moses as a law of works alone and fail to see the grace of God or His mercy in the law. The Lord never gave His will to man without His grace and mercy. An honest reading of the Law of Moses will see the grace of God. His mercy is extended throughout the history of Israel. There is never a moment in the history of man that God’s love is not expressed through His grace and mercy. However, the pundits of modern theology condemn within the law of Christ any consideration of statutes, judgments, and commandments as salvation by works implying that grace alone can save apart from commandment keeping. The Law of Moses is filled with the grace of God and it includes the admonitions of obeying the word of the Lord in the statutes, judgments, and commands of the Lord. Israel would receive the blessings of the Lord only if they listened to the statutes and the judgments of the Lord. A statute is a decree or law. Judgments are rulings handed down by a higher authority inherently imposing sentences upon those who ignore the rulings of the lawgiver. God has statutes He expects people to follow and His judgments are true and righteous altogether with the penalty of punishment for those who refuse to submit to His will. Grace is intertwined within all of the statues and judgments of God. The law itself is the character of His mercy as He allows a man to worship Him as Lord. Life comes from obedience to the law. The children of Israel were given land that flowed with milk and honey because God had provided through His power the promised land. Obedience was required of the people so they could retain the land. The Lord took the land away from Israel when they refused to listen to the statutes and judgments of the Lord. When God punished Israel for disobedience did He fail to manifest his character of grace and mercy? Divine discipline was meted out upon the nation through the grace and mercy of God because the people did not obey the commands of the Lord.
The failing of Israel came about when they began to add to and take away from the Law of God. Moses commanded obedience from the nation and they decided to add their laws to the will of the Lord and when they came across the statutes of God they did not like, they ignored them and rejected them. They were not lost for lack of grace and mercy. The destruction of the nation came from their unwillingness to listen to the statutes, judgments, and commandments of the Lord. They had ample witness to the power of God and they still rejected Him. Their history was filled with the goodness and severity of the Lord but they were unwilling to yield their hearts to follow His word. No matter the amount of grace the Lord gave them and regardless the endless measures of mercy He imposed upon them, they refused to obey. The final destruction of Israel was not for lacking the love of God. They were punished because the statutes of the Lord demanded consequence for disobedience, the commandments of God established penalties for rebellion and judgment was meted out through the will of the Lord.
Under the law of Christ, there is grace and the mercy of God is immeasurable. The modern theologians reject the idea of sin and preach that a loving God will never punish a soul in eternal fire. Their message of grace and mercy is laced with the sweet trappings of Satan’s catnip luring the hearts of minds of men to reject commandment keeping and following the statutes of the Lord. Many have a feeling of religion that is better felt than told as though the keeping of certain laws disavows the love of God. Churches are filled to capacity with transparent worshippers who offer weak and polluted hearts that follow the sweet music of compromise. Commandment keeping is ridiculed as salvation by works. Keep the statutes of the Lord is suppressed through preaching that tickles the ear and soothes the soul into complacency. When men refuse to follow the will of God they take away from the holy message of His divine grace and make nothing the mercy of a dying Savior. Salvation comes through the grace, love, and mercy of God when men listen to the statutes and the judgments that are taught in the word of God. Receiving the promised land of eternal life will only come to those who do not add to nor take away from the word of God and those who keep the commandments of the Lord which He commands. Jesus asked how a man could say he loved Him without keeping His commandments. Israel teaches the lesson of obedience through the grace of God.