The Rule of Law: First Things (25)
Click here to watch a brief video introducing this week’s study. This week’s video is the same as for lesson 2.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 18.1-4
It was inevitable that the people of God would be confronted from time to time with the laws, statutes, and practices of other nations. It was important that they distinguish between those foreign rules and precepts and the laws and statutes which God had commanded them to follow. A firm grounding in the Law of God would have been essential to make sure that practices contrary to God’s design did not find their way into the daily lives of His people.
This was a danger to be guarded against, especially with respect to the religious practices of pagan peoples. Solomon’s failure in this regard (1 Kings 11) was the direct cause of the division of the nation and God’s judgment upon His people. Since the Law of God is holy and righteous and good (Rom. 7.12), to add to it any additional statutes from other religions or worldviews would be to compromise its integrity and jeopardize the purity of Israel’s practice.
The sons of Issachar, in a later generation, were considered to be “mighty men” of God. Their particular skill seems to have been in the area of information gathering and analysis. They set their minds to understand the times in which they lived, including the practices and policies of other nations, and to know what Israel must do in order to continue serving the Lord (1 Chron. 12.32). They could only do this by having their hearts and minds set first of all on the Law of God.
In the generations following Moses, interpretations and applications of God’s Law would be developed; but to the extent this was so, it was to be on the basis of the Law of God, as circumstances required (cf. Ruth 4; 1 Cor. 5). No practices or policies must be followed that were in conflict with any aspect of the Law. Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees’ practice of “corban” is an example of how such compromises could undermine the original intent of the Law and lead the people into hypocrisy (Matt. 15.1-9).
We must not allow ourselves to become distracted from God’s purposes and will by the practices of unbelieving worldviews. We must learn His Law and guard against the temptation to have our way of life shaped by the winds of doctrine wafting in from the world of unbelief (Eph. 4.14). We must not add to His Law anything which does not agree with it, and we must not fail to learn and keep all that God has commanded (Deut. 4.2). The Law of God is to be the guiding moral light in our minds, for here we see Jesus shining in all His radiant beauty, goodness, and truth, unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Heb. 1.3; Rom. 14.17, 18; Matt. 5.17-19).
T. M. Moore
The Law of God is the soil which, fertilized by the rest of God’s Word and watered by His Spirit, brings forth the fruit of the Christian life. If you’d like to understand this process better, and how to make best use of the Law in your walk with and work for the Lord, order the book, The Ground for Christian Ethics, from our online store.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.