The Rule of Law: First Things (26)
“‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.’” Leviticus19.19
These and similar statutes doubtless had practical benefit. Cross-breeding between kinds of animals can lead to sterility, as with mules. Planting different kinds of seeds together can complicate harvest. And making clothes of two kinds of material might possibly cause them to be not as durable.
But I rather suspect that these strange precepts were intended as much to remind the people of their high calling as to give them practical advice for daily life. To keep their minds focused on His Law, so that they would remember its purpose, benefits, and obligations, God provided everyday reminders within the Law itself.
Israel was called to be holy, separate and distinct from the peoples around them. Her calling was to learn God’s Law, and resist the temptation to embrace the precepts and practices of pagan nations. Only thus would Israel be able to show the wisdom of God to the surrounding world. Statutes such as this one would have had the cognitive effect of reminding Israel of her calling to be holy.
Every day, as the people of God dressed, worked their fields, and tended their animals, they would be reminded by having learned these statutes that all the Law of God is for their holiness. They may not have completely understood the practicality of obeying such laws as these, but the idea of separateness would be daily reinforced, reminding them that they were a people holy to the Lord.
Thus the Law itself served to call to the minds of God’s people both their purpose as the redeemed of the Lord and the value of the Law of God in helping them to fulfill that purpose. As we study to set the Law of God in our hearts and minds, it can help both to memorize portions of it, and to envision the Law carried out in our daily activities and responsibilities. Thus in all the details of our daily lives, not only would we be more likely to live for the glory of the Lord, and know the benefits of His promises, but we would remind ourselves that we are people ruled by love and called to live in it, in whatever we do, at all times, and in every situation.
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.