Take the Israelites as an example. Moses conveyed God’s instructions to them. Former slaves, they were accustomed to taking orders, and it seemed God had something to say about everything. He gave instructions about dietary choices, personal appearance, lifestyle decisions, and hygiene as well as matters of worship and spiritual service. Coming from the oppression in Egypt, they likely associated God’s commands with control and excessive authority.
But God wasn’t pharaoh. God was God. And while God certainly had the RIGHT to demand and expect full obedience, that was not His purpose in issuing His edicts.
Unlike Egyptian leaders, God is, by definition, love. Love’s motivation considers the other person. And God proved this before Moses unfurled regulations and guidelines.
God performed the miraculous in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, on the mountain. He showed His power, His provision, His protection. But for Israel truly to see HIM and to know who THEY were, the Law was given. These guidelines touched every area of their lives because God wanted to be God to ALL of them, the whole congregation, and to the whole person, mind, body, and soul. God of every part of every individual. To learn that, THEY had to become mindful of every part of themselves. Otherwise, they’d never realize that God was truly interested in them. That He loved every cell of their substance, that His plan for their lives was a divine reflection of the exquisite care He had put into crafting everything from their DNA, their metabolism, their brainwaves, and their eye color to the people they would become as a nation. A faith nation, a holy people. Uniquely defined. Unequivocally loved. Chosen.
God put full attention to detail into serving His people. If they were to wholeheartedly follow HIM, then they, too, needed to pay attention to the details. They had to become mindful of “all” if they were going to be in a relationship in which their ALL was sacred, loved, and cherished by the Giver of ALL.
Without the rules, there would have been no knowledge. Without the knowledge, there could be no change. Israel would have remained as other nations: unaware of how to treat others, frustrated with unrewarding worship, not knowing that they offended their Creator and that their actions separated them from real love and holy intimacy.
The laws that seemed to split hairs and failed to make sense at the time were means whereby people could grasp the concept of an inconceivable God and come to know that the Sea–Parter was interested in them. Not for what they could do for Him, but for what He could do for them, for the most ignored, minute details of their lives.
We, too have this privilege of allowing God into every part of who we are. Just as the Law was revelatory to the nation of Israel, Scripture serves this purpose for us. Maybe it doesn’t always make sense to us, but if we read it and apply it with humble obedience, we will discover that God is completing His divine plan in us and for us through the use of His Word. The vision He had for our lives at the moment He set cell division into motion and configured chromosomes that would make us human beings, He had a purpose for us that exceeded the physical body developing in our mother’s womb. His holy design unfolds as the Word of God touches more and more of our lives. We see ourselves as we really are—incomplete—and we see Him as He truly is—our Author and our Finisher.
The choice is ours. We can resent the Word, we can view God as yet another task master, or we can seek to know the One who already knows us so well and who understands the answer for every question we have.
Tip/Tidbit: Is God’s Word a drudgery or a delight to you? Instead of attempting to understand the why behind God’s reasons for doing things, seek to know Him and to trust that His way is the best way, the means to see both yourself and Him more clearly.