Reverence and Respect
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
The task of the law is no taskmaster. We have all broken God’s law. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The law is the glory of God. It reflects God’s goodness. It reveals God’s character. The law of the Lord is perfect. It is one thing to break God’s law, it is another thing to lessen it. Moses was required to take off his shoes as he approached God. Today we do not even “wipe our feet,” let alone take off our shoes. Instead we track mud across sacred things. Revival will never come to the irreverent.
The two tablets of Sinai are a picture of God’s heart. The first four and the last six commandments can be summed up “Love me, and love your neighbor as yourself.” The first four are the vertical beam that holds up a moral tabernacle of the universe, Love God. The remaining are the arms of a cross extending from the beginning to the end.
It is true that the law is a schoolmaster. It is wrong to think of the law as a taskmaster. A student who has learned his lesson well and graduated from the academy fondly remembers his old teacher, even when he has put aside childish things. The humble grateful alumnus does not dismiss the place or importance of his old Alma Mata. Alma Mata means “nourishing mother.” It was upon the lap of Lois and Eunice that little Timothy first heard the Holy Words and led him to the Living Word, Jesus Christ.
To say that the Law was impossible to keep (or to say that God always knew that it was impossible) is to miss the point and purpose of the law. Every parent wants what is best for (loves) his children. The terrible-two year old or the turbulent teen does not believe it. The parent knows what the child does not know, and that it needs rules, restrictions, and boundaries. The rebellious teen may not understand the parent until he himself holds his own child in his arms and feels the weight of responsibility for the first time. God gave Israel and the world the commandments, not to curse it, but to bless, guide and guard it.
The fifth commandment is the first commandment of promise. It is the link of love between a Perfect loving Father in Heaven and imperfect loving parents on earth. Jesus loved and honored both. He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it and in order to fulfill it, He willingly took our place to pay for every law we broke. Like a rebellious teen who comes to his senses or a prodigal that comes to himself, the truth that we have broken our parent’s heart breaks ours, and with that breaking we begin our journey home. -id