Just couldn’t help yourself, could ya?
Did you ever notice, especially when you are relatively young, that if someone tells you not to do something, you feel that you need or want to do it?
People have a natural tendency to want to do something that someone else tells them not to do. You ever wonder why that is? I think we are wired that way, it’s part of our fallen nature so to speak, we like to think of ourselves as independent and not being subject to what someone else dictates. In short, we are our own man or woman. We decide what we do, not someone else.
I bought a ebook copy of the Amplified Bible and I’ve been reading through the entire Bible again, starting right at Genesis. Actually that’s not true, I have already read through the New Testament again too (couldn’t help myself). Each time I read through the Bible I try to keep one prime unfolding revelation in mind so that I can be aware of how God articulates or develops the thought or reasoning He wants to get across to us.
The Amplified Bible (AMP) is an English translation of the Bible produced jointly by Zondervan (subsidiary of News Corp) and The Lockman Foundation. The first edition was published in 1965. It is largely a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, with reference made to various texts in the original languages. It is designed to “amplify” the text by using additional wording and a system of punctuation and other typographical features to bring out all shades of meaning present in the original texts. I always keep a second copy of the Bible in another translation open beside the Amplified Bible so that I can compare the two translations. I’m enjoying the comparison.
This time I am focusing on how God revealed Himself specifically to the various people He interacted with, starting at Adam and then each of the following people. More specifically, how God revealed what He wanted them to do and not do. I’m in Exodus right now and Moses is telling us what transpired with himself and the nation of Israel after leaving Egypt.
Interesting enough, the Ten Commandments are just being rolled out so to speak and the details of maintaining fellowship with God for Israel is just starting to be detailed, through the Tabernacle itself, the vestments, the priesthood, the festivals and the offerings. If you went through the Tabernacle series I posted previously, it is amazing to see the foreshadowing of the Redeemer unfold.
But, there are numerous people who God has previously dealt with, before this detailed foreshadowing is unfolded and the Law is expounded upon. We have Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Seth, Enosh, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) etc (major characters).
The Bible tells us that it was during Enosh’s time that men began to call upon the name of the Lord. The name of the Lord is important because God begins to unfold His character through the Name(s) He wants to be known as. We are NOT told what or how specifically these major characters came to understand what was acceptable to God and what was not acceptable but we do see the results of their understanding or lack thereof.
They knew enough to offer burnt offerings to God and what offerings where right and what offerings were not (Cain, Abel, Enoch, Noah as examples). We have clean and unclean creatures on the ark with Noah. Circumcision is introduced through Abraham (Genesis 17:10). We also see confirmation that specific individuals walked with God (totally accepted) such as Enoch (taken), Noah, Abraham etc.
Note that in Genesis 26.5 God confirms that Abraham listened to and obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, My commandments, My statues and My Laws. One might ask, what commandments, what statues and what laws? If we use the Bible as our sole source, which we are told to do, then Moses (after Abraham) is the one through whom God reveals these commandments, statues and laws in documented written format.
The point I am making here is that God’s revelation of what is accepted or not accepted, and the rationale behind His reasoning of right and wrong, which deals with sin and holiness etc, were conveyed by God to these people prior to the official documentation of the Ten Commandments or the Law, with Moses being the vehicle or go between that God chose to reveal the specific details. It is through God’s promise to Abraham (Covenant – Genesis 17:7) and the unfolding selection of Israel as God’s chosen nation of priests (Exodus 18:5-6) that the foreshadowing and details begin to get filled in. There are some exceptions of course such as the foreshadowing of the conflict between Satan and Jesus in the Garden of Eden with the fall (Genesis 3:15). It’s almost like a colouring book and the outline of the picture appears and then the colours begin to get filled in. It’s a beautiful picture that God paints.
And then we get to the Ten Commandments, the basic list of do’s and don’ts that all of us find so hard to comply with (Exodus 20-2-17). Where our fallen nature and God’s character collide. Where our need for a Redeemer and Saviour comes to our awareness.
God knows what is good and bad for us, and He has recorded this information in the Bible to save us from the heartache and suffering that the wrong choices—what the Bible calls sins—bring.
But humanity as a whole, has chosen to try to discover right and wrong by trial and error. Even worse, most people choose to experiment for themselves, to pilot their own course, to make their own decisions. Billions of us over the ages have testimonies of how that worked out.
Jesus Christ summarized the right way in the two great commandments: Love for God and love for others (Matthew 22:37-40 ). This basic approach is further defined by the great law God thundered from Mount Sinai—the 10 Commandments.
Trying to meet this list of do’s and don’ts brings us to the whole point of the Scriptures, God’s revelation, that we in ourselves are ill equipped to fulfill God’s standard, the right moral choices, by ourselves. In fact, we can’t do it, not in our current state. That’s why we need Jesus, who did for us what we ourselves could not do, who gives us a new heart and His Spirit through the new birth (born again), to put back together, that which was broken, to restore that which He intended and we rejected.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!