Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Romans 9:4 Giving of the Law (4 of 6)

Note: this is the  fourth installment of a six part series. You should probably begin here

"Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;"  Romans 9:4


  This is obviously closely tied to the covenant of the law, which we covered before.  The difference appears to be that the covenant was conditional, but the law existed whether anyone followed it or not.  It wasn’t an agreement, it simply was.  As Gentiles staggered around in spiritual darkness with only their conscience to guide them, the Hebrew people had as much insight into God’s mindset and opinions as any people could ever want.
  Imagine if you will,  a  sheepherder in ancient Ireland or a bushman in Papua New guinea living on the earth at the time of Moses.  He has, according to  Romans 1, the  law of God written on his heart, and according to Psalms, he has the revelation of nature testifying to the existence of a Creator. Beyond that, he has to sort through what God has given him in light of his own pagan culture and the traditions  or superstitions of the place where he was born.  While our hypothetical shepherd or our hypothetical bushman ponder the nature of God and wonder if they are pleasing him, somewhere on a mountaintop in the land of Canaan the God of all glory is writing down commandments with his finger and giving them  to one group of folks. It is an amazing contrast when you consider it.
  The Hebrew people had the only written revelation from God that existed anywhere and  had they heeded it, the scripture says in Deut 4 " Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say , Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. "  It was the  ultimate case of looking smarter than you really are.
  Even a casual reader of the law will stagger at its scope; every aspect of their life was regulated. God left nothing to chance.  Leviticus 6 covers the laws of burnt offerings and meat offerings and sin offerings. Leviticus 7 explains the laws regarding trespass offerings and peace offerings. Leviticus 11 dictated the life of your beasts while Leviticus 12 gave you God’s rules on childbirth. Leviticus 14 gave you the prescription for leprosy while Leviticus 15 covered the law of the leper himself and the law of issue. Leviticus 18 and 19 and 20 covered sexual issues, with jealousy being explained in Numbers 5.  Nazarites are commissioned in Numbers 6, while Numbers 19 discusses the purification of the temple and how to handle the dead.  On and on it goes, page after page covering every piece and  part of man’s relationship with God and  with each other.
  This law, given by God to one group of people, wasn’t supposed to exist in some nebulous form of oral tradition. It was to be written down, according to Deut 31:24, and passed down from father to son because it was an inheritance of Jacob in Deut 33:4. This law took courage to obey according to Josh 1:7.  This law was to be meditated upon according to Psalm 1:2, and written both on their house and on their heart according to Deut 6:5-9.  Ignorance of the law was inexcusable for their king, and the solution was that he would write a copy of the law in his own hand, and read it daily, according to Deut 17:18-20.
  By the way, only one potential king of Israel has ever met all the qualifications of Deut 17, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
  Despite this unimaginable  gift of  actually having God's perspective on the issues of life in writing , over and over again the children of Israel disregarded their own  law and  substituted either idolatry or tradition for revelation.
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