November 18, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 353: Giver of Protection

Giver of Protection

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." (Psalm 5:11,12 NIV)

If most of the laws of the Old Testament no longer apply to us as New Testament believers, why do we still care about God's top-10 list of commandments?

I've heard people ask this question. I've asked it myself.

The best explanation I've come across for this tricky Bible bit is that the laws about everything from what to do about mildew to what kinds of cloth could be worn together are ritual laws from which we were released by Christ's great once-for-all sacrifice. The Ten Commandments, on the other hand, are moral laws concerning our relationship with God and our relationship with others. These Jesus summarized and emphasized in rather jaw-dropping fashion: 

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: ' 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments' " Matthew 22:34-40).

In each of God's "top 10" specific moral laws, we find a gift of protection God has for us. I need to be reminded of this, because all the times in His Word God says "you shall have no..." and "you shall not...," I tend overlook the blessing on the flip side: His resulting "you shall have" and "you shall."

In other words, "Don't have this...because I want you to have this better thing instead." And, "don't do this, because I want you to be able to do this better thing instead."

God's regulations are not meant to keep us from something so much as they are to keep us for something. His commands and precepts are not for our restriction so much as they are for our protection.

Our good God does not want to keep us from good...He wants to keep us for good.

My other tendency where God's commandments are concerned is to read the original ten and think, "I'm in the clear here. I don't have a golden calf I worship. I haven't murdered anyone. I've been faithful to my husband." But here again I'm missing the bigger point.

I need to dig deeper. Maybe you'd like to dig with me. Over the next several days, let's see what gifts of "you shall" are wrapped in God's "you shall nots"...for our good and for His glory.

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!