Doing the Commandments from the Heart

Some say the New Covenant has done away with commandments. We all know that the Commandments are the basis of God’s Law and Creation. We love God by keeping His Commandments. God wrote theses Words on stone to make them impermeable physically as possible, not that they should be obeyed mindlessly. Yet some people prefer to have their way set out before them in great detail; so they do not have to think about it. Additionally, it allows ruling authorities to control people’s lives; it gives them power over the people. Furthermore, many people see the rules as something to be distorted, perverted or circumvented in order that they may do what they really want. These might even find a way to corrupt officials who have authority.

Unlike Melchizedek, who was both king and high priest, Israel had both a king and a priesthood whose relationship could become strained by differences in opinions or interpretations of the rules, which confused the people and caused them to take sides.

Let us go through some of these “statutes” to observe how they make people march mechanically instead of using their relationship with God to guide them with reference to the rules, not worshipping the rules instead of God.

The following is the beginning of rules. Note that these are the Commandments of the Lord.

Ex. 24:12 ¶ Now the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.”

Note that the Commandments have the intent of instruction, not mindless rules.

Why does not the following verse specifically say that Lord gave these specific rules as was said in Ex. 24:12?

Deut. 12:1 ¶ “These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth.

The first statute given has to do with destroying the pagan places of worship, on mountains, hills and forests. Make the conquered nations into an Israeli nation that is not allowed to worship pagan gods because these gods are very enticing and enchanting to them. Just as the snake god (Satan) enticed Eve and Adam, Israel showed their predisposition to idolatry while Moses was on the mountain getting the codified law, the Commandments.

For some, however, these places of “worship” really trouble them rather than entice them; they would rather not have to around the idolatry. Not only that but the pagan practices enforce their faith in the One True God, Our Father. Nonetheless they really wish they did not have to be around the godless rituals.

Deut. 12:2 “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.

They needed to have the specifics of destruction of the idols: tear down, burn the cult objects, cut down the images and erase their names. Why not just tell them to ravage the territory of all idolatry?

Deut. 12:3 “You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place.

As an aside, Wikipedia says: “An Asherah pole is a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah, consort of El.[1] T

“The asherim were also cult objects related to the worship of the fertility goddess Asherah, the consort of either Ba'al.

“In the Canaanite religion, or Levantine religion as a whole, Ēl or Il was the supreme god, the father of humankind and all creatures and the husband of the goddess Asherah as recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit (modern Ra′s Shamrā - Arabic: رأس شمرا‎, Syria).[2]

“The noun ʾēl was found at the top of a list of gods as the "Ancient of gods" or the "Father of all gods", in the ruins of the royal archive of the Ebla civilization, in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BC. The bull was symbolic to Ēl and his son Baʻal Hadad, and they both wore bull horns on their headdress.[3][4][5][6] He may have been a desert god at some point, as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. Ēl had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, Yam, and Mot.”

The original name for the el was Nimrod who was executed by Shem and went into the heavens, as the myth would have you believe, as a god and impregnated the virgin, Astarte (Asherah), with the first god-man, Tammuz.

Ideas never die. The resemblance of the above to the virgin birth fairytale added to the New Testament is amazing.

Israel eventually returned to the pagan practices before God exiled them. Rote obedience does not produce a lasting relationship with God.

Israel’s History

Paul related the experiences of the Exodus to the New Covenant, but he showed how keeping the law by rote led them to exile again and again. Having been saved from the slavery of Egypt, both physically and spiritually, they refused God’s gifts and went back to doing what pleasured them.

1Cor. 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Cor. 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food;
1Cor. 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

Even almost all the people of Israel whom God freed from Egypt never lived to inherit the Promised Land because they refused to love God or thank Him for His blessings. Their children did better.

1Cor. 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

We must love God and crave His blessings instead of listening to evil voices around tempting us to give up our adoption to God’s Family.

1Cor. 10:6 ¶ Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
1Cor. 10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.”

The tendency and enticements of pagan pleasures must never keep us from following the way of Our Father in heaven.

1Cor. 10:8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.
1Cor. 10:9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.
1Cor. 10:10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

Those who have God’s Word within who hear and obey it learn from the poor choices Israel made through out their history.

1Cor. 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1Cor. 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

All that tempts us can never overwhelm us to act like Israel.

1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1Cor. 10:14 ¶ Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
1Cor. 10:15 I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.

Here Israel is given rules about where to slaughter and eat meat they desire. Why? He knew Israel would find a way to disregard His Ways.

Deut. 12:20 ¶ “When the LORD your God extends your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you desire to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever you desire.
Deut. 12:21 “If the place which the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter of your herd and flock which the LORD has given you, as I have commanded you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire.

God gave Israel good rules about health, actually, which had to be laid out for them, the great wanderers.

Deut. 14:21 ¶ “You shall not eat anything which dies of itself. You may give it to the alien who is in your town, so that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner, for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

To keep Israel honest because they tended toward building wealth at any cost, to others, there were additional rules about debt.

Deut. 15:1 ¶ “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.
Deut. 15:2 “This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed.
Deut. 15:3 “From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother.

Deut. 15:9 “Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.

Deut. 19:15 ¶ “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

Because justice was a problem for Israel, they needed outrageous, perhaps, rules of punishment.

Deut. 19:21 “Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

As Israel would become powerful, they needed specifics in dealing with their real or conceived enemies.

Deut. 20:10 ¶ “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.
Deut. 20:11 “If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.
Deut. 20:12 “However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.
Deut. 20:17 “But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you,
Deut. 20:18 so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the LORD your God.

God warns Israel to be careful of supposed prophets or “dreamers” because they maybe just trying to seduce Israel to return to their glorious days of idolatry. Yet Israel would kill those who said what they did not want to hear, to find their way around the law instead of upholding it.

Deut. 13:1 ¶ “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
Deut. 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’
Deut. 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

These wicked rabble-rousers must be silenced upon proof of their heresy, not because of hatred of what they say that might bring reproof against Israel.

Deut. 13:8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him.
Deut. 13:9 “But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

Israel needed specific laws about justice because they would just use their position to attack an adversary. See what they did to Jesus below.

John 18:31 So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”

John 19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”

Israel used some of the rules in Deuteronomy to have Jesus killed because he upset the ruling class and challenged their misuse of scripture.

Deut. 18:20 ‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’
Deut. 18:21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’
Deut. 18:22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Israel used the above rules to execute Jesus because he said things about them, their hypocrisy, their adherence to their principles of right and wrong and to maintain their position of authority to dispose of all who might disagree or attack their perceptions.

Matt. 27:23 And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”
Matt. 27:24 ¶ When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”
Matt. 27:25 And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”

See how those people agreed with, or were rather seduced by, the Pharisees and Sadducees aroused themselves to attack the one who would bring them great gifts. Their positions under their priests were more important than justice.

They killed Jesus for preaching God’s real brand of righteousness.

Instead Jesus told the hard-hearted Israelites the commandments of love not legality. For all this preaching, Israel later responed harshly to one who would dare find fault with their egregious ways.

Matt. 5:34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
Matt. 5:35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
Matt. 5:36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
Matt. 5:37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Matt. 5:38 ¶ “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
Matt. 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matt. 5:40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
Matt. 5:41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Matt. 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Matt. 5:43 ¶ “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Matt. 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matt. 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matt. 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
Matt. 5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Matt. 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Amen.

Gil Kovacs,
Pastor
Sabbath Christian Church

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