Summary: I have discovered something: whenever God is stating or restating His LAW, it is never by itself. There’s always A STORY surrounds it And the story is a sotory of GRACE and Salvation.
Sermons on the Law of God? Are you jumping up and down and excited to hear about the 10 C? Or maybe your response is this: Oh no! I’ll hear again about how bad I am, how I’ll never measure up to God’s rules and regulations…
Or the other side, a response like this, "Great! Finally, we are getting to the good stuff. All we ever hear about is forgiveness and love, a sugary Gospel. Some of church people need to hear more about the law!
ILL. I preached somewhere of how to keep the Sabbath, using Jesus as an example of how He did it. The Sabbath following this, one person came up to me saying: "Pastor, we need a good sermon on how to keep the Sabbath.
I didn’t know what to say. I just had preached that. But I knew his mindset. He wanted a list of do’s and don’ts (especially don’ts) given to the congregation. He was a lover of rules and regulations. Is that how you feel about God’s law?
ILL God’s Law… How many? 10. Do you know how many laws there are in the US? Over two million. If you want to be a law abiding citizen, and you want to learn two laws a day, it would take you 6,000 years to know them all and be a law-abiding citizen!
Civil laws, criminal laws, federal laws, state laws, city laws and regulations, county laws… all of them - around 2 millions. Some of them are not even take in consideration anymore but still active. For example: LAWS (Sermoncentral/illustrations/law):
(In AR) A man can legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month.
In Arizona, hunting camels is prohibited (10 years in prison).
(In CA) Nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
(In NM) On Mondays, it is illegal for one to whistle very loud after 11:00 PM.
(In SC) Every adult male must bring a rifle to church on Sunday in order to ward off
(In AL) It is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church.
In Claredon TX it is illegal on Sunday morning to stay home if you are not sick: you need to go to the church. Well?
See what I am talking about? God’s Law – how many? Ten. However, those ten are so universal and yet specific, so broad yet personal, so sufficient and yet ideal, than takes a whole life to really understand and appreciate and be part of our heart.
David says something in the Psalm 119:97 that, for many, sounds ridiculous: Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. What? I’ve looked at that text before and said, "The law - I love it, but I might give it 20 minutes. I’m not meditating on that thing all day long! Once you’ve read it, you’ve read it. How many of you have meditated on God’s law all day long?
The word David uses for law is Torah. The Torah consists mainly of the first five books of the OT which the Jews call, "The Books of Instruction." But even so, how long have you spent on that at any given time? This sounds so legalistic. Not if God’s Law is placed in its proper CONTEXT.
I have discovered something: whenever God is stating or restating His law, it is never by itself. There’s always A STORY surrounds it somehow.
When the laws are separated from the story behind them, they do look harsh and cold. But, when seen in light of their context, they look precious! Maybe even precious enough to meditate upon all day!
Turn with me to Exodus 19, because we need to read Ex 20 in its context. And chapter 19 is the context. God has just delivered the captives of Egypt in a most magnificent and glorious way. He is about to speak to them as a group, personally and without a mediator for the first, and last, time.
That shows the significance about what is happening here. This is the only time God comes and speaks to all of His people at one time. No mediator. But before He does this, he asks Moses to get the context right.
"I want you to do something. I want you to set the people’s mind right before they hear what I have to say to them” Look at Exodus 19:3-4. God wants His law to be put in the following context.
“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself”. See the context?
This is all before the Ten Commandments come. This reminds me of the song of Moses found in Deuteronomy 32 which he recited just before his death and Israel’s entrance into the promised land. Deut. 32:10, 11 (read!) 10 In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, 11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.