Trying to understand God’s commands?

June 1, 2021

Ever read the book of Leviticus? That really strange book in the Bible?

Most people who start reading the Old Testament just can’t seem to make it past Leviticus, because it’s so confusing.

What is up with all those laws? Food laws, ceremonial laws, house laws, laws telling you how to shave (or how not to), laws around special days, laws about homosexuality, laws about what clothes you can wear and what clothes you can’t and laws about how you are to destroy your house if you find mold in it.

Fun!

You can’t read the book of Leviticus without wondering at some point – “did they really have to do all that”.

The bigger question that we have probably asked ourselves is – “Why?”

Why did they have to obey those laws? Or rather, why did God give those laws to them?

Some of us read past it and say, “those don’t apply to us anymore, so it doesn’t matter.”

Others say, “the Bible is crazy.”

And there are others yet, who say, “surely, God must’ve had a reason.”

If you’re in that third category, you might not have stopped there. You might have gone on to think – “I wish God would’ve told us the reason.”

And that’s where I want us to stop and think.

Because that kind of wondering is not limited to us reading the book of Leviticus, or the Old Testament, or the Bible.

Have you noticed that many times, when God asks us to do something (that we don’t want to), or not do something (that we want to), and it doesn’t make sense to us, the first thing we ask God (or ourselves) is – ‘Why?’

“What is the reason behind it?”

We can even put it in an extremely polite way and say, “help me understand it Lord, so that I may obey.”

So that I may obey.

I do that. A lot!

But I understand now, that there is a flaw in that statement.

“Help me understand it, so that I may obey.”

You see, there are some things that I just will not be able to understand this side of heaven. I mean, this is the God of the universe we are talking about. Surely there are things He knows and sees that are way beyond me.

But that’s not really what I want to address here.

What I want to address is the fact that we so often want to understand before we obey.

Because the truth is – if you want to understand the whys and hows before obeying God, it’s not really God that you are being obedient to – its yourself.

You see?

We’d much rather obey the things that are well within our realm of understanding. Our tendency is to ‘obey’ something only after we understand and agree with it, which is definitely not going to happen with God all the time.

We want to obey only if WE understand it. And it’s because we only want to obey ourselves and our understanding.

We trust ourselves way more than we trust God.

Think about a child and his or her parents. There are so many things that a parent – a good parent – is going to tell their child to do (or not to do) – not to suck the fun out of his or her life, but for the child’s joy and safety.

That’s how God sees us.

You may argue that you aren’t a child; that you are a consenting adult and are mature and cool and awesome.

No friend, you are a child!

And God is not a tyrant. He is a Father.

And as a Father, He wants you to obey Him out of love. Not out of reason. Not wait till your own understanding is satisfied – because that would mean you only love and trust yourself.

No. He is a Father. He loves you.

Trust Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6
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