It's the 7th day of our journey to Bethlehem. Today we are continuing on to the birth place of Jesus in a 15-day series I started Monday, December 7, 2009. If you'd like to walk with us, it's never too late to catch up. You can read the previous posts or just jump on the trail right where we are today. You are welcome here as we walk through God's Word all the way to the evening that our Messiah, Jesus Christ was born.
Ah, the Law! Talking about getting tripped up...We'll try not to trip as we continue our journey on to Bethlehem today, but that was really the purpose of the Law in many ways.
After God had brought His people out of Egypt and they had begun their trek to the Promised Land, He gave them the Law and the Tabernacle. The Law to give them God's standard for living, the Tabernacle to give them a pattern for worshiping Him. Both would be important for making them a distinguished people.
God wanted His people to be so different, so holy that others would step back, take notice, and scratch their chins while saying, "That's a peculiar people. I wonder why they live as they do?" And then someone else would nod and say, "Yes, they're different alright, but have you noticed how blessed they are? How well they live? Must be that God they worship." And thus His people would be a blessing to the other nations around them, leading them to follow the true God also.
But as you and I know it didn't quite go that way. Before Moses could even deliver God's Ten Commandments to them, these fickle people were worshiping a golden calf. And when God faithfully provided for their needs, they became impatient, greedy, doubting, and argumentative. They certainly didn't behave very holy.
Would you or I have behaved much differently? Who knows? The real question is, do we behave any differently? Or do we also set up false gods, worshiping gods of our own making instead of the one true God? Do we become impatient with God's timing, jealous of others' abundance, doubtful of God's promises, and argumentative towards God's ways? I do.
Good news. God wasn't surprised by the Israelites' stubborn disobedience and He isn't taken unaware when we miss the mark either. Psalm 103:14 says, "For He Himself knows our frame (what we are made of); He is mindful that we are but dust."
God expects holiness. He wants us to live like His friend Noah - to walk in integrity of heart, to be without blame. But He knows better than to expect perfection from creatures made from dirt.
So why did God give the Law? Paul answered that very question for the Galatians. He said the Law was given as a sort of tutor that would lead people to Christ. How? Through frustration. God's people would try to obey the Law, fail, try again, fail again and finally throw their hands up in the air in frustration with the whole thing. They would cry out to God, "We want to obey You. We want to live Your way. We want to do right. But we can't! Lord, God Almighty help us!"
Didn't quite go that way for most of the Israelites. They became hard of heart and stiff of neck. They eventually shook their fists at their loving God and said, "We'll do things our way, thank you very much." Sad thing is, that's exactly what many people do today as well.
And so why are we even stopping here at the foot of Mt. Sinai where Moses delivered God's Law to His people? Why have we passed this way on our journey to Bethlehem? The answer is found in Galatians 3:24-26.
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
And Matthew 5:17 where Jesus said,
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill."
God was leading the Israelites to Jesus through the Law. He also leads us to Jesus through the Law. We only realize our desperate need for a Savior when we become frustrated with our inability to do right, live holy, and act justly on our own.
Are you frustrated today? Is there something that you are trying to do right that you just can't seem to get a grip on?
- Are you trying to be more patient with your children?
- Have you been convicted of your need to hold your tongue more?
- Are you tired of the bad taste that gossip leaves in your mouth?
- Do you long to control your temper?
- Have you had enough of jealousy and envy; is it ruining your chances for contentment?
- Do you long to rid yourself of anger and hate, but they seem to build instead of dissipating?
Sweet friend, we need to get to Bethlehem. There in that stable lies a babe who was born to enable you to live with power and success and strength and conviction and grace. He doesn't change the Law of righteousness that your soul longs to live by; He doesn't annul it. He simply infuses you with the Spirit of the Living God, enabling you to live victoriously, when you place your faith in Him instead of yourself.
We better keep moving. We need that baby!
Labels: Christmas, Journey to Bethlehem