Laws - Week of August 2nd

By Judy Nichols

August 2, 2015

There are laws and then there are laws. When we hear the word "law" we generally think of rules, things we must do or not do. There are traffic laws; there are rules of sports and games. There are criminal laws and civil laws. There are local laws, state laws, and federal laws. And there are the really big laws, the Ten Commandments.

But there are other laws, principles that have been discovered about how the universe works. There is the law of gravity. There are laws of motion and momentum and thermodynamics (to name just a few and way more than I understand). These laws are immutable and violating them does not end well.

I violated the law of gravity a few years ago, not intentionally, but the result was the same. On a brisk walk I tripped over an uneven piece of pavement and the law of gravity (possibly abetted by the law of momentum) made sure I went splat on the concrete. The result, once I picked myself up and the stars quit spinning around my head, was a grotesquely misshapen and obviously broken wrist.

What if we looked at the Ten Commandments in terms of these other laws? God created the universe to work optimally in certain ways. These ways do not change. He also created humanity and gave the laws by which we could have an optimal experience. Could we postulate that violating these laws will also not end well? Not because God is a meanie who will punish us, but just because that’s how things work.

Could it be that God tells us not to covet others’ possessions because He knows that wanting what we cannot have makes us unhappy, devalues the blessings He does bestow upon us, and elevates something other than God to first place in our lives? Does He tell us not to lie or bear false witness because He knows it not only damages others’ reputations but our own credibility, as well? And not only that, from our own experience we know that one lie often leads to another and another and another. Sir Walter Scott made a profound observation when he penned the words, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Long before our founding fathers encoded property rights, God said, "You shall not steal." By stealing from others we deny ourselves the bounty of God’s provision as well as others of theirs. And we have no lack of evidence of the ruin of relationships, not only of the consenting adults involved, but also of their families and the culture at large, in the commission of adultery. It strikes at the heart of the marital covenant and cheapens the sexual union God created for the good of humanity. It is not uncommon for a murderer to be referred to as a "monster," that is, something less than human. Why on earth would God not forbid murder when it takes both the life of its victim and its perpetrator?

As the Father of the human race, God knows, along with most human parents, that children grow up and prosper best when they obey and honor their parents. And keeping one day of rest in every seven is more than just beneficial; it is essential. Some years ago I read that in Russia the government attempted to switch to a ten-day work week to try to improve productivity. It didn’t work; the people were less productive than before and even the farm animals couldn’t keep up. God knows how much rest His creation needs in order to function optimally. Changing it is counter-productive.

The remaining commandments have to do with our relationship with God Himself. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of the universe and so it should be obvious that violating these is not going to end well. Using God’s name inappropriately dishonors and devalues His Person. If we stoop to doing this, we dishonor ourselves, as well. Trying to depict Him so that we can bow down to the thing is an attempt to remove God from the transcendent realm to the physical realm, thus reducing His greatness and glory and seeking to remove the mystery of His being. In so doing we elevate ourselves above Him; our pride is evident even as we bow down in supposed homage to our idol.

And finally, the greatest folly of all is in thinking we can worship anything, any so-called god instead of the one true and living God. We cannot even worship any other god in addition to the Great I AM, for He alone is the absolute Sovereign who is worthy of all our adoration, gratitude, obedience, and allegiance. Worshiping other lesser gods deprives us of the joy of fellowship with Him, the abundance of His provision, and the security of His protection. His laws are more than just rules; they are the principles by which the universe operates. They do not change because He does not change. We violate them at our own risk.

© Judy Nichols 2015

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