God’s Rule and Blessing
Obedience has fallen out of fashion. But it is central to the Christian life.
It’s not unusual for us to hear even the best of people express a negative attitude towards authority, for we live in an anti-authoritarian age. Within the church what was once regarded as a sacred view of Scripture’s authority doesn’t rest happily in the minds of some. Yet in seeking to find freedom on our own terms and apart from God’s authority, we also remove ourselves from His blessing.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed the rule of God in the Garden of Eden, they were separated from Him; they forfeited the blessing of His presence. Rejection of God’s law has always brought about, and will always bring about, separation from our Maker and withdrawal of His blessings. In contrast, the restoration of God’s rule always brings about the blessing of communion and fellowship that God designed for His people.
This promise of God’s rule and blessing was fulfilled during Israel’s history in the giving of God’s law. The Israelites’ obedience to the law wasn’t meant to be a desperate attempt to achieve salvation; rather, it was a response to the salvation that had already been achieved for them. God first reached down and took hold of His people, redeeming them and liberating them from bondage in Egypt—and then the law was given to them.
In other words, God didn’t give the law as a mechanism for redemption or provide it as a pathway to becoming one of His people. Instead, having redeemed the Israelites, He gave them the law as a conduit of His grace so that they might know how to live under His rule and truly enjoy His blessing. If that principle is flipped upside down, everything goes wrong. We will live our lives in the fierce grip of legalism, thinking all the time that our endeavors can put us in a right standing before God. But equally, if we forget that God saved us so that we might enjoy life under His rule, and we continue to ignore His laws whenever they do not suit our own purposes, then we will live our lives wondering why blessing seems elusive.
God’s law does not save, but it is “the perfect law, the law of liberty,” and the one who obeys it “will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25). As those rescued from sin by God, we are to respond to His salvation by choosing to walk in joyful obedience.
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
49Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
50This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
51The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
52When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
53Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
54Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
55I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
56This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.
57The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
58I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
61Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
62At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
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