Recalling God’s Action

MEMORY SELECTION: “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” —Deuteronomy 4:9

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 5-10

THE principles expounded in the laws God gave to the nation of Israel were truly an expression of divine wisdom. Deuteronomy 4:6 reads, “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” The Apostle Paul referred to these admonitions as a peculiar advantage to the nation of Israel. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much everyway: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:1,2) This set the Jews apart from other nations as the people of God.

In order for the nation to benefit from this advantage, it was required of them that they be obedient to these precepts. Compliance was to bring great rewards of material blessings, and disobedience was to be rewarded with very severe punishment. (Deut. chapter 28) On the face of it, exercising a choice between blessings and curses would seem to be a simple matter; but it did not prove to be such for the nation of Israel. The problem had its root in their inherited weaknesses. They were imperfect men and God’s law was perfect and made no allowances for failure. The Apostle James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) It was not only impossible for the nation of Israel to keep the Law, but the whole world is condemned by it. The Apostle Paul states: “Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.”—Rom. 3:19,20

By this we might conclude that the Law was not a true representation of God and his character. But again the Apostle Paul tells us that “the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Rom. 7:12) The problem was that only a perfect man could keep it. Repeated failure by the Jews in attempting to keep the Law should have resulted in the recognition of their weaknesses and brought them to the point of realizing the need for help. In harmony with this the Apostle Paul states that the relief that they sought was to be found only in Christ. (Rom. 10:5-9) The Scriptures tell us that, because of pride and hardness of heart, Jesus became a stumbling stone to most of them, and the liberty and freedom that could have been theirs through the Gospel was lost.—II Cor. 3:13-17

What is the lesson in this for us? It should remind us that we, like the nation of Israel, are imperfect, and if we desire to come into harmony with the Heavenly Father and receive his blessings it can only be done through Jesus. The Apostle Peter, speaking of Jesus, said: “This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”—Acts 4:11,12

Jesus has opened a new and living way whereby his footstep followers are able to keep the spirit of the Law because the weaknesses of the flesh are covered by the merit of his sacrifice. We read in Romans 8:3,4: “For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin [for a sin offering], condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

We, like the Apostle Paul, give thanks to God that through Jesus we can, with our minds and hearts, serve the law of God acceptably even though we do have many weaknesses of the flesh.—Rom. 7:25

Dawn Bible Students Association
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