Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

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Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 17 – Following The Right Statutes

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God.  You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.  You shall follow My rules and keep My statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.  You shall therefore keep My statutes and My rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.’”  Leviticus 18:1-5

Devotional Thought For The Day

At first glance, when reading Leviticus and other portions of the Pentateuch, we might think that God was a bit picayunish in the myriad of principles that He enunciated to the children of Israel. This would be our natural response, not having immersion into the cultural and religious realities of the ancient Near East, and the rest of the world at that time.  However, if we understand the polytheism, superstitions, and demonic affliction that permeated all aspects of the lives of unbelievers at this time – and the accompanying immorality, we can begin to see why a rigorous and highly disciplined protocol for life and “worship” of God the LORD, the only True and Living God, was necessary.  These “statues and rules” guided the children of Israel in a decent life of proper repentance and faith in the Messiah God had promised to provide, and enabled them to continue giving a faithful witness to God, the only True and Living God, God Who is love.

The darkness of ignorance of God is equally complex and prevalent in our world today – and quite a bit more sophisticated, but no more tempting and corrupting than the darkness of antiquity.  Virtually all of the “statutes and rules” that God gave to the children of Israel had to do with negating “their statutes,” the particulars of life that immersed people in the demon worship of idolatry and its attendant immorality.  Likewise, the whole sacrificial cultus of the Old Testament pointed people to the grace and mercy of God, His forgiveness and cleansing of our sin, and the coming fulfillment of His promise of the “Seed,” the Lamb of God Who would take away the sin of the world. God has the same concerns today – both in regard to the “statutes” prevalent in various cultures today, cultural assumptions and expectations and rules that are inimical to a life of repentance and faith in Jesus, rules which compel idolatry and immorality, as well with His people living in a manner that is consistent with His love and goodness.  So the basic principle remains:  “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.”

We have far less of these God-given rules and statutes to follow after the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.  The clear revelation of God’s wondrous love and His gift of salvation, now historical fact and clearly described and explained in the New Testament, provides far greater contrast to the darkness of polytheism, idolatry, and the grotesque immorality that emanates from our fallen sinful flesh.  The basic principles of God’s love and His loving will for human behavior are reduced to the Ten Commandments, God’s eternal moral law – and every circumstance is to be judged from these principles.  The necessity of daily repentance is clear, and the assurances of God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness are more pronounced and prominent by the universal knowledge of what He has done for us in Christ Jesus.  This vision and knowledge of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus also provides a far more powerful dynamic in our lives, transforming us “into the same image from one degree of glory to another” by the power of God’s Spirit. [2 Cor. 3:18]

So we who know and believe God the LORD, who rejoice to have Him as our God, recognize the dangers of the ungodly “statutes” that exist in all cultures, including our own, and the necessity of not “doing them.”  We have our own protocol and statutes, given to us by God, a life of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, the gracious love, mercy, and forgiveness of God.  We know the importance of bearing witness to Him, the Way of life and salvation He has provided for all people as His free gift to us, to be received by faith alone.  We know the importance of maintaining God’s moral law, not only for the good and blessedness of all people, but also to maintain repentance and faith in Jesus.  Thankfully, we are not inundated with all kinds of cultural and religious “statutes and rules.”  But the basic principles in regard to true knowledge and faith in God and a life consistent with His love remain central to our being – and God is renewing us and transforming us in this through His Word and Sacraments.  “The just shall live by faith” [Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Ga. 3:11; Heb. 10:38], and so we too live – thanks and praise be to God!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your goodness and love, Your gift of salvation and Your continued commitment to our spiritual life and health.  Grant us grace to repudiate all statutes of ignorance, idolatry, and immorality, and to not “do them,” and grace to follow Your ways of goodness and love.  Keep us faithful in our discipleship, faithful in our calling.  Amen.