Little controversy exists over the existence of the Law in the period after Sinai. The Old Testament writings are filled with references to the law. And though, so often, those references deal with Israel’s transgression of the law and the subsequent punishments that came, other texts reveal the great love and reverence many in Israel had for the Law, which included not just the Ten Commandments but all the rules and precepts that the Lord had given His people.1
In what ways do the following texts extoll the law? What attitudes do they reveal?
Contrary to popular beliefs, though Israel (ideally) loved the law, those who understood the law’s function never saw it as a means of salvation. The Hebrew religion had always been a religion of grace, even though the people went from one extreme to the other: from trampling the law openly and blatantly, as in the first-temple period, to extreme legalism, as seen so clearly in the time of Jesus.
Why, though, such a love of the law? Again, if one understands the word Law to encompass not just the Ten Commandments but the whole body of Old Testament teachings, especially the first five books of Moses, then you understand that what they loved was the message of salvation, of grace, of redemption. They loved the “truth” as it was revealed to them and as they best grasped it. It wasn’t a love of rules, per se, but a love of a set of guidelines and principles that, if kept, would have opened the way for many blessings and promises, because all that God had given them was for their own good and well-being.
Is it any different today?
Think through all that the Lord has given us as a people. How could we do better in living out the wonderful light we have been blessed with?