A thought came to me when I should have been sleeping last night. This is why I have a lighted pen so as not to disturb my poor hubby who actually was sleeping. Sometimes thoughts do not know how to tell time, and if I kid myself into thinking I will remember such things in the morning, I am well, kidding myself. So I dug my lighted pen out of the nightstand drawer trying not to make too much noise and searched the stack beside me for a piece of scrap paper - note to self - move a notebook onto your nightstand to avoid future rustling of used papers... I found one in my Bible, which is fitting because I've been thinking a lot lately about Jesus and relationships and how He wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. How He came to fix what was broken between us and God and endured all manner of abuse to make that happen, and how we get it all wrong when we think Christianity is a religion. Jesus didn't come to start a new religion. He came to fulfill the Law (which only God could do) so we could fellowship with His Father and with Him as it was always meant to be.
And I was thinking about the Law and its staggering list of rules. Truth be told, even the 10 Commandments are impossible to keep because if we somehow do manage to obey the first nine, the "Do not covet" one will catch us every time. Our hearts will always betray us.
In Deuteronomy 20-23 we find a long list of dos and don'ts the people were supposed to follow. When Moses finished handing out these instructions to the people, this was their response:
"Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do." (Deuteronomy 24:3 ESV)
This backdrop spurred the following thoughts last night:
Men (and women) in their pride will always think they can accomplish the impossible. This is never more evident than in the practice of religion when it comes to attaining their eternal salvation. They think they can keep the doctrines, creeds, commands, as their laws require - yet none of them will ever fully do so. They cannot, for they are fallible, weak, human.
They would have been better off to fall on their faces and beg forgiveness rather than to suggest they could begin to do what only God can accomplish.
I wonder what would have happened if the people of Israel had done just that - if they had listened to the Law of God and realized how sinful they were and how utterly holy He is and how impossible the demands of the covenant really were. Had they truly thought about it when they spoke and promised obedience, or did they just react to the moment? What would have happened if they had fallen on their faces in repentance and cried out for mercy, knowing they would never be good enough or strong enough to keep such laws? If nothing else, their covetous hearts should have told them something.
But in their pride, in their own strength, they thought they could do the impossible. And I was thinking, we are not so very different.