Reading through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers the list of laws probably feels restrictive, even archaic. To our 21st-century lives, they may even appear completely unnecessary. Leviticus 19:19 ends by telling us not to wear clothing woven of two kinds of material followed by those rules we should still follow: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18).
During the 40 years spent traveling from Egypt to Canaan, from slavery to freedom. God was teaching them obedience. Come when I call your name. God’s plan was to teach a new generation what was holy and how to treat the things of God as holy. As God gave Moses specific instructions to set up the tabernacle which carried the presence of God, his sons were watching him. The next generation was learning to be obedient, to follow God.
As we travel with the Israelites through the desert we can see how God continued calling them with tangible signs: “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out until the day it lifted” (Exod. 40:36). As God continually moved before them He was calling them out of the darkness of the slavery of Egypt, preparing his people for the Messiah.
The Messiah says the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matt. 22:39). Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law. He came to fulfill it. God knew we could never keep all 613 laws on our own. When we love God with our mind, soul, and strength, His love will overflow as we learn to love our neighbors.
As Jesus hung on the cross, He opened the door for us to become a temple of the living God. Instead of living in a box, God’s presence lives in us. His presence calls us to obedience. Although obedience looks different for each of us, our love of God and His love of us will spill over into the world around us. What is God calling you to do? Maybe it’s having coffee with a friend or meeting some other moms at the park. You won’t leave Egypt alone. He is with you.
Memory Verse: “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.” Jeremiah 7:23
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