Running with the Law, or running from the Law?

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So this idea came to mind very recently as I was riding up and down I-91 and I-89 in Vermont last saturday. We spent 5 hours (round trip) on these highways. I think we saw a grand total of 3 state troopers posted waiting to grab any excessive speeders or otherwise dangerous drivers.

Here's the thing that caught me: Whenever our driver saw a state trooper, he dropped from 70-75mph to 60-65mph (speedlimit 65). This led me to ponder and seek God on it. "Why are you slowing down only when you see a representative of the Law?"

This man is a very strong man of God. He leads the flock I've been a part of for over four years. Everyone does this, but this made me believe that as Christians, we must obey the laws we are placed under, not just temporarily modify our behavior in the presence of an enforcer of the law.

Today's sermon at the church I visited today with my wife reaffirmed any thoughts I may have had on this issue. We were in Exodus 19 - God's introduction of Himself to the people of Israel, whom He had just deliverred from the slaving hand of the pharoh. How did God introduce Himself to Israel? What were the first words the Israelites audibly heard from their God?
"And God spoke all these words, saying:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s." (Exodus 20:1-17)
God's first words to Israel were His ten commandments! Why? Because they were not readied to see and accept His Grace! See, we need to be aligned to God in our hearts to truly hear grace from Him. God can speak to us, "Go, and exalt the poor!" Then we can either do one of two things:
1) Go, and exalt the poor;
2) Tell God, "I can't go... I have a dentist's appointment. I'll go later when I have time."
Now, of these two answers, which one is likely to receive the graceful God, the face of God that Moses met on Mt. Sinai, and which is likely to receive God's Law, that which the Israelites got?

#1 will meet with God and be given Grace.
#2 will meet with God and be given His Laws.

Why does God need to respond in two different ways? Through His Law, He means to discipline us, to change us, to mold us into who He needs us to be - obedient, fearful, and humble. Those who respond to God already through obedience, fear of the Lord, and humility will be those in camp #1. If we're still proud, unlawful, and stubborn towards God... we will get His Law to demonstrate to us clearly, "This is what's wrong in your life. Change, grow, and learn to fear who I am!"

Look at Israel's reaction to hearing God speak to them His Laws:
"Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was." (Exodus 20:18-21)
They feared Him! They "trembled and stood afar off." God had demonstrated that He was real, He was there, and He was powerful enough to save or destroy them. They had been lulled by Egyptian gods, and they, until then, still had not seen God in the miracles that saved them. The didn't realize how terrible and great the Lord is. And so their hearts were not ready for grace.

Now, back to the speeding issue that spurred all of this. God will send us the Law to mold us, and prepare our hearts through fear and trembling in His presence so that we may be able to fully receive grace! We, as children of God, have a choice to make when God needs to send us the Law, and not His grace:
a) Slow down until the presence of the law is no longer there (until you know the state trooper can't see you); or
b) Slow to the speed limit and stay there.

That's what hit me saturday: When we mend our ways, even occasionally to excess of what's needed, in the face of the law, why then do we revert to our old ways of breaking the law? Even less than 60 seconds after we were corrected by the law, we revert to our old, broken, ungodly habits... Why? Because God doesn't linger on those who won't listen to Him, and learn to obey Him. He'll get someone else to do His work, and you'll miss the blessings of it, and have all the more to push through the next time God speaks to you.

So I say to you, when the Lord delivers you His law, repent! Turn around from the wrongs God is calling you on! And do it now! Don't just do it now, but continue to persevere and continue to be obedient to the law God sent to you! Now and forever! Slow down to the speed limit, and every time you are behind the wheel from now on, stay at the speed limit, wherever you are! Humble yourselves and love to serve God, don't resist God in your prideful ways, but I say to you, "resist sin to the point of bloodshed" (Hebrews 12:4)! Follow His commandments and He will make you a King and a Priest! Greatness and glory unknown and unimaginable will be ours in God's Kingdom if we will just humble ourselves and keep God's commands! Halleluliah!

Yeshua, my Lord and savior! Blessed be your name on high. Send to me your law to correct me! Send to me your grace when I'm able to receive it. Lord, I give up my life and all the desires of my flesh. Please, help me keep all the commands you have sent me. Help me live a life worthy of the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Lord I love you! May, through your Holy Spirit, my words and actions do naught but to strengthen and advance your kingdom and your glory! Take all I say and rebuke me where I am led astray, and bless me where I am speaking your Word.
In Yeshua's Name, Amen!

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Location: Brattleboro, Vermont, United States

Graduated college with a BA in Graphic Design. Married my wonderful wife on July 30th of the same year (we met in college) after over 2.5 years of courtship. Always been interested in computers and web sites. Computers always seem to like me too, either that or I just tend to time my arrival to help people right when the problems resolve themselves :P Accepted Christ as my personal Savior Nov. 14th 2002. Still growing best I can in my faith.

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