LESSON 5 – I Obey God’s Commands
Where’s that sign I made for the last chapter? Yup. I’m still doing what I don’t want to do and not doing what I should.
Yesterday we read that God saw Elizabeth and Zechariah as righteous.
Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly (Luke 1:6).
This verse also tells us that Elizabeth and Zechariah observed all of God’s commands. In other words, they knew all of the Laws of Moses recorded in the first five books of our Bible. They knew the laws and followed them. Today people would call many of those laws legalistic. Jesus himself cautioned against the Pharisees who focused on following the letter of the law rather than what God intended the Law to accomplish—namely help His people love Him in obedience.
Righteousness and following the Law of Moses are not the same thing but they are related. Even though God chooses to look at us as righteous, regardless of our own sinful nature, He still desires our obedience. In fact, the smartest King ever—King Solomon—who wrote most of the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes—figured this out.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Our obedience to God’s commands is evidence of our standing with Him. It is outward evidence of our love for Him. We want to be obedient because we love God and know that what He wants for us is for our best. How are we doing obeying God’s commands? Remember the big ten? (Exodus 20:3-17)
Commandment 1: “You shall have no other gods before me.
Commandment 2: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.
Commandment 3: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
Commandment 4: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Commandment 5: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Commandment 6: “You shall not murder.
Commandment 7: “You shall not commit adultery.
Commandment 8: “You shall not steal.
Commandment 9: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Commandment 10: “You shall not covet . . . anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Jesus did away with our need to obey the hundreds of rules set down by Moses.
Jesus replied: “‘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” (Matthew 22:37-40).
(artwork by Jared Barnes)
The first four Ten Commandments have to do with our relationship with God; the last six have to do with how we treat others. Jesus summarized all ten into just two. Love God and love others.
How are we doing obeying them?
In Elizabeth’s time, the Jewish people were still under the Old Covenant. A good Jewish person was required to be obedient to God in the big ten but also in the thousands of little rules and decrees set out in the books of Moses. Scripture tells us that Elizabeth observed all of the Lord’s commands and decrees. And she did so blamelessly. Can’t you imagine if she had been alive long enough to hear Jesus giving us His condensed version of the Law? She might have leapt for joy, just as her unborn son had done 33 years before.
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. She obeyed God’s commandments in a way that honored Him.
Who are we to God? When we obey God’s commands to love Him and love others in His name, we understand how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- How do you see Jesus’ simplification of God’s commands?
- Are you a rule follower or do rules feel difficult for you?
- How can you work on following God’s rules better?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us enough to give us rules for life—rules that are for our own good. Thank you, Jesus, for then making those rules simple and straightforward. Help us to follow them all the days of our lives. Amen.