The first command God gave to His highest creation was:
“…Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” Genesis 2:16
The Hebrew verb ‘command’ has several synonyms including ‘order’ and ‘appointed.’
Adam shared God’s command with his wife who succumbed to the wiles of the devil.
“…The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13
‘Deceived’ in the present context means to delude or lead astray.
The devil acknowledged that God had given Adam the restrictive command; however, he offered a different interpretation.
Now consider the present. When we in America make laws to override God’s laws, who is behind such deception?
Several thousand years after the experience in the garden, after Israel’s exodus from Egypt, God began to reveal His standard of righteousness to the fledgling nation.
“…Come up to Me on the mountain…and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” Exodus 24:12
Hebrew nouns for ‘commandments’ include ‘ordinance,’ or ‘terms of a contract.’ ‘Law’ in the above passage means ‘statute,’ and ‘regulation.’ Interestingly, the most common verb form of ‘law’ (yarah)means ‘teach.’ And the above verse does indeed state that Moses was to teach God’s law and commandments to the Israelites.
Other common meanings of yarah include inform, instruct, and direct.
After God gave the Israelites His law and commandments, He stressed the importance of obeying them. God first told them through Moses of the blessings they would receive for their obedience.
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments… that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you…”
‘Blessings’ means benefit, favor, peace, and gift.
Note particularly the phrases ‘diligently obey’ and ‘to observe carefully all’ His commandments. The above verse is then followed by numerous blessings God would bestow on Israel.
Of course God knew Israel couldn’t and wouldn’t comply with His instructions.
Then proceeding further in the same chapter of Deuteronomy we find the consequences of disobedience.
“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…” Deuteronomy 28:15
‘Curses’ means despise, revile, contempt, and vilify. Curse is the direct opposite of blessing.
And then Moses lists numerous specific curses that Israel would experience if they failed ‘to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes.’ Again note ‘all these curses will come upon you.’
If we were to list the numerous challenges and problems facing the ‘world’ today, it would be noted they are eerily similar to the curses listed in Deuteronomy.
‘Statutes’ in the above verse is very similar to ‘law’ but it also includes ‘decrees.’
“Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees…which they have prescribed to rob the needy of justice…” Isaiah 10:1-2a
Again, does this verse describe some of the laws, court decisions, and executive orders issued in America in recent years?
Let’s progress to the church age and confirm the Old Testament revelations about God’s law and its verb form ‘teach.’
Recall when Paul was confronting the Jews to explain the purpose of the law and the all sufficiency of faith for salvation.
“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”
The Greek meanings for ‘tutor’ include schoolmaster, teacher, and instructor.
Then Paul confirms that believers are indeed Abraham’s seed and heirs to the kingdom.
“Now I say that the heir…is under guardians…until the time appointed by the father.” Galatians 4:1-2
And the appointed time?
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law…” Galatians 4:4
Oh, the unfathomable riches of the word of God!