Once We Were Under the Law

When my daughter Sophie was in preschool, there was a fundraiser called “Pedaling for Jesus.”  On a certain day, all the students would pedal their bikes around the track.  Each lap would earn them monies based on the fundraising that they were supposed to have already completed.  It was a great idea and everything was set up in such a way as to give the students great success.  It was a beautiful day, Sophie had a new bike, and she had raised money for each lap she would complete.  We were ready to go!

There was only one problem that could not be overcome in time, no matter how much fundraising we did.  Sophie did not know how to pedal.  She did a fantastic job talking to people.  She carried that form around everywhere.  Each donor was fully prepared to hold up their end of the bargain.

But despite how nice Sophie could be or how cute she looked sitting on her bike, there was absolutely no way she was going to successfully complete any laps on her own!  She did not have the ability to ride her bike, which was a key part of this fundraiser!

Similar to Sophie’s desire to earn money for the fundraiser, the Israelites also had desire to be successful in their covenant with God.  Upon hearing the words of the Lord and all the rules they responded by saying “all the words that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 24:3).  Moses then wrote down all of the rules and built an altar.  Burnt offerings and peace offerings were made in accordance with the law.  Moses took some of the blood and threw it upon the people.  The people of Israel were in covenant with the Almighty God (Exodus 24:1-8).

They just had one small problem that would prevent them from holding up their end of the covenant.  The Israelite people did not know how to obey!  It was impossible for them to be successful by themselves.  They were a sinful people with very limited ability.

As the day of the fundraiser arrived, I realized Sophie would not be able to do this by herself.  So, I placed her little feet on the pedals of her bike.  I then stood over her the entire time, driving her around the track.  Don’t ask me how, but we completed 29 laps like this!  Sophie needed me in order to be successful.  I had access to the resources she was lacking.

We will come to see just how the Israelites needed God walking through the covenant with them, in order to be successful.  Without the presence of sacrifices, that God created, there would have been no option for a relationship.  The holiness of God required the presence of sacrifice.

We also witness the loving kindness of God in this display of His holiness.  Before the laws were given to Moses and before entering into the covenant with His people, God prepared sacrifices as atonement for the people’s sins.  Because of His holiness, He could not do away with the law completely but He knew they would not be able to do every word He had spoken.  Even with the desire to obey, they would still fail.  So, He provided a way.

God knows our weakness.  He knows our limitations.  He knows that we will never be able to fulfill the law on our own.  “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

We are not able.  God is.  “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near” (Hebrews 10:1).

Draw near, so you can truly experience the good things to come


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