The Bible is broken up into sections based on different categories. The first 5 books are known Hebraically as the Torah or the books of the Law.
In our western culture, we often think of laws as the regulations that restrict us. But that's not exactly the case with biblical laws. Sure they are there to keep us out of trouble. They were meant to keep us away from hell but mostly closer to God.
We think of it as when we follow the laws of the world we are kept out of jail, but break the laws and find yourself locked up.
Again, that's how our worldly minds think. Especially through our western lens.
I want to give you a different perspective though.
Biblical laws are called Yarah, but the word yarah doesn't just imply law, it actually refers to instruction.
When I think of instruction, I think of baking. First you should know that I am a terrible baker. I would be a great contestant for that show Nailed It! One because I like to improvise when it comes to the instructions. I don't quite have the exact amount of flour; maybe I can scale back on the other ingredients here and there. I don't have vegetable oil; can I substitute another oil and if so are the proportions still the same? And decorations/final touches; forget about it!
I'm also SUPER impatient. I have to let the dough sit for how long? The cake/ cookies are out and I have to let it cool before frosting??? But I want to eat it now!
You're probably reading this thinking, I get it Gwen, you should not be baking. But that's not really the case at all. I could if I would follow the instructions. I should not bake when I don't have the proper ingredients, and I should be patient with the process of baking.
So what's my point?
Metaphorically speaking my own approach to following the instructions God has laid before me is often the same as my baking process.
When we look at the word of God as our "baking" instructions, we can see more success in the outcome. We can eat the delicious cake the Lord has prepared for us.
Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
I know easier said than done. Meanwhile I'm over here reading the instructions like this:
Hmmm, maybe I can skip this step or maybe I can add a step of my own.
Sometimes God is giving me the ingredients I need to be successful, but maybe there are still some processes or steps that I need to go through to truly live in fullness. What would be the proper approach in this case? Wait! Wait till I have the proper ingredients in my care. Wait till the existing process/steps have been completed. But do I? Not usually.
Or what happens when I don't understand a step (a verse), should I venture on my own understanding in that or should I seek the wisdom or counsel of a more seasoned baker (pastor or mentor).
In baking, like life, when we follow the instructions we stay out of trouble. We don't end up with a burned loaf of bread or accidentally end up with salty cookies instead of sweet (don't tell me you've never accidentally mixed up the cups with teaspoons on the salt and sugar step). Come to think of it, I did go through a season of life when I myself was a little salty. But that's not how God is. He is not salty He is perfect and good.
Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3
The word of God is about Him and His good character. When we remain in His word and apply it to our lives we're baking into ourselves traits that are like Him. We must submit to the process, and seek out the wisdom of the Lord. His word says that He will give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph 1:17).
I leave you with some homework. Take a read through Proverbs 8 and Psalms 119 in our cookbook of instructions. Ask God to show you His character and what He says about following along. Ask yourself, where have I added ingredients? Where have I been impatient with the process? Where did I skip a step? Take some time to reflect an redirect where necessary.
"Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord. But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.” Proverbs 8:32-36