In conjunction to yesterday’s post about Religion versus Gospel, I recently have been reflecting about God’s messages in the Bible. I find it amazing how we tend to pick and choose what about God we want to make law and what to ignore. I’ve seen some really condescending responses about how God outlawed cutting your hair, piercings, and pork. That it’s not something to take serious, but I see it differently.
God’s purpose in the Ten Commandments and all of the decrees that were issued in the Bible were for protection. He told Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil to protect them from the hazards that come from that knowledge. Their life was blissful before and afterward they were destined to struggle. You can trace back every commandment to a reason to be followed.
Tattoos and piercings were prohibited because at the time, when Israel was in Egypt, they were in Pagan company. The Pagans would Tattoo the names of the dead or gods on their bodies. Certain ways of shaving and cutting your hair were for rituals. God did this to set them apart as a people. God was asking His children to not conform to the system of the world because it was not for them.
If you look at God like a father, and Israel/humans as His children, you start to see the reasoning for what some would call different godly personas. Like any parent, God just wants you to be safe, healthy, happy, and for Him to be appreciated. God started off extremely clear, direct, and strict, but as humanity got older, God tried different methods of teaching how to live the best life possible.
Even after Jesus came and said “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” All of the previous commandments fell under those two umbrella commandments. You wouldn’t kill or steal if you loved your neighbor like yourself. You wouldn’t put another god before God if you loved Him with all of your heart, mind, and soul. It seems simple, but it often isn’t made simple.
We live in a time where God’s name is used in an opportunistic way. We’ve had people condemn one action in God’s name but then partake in equally heinous acts. We’ve had people focus so much on exact phrasing that they overlook the meaning, all in the spirit of looking “right” and “just”. I’ve seen so many people hate the church because of the condemnation and supposed “perfect” front many religious people put on for themselves and others.
I want to share a recent favorite Bible chapter that I stumbled upon and break down what I get from it: Isaiah 58:1-9
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