Thursday, February 02, 2017

"Rigor Mortis of the Soul"

Exodus 31.18 NASU

“When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.”
The problem with hard hearts, stiff necks, and rigid people is… they’re fragile. They break too easily. Like the Ten Commandments inscribed on tablets of stone, they are easily shattered. Paul referred to this problem as “the ministry of death”…

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such
glory… will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?”
2nd Corinthians 3.7a, 8 ESV

They call dead people ‘stiffs.’ Hardhearted, rigid people are spiritually dead. They have stiffened with rigor mortis of the soul. The law always creates death. When I ‘lay down the law’ in my house, someone inevitably breaks it. The ‘law of dad’ shatters before my eyes. I am forced (by my own unenforceable rule) to punish the offender. Usually this means grounding a kid. The law, it seems, creates the very sin it condemns.

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20.2-17) were inscribed on both sides of two stone tablets and carried down by Moses following his encounter with the Lord on Mount Sinai. Upon their first contact with the people at the foot of the mountain, the tablets were destroyed. Three thousand men who were not “for the Lord” died on the spot (Exodus 32.19, 26, 28).

Love demands a better way. The Law of God was inscribed by the finger of God in the cold, hard surface of stone. The Love of God is written by the finger of God in the soft, pliable tissue of a heart open to change. Carving stone is rigorous work and the end product is easily broken. Writing on willing hearts is easy and lasts for eternity.

May the “finger of God” find my heart receptive to the imprint of God’s purpose for my life.

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Jeremiah 31:33b NIV


The stone tablets pictured above are granite reproductions by HaShem (The Name) Into the World Artwork.


Anonymous said...

"Observe the Sabbath because it is holy to you."

----Exodus ch 31, vs 14.

I find the wording interesting here. We are not told that the Sabbath is holy to God, but rather that it is holy to us. The Ten Commandments are, after all, largely for our own benefit, not the benefit of God. If I steal I am helping set a standard of behavior that will ultimately lead to someone stealing from me. If I commit adultery, I could end up divorced, separated from my children and sleeping on a cold apartment floor. And if I worked seven days a week, I'm going to get run down, weary, and ultimately sick. In other words, I can rest now, or I can get sick and be forced to rest later. (sidebar: Dave, I know you weren't feeling well yesterday, and to state the obvious, I'm not trying to imply anything by my post, it's just what hit me when I was reading).

It is amazing to me how many believers will work on the Sabbath. When I ask why, I will frequently hear people say:
"I have freedom in Christ." This always strikes me as amusing. Do I have freedom in Christ to:

1) Make a golden calf and bow down and pray to it?

2) Be disrespectful to my parents?

3) Steal my neighbor's Mercedes just because he has one and I really, really want one?

If I am fully to honor the word of God, I have to focus on the word of God and not just follow the crowd.

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Sabbath practice is apparently a matter of interpretation among Christian all of whom seem (to me) to be solid in their faith. Some would argue with me, but I know strict 7th Day Adventists whose commitment to Jesus is undeniable. They won't conduct business of any kind from sundown on Friday to sundown Saturday. I know because some of them are my clients. I have to get our business done before Sabbath or wait until after dark on Saturday. I don't practice the Sabbath in that way, but I truly respect my brothers in Christ who do.

I tend to work too hard. I also mix my passion for spreading the gospel with work and usually seem to go 24-7. Resting by principle or in practice tends to be difficult for me.

Thank you for your posting.


Emily Booth said...

Well said! Good posting. I have (believe it or not) tried to lay down the law at my house. This never works.