When God says, “I am the Lord”
“Close the door behind you.”
“Turn off the lights before you leave.”
“Don’t leave the refrigerator door open that long.”
These are things you’ll hear me say in our house. What do you suppose they reveal about me? Maybe they indicate that I’m cheap, or being a good steward of our money, or teaching wise habits, or maybe I’m just cranky. The truth is that I’ve said these things for all of the above reasons, and my kids know it. More significantly, by hearing my rules, they learn about me and my values.
By paying attention to God’s rules, we learn about his character, passions, and values – we learn about him.
In Leviticus, a book full of rules and regulations, God inserts the phrase, I am the Lord, forty-nine times. He’s connecting his rules with him.
Be holy because I am holy. I am the Lord.
Don’t worship idols. I am the Lord.
Avoid sexual immorality. I am the Lord.
Honor your father and mother. I am the Lord.
Remember the Sabbath. I am the Lord.
Respect the elderly. I am the Lord.
Leave food for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord.
Show kindness to the deaf and blind. I am the Lord.
Don’t spread slander. I am the Lord.
Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
If we complain about the numerous commands of God, we’ve missed the point. God’s commands are not only good for us, they help us know whom he really is. From the simple list above, we learn that God is pure, he cares for those with disabilities, he values the elderly, he has compassion for the hungry and foreigner, and he is always honest. You and I were made in the image of God, but we don’t always act like it. The more we obey God, the more we live as we were created to live and the more we truly know God. And the more we know God, the more we know how to live.
If you start to feel overwhelmed by the many commands of Scripture, remember that Jesus makes it simple: love the Lord your God with everything you’ve got, and love your neighbor as yourself. All of the commands of Scripture fall under those two categories.
God’s commands are not meant to discourage you. They are meant to help you know him. They are for you. God is for you. He is Lord.