Today’s Blog: The Law and The Heart
TODAY’S PROVERB: To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to Adonai than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3, TLV
A large portion of the first five books of the Bible (Torah) center around the sacrificial system. After the Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, the system was explained. It was the center and heart of Jewish national life.
Through the daily sacrifices of animals especially, our Heavenly Father burned into the heart of every person an awareness of their own sin. His grace and mercy were represented in the atonement — the covering — of their sins so they could be in right standing with Him.
It was a pattern for the people to recognize that sin comes at a cost. An innocent sacrifice paid the price.
These sacrifices pointed us all — the Jews and the nations — to the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus. Our eternal sacrifice (Hebrews 2:17-18).
The eternal sacrifice
Hebrews chapter 9 and 10 carry this theme/pattern clearly. The writer of Hebrews quotes Jesus, who quotes prophecy. Take note especially of the following verses:
“But in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins year after year—for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. So when Messiah comes into the world, He says,“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me. In whole burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not delight.’”HEBREWS 10:3-6, TLV
But, at the writing of this proverb sacrifices were still commanded, right? Why would righteousness and justice be even more acceptable to GOD in today’s verse? In Isaiah 58, the LORD shares His heart with Isaiah. Yes, fasting is good — He commanded it — but we are to fast with righteousness and justice. The whole chapter has profound revelations about the beauty of His fast, over our version of it.
“Is not this the fast I choose:GOD CONVEYING A MESSAGE TO ISAIAH, ISAIAH 58:6-7, TLV
to release the bonds of wickedness,
to untie the cords of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to tear off every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the homeless poor into your house?
When you see the naked, to cover him,
and not hide yourself from your own flesh and blood?
To be righteous is to be morally right and justified. To practice justice is to be impartial and fair, to seek justice for all. Because this practice is emulating our Heavenly Father. He expected this practice of the Jewish people then, as He does us now.
Living a redeemed life
When we do righteousness and justice we are living out our redeemed life. We don’t simply say we accept Yeshua’s suffering and death on the cross and then live life unchanged. We live out a life of gratitude and awareness of the great cost. We’re different because of this.
Does that mean we’ll be perfect? NO! When we mess up — and yes, indeed we will — He’s there to forgive, pick us up, and set us back on the path.
So, even though our redemption from sin doesn’t rest on our shoulders, our willingness to live His commands as best we can is what He longs for. We do them because they are written on our hearts, and we love Him so much (Jeremiah 31:32). How beautiful is that!