Simple and seemingly unimportant commands and instructions given by God, when unheeded, have proven to have the most disastrous consequences throughout history.
Often, we are so fixated on the ten commandments and the main doctrines of the scriptures that we loose sight of the other commands, words of warnings, statues, instructions and precepts. We either regard them of having little or no importance.
These then either go unnoticed or are lightly regarded.
In fact, a closer and deeper study of these laws reveal that they are not only of vital importance but are of the very principles that form the foundation of the great moral Law; the ten commandments, written by the finger of God and given to Moses in great grandeur amidst thunder and lightning.
Jewish scholars have identified approximately 613 laws and commands apart from the ten commandments that God gave Moses and are contained in the Pentateuch, mostly referred to as judgement laws, ceremonial laws ( those laws especially dealing with the sanctuary), health and hygiene laws, tithing laws, relationship laws, etc, just to name a few.
If the moral law (the ten commandments) is “very the transcript of God’s character “, then what was the need for so many other laws.
“The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery and heathenism, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far-reaching principles of God’s ten precepts. That the obligations of the Decalogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments.” PP 310
The objective behind giving so many different commands, precepts and instructions was to break down the principles of the great moral law into practical applications that could readily be understood by the people and put into practice in a variety of situations in their daily life.
So, were these laws important?
“These laws were called judgments, both because they were framed in infinite wisdom and equity and because the magistrates were to give judgment according to them. Unlike the Ten Commandments, they were delivered privately to Moses, who was to communicate them to the people.” PP 310
They “were framed in infinite wisdom”, should leave us with absolutely no doubt at all with regards to their authenticity, credibility and importance of these laws.
Let us look at a few examples from the Bible, where instructions given in infinite wisdom, were not taken seriously and thus resulted in opening the door to temptations and paving the way for grevious sins which resulted in disasters.
We are all familiar with the account of how the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty and caused her to sin.
In the garden of Eden there was only one Law. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17
Eating of the fruit was a clear violation of the law or word of God.
But how did Eve, who was created pure and holy and in the very image of God, end up at this point of open rebellion where she boldly disregarded the very command of God?
What led to this sin? Curiosity? Giving in to the reasonings of the serpent that she would not surely die?
Well, all of these. But there was one specific warning given to Eve which she had completely disregarded, which opened the door to temptation and resulted in her downfall.
What was this specific instruction?
“The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden; with him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously wandered from his side. On perceiving that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger, but dismissed her fears, deciding that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to discern evil and to withstand it. Unmindful of the angels’ caution, she soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree.” PP 53
What happened next, is history and 6000 years of pain, suffering, disease, agony and death stand as a witness to the awful consequences of one single violation.
Who would have thought that, Eve, not heeding to a simple warning, of not separating herself from Adam and wandering alone could have such fatal consequences?
Lets look at another example from the Bible.
When Joseph was exalted to the position of a governor in Egypt, and in power and authority second only to Pharaoh, he was permitted to bring along his entire family to live in Egypt. Now think about this, the family of such a high government official, surely would have been highly respected and they would have enjoyed special rights and privileges. They were allotted the best of the land to dwell in, the land of Goshen.
They multiplied over the years and grew considerably in number, in fact so much that the new Pharoah and his government feared that if a war started, the children of Israel would join with the enemies and fight against them. So they set taskmasters over them and thus began the long era of slavery.
But why did God allow it?
“It was true that they were slaves, and must endure whatever their cruel taskmasters might choose to inflict. Their children had been hunted and slain, and their own lives were a burden. Yet they were worshiping the God of heaven. If Jehovah were indeed above all gods, surely He would not thus leave them in bondage to idolaters. But those who were true to God understood that it was because of Israel’s departure from Him—because of their disposition to marry with heathen nations, thus being led into idolatry—that the Lord had permitted them to become bondmen; and they confidently assured their brethren that He would soon break the yoke of the oppressor.”
Again, there was one command (or primary reason) which the children of Israel did not adhere to. Intermarrying with heathens was never God’s design for His children.
This was a known fact by God’s children but “In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowledge of God’s law,and had departed from its precepts.” PP 258
“Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” Deut 7: 3,4
One violation of intermarrying with heathen nations resulted in almost 400 years of bitter slavery and bondage.
The Bible is filled with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. It’s pages contain rich lessons, treasures of truths and pure principles of God’s kingdom.
“The experiences of God’s children are recorded for our benefit. “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor 10:11
Dear brethren, sometimes very important and crucial warnings and instructions are given or communicated in a simple manner and probably without much emphasis.
But may God grant us the spiritual wisdom to know, understand and discern the significance, importance, and at times the urgency of the warnings and messages given by God. Let us understand that these instructions form the very foundational principles of the moral law.