“People are more afraid of the laws of Man than of God, because their punishment seems to be nearest.” ~ William Penn
Two tablets, representing the Ten Commandments, are the symbols for the Jesse Tree today. We are a people governed by laws – rightly so – and we are a people who tend to break laws on a pretty regular basis. The law has been given to us not to subdue us but to help us to live in harmony with one another.
When Moses gave his people the law as presented to him by God on Mount Sinai, he gave them a set of laws that were designed to preserve and protect the entire community. When one studies the Ten Commandments, then, one must look at the communal aspect of the law. The entire community, and not any particular individual, was the focus because the entire community needed to be whole in order to preserve the individual. When one broke the law, that person did not hurt his or her relationship with God alone, that person hurt relationships with others in the community, potentially weakening it.
When we pick and choose the laws we are going to follow, we put others at risk. A couple of simple, and rampant, examples today would be speeding as well as stop signs and stop lights. I would venture to say that the vast majority of people ignore speed limits any more. They do not realize the danger they bring to themselves or others by doing so.
On residential streets, cars dart about while trying to avoid the main roads. However, as they speed along, they are often unaware of children running and playing in their neighborhoods, often oblivious to traffic. If you are at stop lights, you know the frustration of people who continue turning against traffic after their light has turned red. This sets the stage for accidents and injuries. People who ignore stop signs also put themselves and others at risk.
Laws are important. They are not mere suggestions that we can choose to follow or not willy nilly. They are critical to the safety of individuals and communities. The laws of God are that much more important. Not only do we risk harming the community when we break God’s laws, we risk harming, and even dooming, our eternal soul.
FAITH ACTION: Reflect upon the Ten Commandments and ask yourself where you need to improve your life in order to embrace more completely the laws of God.