From the Pastor:
It is good to ask questions, to explore the deeper reasoning for things. The Psalm response this weekend is one such example: Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord. Asking the question of why for this particular verse leads us to some of the fundamental truths of our existence. It reveals to us truth about our relationship with God and others.
In pondering this, we find ourselves asking the deeper question about the purpose of the commandments that God gives to us and commands us to follow. We might be tempted to think they are simply tests of our loyalty to God, but we realize this isn’t the case when we reflect upon commandments such as thou shall not kill. The wisdom and necessity of commandments like this are obvious to everyone with at least some goodness in their heart.
The reasoning for other commandments might not be as obvious, such as why sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. We could be tempted to think that some of the commandments are randomly chosen by God or simply His personal preference of how things ought to be. However, looking deeper, we discover that God knows us, loves us, and desires what is best for us. We may not realize it, but God knows us better than we know of ourselves. God also knows what is harmful to us both in this world and in the world to come.
God has identified everything that is spiritually damaging to us and labeled it as sinful. Whatever thoughts, words, and deeds are contrary to the beautiful place we call heaven is what God has designated as sinful. There in heaven everyone chooses to act completely selflessly to every other person. In heaven, there is never even the thought of envy, jealousy, greed, pride, lust, anger, or any other form of selfishness. These sins and every other sin work against the intensely personal and beautiful relationship that each person is to have with God and other people. God’s commandments direct us toward this communion with God and others.
Notice what God tells us first in the Scripture reading this Sunday: “If you choose, you can keep the commandments, they will save you.” We need reminded that it is within our ability to keep God’s commandments. We also need to be reminded that our actions have consequences: “God has set before you fire and water, to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.”
Sometimes people deceive themselves into believing that God is okay with certain sinful behaviors. God knows the damage those sins cause the person and so is reminded: “No one does God command to act unjustly, to none does He give license to sin. He understands man's every deed.” The path to the fullness of life is not in self-deception and rationalization, but as follows: “if you trust in God, you too shall live. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord.”