The Bible tells us that God spoke directly to Moses. The creator of the universe and He who holds our lives and destiny in His hands met Moses face to face and gave him the law. And so we have the Ten Commandments which are the basis, the fundamentals, of all ordered living. Such a conversation – such a revelation – directly from God is amazing, breath-taking. But I want to look for a moment not at the substance of the law – many of us have those commandments pretty well memorized, anyway – but at the emotion with which God speaks.
It is easy to think of any law – even God’s law – as restrictive and cumbersome. It is our natural tendency to chafe and even rebel against rules that are laid down for us. Paul writes that “our sinful passions were aroused by the law,” (Romans 7: 5) and that’s nothing strange to anyone who is honest about how his or her mind works. We know that we want something all the more if we’re told we can’t have it.
There is an attitude that I will call juvenile that holds that God is a kind of spoil sport, saddling us with all kinds of standards we can’t live up to. Kind of a mean boss. But look at what God says (can you take that in? This is God talking!) after he’s given the commandments:
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever. . .
Look at that first word. It’s not even a word, it’s an utterance from the heart. Spontaneous; born of spilling emotion. “Oh.” We know what that means. It means that the speaker aches. And here He aches for us! The law isn’t cruel or heartless. It’s there for us. For our own good. These are the fundamentals for human flourishing; prospering. Oh, that we would apply them. Oh!