Pro 13:13-14 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
The Law of God is a reflection of Himself. As inspiration tells us, it is a transcript of His character.
“God's law is the transcript of His character. It embodies the principles of His kingdom.” COL 305
Through a meditation of the commandments of God we are brought into contact with the character of God. This is why David said:
Psa 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psa 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
How could David love the Law of God and make it His meditation when most people see the law as an instrument of legalism, condemnation and death? The Law is death to those who operate under the deception of the serpent’s lie of inherent life source – you shall not surely die. This lie causes people to try and keep the law from within themselves as a means of pleasing God rather than seeing the Law as a promise of what God will do in us when connected to Him.
This is the promise of the New Covenant to write the Law in our hearts:
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
The Law is only death to those who do not discern its true purpose. As Paul states:
Rom 7:7-8 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
It is sin fueled by the serpent’s lie that makes the Law a curse. When the Law is written in our hearts according to the new covenant it keeps us connected to the fountain of life.
The Sabbath at the Heart of the Law.
This process of writing the law in our hearts is connected most directly to the Sabbath commandment.
Exo 31:16-17 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Eze 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
Over and over the Lord pointed Israel towards the Sabbath as the sign of the relationship that He had with them. The Sabbath was used by the Lord as a test to see if His people would truly be receptive to Him and enter into a close relationship with Him. See Exodus 16.
Why has the Lord made the Sabbath the key to sanctification? Why will the Sabbath be the key test in the final conflict between good and evil as Adventists have been taught for over 160 years?
The process of sanctification is simply a matter of connecting to the fountain of life. Once we are connected, all the fullness of that character fountain will flow into our lives and flow out to others. Note carefully these words by Ellen White
True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience. 6T 350
The keeping of the Sabbath is the key to keeping the whole law. Notice further
To us as to Israel the Sabbath is given "for a perpetual covenant." To those who reverence His holy day the Sabbath is a sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people. It is a pledge that He will fulfill to them His covenant. 6T 350
God’s pledge to sanctify us, write his law in our hearts and make us like Him is linked to the Sabbath. Let us look a little closer at the Law and the place the Sabbath occupies and why it is so important.
The key to sanctification is a direct connection with the life source; a connection with the fountain of life, the Lord our righteousness. Where in the law do we so a proactive commandment for mind to mind connection with God?
The first three commandments are prohibitions; they tell us where not to go and what not to do. In this capacity they are guides of protection to point us to the great proactive source – The Sabbath.
Commandments 6 to 10 are also prohibitions or guides of protection point us towards the centre of the law where the proactive connection statements are found.
At the centre of our connection with God is the command to Remember. Next to this command is the proactive command for us to honour those who God gave us life through – our parents.
The commands to remember the Sabbath and honour our parents are the only proactive relational commandments in the law. These two commandments bring us most closely to the source of the fountain. The Sabbath commandment brings our minds directly into contact with the Creator and the contemplation of His works. The command to honour our parents reveals to us the channel through which God sends His blessings of life. Just as the Family and the Sabbath were the only visible prefall institutions, so these two commandments are the heart of our connection with the fountain.
As we notice in this diagram, the commandments actually fit together to form a channel for the Spirit of life to flow into our lives. Commands 1-3 and 6-10 are the banks of the river that guide our hearts towards to heart of the fountain found in commandments 4 and 5.
Honouring Our Parents (Delegated Authorities/Channels)
Commandment five invites us to honour our parents as the human channel and image of the Father and the Son, for man was made in the image of God. God provided our parents as a visible representation of the life that flows from the Father and the Son. Rom 1:20
Pro 17:6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
“Every child lives by the life of his father.” MB 78
The righteous life giving character of God flows from Father to Son and from Father to Mother to Children. 1 Cor 11:3. This is the fountain and channel of Life. This is the channel that was established through Abraham:
Gen 12:2-3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
God told Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him. This is why we become children of Abraham when we accept Christ, (Rom 4:16; Gal 3:16,29) for the promises of the covenant were made to Abraham and we must become His children to receive those promises. They are not made directly with us, we receive an inheritance of that promise made through the human channel of Abraham.
The promises to Abraham were on the following condition
Gen 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
The promises of the covenant were conditional upon Abraham leading His family faithfully; this is how God would bring to Abraham all that He had promised.
Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are "the issues of life"; and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences. AH 15
This condition is carried through to the Elders of the Church
1Tim 3:2-5 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
When we add to this the fact that inspiration tells us that the 5th commandment applies to Pastors and teachers we see a connecting link in the channel of life from God to Parents as well as Pastors who God appoints to feed us with His Word.
The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins respect for ministers and rulers and for all others to whom God has delegated authority. PP 308
God’s channel of life flows through His delegated authorities. If we ignore them or denounce them we will be cut off from those blessings that start with the Sabbath and flow out.
Can you see why coming together as a family on the Sabbath is the most powerful means we have for connecting to the source of life. Those who are wise will see the law as a fountain of life. Prov 13:14.
God has made it very simple for us. Our determination to respond to his request to keep the Sabbath, to prepare our hearts to meet Him each week will bring all other promises with it. As we connect with Him on Sabbath, the double portion of the bread of heaven will be eaten to the full, our minds will be filled with the character of Christ and we will be strengthened to meet the demands of the following week.
Should we not make every effort to be ready for the Sabbath, knowing that we will receive everything we need for the following week? Can you see why Friday is often so stressful for those who are trying to prepare to meet the Lord in the Sabbath hours?
Should we not be diligent in prayer to ask the Lord to help us be ready? I have failed for years to be truly ready. We have been asked to have our homes clean and tidy, food prepared. We have been asked to be showered and clean as the Sabbath approaches. Is this such a big request to receive a direct connection with the fountain of life. Is the Lord asking of us an impossible thing?
Praise God that he has made it so simple. Preparing for the Sabbath with joyful hearts, anticipating the coming of the Spirit of Jesus is all that we need to do. Once our Saviour comes, He will inspire and illumine our minds to change us, sanctify us and make us just like Him; to write the law on our hearts even as He promised.
I thank God for the Sabbath and the promise of salvation it brings. What mighty beams of light flow from this most special commandment at the heart of the Law. It is the very source of the Fountain of Life through our families and delegated authorizes and into our hearts.