"You came down also on mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And made known to them your Holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses your servant: And gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and brought forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promised them that they should go in to possess the land which you had sworn to give them.” - (Nehemiah 9:13-15)
If our Heavenly Father gave His people “right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments” as stated in the verses above, what are the “weak and beggarly elements” Paul mentions in the following verses? "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." - (Galatians 4:8-11)
Some people say it sounds like the law and its precepts are full of things we need to throw away and get rid of, especially as concerns the observation of days, months, times and years. Are these “beggarly elements” part of the same statutes given to Moses? Through the prophet Ezekiel God tells us He gave the people “statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live.”
"Because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, and had polluted My Sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord." - (Ezekiel 20:24-26)
Is He actually “giving” them or allowing us the power of choice to follow Him or our own inclinations? Read on.
"But My people would not hearken to My voice; and Israel would none of Me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: they walked in their own counsels. Oh that My people had hearkened unto Me, and Israel had walked in My ways!" - (Psalms 81:11-13)
“But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest My words behind thee.” - (Psalms 50:17)
"And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon." - (Acts 7:41-43)
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." - (Romans 1:18-32)
"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." - (Jeremiah 6:16)
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." - (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
"Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not." - (Isaiah 66:3-4)
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” - (Ephesians 4:17-19)
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit.” - (1 Peter 4:1-6)
We can't just leave it here. David had a poetic way in the Psalms of lifting up the precepts, statutes, judgements, laws and commandments. There are also wonderful Scriptures to highlight the goodness of God in giving us intructions to follow. To make this blog entry shorter the rest of the study is included HERE and beginning on page 3. May you be richly blessed as you study.