"And we delight in the Law of your Word;
We delight in the Son who was perfect from birth;
We delight in the day he's returning to earth--
"Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
"I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.
"I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
"I have suffered much; preserve my life, O Lord, according to your word. Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Though I constantly take my life in my hand, I will not forget your law. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
"Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end."
Many say the Law no longer applies or that, because it can only condemn, it is therefore incomplete, irrelevant, or unreliable. I mean, those 600+ Jewish laws are hairy; we can't keep them anyway; and we aren't Jewish--we're Gentile.
Sidenote: There are two kinds of people in the world, Gentile and Jewish. And Christians are neither.
Then there's Jesus, who said, "I tell you the truth, not a single letter, nor stroke of the pen, shall ever depart from the law...I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it" (Matthew 5).
And there're a lot of arguments, theories, books, and libraries on the subject. People've been harassed and sometimes killed over nonsense like this.
But the thing is, I've always found most of these heady, arbitrary, splintering, and divisive. And none of these should be of followers of Christ.
And that puzzles me, because half the NT is quotes of the OT.
The thing is, the Old Testament fascinates me. The Law even fascinates me.
I'm not about to get pseudo-spiritual on yall. It's neither my style nor the point.
Scripture, like any good story, has one main arc followed by several smaller ones. Plot and subplot. And the main arc is:
--God makes man.
--God punishes man.
--God redeems man.
But the subplots are all the same! Each ad nauseum point of the ceremonies and rituals, each spirit behind each crazy dietary, hygenic, or legal law is the same Spirit, and that is the Spirit of the Most High.
Scripture has one main redemption theme--Jesus' death and resurrection on the Cross. But each book, each story, each measely little character in the story has the same theme: Redemption.
Check this out: Each book of the Bible is like a series of redemption cycles, and each book is itself a part of the overall redemptive cycle--and the final chapter ends in the new heaven and earth.
The Law teaches us how to live. The whole of the law hones in on two points: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Deuteronomy 6.4); Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19.18).
Remember: He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requireth of thee: but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Micah 6.8, the mantra of a school I attentded).
The ceremonies and sacrifices paint pictures that would ultimately become shadows of things to come: Namely Christ as both our high priest and final atonement sacrifice.
The dietary laws, emphasis on washing, etc: all kept the Jews relatively much healthier than other nations (this was much to the annoyance of other nations and often resulted in persecution). Again, this illustrated purity and righteousness, the act of being set apart (which is what we are).
I really don't have time to go into each individual, so I'll highlight:
--Adam and Eve...God shed the blood of animals and made clothes from the hides to cover their shame and nakedness.
--Cain...God marked him when he begged so that no one would kill him.
--Abraham...despite his deceptive tendencies (which he passed to his son Isaac)
--Jacob, the God-wrestler
--Joseph, sold so that his family might later be saved
--Samuel, born to a barren woman
--The judges...Judges is one giant cycle of redemption, and it's beautiful.
--Joshua...his name is a form of Yeshua, or Jesus, and means "the Lord saves." Verses 1.1-9 sum it up.
--Ruth...God's provision for a widow.
--Kings and Chronicles--Now we've gotten to the point in history where all those crazy prophets start up, and as they attempt in vain to warn Israel, Israel divides and is conquered for her rebellion. This is point two in the main redemption arc of Israel's redemption.
--Ezra and Nehemiah...point three, God's compassion on Israel, more redemption, restoration
--Esther...a slave girl's courage saves Israel from annihilation, wonder who'd a thunk up a crazy plot like that?
--Job...Oh, come on. He loses everything for seemingly no reason, then gets back sevenfold.
--Psalms...written during David's reign (end of I Samuel, all of II Samuel), and sometimes the guy looks anywhere from schizophrenic to MPD.
--Proverbs and Ecclesiastes...words of wisdom from Solomom (I Kings, I Chronicles), everything he did that DIDN'T work in his little rebellious phase.
--Song of Solomon...possibly the only book that makes no sense to me whatsoever, but it's the love story between a man and a woman.
--Lamentations...Jeremiah is so ticked at God in the first half of this it about slaps you across the face. Goes to show God is not going to zap you if you tell him he's cruel and unusual and being completely unreasonable. 0=) The last half, however, is a beautiful redemption to come.
--All of the prophets...detail Israel's rebellion, resulting punishment, and God's plans for redemption both of Israel and mankind as a whole.
And that's the OT in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen. Thoughts? Why would I find the Law beautiful? Do you? Why or why not? What is love? Is the Law lovely? Why or why not?