The Word This Week

Hebrews 8:1...

The Law of God was central to the lives of the Jewish people. Indeed, the Ten Commandments became the foundation for the conduct of not only the Jewish people, but also the entirety of the western world.

Jesus Himself said the Law is perfect. There has never been a higher standard of behavior for humankind because the Law of God was given by God Himself. All other behavioral guides have been written by men, and are a shallow imitation of God’s Law, both in their partiality, and in their impossibly verbose presentation.

One of the great problems with the Jewish Law, which contained not only the Ten Commandments but also the 613 instructions pertaining both to life and Levitical conduct was that it was not a Law you could carry in your pocket to pull out and consult in a given life situation.

It took constant instruction and memorization to even begin to have the Law of God in your mind at all times as needed. The only way you could truly accomplish keeping all the Law would be to have a Levitical scribe by your side at all times. (Or perhaps you could carry around all the scrolls of the Torah in your knapsack to consult.)

But since neither of those were either possible or practical, your conduct adhering to the Law was dependent upon your ability to memorize the parts of the Law you would then apply to a given situation. This became one of the reasons the Jews failed to keep the Law. In normal life, they were remote from it. Far from it. Physically distant from it. Even if they wanted to keep it, they could not be sure of remembering what it said.

The other reason the Jewish people failed to keep the Law was because they didn’t want to. Their hearts weren’t in it. Without a present Law in their members, their conscience seemed unable to prevent them becoming slaves of sin – even though their conscience would be in 100% agreement with the Law at all times.

God knew the remedy for this was to have the Law of God written upon the tablet of the human heart, rather than tablets of stone, and so He promised a New Covenant to replace the Old. This is the main point of what the author of Hebrews is presenting to these Jewish believers, who were dabbling with the thought of going back to the Old Covenant - which has now been completely annulled by the New.

Pastor Bill