I heard your command, Lord, but I ran it through my mental processor, and now, somehow it doesn’t seem so urgent. Somehow it lost its force.
Reinterpreting the law. Redefining the terms for “my” situation. It has gone on from on the beginning. And if not careful, it won’t be stopping with us and the law of God. We have OUR opinions, too!
But today, EVERYBODY does it. Everywhere. At every level—federal, state, local, school, home.
The idea of relative truth has crippled current thinking in every area. According to today’s values, any word can be defined—or RE-defined—to satisfy the user. So “truth” to me is not necessarily the same as “truth” to you, because my definition and yours may not be alike!
The problem is, when you RE-DEFINE a word, you don’t have the same word anymore. Words have meaning in the context in which they were used. Fixed. Permanent. Not open to re-defining, even here. And especially not at the DIVINE level.
The new definition may satisfy for the moment, on the human level, but it is definitely NOT God’s way. His definitions are fixed; they do not follow any human pattern, or His AUTHORITY is gone. What says the Lord God?
Malachi 3:6 6“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Who was speaking? The Eternal God! Here is authority, and He does not change. He speaks through His word, and it is not within the right of anyone to change or modify it.
God says further through His prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 42:8 8I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.
We today are so accustomed to stating our own opinion about almost anything, that it is difficult to accept real authority!
It is a mode of thinking we need to watch, even in ourselves. It is so easy to “believe in” ourselves and forget the “trembling regard” we should have for God and His law! What did the Lord say to Ezekiel? What was to be his level of regard for God’s authority?
Ezekiel 12:18 18“Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety.
With “trembling and anxiety” because it was from GOD.
But this is not natural. By nature we have something in common with the people in Ezekiel’s day. Hear what God told his prophet Ezekiel about his people:
Ezekiel 33:30 30“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’
“Come and hear”–it isn’t all bad. At least they wanted to come!
But God saw more than the surface. What happened when they came? How did they process the word of the Lord that came through his prophet Ezekiel?
Ezekiel 33:31 31So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.
Their heart goes after “their own gain.” Oh, money had the pulling power, even then! That was where their HEART took them.
What more did God notice?
Ezekiel 33:32 32Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.
You are doing your job well, Ezekiel. But there is a huge disconnect with the people. They hear your words, BUT…
but they do not do them.
Did they redefine Ezekiel’s “word of the Lord”? or did they just come to enjoy the “pleasant melody”?
Or maybe Ezekiel’s message did not get through to their conscious mind, because it was blocked by their dreams about making money?
BUT God would have the last word! He says to Ezekiel,
Ezekiel 33:33 33And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
What was coming? Divine JUDGMENT.
Ezekiel 33:20 20…O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
Ezekiel 33:28–29 28For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through.
29Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ’
Then they shall know… and can’t we say the same today? People who have no regard for God, no respect for His authority or His law… when God takes action, they WILL KNOW.
Isaiah 26:9,11 9…For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 11Lord, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see. But they will see and be ashamed For their envy of people; Yes, the fire of Your enemies shall devour them.
The people heard, but they kept their own opinion. They pursued their own self-set goals. They HEARD the word of the Lord but did not DO it.
They knew what God said, BUT…
There it stopped.
We face the same mortal danger. We may hear, and hear, again and again. But if not careful, we will be running what we hear through the modifying grid of our own thinking. The result? It will be the Word of God adapted, but NOT genuine. “Truth” for us will get redefined, re-interpreted, re-applied. And what will it be then? No longer truth but some kind of redefined falsehood. It will be “my truth,” not GOD’S.
And if it isn’t God’s truth, what is it worth? Absolutely NOTHING!
I know, Lord, you said
1 Peter 2:1–2 1Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
Yes, yes, I know you said “ALL” but does that include all MY malice, and all MY deceit, and all MY harsh words? The answer comes back: YES!
And I know, Lord, you said
Colossians 4:6 6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Yes, yes, I know you said “Always with grace” but is that ALL the time in EVERY situation? Again the answer is YES!
And I know you said,
Joshua 1:8 8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
You gave Your law so that Your people would
observe to do according to all that is written in it.
But that is asking a whole lot. If I reinterpret it, that “ALL” will go away, and I can pick the commands that fit my situation best, when things are all calm and I’m not upset. Or when I’m not trying to impress someone else with what I have, or know, or think.
But then, if it’s not ALL, then there is some disobedience on MY side. And I know You called Saul’s disobedience “stubbornness” and “rebellion.”
1 Samuel 15:23 23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
Those are powerful overriding words. MY harshness doesn’t seem quite that bad.
But it IS. And I must see it that way.
Isn’t that the difference Isaiah pointed out?
Isaiah 55:8–9 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Is the thought too familiar? Does it strike you—that God’s thoughts are so far superior that the point for comparing approximates the distance between heaven and earth?
Ponder that! It will keep you thinking awhile. In fact, it’s impossible. Hear the Psalmist:
Psalm 139:17–18 17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
We won’t be able to realize how great God’s thoughts are, but we can surely see how teeny-tiny ours are, and be willing to let ours go, in exchange for His far, far greater thoughts!
Now start thinking what those thoughts are, and let Your heart fill with praise. Praise that He even thinks of us, or recognizes us in our little corner of the universe. Even enough to call us His own sons and daugters. Oh, how great is His mercy!