When I first started this ministry, Facebook and other Social Media platforms didn’t exist. We communicated through message boards and websites. HTML and simple CSS coding made it easy for most people to create a website. I learned simple HTML and understood enough CSS coding to get by, thoroughly enjoying the challenge. I felt smug in knowing the how and why of every bit of code that makes a website. I knew what went wrong when things didn’t work right, and I could fix it independently without outside help. No one needed to know about my foolish mistakes. As long as I followed the strict protocol of Web Design, all would be well, and I wouldn’t have to reach out to others for help. However, those days of ‘do-it-yourself as long as you follow the rules’ web design are far behind most of us.
To be honest, I kind of miss those old days. I didn’t have to talk to anyone about what I was up to. I could always fix my mess by tracing my steps back by finding stray commas or missing closing brackets. I did not need tech support. Yes, little Miss Independent misses those days. As long as I kept the rules, I could do what I wanted to do as long as I stayed within the framework and protocol posted on the internet. I had only a vague knowledge of who set those protocols and had no desire to get to know them. I just wanted my website to work, so I followed their rules.
The Children of Israel were like that. They gave Yahweh their preference. “Stay up on the mountain and tell us what to do through Moses. Provide us with a rule book, and we’ll do what You ask of us. All we ask is that You leave us alone to our own devices beyond those external standards. We’ll perform the sacrifices you require. We’ll keep Your law as long as You don’t come too close so You can see what’s really going on behind our strict observance of Your laws.”
Some Christians admit they wish God would not be so adamant in declaring His desire to know their hearts and understand their motivations. They believe as long as they read their Bible on occasion and attend church once in a while, they’ll make do. As long as they follow what rules they think God has given them, all should be well between them and their Creator. Unfortunately for them, God stepped up the ante by sending Jesus to walk in our midst.
Jesus fulfilled the law and bridged the rift caused by man’s sinful, independent decisions. Jesus spoke of matters of the heart. He walked into the homes of those He healed. Jesus saw their dirty dishes on the counter and their laundry hanging on the clothesline. Everything Jesus did and every word He spoke was a tangible demonstration of God’s passionate desire to draw near to His beloved creation.
As Eugene Peterson puts it in the Message, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son” (John 1:14)
Jesus wouldn’t allow those around Him to think if they followed the rules, they’d be right with God. He called out to those who tried to hide behind the law. In fact, He reached out to those that others considered beyond redemption because of their lack of observance of the law.
In the end, those who humbled themselves by admitting that they couldn’t do it by their own power were the ones who soon discovered that God was interested in so much more than the rules. As they allowed Jesus to step near, they were introduced to the joy and wonder of knowing God as an intimate friend.
Have you been treating God as a big tech support person in the sky? Do you look at the Bible as a Wiki information guide that you can study to pass some cosmic test? Do you keep God from getting too close to those areas of your heart you would rather Him not see? Spend a moment today, look into His face and become lost in the wonder of His friendship.