Among the Olympic sports, I enjoy watching equine eventing, especially dressage and cross country. In cross country, the horse gallops through gorgeous country and overcomes creatively designed obstacles. Cross country jumps can show off the athleticism of the horse and the teamwork of horse and rider.
Sometimes, though, the horse shows hesitation. If he proceeds, all delight in the accomplishment of the feat. But sometimes he disrupts the flow of the performance with a refusal. Whether from fear, misdirection from the rider, confusion, or pain, whatever the case, he balks at the command of his rider. Oh, if only he had obeyed his rider it would have been a beautiful achievement!
From the day of Adam, men have balked at commands. Often, we view them as the obstacles to our pleasure rather than God’s provision for overcoming the true obstacle. To us, they seem burdensome. We think a command-orientation lacks grace and label the performance of duty “legalism.”
Although we dislike commands and the guilt that comes from violating them, God seems to consider commands a good thing. He provides plenty of them. So the question naturally follows, what is so great about God’s commands? To answer, I started a list. But first, an example popped on my radar before I could post this entry.
The example is a prayer request by Janine, who gave me permission to use it. At our ladies’ Bible study, we pass around a sheet for people to record praises and requests and then give everyone a copy. Janine’s entry was this:
“Philippians 4:6 & 7. I’m so blessed that our Lord through Paul taught not to be anxious about anything – but in everything, by prayer and petition (with thanksgiving) we can present our requests to Him. Sisters aren’t we so blessed!” (emphasis original). Janine is saying that the command against anxiety, as well as our access to the Father, is a blessing.
Now for the list. It is not exhaustive, but it is exciting. Oh, what a good, great, precious gift God’s commands are to us!
- God’s commands are a great good first because they emanate from He who defines and is the source of grace and goodness (John 1:14).
- God’s commands are a great good because they reveal the character of God. By them we discover the knowledge of God (Prov. 2:5). He who forbids outbursts of anger is patient and kind. He who commands that we honor and obey parents loved and honored His Father so much that He obeyed Him to the death. He who demands that we love our neighbors as ourselves is He who loved enemies enough to die for them.
- God’s commands are a great good to us because they prepare us for salvation by showing us our need of it. Paul did not realize his own sinfulness until the law showed him his coveting (Rom. 7:7ff). By showing us our sins, the law is our tutor leading us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).
- God’s commands are a great good because God uses them to effect our salvation. Psalm 19:7 says that the law of the Lord restores the soul. God’s Word teaches us “the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15).
- God’s commands are a great good because they make one wise (Ps. 19:7). The author of Psalm 119 wrote that God’s commandments made him wiser than enemies. They gave him more insight than all his teachers. They taught him greater understanding than that spoken by the aged. (Ps. 119:98-100)
- God’s commands are a great good because they rejoice the heart (Ps. 19:8). They are a joy!
- God’s commands are a great good because they enlighten (Ps. 19:8). They provide understanding; they light the path (Ps. 119:104-105).
- God’s commands are a great good because they are the fear of the Lord (the two are synonymous) which cleanses the heart and provides eternal life (Ps. 19:9).
- God’s commands are a great good because they are true and righteous judgments (Ps. 19:9).
- God’s commands are a great good because they are more valuable than gold (Ps. 19:10).
- God’s commands are a great good because they are sweeter than honey (Ps. 19:10; 119:103).
- God’s commands are a great good because they protect us from sin. Psalm 119:9 explains that the way to stay pure is to keep God’s Word. God’s commands watch over us to deliver the teachable one from the way of evil (Prov. 2).
- God’s commands are a great good because they are the way to blessing. Psalm 119:1-2 says that those who observe God’s laws are blessed.
- God’s commands are a great good because keeping them results in inner peace, favor, and good repute (Prov. 3:1-4).
- God’s commands are a great good because they teach us how to demonstrate our love for God (John 15:14).
What verses that you know that tell other ways in which God’s commands are a precious blessing to us?