God's Law: Is It a Burden or a Blessing?

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God's Law

Is It a Burden or a Blessing?

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The most common teaching today about the law God gave to ancient Israel is that it was a burden—one that Jesus Christ had to remove. In essence, advocates of that view claim that God freed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery merely to enslave them again to a system of law so strict and unreasonable that they claim it is actually oppressive.

Is something seriously wrong with this reasoning? The apostle John says there is. In combating similar arguments in the first century, John states unequivocally, “His commandments are not burdensome,” explaining that “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3 1 John 5:3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
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So why did God give His law? He repeatedly states that He gave it to benefit the people—to bring great blessings on them. Notice how clearly the following verses state this truth:

• “You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days” (Deuteronomy 4:40 Deuteronomy 4:40You shall keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days on the earth, which the LORD your God gives you, for ever.
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• Immediately after giving the Ten Commandments, God exclaimed: “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
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• “You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33 Deuteronomy 5:33You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.
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• “You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may be well with you” Deuteronomy 6:17-18 Deuteronomy 6:17-18 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore to your fathers.
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• “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you . . . You shall be blessed above all peoples” (Deuteronomy 7:12-14 Deuteronomy 7:12-14 12 Why it shall come to pass, if you listen to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD your God shall keep to you the covenant and the mercy which he swore to your fathers: 13 And he will love you, and bless you, and multiply you: he will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your corn, and your wine, and your oil, the increase of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
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• “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 Deuteronomy 10:12-13 12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good?
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• Psalm 119 (the Bible’s longest chapter) is an extended praise of God’s laws for the wisdom and blessings that result from obeying them.

Many other passages express the same point, some even spelling out specific blessings for obeying specific commands. Two entire chapters—Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28—provide a vivid contrast between the wonderful national blessings that would result from Israel’s people keeping God’s laws and the terrible consequences they would suffer for rejecting them.

God’s laws were designed to bring blessings. They define behavior that naturally results in peace, safety and prosperity. Deuteronomy 4:5-7 Deuteronomy 4:5-7 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7 For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for?
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tells us that if Israel had obeyed God, they would have reaped God’s promised blessings to the extent that neighboring nations would have stood up and taken notice—and then would have chosen the same laws for themselves so they could enjoy the same wonderful benefits!

Clearly God’s laws are not a burden, as some people think, but a blessing!

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