home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > May 24th > Rules Rules and More Rules!

RULES RULES AND MORE RULES!

What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

At times, it can seem that our lives are overrun with rules. There are rules to follow at work and/or school, road rules, rules for how to use public spaces (such as parks, library and the pool), rules for building and maintaining a home, rules for sporting activities, rules for hosting and running events, rules for games and the list goes on. It can seem like a never-ending list of dos and don’ts. So it’s not surprising at times, we find ourselves twisting, bending or stretching rules, changing the rules (such as Uno and that stacking of +2 or +4 cards is allowed), or even ignoring the rules altogether. 

 

So it’s no wonder that when someone picks up a Bible and reads a bit, they conclude that it’s an old boring made-up book full of rules for us to follow with unrealistic expectations. This becomes especially evident if you only get through the first 5 books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. 

There aren’t many Christians who would say that they enjoy reading Deuteronomy and Leviticus, but I am one of them. This is because I realised that these books are more than just rules and laws given to a group of people to follow; these very rules and laws provide insight into God’s very nature and character. Let me point out a couple of examples:

“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 23:22

As soon as I read this verse, I saw that God cares about the poor, vulnerable, and those without a permanent place to call home. He knew that life would be difficult and they would struggle. So, he provided a way for them to still have access to food and the opportunity to maintain their integrity by working in the field. This very same law that provided for Ruth (a foreigner with no husband and thus no future prospects)  led her to meet Boaz who later redeemed her and became her husband and named in the genealogy of Jesus. 

“If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.”
Deuteronomy 15:12-14

Sometimes, we get caught up with the word slavery in our 21st-century thinking. But this was a way for people to pay off their debts. As you read the verses, you see that slavery was never meant to be permanent. After serving for 6 years, they were to be freed in the seventh. Not just being free but also being provided with resources and supplies so that they could start afresh. I love seeing God’s heart for the vulnerable; he created a law to make a way forward when they fell into hardship. 

Now, being a teacher, establishing rules and expectations early is crucial; otherwise, your classroom will quickly descend into chaos. One such rule I have given is no swinging sticks around. My students instantly think I am trying to cramp their vibe and ruin their imaginary sword-fighting adventures. But then I explained why… when my brother was 11, he bent down to pick up a soccer ball off the school oval. At that exact moment, another student used a stick to hit the ball. This resulted in the large stick colliding with my brother’s head. I was at high school, unaware of what happened, until my grandmother picked me up from school and said he had been in an accident at school and was taken to the Emergency Room at the LGH. When I arrived at the hospital to see him, it was not a pretty sight. The doctors were concerned about the crack in his skull along with an air bubble between his skull and brain. So they decided it was best that he be flown by Royal Doctor to Hobart to be seen by specialists and observed and monitored for a few days until they were sure he was okay. After hearing part of my story, my students then understood that my rule with sticks was not about ruining their fun but rather an effort to protect them from serious harm and to understand the risks involved when playing with sticks. My rule was there because of my love and care for my students, and I did not want to see them put in a similar or worse situation like my brother had experienced. 

If this is a teacher’s heart for her students, how much more is our Heavenly Father’s heart towards us? He’s love towards us is described as deep, wide, vast, abounding and difficult to fathom (1 John 3:1, Ephesians 3:18-21, Romans 5:8). So next time you read the rules and laws in the Bible, ask yourself these questions – what is the Father’s heart? What does this reveal about the nature and character of God? By doing so, you should find Psalm 34:8, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good!…’ to be entirely true. 

Amen.

 

 

Pastor,


Alexandra.

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

3 Comments

  1. Mike Sladden

    Well done, Alex

    Reply
  2. Louise Richardson

    Thankyou Alex. A reminder that God is good all the time

    Reply
  3. Jean Brunning

    Thank you Alex. Such a good example of how to know God through reading His word.

    Reply

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