Why did God give us His word?
A popular answer is so that we can see our sin and turn from that sin. Is that the reason?
People were commanded to write in the text for a reason (some examples):
- Moshe was commanded to write in a book to be remembered (‘Amalek)
- Moshe was commanded to write about the terms of Adonai’s covenant with Israel
- Moshe was commanded to write a song (Ha’azinu)
- Yirmeyahu was commanded to write (I will be their God and they will be my people)
The text tells us how Moshe was to do this:
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 27:2-3 (CJB)
2 When you cross the Yarden
to the land Adonai your God is giving you,
you are to set up large stones, put plaster on them,
3 and, after crossing over,
write this Torah on them, every word —
so that you can enter the land Adonai your God is giving you,
a land flowing with milk and honey,
as Adonai, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 27:8 (CJB)
8 You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly.”
Others were commanded to write the text that already existed for a reason:
- Israel was commanded to write the “most important” command on their door posts and gates
- The King of Israel was to write a copy of Torah for himself in a scroll
The text tells us the reason the King was to do this:
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 17:19-20 (CJB)
19 It is to remain with him,
and he is to read in it every day,
as long as he lives; so that
- he will learn to fear Adonai his God and
- keep all the words of this Torah and these laws and
- obey them;
20 so that
- he will not think he is better than his kinsmen;
and so that
- he will not turn aside either to the right or to the left from the mitzvah.
In this way he will prolong his own reign and that of his children in Isra’el.
True, God’s word testifies against us when we do wrong, but it does something much more than that:
It becomes a tangible foundation and a defining testimony
of what the Creator values concerning mankind and what He abhors
There are many reasons for this that we could go into intricate detail on, however, they all revolve around a central theme stated by Kefa (Peter) when he quotes Vayikra (He called) or Leviticus as you may know it:
1 Kefa (Peter) 1:14-21 (CJB)
14 As people who obey God,
do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires
you used to have when you were still ignorant.
15 On the contrary,
following the Holy One who called you,
become holy yourselves in your entire way of life;
16 since the Tanakh says,
“You are to be holy because I am holy.”
17 Also, if you are addressing as Father
the one who judges impartially according to each person’s actions,
you should live out your temporary stay on earth in fear.
18 You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you
from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you
did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold;
19 on the contrary,
it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah,
as of a lamb without defect or spot.
20 God knew him before the founding of the universe,
but revealed him in the acharit-hayamim for your sakes.
21 Through him you trust in God,
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory;
so that your trust and hope are in God.
To be Holy because HE is Holy . . .
So here is the $1,000,000 question – without the text, how would we go about doing that?
How would we know what Holy is? How would we even know what Adonai values? How would we know what Adonai abhors? Without stories about human failure and stories about human success concerning the Creator’s perspective, how would we know what made Him happy? How would we know what angered Him?
Without the story of His son Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ) – the things He taught – the things He did – How would we know what love was from the Creator’s perspective?
You see, no text = no foundation. There is nothing to build on. There is no morality because there is no morality defined. There is no wisdom – no discipline – no understanding. More importantly, there is no יִרְאָה yirʾāh (fear of God). Without fear of God, there can be no knowledge because fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge:
Mishlei (Proverbs) 1:7 (CJB)
7 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Contrast that with lack of knowledge and you get the following:
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 5:13 (CJB)
13 For such lack of knowledge
my people go into exile;
this is also why their respected men starve
and their masses are parched from thirst.
According to the World Population Clock, there are 7,265,726,674 people on the earth at this moment or 7.265 billion people.
Without the solid foundation of God’s word to give us fear, how will we get knowledge? How will we attain wisdom, discipline and understanding – which of that 7.265 billion people do we look to for the answers? Or can we just rely on what we think we know? Who is going to agree with us? Will someone in China have a different version of knowledge? Will our neighbor next door? Will our own family members?
You see, without God’s word – there is NO foundation. It is just shifting sand. Nothing you can build on.
There can be no correct way to do something – is not possible because there is no foundation establishing what is correct – no absolute. Each person’s opinion becomes the foundation of what they believe . . . and that opinion can change from one moment to the next as easily as sand drifts.
Debate is useless with this person because there is no moral absolute.
The only solace you have are the following: I think and I feel. Trusting in yourself. There is a definition in the text for a person like this – he is called a fool:
Mishlei (Proverbs) 28:26 (CJB)
26 He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who lives by wisdom will escape.
By definition, a fool is someone that is in opposition to God.
This leads us to the shifting sands within our own assemblies – our churches – our shuls. “How so?” you may ask. I can answer by asking a very simple question with far reaching ramifications . . .
“Which part of the text can you discard or ignore?”
Let me ask the question a different way . . .
“Which part of the text is not necessary to the foundation?”
In other words,
“Which part of the text is UN-necesary?”
These may sound like stupid questions, but they are not. Every single day, God’s word is ignored, discarded, and/or deemed unnecessary by people in the assemblies. It is done several different ways:
Some of God’s word is replaced by man-made doctrines that twist and pervert that word into something else. Some of God’s word is discarded as a matter of conscience. Some of God’s word is ignored as not-applicable. Some of God’s word is abandoned in pursuit of “I think” and “I feel.” When this happens, the foundation of morality and absolutes given by the Creator cracks. When the foundation of God’s word cracks, fear of a Holy God and the words He gave us so that we would have that fear become nothing more than words that we can choose to accept or reject based upon how and what we think or feel about those words.
If ALL of the words of God are not necessary, then NONE of them are!
In other words, if the word of God is not a tangible foundation and a defining testimony of what the Creator values concerning mankind and what He abhors, then His word is nothing more than shifting sand. If God’s word is nothing more than shifting sand, then the parts that are not liked can be ignored:
Worldly people can ignore the parts condemning worldliness . . .
Homosexuals can ignore the parts condemning homosexuality . . .
Thieves can ignore the parts condemning thievery . . .
Prideful people can ignore the parts condemning pridefulness . . .
Gossips can ignore the part condemning Lashon Ha-Ra . . .
Accusers can ignore the part about not keeping lists of wrongs against another . . .
Self-Righteous people can ignore the parts condemning being self-righteous . . .
Angry people can ignore the parts condemning being angry . . .
Evil people can ignore the parts condemning being evil . . .
Murderers and abortionists can ignore the parts condemning murder . . .
Hypocrites can ignore the parts condemning hypocrisy . . .
Liars can ignore the parts condemning lying . . .
Divorcées can ignore the parts condemning divorce . . .
People having sex outside of marriage can ignore the parts condemning having sex outside of marriage . . .
More importantly, people can ignore the 2 most important commands – the command that all of the Torah and all of the Prophets are dependent on:
They can ignore the command to Love God with all we have . . .
They can ignore the command within that command to teach our children carefully . . .
They can ignore the command about not bearing a grudge . . .
They can ignore the command to love our neighbor as ourself . . .
Mattityahu (Matthew) 22:40 (CJB)
40 All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
If we as believers can ignore those foundational building blocks of the text, the 2 commands that Yeshua (Jesus) said the rest of the text is dependent on, then we can ignore anything. In doing so, we no longer fear God because when we pick and choose which parts of the text we accept and don’t accept:
WE are the ones defining what Holy is at that point – NOT our Father in heaven.
If we choose to do that, if we choose to approach God’s word that way, then Holy becomes nothing more than shifting sand as well, and we become nothing more than fools.