Jesus sums up all the commands of God into two things: love God and love your neighbour. Instead of loving God and loving our neighbours, we choose whom to love and we choose when to love. We decide who is worthy and not, nullifying the grace of God…
22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.
The Lord is angry with the people of Judah for ignoring his commands and his ways. Sometimes we think the commands of God are onerous and heavy and impossible to keep. The rules and laws are too much with all the washings and offerings and sacrifices. Well, God boils it down to some very specific observations in Jeremiah 7 to help Judah see their problem.
He takes the commands about all the sacrifices and burnt offerings off the table and reminds them that this is really about obedience. God speaks to us and we are to obey.
Today, the Holy Spirit is our messenger to remind us of God’s commands to us, which come through the teaching of Jesus. We have it. It’s simple for us. In fact, Jesus sums up all the commands of God into two things: love God and love your neighbour (Matthew 22:37-39).
Love God and love your neighbour.
But the people of Judah didn’t listen or pay attention to God’s commands. Instead they followed the stubborn leanings of their hearts. Instead of loving God and loving our neighbours, we choose whom to love and we choose when to love, don’t we? We are very often partial in our love.
This is going backward and not forward.
When we see the accusation of Judah going backward and not forward, think about where we stand in Christ. We are free and covered completely by his grace. And yet, we go backward in holding people to standards which do not apply to us, we arbitrarily determine who is worthy and not, and we nullify the grace of God in the process.
God’s command to us today is to love him and love our neighbour.
Will you choose to go forward in obedience and not backward?