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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 06 August 2015

GREAT THINGS OF GOD’S LAW

By Jim Jordal

“I have written for him the great things of my law, but they were considered a strange thing.”                                                                                        Hosea 8:12 NKJV

In this short epistle of sadness, God tells the prophet Hosea that He has written to Ephraim (the largest tribe in Israel, thus usually representing all of Israel) the great things of my law, but they have responded, not with obedience and joy over God’s favor, but by considering these veritable truths of God’s mind as a strange, unwelcome thing.

May Christians might ask at this point, what exactly are these “great things” of God’s law. So it is my purpose today to identify some of these bedrock truths of scripture, mainly from the Old Testament where they are designated as law.

The most predominant of these great bedrock truths was illustrated by the great rabbi Hillel who, when asked by a student to explain the Torah (the law found in the first five books of our Bible), said: “That which is hateful to you do not do to another. That is the whole law. The rest is commentary.”  Jesus said it another way---love our neighbors as ourselves---but meant the same thing.

Another of these bedrock truths of Scripture is that God is not pleased by our attempts at worship unless they are accompanied by obedience to his will as found in the law. Isaiah, speaking for God, perhaps said it best: “Your New Moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they are a trouble to me, I am weary of hearing them….cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice…” (Isa. 1:14-16). In other words, do what I say and then I will be pleased by your worship and pageantry.

Another verity of God’s law is that consequences follow actions, good or bad, by government and its leaders. Obedience to God’s will brings peace and prosperity, while sinful disobedience begets disaster.  Please understand that we’re not speaking of personal sins of omission and commission, but of national sin committed by leaders in the course of the ruling process. Many Christians believe that God forgives personal sin as it occurs. I won’t argue that point now, but I will say that history reveals thousands of wars, famines, and other disasters resulting from sinful acts of government. Some would say that God angrily reacts by “pushing the disaster button,” while others would say that God didn’t do It; we did it to ourselves. Whatever or whoever the instigator, the suffering resulted from national sin.

The last bedrock truth for today is that biblical Jubilee represents God’s will for the principles and rules of the economic system under which we seek to prosper and raise our families in peace and plenty. Jubilee is literally the operating system for the Kingdom of God on Earth. There’s more to Jubilee than economics, but the emphasis is on financial systems and their potential to either bless or curse the common people and to allow the nation to prosper.

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself why it is that some nations (the U.S. is an example) are founded on virtually nothing, but succeed in transforming themselves into economic giants able to trade around the earth and bring prosperity to their people. Others cannot seem to ever get the idea of what beliefs or behaviors will lead to national success, and so wander in the mire of national failure seemingly forever.

The difference according to some researchers is that failed nations grow from the principle of extraction, as in extracting resources from their nation and people for the pleasure of an autocratic ruling class. Successful nations seem to understand and use the idea of sharing for the benefit of all. Much of our national angst today rises from the appropriation of excessive returns to the owning class, and denial of the fruits of their labor to workers.