DIVINE LAW

Psalm 1:1-2; Proverbs 16:25

 

I.INTRO.

A.in the Bible we have what is called divine law; on the other hand, we also have what is called moral law

1.in the divine law there are divine institutions, divine requirements or divine commandments

2.moral law relates to that which is right in itself, and requires things to be done because they have always been right

a)the things that moral law requires can be seen to be right in the reason, but not because of any authority that requires them

b)they are seen to be right because nature says so

c)it has always been right to speak the truth, and wrong to speak a lie

d)moral law requires this because nature says it is right, and forbids the latter because it is wrong

e)the same is true of all moral requirements; they are all required because they are right

B.divine law is of a higher order than this

1.divine law has the force to make that right which is not right intrinsically in itself

a)divine law is the highest test of respect for divine authority known to man

b)divine law is also the greatest trial of faith ever applied to man

c)divine law is intended to penetrate into the heart, and try the heart, and our devotion to God

2.the man who obeys a commandment, when he cannot see that the thing commanded will do any good, does it in respect to divine authority; does it to please God; does it because God commands it

a)this is especially true when it is pretty clearly that the commandment cannot do any good in itself

b)this behavior is of faith; and it is devotion to God

c)this behavior rises above mere morality, philosophy, or the pleasure of man, into the pure region of faith, confidence in the wisdom of God, and submission to the supreme authority

d)this man in his heart says, "It must be done, because the absolute authority requires it"

C.there are three levels of testing in the divine law, the last being greatest trial of faith

1.to obey when we can not see that the thing commanded can do any good in itself

2.to obey when we can see pretty clearly that the thing commanded cannot do any good in itself

3.to obey when we can see that the thing commanded is clearly wrong in itself, morally speaking

4.these levels of testing try the state of our heart, our faith, and our devotion to Him who commanded it

a)the test is greater, and the trial more severe, when we can clearly see that the thing commanded cannot do any good in itself

b)the test is greatest, and the trial of faith most severe, when we can see that the thing commanded is clearly wrong in itself, but made right by the force of the absolute authority

II.SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE THAT ILLUSTRATES THIS PRINCIPLE

A.the Passover lamb in Exodus 12:1-13

1.the promise given to Israel was that the Lord would pass through the land and destroying the first-born, but He would pass over every house where the blood was sprinkled on the door-post

2.no one could see any connection between the thing commanded to be done, and the end result

3.modern doctors and theologians would have had many irreverent questions, if they could have inquired of Moses

a)do you think there is any saving value in the blood of a lamb, to save the life of the first-born

b)why apply the blood to the door-post; cannot the Lord see which houses the Israelites were in without the blood on the doorpost

c)why must it be a lamb without blemish; could not the Lord save the first-born without this outward ceremony

4.unbelieving and hard-hearted, as many of the Jews were; it does not appear that anyone was skeptical enough to come before Moses with such rebellious talk

a)they believed God, regarded His wisdom, and did what He commanded, without inquiring what good it would do

b)they believed God, and had confidence in His wisdom and goodness; that He was wise enough to know what to command, and good enough to command that which ought to be done

c)they never ask why He commanded it, or why He did not require something else; but took it for granted that what He commanded was sufficient for them

d)they obeyed because He commanded it, and not because they could see why He commanded it

5.how did it turn out in the end - Exodus 12:29

a)at midnight, the first-born in every house where the blood was not sprinkled on the door-posts was dead

b)the first-born in every house where the blood was sprinkled on the doorpost was saved alive

c)where there was obedience, life was preserved and salvation was enjoyed; where there was disobedience, death came and there was no salvation

d)this is an awful warning to all who ask, "what good will it do to keep God’s commands”

B.there is a statute in the law that forbids any man, except a Levite, from touching the ark of the covenant

1.the penalty for violating this law was death

2.here was a test of respect for divine authority, and a trial of faith

a)no one could see why it should not be touched, other then the Lord forbid it, and declared that he who touched it should die

b)this is enough for the man of faith

c)faith requires that it be observed; unbelief ask, "what harm is it to touch it"

(1)the spirit of disobedience says that touching the ark is only an outward act, a mere external performance, and has nothing to do with the heart

(2)the spirit of disobedience says if a man is sincere, will he not be accepted of the Lord without doing the precise thing commanded

3.how did it turned out; what do the result reveal - 2 Samuel 6:6-7

a)here was man who was friendly to the ark, and when he saw it shaking and in danger of falling, put his hand against the ark to keep it from falling, though he was not a priest

b)the moment he touched it he fell dead

c)here is a warning concerning good intentions, in doing what God forbids

(1)it did not matter that he was friendly to the ark; that he was honest; that he meant it well; that he aimed to save the ark from falling

(2)he was caring for the ark, but he was not minding the commandment of the Lord

(3)his good intentions led him to ruin and made an example of him

(4)here is a warning that our good intentions should not lead us to disobey God’s commands

(5)he followed his own wisdom, and not the wisdom of God

C.what would we do, if we came to a commandment that seems to be in direct conflict with moral law

1.the question is not whether it occurred, or can occur, but what would we do in a case of that kind

2.such a case occurred when God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac - Genesis 22:1-2

a)it was wrong to kill, and worse to kill a child, and worst to kill an only child

b)this man was no hardened Pagan, trained to do human sacrifices; but a man whose whole training said that this was wrong

c)what a reasonable speech Abraham might have made, excusing himself from doing what was commanded

(1)he might have argued that to perform this commandment would frustrate the promise of God

(2)then he could speak of how it is contrary to the moral law; that it is wrong to kill

(3)that his parental affection, which God had implanted in him, forbids that this thing should be done

d)Abraham did not use any such reasoning; no such unbelieving talk falls from his lips

(1)God had spoken; there was only one way, that which was commanded must be done

(2)there is no account of him consulting his wife, to find out what she thought of it; He listened to only one thing, the voice of God

(3)there is no inquiring whether some other way would do as well; He calls Isaac to his side

(4)this man is an example of faith

(a)his faith was not the kind that objects, criticizes, or evades the commands of God

(b)he had a living, active and glorious faith that moves right on as the Lord commands

D.Naaman is another example of this principle - 2 Kings 5:1-14

1.he was a captain, whose worldly surroundings were favorable; but he was a leper

2.when Naaman arrived at the door of the prophet, the prophet never went out

a)Elisha was a different kind of prophet then many in our day, or he would have gone out, and bowed before the captain, and had plans to get a big pile of his money

b)Elisha sent a messenger out and told him to "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean" - 2 Kings 5:10

3.the captain was insulted and angered by this - 2 Kings 5:11-12

4.his servants saw the folly of the captain, and preached to him a short but excellent sermon - 2 Kg 5:13

5.there was never a commandment with the appearance of a non-essential, more than this one

a)no one could see how dipping in Jordan could heal leprosy, nor why he must dip seven times

b)he was not to be healed when he dipped once, nor twice, but seven times

c)when the Lord requires certain steps to be taken to obtain an end, it is never obtained until the last step is taken

6.the prophet of God had something in view more than to simply heal a leper

a)he wanted Naaman to know that the God of Israel was the true God - 2 Kings 5:15

b)by this event, Naaman did not learn the great value of the waters in the Jordan, or the value of dipping in Jordan, but that there was a great God in Israel, above all gods

c)Naaman carried the name of the God of Israel home with him, and honored that name among his people

E.there are many other examples as well

1.the serpent of brass that was raised up on a pole - Numbers 21:8

2.Israel marching around Jericho, the blowing of the trumpets, and the shout of the people - Josh 6:1-27

3.in all these transactions there is reason for following the instructions of God, in full confidence that whatever He promises, He will most certainly perform

F.one command that we all must consider is repeatedly given throughout the Bible – John 3:16

1.does a sinner desire what is promised; if he does, there is one commandment to follow:  believe

2.the supreme and absolute authority has appointed this as the way to forgiveness and eternal life

3.the difficulty is between the supreme authority who commands it, and the human will

a)either the supreme authority must be set aside, or the human will must submit

b)the commandment has the salvation of the sinner in it

c)God has ordained only one way in which He will offer the sinner His grace, remission of sins, the imparting of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of everlasting life

d)will the sinner come to this commandment in faith, repentance and love, and receive all this by submitting to the appointment of God

4.how noble it is to yield to the divine will; to let our will be swallowed up in the will of God

a)when the soul is in the "spirit of obedience," it is easy to find the right way and walk in it

b)let us in humility, love, and submission to our Heavenly King, walk in the right way; for in the end, we will be brought to the enjoyment of His everlasting kingdom