“In your observance of the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.” Deuteronomy 4:2
If there was ever a definition created of God’s will, this is it. The perfection of God’s will is nothing to be contended with- no human hand that can give or take away from it. As we have been stripped from the daily normalcy of life and possess an even more invaluable sense of our faith we must ask ourselves this question- have I become my own god?
The readings today all flow from the same theme- God’s perfect law. This law, was what God gave to His people, the Jewish people, in order to separate them from the rest of the nations.
The rule of law was not meant to create a burden, but instead to create a bond
This relationship was embraced by some but made into legalism by others. The 613 commandments of God multiplied as scholars, rabbis and others got involved in creating the more or the less. Instead of shabbat becoming simply a day of rest to be with God and to worship Him, shabbat became a set of rules about what defines “work.” Today, there are a variety of legalistic definitions for this.
Had the people simply meditated on this scripture they would have seen how perfect it was
As a Jewish girl myself, I grappled with these things. I attended a conservative synagogue which would be considered the “middle,” but never understood how there could be a “middle” to obeying God’s law. In my initial stages of seeking truth, my natural response was to look at Orthodox Judaism first as an option, until I quickly realized that there were more rules than love and more additions then necessary to God’s already perfect law. I also could not understand how a covenant people called to be His own lived away from the world, and not in the world, sharing the love of God that they themselves experienced.
What moved my heart the most during my journey was the desire to share the love of God in a way that people understood. I did not and could not believe that my God did not love all of His creatures, that His love was infinite and not just for the Jewish people. I had no knowledge of Christianity, Jesus or the church, I simply felt a call to the God of my youth, as I explored where He was in a broader sense.
The Torah gave me a foundation for my faith and Jesus gave me an explanation
And I love what author Matthew Kelly has to say about this concept of what we need as human beings to seek truth:
“Our hearts, minds and souls are not satisfied with answers that are quoted at us by rote. We long for deeply personal answers to our deeply personal questions.” –Rediscover the Saints
Our spiritual journeys are deeply our own, but we will never be able to understand God’s call unless we first understand His truth. Start with the ten commandments and go from there. Read the Old Testament piece by piece. Understand it. Because without the Old Testament, you will never understand why Jesus came or who He is. You will never understand your Christian faith.
As you sit and ponder His law, whether it’s one sentence a day or one chapter a day, you may realize that you yourself have added or subtracted from God’s requirements. Now is a good time, a very acceptable time to reconcile that to God, to live the way God tells you to live and not some version of it that you created yourself.
I am sorry that I have not taken the time to know what you have to say in your precious Word. During this time of crisis in our world, I ask that I turn to you alone for answers which I know are found in your Holy Word. Send down your Holy Spirit to help me understand things that I don’t understand, and give me the supernatural grace to want to read and participate in your salvation story. Help me to seek others who have the gift of teaching so that I may understand and live your Word, and then teach it to others myself. I thank you for the gift of your son who fulfilled the law, and who loves me so that I can sacrificially love others.
In Your Holy Name I pray,