When you’re driving, do you continue to check your speed? What do you do when you check a speed limit sign?
A speed limit sign cannot make you stop speeding. A speed limit sign cannot make you speed up. A speed limit sign can only tell what the authorities have set as the maximum speed for the area.
The law enforcement agency in charge of that area may have some grace about being a little over. If a lot of people are going over, they might let it go. If a person is weaving in and out of traffic and going over the speed limit, they may likely end up with a citation.
While the Scriptures are the word of God, they are also similar to speed limit signs. There is guidance and wisdom in the Scriptures. There are many warnings. People can (and do) choose to do their own thing.
God is not looking for rote obedience, obedience for obedience’s sake, or obedience for a reward. God desires obedience out of love.
Take the eunuchs. In Deuteronomy 23:1, eunuchs were banned from joining the assembly of God. That doesn’t mean that they could not (or did) not worship God, but that they could not participate in any Temple aspect, including the sacrificial offerings.
At the time, this was likely a response to the cultures (such as Egypt) that had eunuchs as ministers and in charge of harems. This would further separate the Israelites from other peoples.
By the time of Isaiah, things hadn’t really changed in the surrounding cultures. Also, people would often seek power and influence or were sent (e.g., political hostages) to foreign powers and were made eunuchs. Isaiah overthrows the concept of Deuteronomy, insofar as relationship with God is primary.
In Jewish tradition, Isaiah is sometimes elevated over Moses and Isaiah (according to Jewish tradition) reduced the 10 Commandments to 2, justice and mercy. A faithful eunuch who pursued justice and mercy would give true life to others. The ability to produce children was outweighed by a faithful heart.
The eunuchs, then, were those who saw the speed limit signs and obeyed, rather than those that Ezekiel (and Isaiah) spoke of/to that disregarded the ways of God.
This is, in some small way, a foreshadow of the Gentiles. The Gentiles could not add to the tribe of Israel (for they weren’t of the blood). However, they could add to the Kingdom of God by living for God.
Holy Spirit, guide us into all Truth. Especially guide and guard us in regard to justice and mercy. Amen.
1) Take any issue (not a person or political party) right now. What would be just and merciful in that situation? If there is more than one side to that issue, what would be just and merciful all sides?
2) Taking that same issue, trying (and it’s hard) to look at it from God’s perspective, what might God’s idea of justice and mercy be? Which “side” of the above does that match? Which “side” are you on?
3) Why is the concept of giving Godly/spiritual life—rather than biological life—rated so important?