Thou Shalt Not…..
“And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'”
Genesis 2:16 & 17 (NIV)
Many people consider the religion of the Bible to be nothing more than a long list of “thou shalt not…”-Restrictions and imposition, designed to make life more miserable.
Is it any wonder?
The first thing God is recorded as saying to the newly created man Adam is to forbid him from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
There are many more of these restrictions in the Bible.
Why should people want to serve a God that keeps telling them what they can’t do?
People who imagine that the Bible is just full of commands that spoil people’s fun have only a superficial understanding of its content.
What they haven’t considered is that these restrictions are for our protection. Most people realise that telling lies will eventually cause more damage than telling the truth.
Adultery damages lives; the wronged partner; the children; the extended family.
And so on.
Most people take heed when they see a danger sign.
If there’s a sign on an electricity pylon that says “KEEP OFF, DANGER OF DEATH”, most people will make sure to avoid it.
Only the foolhardy would ignore the sign.
As the Bible says in Proverbs 22:3 (niv), “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
Sometimes we perhaps can’t see the danger, but the sign should be sufficient warning.
The restrictions that some people see in the Bible are simply the warning signs that tell us there is danger ahead.
We can disregard the signs but we must take the consequences when we’re hurt.
If Adam had heeded the warning that God had given him, humanity would now be living in paradise.
God doesn’t forbid anything that’s good.
We need to heed God’s warnings and realise that they don’t fence us in; they fence off the danger areas so that we can have the best life possible.
Father in heaven, help us to understand that you warn us, in love, of the dangers we face. Thank you that you are the Almighty God with all knowledge and wisdom and understanding to know what is right for us. Help us to trust your judgement and not our own.
In Jesus’ name.
Study by Jim Robertson