Deuteronomy 31:12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns—so that they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.
This was one thing the Israelites obviously failed to do, because there were times in the nation’s history that even the king didn’t know what was in the law. (2 Kings 22) One of the founding principles of any legal system is that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Moses knew that, and was doing what he could to prevent such ignorance. Back in those days, so long before the invention of the printing press, written material in general was rare, so Moses mandated mass meetings to let everyone hear. Today, hundreds of years after the invention of the printing press and now with instant and overwhelming electronic communication, it would seem that the situation would be entirely different. However, human hearts haven’t changed, and that is the biggest issue. It does no good to know the law if you aren’t disposed to do it! That’s why Moses spoke of “fearing the Lord.” We can get tied in knots over defining the word, fear, but the point is that we have to recognize God for who He is before we will relate rightly to Him in obedience to all He says. That actually is a factor in civil law enforcement as well. As recent events in the US have shown, simply knowing that the law is going to be enforced drastically cuts down on the number of people violating it. We have such trouble really believing that no one ever “gets away with” violating God’s laws! The better we do understand that, the more we will want to know His laws so that we will gain the benefits of being in line with them.
I certainly can’t claim ignorance of the law, but that doesn’t mean I’m perfect in my obedience. I’m as much in need of God’s grace as anyone. That said, I am in the position of teaching God’s Word to others, so that they too may understand and apply it. I must be careful that I don’t teach others and then ignore the Word myself! That has come out again and again in recent days. I can share God’s Word with people, but I can’t force them to receive it. The old “leading a horse to water” saying is never more true than in my occupation. I am to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 5:14) as well as model it, demonstrating by my life that it is reliable. I must never claim, much less think or feel, that I’ve “arrived,” that I’ve got it all together, (Philippians 3:12-14) but rather walk with people as together we grow into what God intends us to be.
Father, thank You for this further reminder. This theme has come up a lot recently. May I be increasingly effective in communicating Your Word and increasingly faithful in obeying it, so that it may indeed accomplish everything for which You send it, in and through me and my hearers, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!