June 16: 13 Sivan
In the previous devotion we spoke of how the world wants change while the Creator calls for mankind to return to Him. Through the Scripture we understand that, repentance – to return – is the first step that leads to restoration. And as we shared previously, God is restoring all things, as opposed to changing all things. In fact, an indication that He is “restoring all things” is the great interest many believers have in the Hebrew Roots of their faith. Some have dubbed this interest in Hebrew roots as the Restoration Movement. This movement has not been without its share of controversy and one of the main points of contention has been this: are Christians supposed to keep the commandments contained in the Old Testament?
While I certainly believe that we are to be obedient to the Word of God, we must keep in mind that, according to Christ, the two greatest commandments are:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
All things contained in Scripture are important and should not be discredited or diminished in any way. However, every commandment written in Scripture doesn’t have anything to hang onto if we don’t love God with all our heart and if we don’t love our fellow man. Therefore, the point for today is that Restoration shouldn’t be defined, exclusively, as returning to things that are Hebraic in nature nor should it be limited to returning to His commandments. Restoration should be defined as returning to Him, first and foremost. If we return to Him because we love Him, then we should want to obey His Word. We should keep in mind that Scripture reveals there have always been those who kept His commandments, but who didn’t really know Him. Religious people always present themselves as His followers but He knows if their hearts are in it:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men” (Isaiah 29:13)
Even today, there are those who observe the commandments as a religious exercise but who, according to Jesus, do not have the love of God in them. They search the Scriptures, but for some reason, it doesn’t bring them to the intended conclusion. And so, today, I want to stress the importance of what Restoration truly is. Its more than learning about Hebraic things and its more than returning to His commandments. Restoration is about returning to Him, because we love Him. And because we love Him, we commit ourselves to walking in obedience to Him. That’s what the Messiah said is supposed to happen: “If you love me, then keep My commandments.”