I am currently reading Leviticus in my One Year Chronological Bible. Pretty hefty stuff. Leviticus is the book discussing laws set before the Israelites, as spoken through Moses. I am on the part where God was telling the Israelites, through Moses, what they could eat (like sheep), and what they could not eat (like pigs). It also discusses what kinds of skin diseases required separation from the camp. This was taking place after the Israelites were led from Egypt, and Moses had been given the 10 commandments.
Now I loooove bacon! And eat it often too. We no longer are commanded not to eat it either, because Jesus fulfilled the law, which we couldn’t do alone (Galatians 3 and Romans 7). But I imagine that God was telling the Israelites not to eat certain foods for their own health, not because He didn’t want them to enjoy bacon. I mean times were different back then, and perhaps they would have gotten an illness from eating pig. Along the same lines, I think God thought it best if people with diseases remained outside the camp walls so they couldn’t spread their illness to others. Again, God setting boundaries to protect His people, not to keep good things from them. Of course bacon being “good” is all relative.
But I just want to take today to say “thank you God.” Thank you for having rules for us, as any good parent would. I know you do not want to keep any good thing from me. What you really want is to give me the best. And you know that I am the safest and happiest when I follow your laws. Francis Chan explains this a bit in his Just Stop and Think video if you start watching at 3:40. (The whole video is amazing if you have the time to check it out though. You won’t be sorry you did! His book Crazy Love is amazing too!)
I mean you made me! You would know what’s best for me. You know every beat of my heart, everything that saddens me, everything I long for, and it is your desire to fulfill these longings. It wasn’t until I entered into this relationship with you, that I realized this can only be done through your son Jesus. I had stepped way outside of your boundaries. I looked every place but up to satisfy that deep longing for “something more.” I get it now, and I know that deep longing for something more is part of your plan, because there is something more–Heaven. We get there through Jesus (John 14:6).
But back to the point though. What kind of parent would I be without setting boundaries for my children? Not a very good one. Without your boundaries, it would be hard to know you really cared for me. Chip Ingram paints a beautiful picture of this in his study Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships. He talks about a Dad that lives in an apartment complex near a busy highway. The dad set boundaries for his son–where he could ride his bike and where he couldn’t– not to be mean, but to keep him safe. And yes that dad also had to discipline his child when he tried to go outside of those boundaries. Imagine if he didn’t do that. It wouldn’t be long before his child ended up seriously injured or even dead.
In the same way, God, you have set boundaries that keep me safe and happy. The bible is full of commands for us, and I have broken many! I will probably break many more! But I thank You that your son paid the price for my transgressions. And I know, with your help, I will get better at keeping your commands and be better off for it. For You that started a good work in me will complete it (Philippians 1:6).
::Lord, help me also to set God-honoring boundaries for my children. This is so tough to do, especially when the discipline that comes alongside can be painful for them. No mother wants their children to hurt, for any reason. But like that little boy on the bike had to feel the sting of discipline, and I have had to feel the sting of your discipline, and my children have felt the sting of mine, I know in the end, like you, I only want what is best for my children. And it is always done out of love. Thank you for disciplining me out of love::