Read Deuteronomy 8:1-10
Did you know that laws make it illegal . . .
for monsters to enter the corporate limits of Urbana, Illinois?*
- for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals kept as pets in Zion, Illinois?*
- to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket in Lexington, Kentucky?*
- for the clergy to tell jokes or humorous stories from the pulpit during church services in Nicholas County, West Virginia?*
- to carry a concealed weapon that exceeds six feet in length in Seattle?*
Did you know that one blessing for which to give thanks is God’s Law?
Often we don’t appreciate the law. Earning a speeding ticket is one example. We forget that speed limits are based, ostensibly, on safety factors rather than revenue projections. Speed limits and other laws supposedly protect us—sometimes from others, sometimes from ourselves!
God’s Laws were (and are) meant to protect us too. Or, to put a positive spin on the Law, it tells us how to please God and live happily now and ever after. Many are the reasons for thanking God for His Law.
God’s Law is based on divine wisdom. Sometimes our legislators create laws based upon personal gain, prejudice, or public pressure. Not so with God. Why? Because He is God! He created the universe, loves His creation, and knows what is good for it.
God’s Law leaves no surprises. Were God fickle, malicious, or capricious, He wouldn’t tell us what He expects, or He would change His expectations at will. When people first asked God how to be His people, He provided ten Laws, which were prime examples of legislative genius. They covered everything in ten broad strokes. And what were the two general themes of the Law? Loving God and loving others!
God’s Law shows us our sins. One might argue that uncovering sins isn’t a pleasant experience. So repulsive is the experience that we often fail to recognize our own sinfulness, while, simultaneously, we have uncanny skill at recognizing the sins of others. (Especially when our sinful behavior closely parallels that of others!) Yet, the revealing of our sinfulness remains something for which to thank God.
God’s Law shows us the need for a Savior. Guilt over sins would be unbearable or subject to debate and denial were it not for Jesus. Knowing our inability to live according to the Law, God did not send the police to arrest us but a Savior to take away our sins. If we didn’t know our need for a Savior, we wouldn’t know our need for Jesus. And that would be eternally fatal.
Thanksgiving is an occasion to thank God for many things. Most of those things involve our safety or pleasure: home, food, family, job, turkeys (the fowl rather than the foul), and so forth. Just ask your students. They recognize God’s goodness in countless gifts they enjoy. But remind them of the gift of God’s Law. And don’t stop there! Tell them that the Law reminds us of our need to depend on Jesus, who suffered, died, and rose to take away our sins.
Prayer Thought: Thank God for the Law. Thank God for Jesus. (You expected something else?)
Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.
Director of Publications & Communications
© 2001 Lutheran Education Association
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