The Whole Duty of Man

Numbers 19-20, Ecclesiastes 12


If only it were that easy.

For most people, much of the Old Testament is very difficult to read.  They’d rather just skip it. In fact, a lot of Christians and churches do.

But consider the following:
– The apostle Paul preached the gospel without the benefit of the gospels we read today.
– Jesus fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies throughout several books of the Bible.
– The Old Testament contains some of world’s greatest poetry, tragedies, and history.
– Part of the Old Testament is posted on several government buildings in the U.S. (for now).

We should all be reading the entirety of the Bible to gain a firm understanding of what we believe.  But I understand.  39 books, much of it being law, history, and prophecy. The New Testament has Jesus in it. It’s easy to favor one over the other. I get it.

So, Jesus made it simple for us: he sums up the Law and the Prophets in a mere pair of sentences.

35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Great, now I don’t have to worry about reading the chunky and more boring “half” of the Bible.

Clearly we know how to obey God by following this commandment — but did you know the meaning of life is actually defined in the Old Testament?

Solomon is frustrated with life; God has given him incomparable wisdom, and he discovers the fruitlessness of his endeavors as his life draws to a close. After a huge discourse on the great futile existence of man’s striving, he finishes the book with a memorable passage that we should all revisit when we get confused about what we’re doing here:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

There are two ultimate instructions to sum up everything we exist for:
– Fear God.
– Keep His commandments.

We’ve addressed keeping His commandments with the passage in Matthew.  I won’t go on with it.  This is a blog, not a Biblical studies thesis.

But what does it mean to fear God?  It certainly doesn’t mean being afraid of Him — although it seems like more people should be. If we believe the Lord is truly the God of the whole universe, it should warrant reverence outright.

Is it easy to fear God all the time and keep those two commandments as provided by Jesus?  By no means.  In fact, without the justification of Jesus Christ, it is completely impossible. But this is our ambition, and doing so is not meaningless.


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