The Ram Caught in the Thicket

raminthicketIs the Torah intended for our righteousness?  Is it the measure against which we are to demonstrate our obedience to God? What is its purpose?

No single group has exerted more effort seeking to keep the Law than ancient Israel and even the Jews of today.  Has it drawn them closer to God?  I would say and most would agree, demonstrably ‘no’.

We can look back at the thousands of years of history since the Law was first given and see that no one has drawn closer to God by keeping it.  Israel has failed in its pursuit of God through the keeping of rules.

And they will continue to fail, as will all humanity, anyone who tries to obey the Law and please God through their works.  If you are able to keep the Law perfectly (at least on the outside) as Paul claimed he did in Philippians 3:6, God knows your heart, and you still fail.

If we seek God by keeping the Law, we become more aware of our sin, not less.  This is the purpose of the Law–to make us aware of our need (Galatians 3).

God is holy, completely separate from sin. No one who is unclean can come near Him. Our hands are blood red.

As the OT tells us:

There is no one who does good.
The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand,
Who seek after God.
They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one

Jesus said in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus:

But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

What is it that Moses and the Prophets teach us?

There is no one who does good, not even one

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.

Abraham, who was justified by his faith according to Paul, was about to slay his promised son in obedience to YHWH God.  As he prepared to plunge the knife into his son, YHWH called out to Abraham to stop–YHWH, seeing Abraham’s faith, instead provided a ram caught up in a thicket of branches.  The ram was the substitutionary sacrifice for Abraham, and Isaac’s life was spared (Genesis 22)

Believe and receive what God has already provided for you, the perfect ram Yeshua caught in the thicket of the cross to which He was nailed, the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world.

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