Ethics: The Rules Of God’s Kingdom
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” - (Genesis 2:16–17)
God’s covenants are also ethically established. By ethical I mean that God’s covenants have specific guidelines, or rules, that govern them.
In the garden of Eden, God gave Adam a guideline to follow. God told him, “These are the rules of My kingdom. If you are going to reign here under Me, these are the rules you must obey. If you disobey My rules, you will suffer the consequences.”
God has built a cause-effect relationship into His covenant rules. If you follow His rules, you get His benefits. If you follow your way, you lose His benefits and come under His penalties.
God told Joshua, “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7, emphasis added).
Joshua listened to what God told him. He and his leaders did what God told them, and Israel gained the Promised Land. But in the very next book of the Bible, the book of Judges, the people failed to do what God said and suffered round after round of judgments. What’s true for a nation regarding a covenant is also true for an individual. When you rebel against the covenant’s regulations, you lose, because there is a cause- effect relationship. It has nothing to do with whether you like God’s rules. It’s not your kingdom. If you want to operate by your own rules, then you need to go out and create your own world. But as long as you are in God’s world, where God has set the rules, you must abide by His rules or you become a rebel against His kingdom government.
Reflection: Why is it important that God’s covenant is ethical? What are some of the foundational moral realities in God’s covenant? Why does God have the right to set the rules for what is right and what is wrong? Are there any areas of His law where you find yourself resisting and disagreeing with His call?
You have promised me success, Lord, if I will not turn to the right or the left of Your word just like you told Joshua. I want that in my life. Give me the grace to stay on track.