Why So Many Laws and Rules? — Deuteronomy 6:1-9

We tend to think the Old Testament has a lot of laws and rules, but probably every human government on the face of the earth makes that many new laws every year. For the most part, if everyone obeyed just two or three of God’s laws, many of these rules and new rules made by human governments would be unnecessary.

Following these three laws or rules would save a lot of human rule-making: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might;” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD;” and “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 7:12). Many laws in the Bible help people understand how to apply the Law of Love (the Moral Law) in specific situations. Many laws have educational value; such as, the 10 Commandments that teach specifically what love should and should not do and some of the consequences of disobeying God, our Creator.

Many laws and rules have educational value that teach us how to live so we can enjoy life to the fullest extent possible. Games such as Monopoly have rules that teach people how to play the game and keep people from cheating; if players change or add new rules, they usually benefit everyone equally and make the game more enjoyable for all. In the Bible, God has given us unchangeable moral laws that benefit everyone equally when they are obeyed, and which make life more enjoyable for all — adding to or subtracting from God’s Law of Love (the moral laws) will always do harm and hurt someone. Our infinite Creator has a perspective on life and what is best for human beings that is beyond our finite abilities; therefore, God has revealed the moral laws in the Bible for our good.

Governments (and many organizations) make new laws every year to restrain people from doing what is not ethical, not moral, not right, to restrain people from doing what they would not like others to do to them, and to restrain people from hurting themselves (and always in some way hurting others). Unfortunately, many new laws must be written every year to restrain those who think whatever they need to do to succeed or win or have pleasure or get rich is right.

Today, in some areas of business, politics, sports, and other endeavors, some people think it is okay to cheat to win; therefore, new laws with consequences for disobedience and some type of policing function need to be made and enforced to stop cheating. When cheating begins to prevail, and the cheaters always seem to succeed; then, trust in a business, a political party or system, or in a sports team is eroded with corresponding consequences.

For example, some football teams have been using “fake injuries” to cheat, to rest their team between plays rather than call a timeout to win the game. So, eventually, some new rules will need to be written to make this type of cheating less common. But when a team, coaches, and players become known for using “fake injuries” to win, they lose their reputation and the respect and trust of other teams, coaches, players, and fans. Not to mention the harm that might come to a player who is truly injured, but who keeps playing rather than be thought of “faking an injury” and possibly hurting his team. What if all (or even some) teams, coaches, and players took the Christian perspective and refused to do to other players and teams what they would not want done to them?

Until increasing numbers of people learn to restrain themselves from doing wrong and begin practicing the Law of Love and the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), increasing numbers of laws will need to be made which will eventually give people less freedom to rightly enjoy life as God created us to do.

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