The Bible is not a book of rules, but it has a lot of them, and they are good for keeping us safe. That’s what I love about Christianity: We know exactly what God wants from us and what will happen if we obey and if we don’t.
You won’t find this more graphically laid out than in Deuteronomy 28, which spells out clearly the blessings on obedience and the curses on disobedience. Here is what you can expect from God if you obey His instructions: blessings in the city, in the country, when you come in and when you go out; blessings on your basket and your kneading bowl and on your livestock and on the fruit of your body and on your emotions, etc.
Here is what you can expect from God if you elect to ignore His instructions: You will be cursed in the city, in the country, when you come in and when you go out; curses on your basket and your kneading bowl and on your livestock and on the fruit of your body and on your emotions, etc.
Some Christians believe that God gives commands only to show us that we cannot keep them, but this is not God’s attitude as conveyed in the Bible. The commands of God are for our safety and protection:
“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live … to keep you from the forbidden woman …” (Proverbs 7:1-5).
I like the following passage from the late actress Jane Russell’s autobiography.It concerns the time she had a botched and nearly fatal back-alley abortion at age 19, and her Christian mother took care of her:
“Mom had to be upset but, as usual, she was her totally calm self. She prayed for me and read the Bible. Every morning as I looked out on her beautiful garden, all I could see was the good Lord and how much He loved me in spite of myself. Mother said, ‘Daughter, the Ten Commandments are like the guardrails on the mountain passes. The Lord puts those white guardrails there to protect you, not to restrict you. Now if you crash through, you go over the side, but if you give Him all the pieces, He’ll put you back together.’ I did, and He slowly healed me. I had an infection and went for treatment every morning. Then I spent the rest of the day in bed. No one, but no one, could ever tell me again that there wasn’t a God and that I didn’t need Him.”
Praise God for his rules for living, His guardrails for the protected life:
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71).