Keeping commandments has untold affect toward us. Jesus often stressed the need for it and God too throughout the Law wanted His children to do it. People miss good things for not keeping the commandments. A situation or a person suddenly overcomes them and they feel the necessity to sidestep God’s laws. How sad! Yet, we have all failed in keeping His commandments and have seen the result of it however small it was. The reason God wishes we keep them is to see us secure and content, for it gives Him great pleasure and pride. Each time we fail His commandment it obviously grieves Him, but what we also do is cut off our legs from under us. We become insecure. God stops walking with us as before. And sadness becomes our canopy. Regardless of the situation, result and people we must be a people that keep the commandments. He who has the desire to live in joy strives for it. Our zeal should bother us for it every time our heart says to do otherwise. So, we come back to the commandments.
Notice the following verse. “Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Jesus is of concern here, not just anyone! Yet, the women rested as the Law demanded. Jesus died and was kept in the tomb. He was merely wrapped in a linen cloth and not embalmed. Since the Sabbath approached, they decided to keep the commandment and put off the work of embalming Him for a day. It is interesting to note that the women who followed Him tracked Him to the tomb. They intended to come back the day after Sabbath. They went home and prepared all the things necessary for His embalmment and kept the Sabbath according to the commandment. Now, Jesus rose up very early the next day and had no need for embalmment. As we read the Scripture we learn that these women came to the tomb early in the morning with the spices they readied to embalm Him. They were given a surprise! There was no Jesus in the tomb.
These women had great zeal to embalm the Lord, for they loved Him so dearly. Yet, they gave prominence to the commandment. They were in great sorrow for Him, not to ignore the others and the disciples. Yet, they paused for the commandment. After it was fulfilled they came to the tomb. And they received something better. They received Jesus back from the grave. It was much more to them than their spices. Jesus even told one them to inform His disciples about Him. She was the first to carry the gospel of His resurrection from the dead. Keeping commandments even under strenuous circumstances has better blessings and rewards.
What many do not realize and some do not wish to realize is that the commands are rewarding. Hence, Jesus said that His commandments are not burdensome. People quickly deviate from them fearing a situation or person or an impending result. Some look for a cause to deviate from them. Of these none can speak of. God gave the commandments so that we overcome all kinds of situations in a holy manner. If there were no commandments we would fall under the immense weight of those situations and forever crumble. Commandments are a sign that we can be victorious by the joy of God. They are a sign that bad situations will appear and that we have the perfect weapon to survive. They are of the highest morality which man cannot shape. Let’s say we lost something in preference of the commandment. God knows it! He intended it. He allowed it for a greater purpose with the intent of replacing our loss with something better. He never belittles us by His commandments. Jesus knew that if He kept God’s command He would die. But He also knew He will receive better things if He keeps it. And when He did keep it, as strenuous and excruciating it was, He received the reward.
Any uncomfortable situation will lead to grief. Yet, we ought not to make it a reason to sidestep God’s commandments. On the contrary, we must be more wary. When Paul spoke his final words to the elders of the church at Ephesus, they couldn’t bear it “grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the ship” (Acts 20:38). Separating from him was very painful for them. They’ve seen so much of God’s grace through him for two years, and to not have him would be like losing an arm and a leg. Yet, they were told to keep going in the Lord. Paul taught them to do it regardless of his absence.
Again, we become restless in times of need, i.e. our inner man. It is at these times we have the chance to set aside God’s purpose to us. But we are to move forward with God’s will knowing He will handle the consequences. Paul busily traveled for the gospel and at times felt a need for his companions. He did not always find them. He said, “I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia” (2 Cor. 2:13). He moved on with God’s will for him. Later his need was paid off by the joy God availed him for his work. He was led to triumph in his efforts for Christ for which he was able to thank God. You see, we may lose something at one place, but gain much through Christ elsewhere by not forfeiting the commandments.
Setting aside God’s commandments and running to find the comfort of the world can be excruciating. “While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). In the world we can never find peace and safety except running for them restlessly. Besides, destruction looms large. If we surrender to a situation or a result than to God’s commandments, the end of our effort will be a total failure and loss. But if we keep the commandments, we can stall our sorrows. See the Lord’s promise of reward. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it” (Rev. 2:17). What a blessing!
Let’s look at a simple formula for a secure and content life. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (Gal. 5:9). If we display zeal for commandments at every situation, our life will be with joy. On the other hand, if we set them aside every time we face a situation or an impending result, we will have sorrow after sorrow; we will never get to enjoy the true life in Christ Jesus. Again, if we begin to keep the commandments in one area of concern, we eventually get to a point where we do it in any area of concern; for the power is in the commandments. And if we neglect keeping them in one area, we can go to a point where we seek to hide from them all. Then, the following will be true in our case. “Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy’” (Matt. 22:8). We miss so many precious things in life!