“Obedience is better than Sacrifice”(1 Samuel 15:32)
Man cannot live in a society without laws. He needs them to rule his life so that he does not infringe on the rights of others. Any infringement or infraction of any law carries a penalty which must be paid. Most laws are man-made, evolving over time as their needs emerge. Some of these are: property law, criminal law, international law and family law. God in His wisdom gave man two laws by which to live: the Moral Law, i.e. the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law.
God, the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning, gave His chosen ones visions and wisdom to pass on knowledge to His chosen people so that they would avoid the pitfalls of the nations surrounding them. These nations followed idol worship which He forbade and were given to sacrificing their children and passing them over the fire.
God had commanded Moses to write laws governing how they were to behave on their various festivals and feast days and sacrifices He gave him messages to deliver to the Israelites as warnings, knowing their fickleness as evidenced in their sojourn through the wilderness after He delivered them from Pharaoh. They complained always, even though they saw how God accomplished mighty works in delivering them out of their bondage in Egypt. They experienced miracles that only a supernatural Power could have performed. Manna from Heaven, water from a rock, clothes and sandals lasting for forty years, shade from the sun by day and light to guide them by night were all manifestations of the Hand of a Supreme Being.
Moses was told to write the laws in the form of a song to teach to the children of Israel, that it may be a witness for God against the Israelites. God foreknew that they were going to be disobedient to His commands. Moses commanded the Levites, just prior to his death, to put these laws in a book and put them at the side of the Ark of the Covenant (Deut. 31:26). These laws were the sacrificial and ceremonial laws. statutes and ordinances, dealing with festival sabbaths and new moons and offerings (Colossians 2:16). God told Moses that the children of Israel would go after other gods and would forsake Him and break His covenant which He had made with them and His anger would be raised against them and He would turn His face away from them.
At the death of Jesus all sacrifices came to an end. The veil of the temple was rent in two, exposing the Holy of Holies and thus Jesus our High Priest would now make intercession for mankind. The unbelief resident in the minds of the Pharisees, the Chief Priests and Scribes that the Messiah was not Jesus prevented them from acknowledging all that the prophets foretold about Jesus in the Old Testament and that the Old Testament pointed to Him.
The apostle Paul was as zealous about bringing the unbelieving Jews to Christ as he was in bringing the Gentiles to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. It was to the Jews first that Christ came and even though the Scriptures, the Old Testament, (the New Testament was not written until well after His death) pointed to Him, these Jews, hardened in their unbelief, refused to accept Him as the Messiah.
Paul admonished the Jews for trying to get the converted Gentiles to keep the Mosaic Laws. He was explaining to them that these laws were done away with and nailed to the Cross (Colossians 2:14) at the death of Jesus who was the Sacrificial Lamb. Daniel’s prophecy concerning the death of the Messiah says, “But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”(Daniel 9:27) God gave the Mosaic Laws as a warning to the people about what would befall them if they were found transgressing the Moral Law (the Ten Commandments). These He ordered to be placed inside the Ark, as distinct from the side of the Ark where Moses was told to put his book. Jesus said, “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18). The Moral Law was given to the Israelites so they could enjoy all the riches and blessings that God wanted to bestow on them, if they obeyed His Commandments. If not, they would suffer the persecutions, captivity, pestilence, and famine which He warned would be inflicted on them if they were disobedient (Deut. 23-24).
Today, we are suffering because of our disobedience to His Commandments. We have taken them from our institutions, our schools and our lives and are paying the penalty for this transgression. All nature is in upheaval because of the degradation of our lives. We are experiencing more earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, disastrous floods, diseases than ever before. Heinous crimes against children and adults alike fill our newspapers and television screens. Lying and cheating and fraudulent practices abound. Many parents have abdicated their duty to instil in their offspring the spiritual values and moral codes that would assist them in becoming well-rounded adults. Respect for others and for authority have been sidelined in favour of greed. For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36) Obey His Word. His Word is Law.