You're Missing The Point


When I was studying piano my teacher made me learn scales, arpeggios and do many finger exercises. Of course, these things were just for the purpose of learning. No one would ever put on a recital of scales and finger exercises. If you think playing the piano is about learning scales, you are missing the point.

The pieces of a picture puzzle are all the same shape. Any piece can fit into any other piece. Of course, the point is to put the pieces together so that they make the right picture. If you think doing a picture puzzle is just sticking pieces together any way they can be made to fit, you are missing the point.

A scientist does experiments, collects data and writes a detailed description of the phenomena he is studying. All the data is analyzed in order to gain an understanding of the universal principles that govern the physical world. Once the principle is discovered and stated as a law of nature,it can be used to predict behavior in other situations. It would be easy to think that doing experiments and collecting data is science. But if you think that, you are missing the point.

Once upon a time there was a land where there was abundant water. It was a law in this land that people have a right to use as much water as they need. In another territory, there was limited water and the people made a law that restricted the amount of water someone could use. Both laws were good laws even though they are completely opposite. Each law expresses justice in an appropriate way. If there is abundant water, it would be arbitrary and unjust to limit the people's use of the natural resources. If there is limited water, it would be unjust to allow one person to use so much water that he denies someone else the water needed for his life. This is a difficult concept to see at first as we tend to think of law as something absolute. But law is a means to an end. The goal and purpose of law is to achieve justice. If you only see law as a set of rules to live by, then you are missing the point.

There is a reason "Torah" means "Teaching" and translating it as "Law" has led to much misunderstanding. It teaches Gods ways. The ways of God are the higher knowledge of justice, mercy, faith and love. When studying His Teaching, we must learn these things from it. If you don't, you are missing the point.

Jesus taught using parables. Each parable teaches higher knowledge by analogy with things that people were familiar with. To rural people, Jesus used symbols of agriculture and animal husbandry. To the townspeople, Jesus used symbols of commerce and social customs. As Jesus said, you have to have eyes to see and ears to hear. If you don't understand the symbolism and think the parables are to be treated literally, then you are missing the point.

We teach people what they don't know in terms that they do know. The method that is used will depend on the discipline, but the overall process is usually the same. To learn something new it is often necessary to follow a well defined set of rules that eventually lead to an understanding of the abstract principles of the discipline. It is a process of moving from the detailed to the abstract. If the teacher tried to jump to the abstract precepts and principles, the student would never learn anything. The student would not have the experiential knowledge to even understand the abstractions. If the student thinks the method of teaching is the teaching itself, the student is missing the point.

Man rebelled against God and lost knowledge of spiritual things. How then is man to be taught? The higher knowledge of the spirit must be taught using the physical things that man knows. The Teaching given to man is for the purpose of developing knowledge of higher things. Just as civil law is a means of achieving justice, the Teaching from God is a means of showing the ways of God to man. If we think of the Teaching of God as an end in and of itself, we are missing the point.

Man fell away from God by listening to the lies of Satan and man must be taught that what Satan said was a lie. The lie can be summed up this way: "If you gain knowledge of what is good and what is evil, you can do what is good, avoid what is evil, and then be perfect like God." It was a lie in the Garden of Eden and it is still a lie today. The lie is embodied in the assumption that if we live by the right set of rules we are righteous before God. Or expressed another way, it is the false premise that defines law as a set of rules to live by and ignores the fact that law must be an expression of justice. If you understand the Bible that way, you are missing the point.

For the Hebrews, it was God's will that they put on display an allegory of His ways. The rituals and feasts become types and shadows of Christ. It teaches God's plan for turning things around. If you study closely, you will see that the specifics of the laws were changed over time depending on the place and conditions. Initially there was a tabernacle and a there was away of performing the feasts in the tabernacle. Later there was a temple and a different way of doing things in the temple. ( Lev 8 and Ezekiel 43) For us, it may be something different. If you don't pay close attention, you'll be missing the point.

It seems many people think that God created man so that God could give man a set of rules and then sit back and see what happens. They talk about God as if He is some Cosmic Santa Claus, making a list, checking it twice, to find out who is naughty and who is nice. If that's what you think, you are missing the point.

God made man to express God's glory. We were and are to be the outpouring of His presence in this physical world. Man is intended to be a vessel of God's spirit and what we are to do is to do the will of God. To keep His commandments simply means to hear His voice in your heart and do His will. That requires us to put aside the silly notion that we by our will power and knowledge are going to be moral. All morality comes from God as an expression of His unlimited, unconditional love. When that spirit of God is born into us, then we become an expression of His morality and the instrument of His will. This takes faith on our part. It takes faith that He will justify and sanctify us and transform us into perfection. If you think righteousness comes by anything other than living by faith, you are missing the point.




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