Heavy Burdens

Strategic attacks on our faith aim at its foundation: the nature of God and Man, the definition of sin, how to be in right relationship with God. As the enemy lies, changes definitions, wrests scripture, reasons falsely … he tries to destroy our foundation, making it hard to find the truth, or to help others find it. (Ps 11:3)

God defines sin as violating His Law: Torah. (1Jn 3:4) He has one law for us all, one standard, and it’s perfect. (Ps 19:7) He’s told us not to take away from it or add to it. (De 4:2) Doing so corrupts the definition of sin, creating heavy burdens which God didn’t intend. (Mt 23:4)

Just last week, a well-respected spiritual leader in my community insisted that if I drive a car or turn on a stove on Saturday, that I’m disobeying Torah. He says I can only make love with my wife one week out of the month, that I can’t wear a cotton-polyester t-shirt, that I can’t eat a cheeseburger (dairy or meat, never both in a meal), and that I must stone my kids to death when they disobey me … or I’m violating Torah. He was, in effect, trying to discourage me from even thinking about really trying to obey God’s laws, and he was evidently serious. Just one problem: none of this is actually in Torah.

When we don’t read God’s Word for ourselves, thinking carefully about what He says, we become vulnerable to these kinds of absurdities and encourage the lost to blaspheme God’s ways. It’s the enemy’s way of attacking our foundation, making God seem arbitrary, petty, capricious, even malicious. I wonder what God thinks about it all; He can’t be pleased.

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One thought on “Heavy Burdens”

  1. The exact quote from my friend is: “For example, do you cease all labor on Shabbat, every Shabbat? Do you drive? Turn on a stove? Fly out for business or conduct business? Do you check to make sure you never wear clothes of mixed fabric or eat fruit or other foods that are the result of mixed seeds? Do you go the mikvah after relations with your wife and after any and all other occurrences of ritual uncleanliness? Do you refrain from relations with your wife two weeks after each monthly cycle? Do you eat only kosher-slaughter meat with no blood in it, even when eating out at a restaurant? Do you eat only well-done meat with no blood in it? Do you eat in Middle Eastern or Asian countries, where all food (outside Israel) is routinely offered up to their gods? Do you faithfully observe all feast days, every year? Do you cease from work for an entire week every Pesach and every Succot? Do you eat only unleavened bread all week every Pesach? Do you build and live in a Succah for a week every Succot? Do you hear the Shofar blown each and every Feast of Trumpets? Do you wear tefillin? Do you wear tzitzit with a thread of techelet on the corner of your garments? (belt-loop tzitzit don’t count; multi-color threads don’t count; blue thread that’s not techelit doesn’t count). Do you stone your children when they’re disobedient? Have you ever divorced any of your prior wives for other than their adultery? Does your current wife submit to your decrees and lordship? Do you sacrifice a lamb or goat for Pesach? Do you present your first fruits in Jerusalem for Shavuot and Succot? Do you tithe a tenth of all your produce and income? Do you cease work every 7th year? Do you give the corners of your field (roughly 4% of your income) to the poor? Do you cut the corner of your beard or sideburns? Do you go up to Jerusalem every year to celebrate Pesach, Shavuot and Succot? Do you fast from all food and drink and cease from all work every Yom Kippur? Do you remove all leaven from your house for an entire week every Pesach? This list is not meant to be exhaustive – just a few examples of OT ceremonial / purity laws that came to mind. When we claim that all of the Law applies to Gentiles, we need to understand what we’re really advocating, and see if we ourselves actually live up to it.”

    Almost every single one of these is commanded in Jewish tradition but not in Torah. It’s wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to begin. My friend evidently thinks God commands him to live this way, and he doesn’t have any intention of obeying these absurdities, so I think he just doesn’t try. I wouldn’t either, I suppose. Such is the enemy’s way of destroying our faith through man-made tradition.

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