I can remember shaking my fist at the heavens and calling Jesus a liar. I was, in a manner of speaking ‘at the end of my rope’ with God. You see, when Jesus said “My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:130) NLT, and I was weighed down with trying to ‘do’ Christianity and the apparent ‘failings’ in that endeavor, I blamed God and called him a liar. This eventually led to a departure, of sorts, from the faith.
After realizing that I was trying to be something that Jesus never wanted of me in the first place, that is ‘being a good christian,’ and trying to do it under compulsion of others who had supposedly and already figured out how to ‘be good christians,’ and that I was striving for ‘spiritual goodness’ in my own strength, I repented of bearing false witness against God and then understood how easy and light Jesus’ yoke really was.
Fast forward many years after having become a missionary, after making many disciples by ‘going,’ baptizing,’ and ’teaching others to obey all that Christ commanded,’ after having passed through many trials and challenges, and after taking a fresh journey through the scriptures, I’ve gotten stuck on some of those verses which makes me (not that I will) want to call God a liar again. (As if I didn’t learn my lesson the first time) Those verses are Deuteronomy 30:11-14
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”
It’s Not too difficult
It’s not beyond your reach
It’s not far away
You don’t have to ask others what it means
It’s totally within your ability to obey it and live
Now, I can either accept these very plain words in Deuteronomy and say to my mind that what God says is true and be done with calling God a liar or I can say with everyone else that It was impossible for anyone to keep the Law as evidenced by their continued failure to do so. If it was ‘impossible’ to keep the law, then it’s simple. God lied. So, I think I have matured in enough in the faith to say that the common theology that suggests keeping God’s law and choosing life was ‘impossible’ must be wrong.
That is, of course, unless there’s a third option. This set of verses is not unlike the ‘my yoke is easy’ set of verses, and yet I find myself thinking about God lying again. A few questions:
What do you think? Is God lying in Deuteronomy 30:11-14?
Was it really ‘impossible’ to live out God’s law in the Old Covenant?
Is it impossible to live out Christ’s commands in the New Covenant?